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How to Fix Explorer Thumbnail Previews Not Showing Up on Windows 10 or 11 PC

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Navigating through your files on Windows 10 or 11 PC is easy when you can preview or show thumbnails to look at its content. You no longer need to open the document in your File Explorer. The picture thumbnail preview display will give you a glimpse of what it is.

Unfortunately, some users complained that their photo thumbnail previews are not showing up or the images got all messed up on their Microsoft Windows computer. When they try to launch the preview picture, they end up with a blank image. If you experience the same thumbnail issue with your Windows File Explorer photo thumbnails, you can try to troubleshoot the problem with a few solutions.

Fixing Windows PC Picture Thumbnail Previews Not Showing
Photo credit: Windows/Unsplash

How to Fix Windows 10/11 PC Photo Thumbnail Previews Not Showing up or Images All Messed up in File Explorer

There are varying reasons for the image thumbnail preview missing error on Windows 10 or 11 computer. But, you can try to troubleshoot and resolve the issue by following the methods below one at a time.

Method #1 – Force Restart your File Explorer

  • Launch the Task Manager. You can press Shift+Ctrl+Esc simultaneously.
  • Navigate to the Processes tab and look for Windows Explorer. If you cannot find it, click More details.
  • Select Windows Explorer.
  • Click the Restart button at the bottom of the window.
  • Exit the Task Manager and try again.

Method #2 – Edit the File Explorer Settings

  • Click the Start button and go to the Search box.
  • Enter File Explorer Options.
  • Now, open the File Explorer Options window.
  • Navigate to the View tab.
  • Under the Advanced settings, look for the Always show icons, never thumbnails option.
  • Make sure to uncheck the box next to it.
  • Click Apply.
  • Click OK.

Method #3 – Perform an SFC Scan

  • Right-click on your taskbar and select Windows Terminal (Admin).
  • Enter the following command: sfc /scannow.
  • Wait for the scan process to finish.

Method #4 – Turn On Show Thumbnail Previews

  • Click the Start button and go to the Search box.
  • Enter View Advanced System Settings.
  • Navigate to the Advanced tab.
  • Under Performance, click the Settings button.
  • Go to the Visual Effects tab.
  • Choose Custom.
  • Under the Custom option, look for Save taskbar thumbnail previews and check the box next to it.
  • Look for Show thumbnails instead of icons and check the box next to it.
  • Click Apply.
  • Click OK.

Method #5 – Remove the Thumbnail Cache

  • Launch the Settings menu of your Windows 10/11 PC.
  • Head over to System.
  • Select Storage.
  • Choose Temporary Files.
  • Scroll down to Thumbnails and check the box next to it.
  • Click the Remove files button.
  • Reboot your PC.

Method #6 – Restore Defaults in File Explorer Options

  • On the Search box, enter File Explorer Options.
  • Navigate to the General tab.
  • Scroll down to Privacy.
  • Click the Restore Defaults button.
  • Go to the View tab.
  • Click the Restore Defaults button.
  • Click Apply.
  • Click OK.

Which of the methods above worked for you in fixing the Microsoft File Explorer thumbnail image problem? We love to hear from you. Share a comment with us below.

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