How to Disable Image Preview Thumbnails for Windows

Image preview thumbnails can be very useful since they allow you to see the picture without having to open it. It’s a very useful feature that most of us have enabled on our Windows computers.

Unfortunately, this useful feature comes at a price. By having it on, access to folders and the system response is slower. By disabling the thumbnail preview, not only do you protect your privacy (just in case someone is looking over your shoulder), but you also help your computer run a little faster.

How to Turn Off Image Preview Thumbnails by Using File Explorer

To disable image previews, you’ll obviously need to open the File Explorer. You can do this by pressing the “Win + E” hotkey, or you can also use the search box. Click on the View tab that’s located in the Ribbon menu, and then click on the Options button.


A Folder Options pop-up window should appear, and when it does, click on the “View” tab. In the “Advanced Settings” box look for the option that says “Always show icons, never thumbnails.” Click on the box to select it, and don’t forget to click OK to save your changes.


Disable Image Preview Thumbnails by Using the Registry

Using the Registry to disable image preview thumbnails may sound complicated, but it’s not. Simply open the Registry Editor, and in the Run type regedit.

Note: don’t forget to back up your registry before you make any changes.

Once it’s open, look for the Advanced folder that will be under the “HKEY_CURRENT_USER” key after you click through the following options.

Move through the following options: “Software -> Microsoft -> Windows -> Current Version -> Explorer -> Advanced Key.” You should be able to see some DWORD values to the right of the Advanced key. Double-click on the “IconsOnly” DWORD value and a small box will open.


In the Value Data box type in “1” and click OK to save your changes. The image preview thumbnails will now be gone. If you ever want them back, repeat these steps and replace the “1” with “0.”


Turn Off Image Preview Thumbnails with Visual Effects Options

If you had issues with the first two methods, then this is another way out. Go to the search box and type performance. The Performance box will appear, and the first tab will be the Visual Effects tab.


Click on that tab and carefully look for the option that says “Show thumbnails instead of icons.” Click OK to save your choices.

Eliminate Image Preview Thumbnails Through Group Policy Editor

Before you try this method you should keep in mind that not all editions of Windows will have these options. If you can’t find it, then your best bet would be to try one of the above methods.

After opening the Local Group Policy Editor, go to the left of the pane and move through the following options: “User Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Windows Components -> File Explorer.”


To the right of the pane, double-click on the “Turn off the display icons.” Choose Enabled to turn off the preview in Windows/File Explorer. Don’t forget to click OK to save everything.


As you can see, the methods to disable the thumbnail previews are simple. A few clicks here and there, and it gets the job done. This won’t give you lightning speed performance, but it will help. Which method are you going to try fist? Leave a comment and let us know.

Fabio Buckell

Just a simple guy that can't enough of Technology in general and is always surrounded by at least one Android and iOS device. I'm a Pizza addict as well.

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