Turn off thumbnail caching (thumbs.db)

The file thumbs.db is a thumbnail cache. Windows uses thumbs.db to store thumbnail images for Windows Explorer’s thumbnail view. When a folder with images and movies is opened for the first time, Windows creates thumbnails for all these media files. The thumbnails are saved into one file, thumbs.db. This speeds up the display of images as the smaller images do not need to be recalculated every time the user views the folder.

If you have a fast machine, or if you don’t pay much attention to thumbnails, you can safely disable the caching of the thumbnails. The advantage of disabling thumbnails is that your folders stay clean. No useless extra files in your folders.

You can disable thumbnail caching in three ways. You can:

  1. edit your registry
  2. edit the local computer policy
  3. edit the Advanced Settings in the View Tab of your Folder Options

All ways will fulfill your wish, but I think editing the local computer policy is the easiest way to do so. Follow these steps to disable the thumbnails being cached to thumbs.db:

  1. Make sure you’re logged in as an administrator
  2. Click Start, type gpedit.msc in the Search box and press Enter. The Local Group Policy Editor will popup.
  3. Navigate to User Configuration –> Administrative Templates –> Windows Components –> Windows Explorer.Local Group Policy Editor window
  4. In Windows Explorer, double click “Turn off the caching of thumbnails in hidden thumbs.db files”. Then, click the radio button “Enabled”. Click OK.Turn off the caching of thumbnails in hidden thumbs.db files policy window
  5. All Thumbs.db are now deleted from your system and will not be created, until you turn on the caching again. To turn on the caching, you have to set the “Turn off the caching of thumbnails in hidden thumbs.db files” policy to Disabled or Not Configured
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which OS is this article for?

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