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Folder thumbnails not generating

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I've had this problem for a few days now. On my desktop (and everywhere) all the folders will not show thumbnails, they just show the generic folder icon. I'm using Vista.

Here's what I've tried:

- Made sure that under Folder Options -> Tasks "Show preview and filters" is checked.

- Made sure that under Folder Options -> View -> "Always show icons, never thumbnails" is unchecked and "Display file icon on thumbnails" is checked.

- Deleted thumbnails cache files via both manual deletion and the disk cleanup tool.

To make it clear: I'm just seeing a plain, empty folder and it's not showing the "preview" of the files in the folder as the icon like it used to.

I'm at a loss at what to do now. Anyone have any ideas?

Thanks. :mellow:

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This sounds similar to a problem I've been having and just started researching for Vista Ultimate 64. In my case, the folder view keeps changing from icon view to list view. For what it's worth, I have the same icon view changing problem on a Vista Home Premium 32 bit machine.

Check out this article on How to Reset Windows Explorer Folder View Settings to Make Vista Remember

Method 2 is the one I'm referring to. It involves deleting/resetting the Bags and BagMRU keys in HKey_Current_User\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell, Disabling automatic folder type discovery for templates, increasing the folder view cache memory, and resetting local group policy if necessary.

They include a download link for a reg file to automate most of it or a step by step guide if you want to do it manually.

To be honest, even though I've read the article, I haven't yet had time to implement it to see if it works for me. I'll try to do that in the next day or two.

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You can try this, it resets folder views and the MRU cache. Run it then log out and log back in or reboot:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00


[-HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\BagMRU]
[-HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\Bags]

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell]
"BagMRU Size"=dword:00004e20

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\Bags\AllFolders\Shell]

A note: This also fixes issues with folder views that have previously been set not being remembered (ie preview pane/no preview pane etc) but it will also mean you have to set any custom folder views again after doing this. You can also try CCleaner and check the option on the left to clear the thumbnail cache, that will force Vista to rebuild it :) .

edit: Hah, you beat me to it Jacktivity :mellow: .

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  • Root Admin

This fix would appear to be a temporary fix and over time it could build back up and recreate the issue.

So you may need to add some type of scheduled task or a shortcut to run a reg change real quick when needed.

Here is a 36 page post/tutorial on the subject of folder views for Vista: Vista Tutorial - Windows Explorer Folder View settings

Please let us know how any of the suggested fixes works out Tigger


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Thanks for the link and information Jaxryley as I'm sure it can apply to similar questions. In this case though I don't think that article applies as the actual Thumbnail picture of the image is not showing.

However, if this does fix it for Tigger then the explanation, understanding is a bit off. I certainly would not expect these ini files to be missing either.

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My guess would be some other caching mechanism at work there. Having rebooted should have probably fixed it after the deletion, but maybe continued browsing some how allowed those settings to update and correct it.

Odd indeed.

Glad you got it working though, and now we all have some good information on the subject if it comes up again.

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Yes, I believe that Explorer recreates the cache automatically after enough time (along with the MRU keys in the registry) but logging off and on again or rebooting forces it to do it :mellow: . I've had similar issues but now they're pretty rare because I dramatically increased the size of the cach for remembered folder views as well as thumbnails.

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Good info from Jaxryley, though it didn't help in my particular case. I went ahead and took my own medicine this afternoon on the 64 bit machine, merging the reg file I downloaded from the article I referenced above. All APPEARS to be great - but I've thought that before sometimes. I hope it stays that way. Good to hear you're back in business Tigger93.

@Exile360 regards me beating you to it - great fluke - 3 minutes later, and I'd have been telling you that instead.

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