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10 Ways To Fix Windows Photo Preview Not Working

Mack Wilson
Mack Wilson Originally published Jan 27, 24, updated Apr 24, 24

User Query: “After upgrading to Windows 10, only half of my JPEGs show thumbnails. However, when using Windows Picture Viewer, all images are visible. How can I fix this problem?”

If you’re experiencing a similar issue, this article offers practical solutions. It’ll guide you through quickly when your Windows 10 photo thumbnail preview’s not working. The page has all the answers you need, from adjusting folder properties to resetting thumbnail caches. Let’s address these concerns and restore seamless image browsing when Windows image preview is not working. Read on to learn more.

In this article
    1. Method 1: Check If Thumbnail Preview Is Enabled
    2. Method 2: Restore File Explorer Options to Default
    3. Method 3: Use a Dedicated Repair Tool To Preview Images on Windows
    4. Method 4: Clear Thumbnails Cache
    5. Method 5: Change the Visual Effect Settings of Windows 10
    6. Method 6: Use the Command Prompt to Delete Thumbnail Cache
    7. Method 7: Run SFC Scan
    8. Method 8: Run the DISM Tool
    9. Method 9: Scan Your System for Spyware

Part 1. Why You’re Unable To Preview Some Thumbnails in Windows 10?

If your Windows photo preview is not working, various issues might be at play:

  • Disabled thumbnails. System optimizations may disable thumbnail generation at times.
  • Wrong File Explorer option settings. Incorrect File Explorer settings can disrupt the smooth rendering of thumbnails. It often leads to preview issues.
  • Glitches with File Explorer. Technical glitches within the File Explorer itself might hinder the proper display of thumbnails. When it happens, it sometimes causes preview problems.
  • Broken or corrupt system files. Issues with essential system files can result in the malfunction of thumbnail previews. This often requires attention and restoration.
  • Issues with the folder. Specific problems, such as permission issues, can impact the generation and display of thumbnails.
  • OneDrive full. A full OneDrive can limit the storage available for thumbnail generation. It affects your ability to preview images.
thumbnails not opening for preview

In the next sections, let’s explore comprehensive solutions for each of these potential obstacles.

Part 2. Top Solutions To Fix Windows Image Preview Not Working

Are you facing issues with Windows image previews? You’re in the right place. Here are several guides to resolve thumbnail preview problems on Windows 10.

Method 1: Check If Thumbnail Preview Is Enabled

Checking the Thumbnail preview setting is the most basic way to troubleshoot your image previews. Follow the steps:

Step 1: Launch Windows Explorer on your system. Go to the top of the screen and click on the View tab. From there, select Options.

view options to check thumbnail preview

Step 2: Within the Folder Options > View tab. Ensure that the Always show icons, never thumbnails option in the Advanced Settings section is unchecked. If it’s selected, uncheck the option, then click OK. The action enables thumbnail preview.

show icons to preview thumbnails

Method 2: Restore File Explorer Options to Default

You can restore File Explorer options to their default settings to resolve photo thumbnails not displaying. Follow these steps:

Step 1: Open File Explorer Options by searching for it in the search bar.

Step 2: Open the View tab, then click the Restore Defaults button. Afterward, click Apply and then OK.

Method 3: Use a Dedicated Repair Tool To Preview Images on Windows

If previous methods fail, consider using Wondershare Repairit as the photo repair tool for your Desktop. The tool specializes in repairing corrupted image files without breaking a sweat. Here are its key features:

  • Repairs corrupted files with guaranteed results.
  • Easy to use for beginners with no learning curve.
  • Supports 18 photo formats.
  • Extracts thumbnails with precision.
repairit interface

How To Fix Corrupted Photos Using Wondershare Repairit[a]

Initiate the photo repair process when photo previews are malfunctioning. Here is the detailed step-by-step guide:

Step 1: Download and install Wondershare Repairit on your Windows PC. Open the application and go to the More Types Repair section in the sidebar. Click File Repair.

Free Download
Free Download

Step 2: Click the Add button to open a browser window. From there, go to the directory where your corrupted photos are stored. Upload them onto the app.


Step 3: The window will display your photos or other corrupted files. Click Repair to start the process. Once completed, Repairit will notify you of the result.

use repairit to fix photos 02

Step 4: Review the repair results by clicking Preview. Open the preview window by clicking the image thumbnail. Check file details like name, size, and location. Delete mistaken uploads using the trash icon or remove all with the Remove All button. Add more files with the Add Photo(s) option to continue.

use repairit to fix photos 03

Step 5: To export individual photos, click the Save button next to Preview. Use the Save All button for bulk export. Choose a destination on your computer, and the application will save the selected files.

Method 4: Clear Thumbnails Cache

Thumbnails rely on a cache. If it’s corrupted, picture thumbnails won’t display in Windows 10. Reset the thumbnail cache by:

Step 1: Right-click on . drive in File Explorer and select Properties. Click Disk Cleanup.

clear thumbnail cache option

Step 2: Check the Thumbnails option in the pop-up window and click OK.

Method 5: Change the Visual Effect Settings of Windows 10

Verify and adjust Windows visual effects settings to display picture thumbnails using the steps below:

Step 1: Type View advanced system settings in the search bar and choose it. Next, go to System Properties > Advanced tab. Under the Performance section, click Settings. In the Performance Options box, select the Visual Effects tab.

clear thumbnail cache option

Step 2: In the Custom section, choose Save taskbar thumbnail previews and Show thumbnails instead of icons. Click OK to save the changes. Check the folders to ensure photo thumbnails are now visible.

Method 6: Use the Command Prompt to Delete Thumbnail Cache

Alternatively, use Command Prompt to delete the thumbnail cache on Windows 10 with these steps:

Step 1: In the search box, type Command Prompt. Right-click and select Run as administrator. In the Command Prompt, enter the following three commands, pressing Enter after each:

  • taskkill /f /im explorer.exe
  • del /f /s /q /a %LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Windows\Explorer\thumbcache_.db
  • start explorer.exe

Step 2: Press Enter and close the Command Prompt window. JPEG, PNG, TIFF, and other image files’ thumbnail previews should now be visible in Windows 10.

command prompt to fix photo previews

Method 7: Run SFC Scan

The System File Checker (SFC) scan can rectify system file issues, causing picture thumbnails to not appear in Windows 10. Use the SFC scan by following these steps:

Step 1: In the search box, type Command Prompt. Right-click and select Run as administrator.

Step 2: In the Command Prompt, type “sfc /scannow” and press Enter. Wait for the scan to finish. Once completed, check whether the issue has been resolved.

Method 8: Run the DISM Tool

If the issue persists even after the SFC scan, use the DISM Tool. DISM can repair and update system files to address Windows problems. Follow these steps:

Step 1: In the search box, type Command Prompt. Right-click and choose Run as administrator. In the Command Prompt, enter the following two commands, pressing Enter after each:

  • DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Scanhealth
  • DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth

Step 2: Type Exit and press Enter. Allow a few minutes to complete the process, and refrain from interrupting it.

Method 9: Scan Your System for Spyware

Perform a thorough system scan for spyware using a reliable antivirus or anti-malware tool. Spyware can interfere with system functions, potentially affecting thumbnail previews.

Part 3. Why Photo Previews Are Important

Photo previews, represented by thumbnails, play a crucial role in optimizing your computing experience for several reasons:

album of photos at the beach
  • Space Saver

Thumbnails act as space-efficient representations of larger images. It offers you a visual overview without consuming excessive disk space. It’s beneficial when dealing with extensive photo collections and conserving storage resources for other essential data.

  • User-friendly

Photo previews enhance the user interface, making navigation more intuitive. You can quickly identify and locate specific images. It streamlines the browsing process and reduces the time spent searching for files.

  • Interactive

Thumbnails transform file management into an interactive experience. It allows you to engage with the content visually. The visual interaction simplifies the identification of images and promotes an enjoyable visual environment.

Part 4. How To Prevent Thumbnail Previews Not Working on Windows 10

Preventing issues with thumbnail previews on Windows 10 involves implementing proactive measures. It will bring a smooth and efficient experience.

woman wondering when working
  • Ensure Photo Viewer Compatibility

Check that your chosen photo viewer is compatible with Windows 10. Compatibility issues can lead to thumbnail preview malfunctions. That’s why you should choose software that integrates with your operating system.

  • Make Backups

Regularly back up your image files. Having backups ensures you can restore your photo library without losing essential thumbnails.

  • Insert/Eject Storage Media Responsibly

Always use the proper procedures when working with external storage devices, like USB drives or memory cards. Abruptly removing storage media can disrupt file structures, affecting thumbnail previews.

  • Let the Computer Finish Tasks

When downloading or uploading images, allow your computer to complete these tasks before moving away. Interrupting these processes may lead to incomplete or missing thumbnail previews.

  • Ensure Consistent Power Supply

Maintain a consistent power supply for your computer. Abrupt power interruptions can result in system instability, potentially causing issues with thumbnail generation. Invest in a reliable UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) if power fluctuations are common in your area.

  • Don’t Alter the Original Files

Avoid making direct alterations to original image files whenever possible. Instead, use copies or duplicates for edits.


Resolving Windows 10 photo thumbnail preview issues involves learning these easy and quick methods. If these standard troubleshooting steps prove insufficient, consider using Wondershare Repairit. It’s a comprehensive tool for repairing corrupted images.

Using a professional solution offers an effective resolution to persistent Windows image previews not working on Windows 10.


    Managing thumbnails is important for efficient file navigation on your Windows system. Here are answers to common questions about handling images and thumbnails:
  • 1. How do I show images as thumbnails?
    To display images as thumbnails, ensure your File Explorer settings are configured. Go to the View tab and select Icons. Next, check the Medium icons or Large icons option to view image thumbnails.
  • 2. Is a thumbnail a PNG or JPG?
    Thumbnails are not limited to a specific image format. They can be generated for various formats, including PNG, JPG, etc. The format depends on the original image file.
  • 3. Is Windows Photo Viewer still supported?
    Windows Photo Viewer is still supported in Windows 10. However, newer systems often use the Photos app as the default image viewer. If you wish to, Windows Photo Viewer is still accessible for users who prefer it. Always check for the latest updates to stay informed about software changes.
Mack Wilson
Mack Wilson Apr 24, 24
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Mack Wilson
Written by Mack Wilson
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