This guide shows you how to clear the thumbnails cache for the following Windows versions: Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1 or 10.

Windows XP

How to clear the thumbnails cache in Windows XP

To clear the thumbnails cache in Windows XP, follow these instructions:

  1. Open Windows Explorer (or open My Computer)
  2. Click Tools
  3. Select Folder Options
  4. The Folder Options window will appear
  5. Go to the View tab
  6. Under Hidden files and folders section, check Show hidden files and folders
  7. Under Hidden files and folders section, uncheck Hide protected operating system files and click OK
  8. Click Start
  9. Click Search
  10. Select All files and folders from the left side
  11. Type Thumbs.db in the All or part of the file name field
  12. Click Search
  13. Search will now list all instances of the Thumbs.db file found on your
    computer
  14. Select all the files listed by pressing Ctrl + A and then press the Shift + Delete keys to delete the selected
    files.Or, simply right-click on these files and click Delete.
  15. Empty your Recycle Bin
Thumbnails folder in Windows XP

Thumbnails folder in Windows XP

Enable or disable in Windows XP

To enable or disable the option to cache thumbnails on a Windows XP system, follow these steps:

  1. Open My Computer
  2. Go to Tools > Folder Options
  3. Go to View
  4. Check the Do not cache thumbnails option.
    If Do not cache thumbnails is checked, Windows XP will not cache thumbnails.If Do not cache thumbnails is not checked, Windows XP will cache thumbnails.
  5. Click OK
Thumbnails folder options in Windows XP

Thumbnails folder options in Windows XP

Windows Vista

How to clear the thumbnails cache in Windows Vista

To clear the thumbnails cache on a Windows Vista computer, follow these steps to open Disk Cleanup:

  1. Click Start
  2. Click All Programs, then Accessories, then System Tools
  3. Click Disk CleanupAlternatively, you can click Start and type disk cleanup in the search box, press Enter.
  4. Disk Cleanup should now load
  5. If you have more that 1 disk drive, e.g. more than 1 C:\, select the drive you want to clean up, then click
    OK
  6. From the Files to delete section, select the Thumbnails option and deselect all other options
  7. Then click OK
  8. Click Delete Files
Disk Cleanup in Windows Vista

Disk Cleanup in Windows Vista

Enable or disable in Windows Vista

To enable or disable the thumbnails cache option on a Windows Vista computer, follow these steps:

  1. Open My Computer
  2. Click Organize
  3. Click Folder and search options
  4. Go to the View tab
  5. Select or deselect the Always show icons, never thumbnails option
  6. Click OK
Thumbnails folder options in Windows Vista

Thumbnails folder options in Windows Vista

Windows 7

How to clear the thumbnails cache in Windows 7

To clear the thumbnails cache on a Windows 7 computer, you need to run Disk Cleanup and select the Thumbnails option to clear the cache:

  1. Click Start
  2. Type disk cleanup in the search box
  3. Press Enter
  4. Disk Cleanup should now load.If not, go to All Programs > Accessories > System Tools and find Disk Cleanup listed there.
  5. Select the Thumbnails option. Make sure it’s checked and deselect the other options listed at the Files to delete section.
  6. Click OK
  7. Click Delete files

You can also open Disk Cleanup to clear the thumbnails:

  1. Click Start
  2. Type disk cleanup
  3. Press Enter
Disk Cleanup in Windows 7

Disk Cleanup in Windows 7

Enable or disable in Windows 7

Method 1

To enable (or disable) the ability to cache thumbnails on Windows 7 computer, follow these steps:

  1. Log in as an Administrator
  2. Press the Windows and R keys
  3. Type gpedit.msc in the Run dialog
  4. Click OK
  5. The Local Group Policy Editor should open
  6. Go to User Configuration
  7. Then Administrative Templates
  8. Then Windows Components
  9. Then Windows Explorer
  10. Double-click on Turn off the caching of thumbnails in hidden thumbs.db files
  11. Select Enabled to turn off the cache.If you want to leave the caching of thumbnails enabled, this option should be Disabled.
  12. Click OK
Group Policy screen in Windows 7

Group Policy screen in Windows 7

Method 2

  1. Open Folder options
  2. Go to the View tab
  3. Select or deselect the Always show icons, never thumbnails option
  4. Click OK
Thumbnails folder options in Windows 7

Thumbnails folder options in Windows 7

Windows 8/8.1

How to clear the thumbnails cache in Windows 8 or 8.1

Method 1

To clear the thumbnails cache on a Windows 8 or 8.1 system, follow these instructions:

  1. Open Windows Explorer
  2. Go to the View tab
  3. Select Hidden items, then select Show selected items
  4. Navigate to C:\Users\User\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Explorer, where C:\ is where you
    installed Windows 8 or 8.1 and User is the username of your account profile.If Windows 8 or 8.1 was installed on D:\ and your username is Anna, the path you need to navigate to is:

    D:\Users\Anna\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Explorer
  5. Select all files that begin with thumbcache
  6. Right-click these files and click Delete
  7. Empty the Recycle Bin
Thumbnails folder in Windows 8

Thumbnails folder in Windows 8

Method 2

You can also open Disk Cleanup to clear the thumbnails:

  1. Click Start
  2. Type disk cleanup
  3. Press Enter
Disk Cleanup in Windows 8

Disk Cleanup in Windows 8

Enable or disable in Windows 8 or 8.1

Method 1

To enable (or disable) the ability to cache thumbnails in Windows 8 / 8.1 systems, follow these
steps:

  1. Log in as an Administrator
  2. Press the Windows and R keys
  3. Type gpedit.msc in the Run dialog
  4. Click OK
  5. The Local Group Policy Editor should now open
  6. Go to User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > File
    Explorer
  7. Double-click on Turn off the caching of thumbnails in hidden thumbs.db files
  8. Select Enabled to turn off the cache. If you want to leave the caching of thumbnails, this should be Disabled.
  9. Click OK
Group Policy screen in Windows 8

Group Policy screen in Windows 8

Method 2

  1. Open Folder options
  2. Go to the View tab
  3. Select or deselect the Always show icons, never thumbnails option
  4. Click OK
Thumbnails folder options in Windows 8

Thumbnails folder options in Windows 8

Method 3

  1. Open the Registry
  2. Navigate to this key:
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced
  3. The value for DisableThumbnailCache should be 1, if you want to disable the thumbnails caching.Otherwise, leave it as 0 to have it enabled.
Registry Editor screen in Windows 8

Registry Editor screen in Windows 8

Windows 10

How to clear the thumbnails cache in Windows 10

Method 1

To clear the thumbnails cache on a Windows 10 system, follow these instructions:

  1. Open Windows Explorer
  2. Go to the View tab
  3. Select Hidden items, then select Show selected items
  4. Navigate to C:\Users\User\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Explorer, where C:\ is where you
    installed Windows 8 or 8.1 and User is the username of your account profile.If Windows 8 or 8.1 was installed on D:\ and your username is Anna, the path you need to navigate to is:

    D:\Users\Anna\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Explorer
  5. Select all files that begin with thumbcache
  6. Right-click these files and click Delete
  7. Empty the Recycle Bin
Thumbnails folder in Windows 10

Thumbnails folder in Windows 10

Method 2

You can also open Disk Cleanup to clear the thumbnails:

  1. Click Start
  2. Type disk cleanup
  3. Press Enter
Disk Cleanup in Windows 10

Disk Cleanup in Windows 10

Enable or disable in Windows 10

Method 1

To enable (or disable) the ability to cache thumbnails in Windows 8 / 8.1 systems, follow these
steps:

  1. Log in as an Administrator
  2. Press the Windows and R keys
  3. Type gpedit.msc in the Run dialog
  4. Click OK
  5. The Local Group Policy Editor should now open
  6. Go to User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > File
    Explorer
  7. Double-click on Turn off the caching of thumbnails in hidden thumbs.db files
  8. Select Enabled to turn off the cache. If you want to leave the caching of thumbnails, this should be Disabled.
  9. Click OK
Group Policy screen in Windows 10

Group Policy screen in Windows 10

Method 2

  1. Open Folder options
  2. Go to the View tab
  3. Select or deselect the Always show icons, never thumbnails option
  4. Click OK
Thumbnails folder options in Windows 10

Thumbnails folder options in Windows 10

Method 3

  1. Open the Registry
  2. Navigate to this key:
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced
  3. The value for DisableThumbnailCache should be 1, if you want to disable the thumbnails caching.Otherwise, leave it as 0 to have it enabled.
Registry Editor screen in Windows 10

Registry Editor screen in Windows 10

More Information

Support Links

Applicable Systems

This Windows-related knowledgebase article applies to the following operating systems:

  • Windows XP (all editions)
  • Windows Vista (all editions)
  • Windows 7 (all editions)
  • Windows 8 (all editions)
  • Windows 8.1 (all editions)
  • Windows 10 (all editions)

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