How to Show Thumbnails in Windows 10: A General Guide


Welcome to the world of Windows 10! If you’re a new user of the operating system, one of the things you might be wondering about is how to show thumbnails in Windows 10. Thumbnails are small, scaled-down versions of images or videos, and they can make it much easier to browse and organize your files and folders. In this article, we will guide you on how to show thumbnails in Windows 10.


Step 1: Open File Explorer

The first step to show thumbnails in Windows 10 is to open File Explorer. You can do this by clicking on the File Explorer icon on your taskbar or by typing “File Explorer” into the search bar on your taskbar.

Step 2: Click on View

Once you have File Explorer open, navigate to the folder you want to view thumbnails for. Click on the “View” tab in the top menu bar.

Step 3: Click on Options

Next, click on the “Options” button to open the Folder Options window.

Step 4: Click on the View tab

In the Folder Options window, click on the “View” tab.

Step 5: Uncheck “Always show icons, never thumbnails”

In the “Advanced settings” section, scroll down until you see the option for “Always show icons, never thumbnails”. Uncheck this option by clicking on the checkbox next to it.

Step 6: Check “Display file icon on thumbnails”

While you’re in the “Advanced settings” section, also make sure that the “Display file icon on thumbnails” option is checked.

Step 7: Click on Apply

Click on the “Apply” button to save your changes.

Step 8: Click on OK

Click on the “OK” button to close the Folder Options window.

Step 9: Wait for thumbnails to load

Now that you’ve made these changes, you’ll need to wait for the thumbnails to load. Depending on the size of your files and the speed of your computer, this could take a few moments.

Step 10: Change the thumbnail size (optional)

If you want to change the size of the thumbnails, you can do so by clicking on the “View” tab in the File Explorer menu bar and selecting one of the options under “Icon Size”.

Step 11: Customize folders (optional)

You can also customize the way folders and files are displayed by clicking on the “View” tab in the File Explorer menu bar and selecting one of the options under “Layout”.

Step 12: Enjoy your thumbnails!

Congratulations! You’ve successfully learned how to show thumbnails in Windows 10. Now you can enjoy browsing your files and folders with ease.


When you check the “Always show icons, never thumbnails” setting in Windows 10, you are essentially telling your operating system to display only the generic file icons for your files and folders, rather than generating thumbnails for each individual file. This can be useful for some users who prefer a more minimalist approach to file management, or for those who have a lot of files and folders and want to save space on their computer. However, for most users, thumbnails offer a number of benefits, including:

– Easier navigation: Thumbnails can help you quickly locate the file you’re looking for, especially if you have a lot of files and folders to sort through.
– More information: Thumbnails can provide a preview of the contents of a file or folder, which can be helpful when trying to determine the contents of a file without opening it.
– Improved organization: With thumbnails, you can get a visual overview of all your files and folders, which can make it easier to organize them in a way that makes sense to you.

Tips and Tricks

Tip 1: Clean up your files

If you have a lot of files and folders on your computer, it can be helpful to periodically clean them up and organize them. This can make it easier to find the files you need, and can also free up space on your computer.

Tip 2: Use descriptive filenames

When you’re saving files, try to use descriptive filenames that make it easy to understand what the file is without having to open it.

Tip 3: Use subfolders

If you have a lot of files, it can be helpful to organize them into subfolders based on category or type.

Tip 4: Use shortcut keys

Learning shortcut keys can save you time and make it easier to navigate your files and folders. For example, pressing the Windows key + E will open File Explorer.

Tip 5: Use the search bar

If you’re having trouble locating a specific file or folder, try using the search bar in File Explorer. Simply type in the name of the file or folder, and Windows will generate a list of matching results.

Tip 6: Regularly back up your files

Backing up your files is important in case of a computer crash or other disaster. You can use an external hard drive or cloud storage service to back up important files and folders.

Tip 7: Use sorting and filtering

You can sort and filter your files and folders by various criteria, such as name, date modified, or file type. This can help make it easier to locate specific files or folders.

Tip 8: Use the “Recent” folder

Windows 10 automatically generates a “Recent” folder that contains recently accessed files and folders. This can be a helpful feature if you regularly work with a specific set of files.

Tip 9: Customize your File Explorer

You can customize File Explorer in a number of ways to suit your preferences. For example, you can change the color scheme, customize the toolbar, or change the layout of your folders and files.

Tip 10: Stay organized!

Finally, the most important tip of all: stay organized! The more organized you are with your files and folders, the easier it will be to find what you need and keep your computer running smoothly.

In conclusion, showing thumbnails in Windows 10 can be very helpful for making file organization and navigation simpler. By following the 12 steps we provided, you can easily enable thumbnails in your File Explorer window. Using these tips and tricks, you can also make the most out of your file management system and keep your computer running smoothly.

Advantages of Showing Thumbnails in Windows 10

Thumbnails are small images that can give you a preview of the content of a file. In Windows 10, you can easily show thumbnails for your files and folders. Here are some advantages of doing so:

1. Faster browsing

With thumbnails, you can quickly scan through your files and folders to find what you need. This is much faster than having to open each file individually to see what it contains.

2. Better organization

Showing thumbnails can help you organize your files and folders better. You can easily group related files and visually distinguish between different types of content.

3. More information available

Thumbnails can give you more information about a file than just its name. For example, you can see the file type, its size, and even a preview of its contents.

4. Improved accessibility

Thumbnails make it easier for people with visual impairments to navigate through their files and folders. They can also help those who have difficulty reading small text.

5. Enhanced visual experience

Showing thumbnails can make your Windows 10 experience more visually appealing. It can also give you a better sense of your overall content and make it more enjoyable to use your PC.

Disadvantages of Showing Thumbnails in Windows 10

While showing thumbnails can be useful, there are also some downsides to consider:

1. Slower performance

When you enable thumbnails, it can slow down your PC’s performance, especially if you have a large number of files and folders. This can be particularly noticeable if you have an older PC.

2. Privacy concerns

Showing thumbnails can also present a privacy concern as they can reveal the contents of files. This could be a problem if you have sensitive or confidential files that you do not want others to see.

3. Storage space

Thumbnails take up storage space on your PC. If you have limited storage capacity or many large files, this could become a problem over time.

4. Distraction

Thumbnails can be distracting and sometimes overwhelming, especially if you have a lot of them. This can make it difficult to focus on the task at hand and find the specific file you need.

5. Inaccuracy

While thumbnails can give you a general idea of what a file contains, they may not always be accurate. This can be misleading and lead to mistakes if you rely on thumbnails to identify files.


1. How do I enable thumbnails in Windows 10?

To enable thumbnails in Windows 10, go to File Explorer and click on the “View” tab. Then, check the box that says “Always show icons, never thumbnails” and click “Apply” and “OK”.

2. How do I view thumbnails instead of icons?

You can view thumbnails instead of icons by making sure the “Always show icons, never thumbnails” box is unchecked in File Explorer’s “View” tab.

3. Why aren’t my thumbnails showing up?

If your thumbnails aren’t showing up, the first thing to check is whether the “Always show icons, never thumbnails” box is checked in File Explorer’s “View” tab. You should also make sure that your computer has enough memory to generate thumbnails.

4. What file types support thumbnails in Windows 10?

Most image and video file types support thumbnails in Windows 10, including JPEG, PNG, BMP, MP4, and AVI.

5. How can I change the size of my thumbnails?

You can change the size of your thumbnails by clicking on “Options” in the “View” tab of File Explorer and selecting “Change folder and search options”. Then, click on the “View” tab and choose a size under the “Folder views” section.

6. Can I customize the appearance of my thumbnails?

You can customize the appearance of your thumbnails by going to the “View” tab in File Explorer and clicking on “Options”. Then, select “Change folder and search options” and click on the “View” tab. From there, you can choose to show or hide file name extensions, hidden files, and more.

7. How do I clear my thumbnail cache?

To clear your thumbnail cache, you can use the Disk Cleanup tool that comes with Windows 10. Simply type “Disk Cleanup” into the search bar and select the tool from the results. Then, select “Thumbnails” and click “OK” to clear your cache.

8. Can I disable thumbnails altogether?

You can disable thumbnails altogether in Windows 10 by checking the “Always show icons, never thumbnails” box in File Explorer’s “View” tab.

9. Why do some thumbnails look pixelated or distorted?

If some of your thumbnails look pixelated or distorted, it may be because the thumbnail’s image size is too small or the original image file is low quality.

10. How can I get my thumbnails to load faster?

You can speed up thumbnail loading by clearing your thumbnail cache, upgrading your computer’s hardware, or reducing the number of files in the folder you’re viewing.

11. Are there any third-party tools I can use to improve my thumbnail experience?

Yes, there are several third-party tools available that can improve your thumbnail experience in Windows 10, such as FastStone Image Viewer or XnView MP.

12. How do I troubleshoot thumbnail-related issues?

You can troubleshoot thumbnail-related issues by checking that the “Always show icons, never thumbnails” box is unchecked in File Explorer’s “View” tab, ensuring that your computer has enough memory, and clearing your thumbnail cache.

13. Can I use thumbnails in Windows 10 with touchscreen devices?

Yes, you can use thumbnails in Windows 10 with touchscreen devices by tapping or clicking on the thumbnail to open the file.

How to Show Thumbnails in Windows 10

If you’re an avid user of Windows 10, you might have noticed that the thumbnails for your pictures and videos don’t always show up. This can be frustrating when you’re trying to quickly find a specific file. Fortunately, there’s a simple solution to this problem. Here’s how you can show thumbnails in Windows 10:

Conclusion and Closing

By following the steps outlined above, you should now be able to see thumbnails for all of your pictures and videos on your Windows 10 device. Not only will this make it easier to find the file you’re looking for, but it will also add a visual element to your file browsing experience. If you’re still unable to see thumbnails after following these steps, you may need to adjust your computer’s settings or seek the help of a professional.

Thank you for reading. We hope this article has been helpful to you. If you have any further questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to us.