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How to Clear and Reset Thumbnails Cache on Windows 11?

Troubleshooting Thumbnail Cache in Windows 11: A Comprehensive Guide

With the evolution of technology, operating systems have become increasingly adept at providing users with a seamless experience. A prime example is the thumbnail database utilized by Windows to offer a snapshot of media files and documents, including photos, videos, PDFs, and even Office documents like Word and PowerPoint presentations. Specifically, in Windows 11, these graphic thumbnails act as a swift preview, letting users glance at the content without opening the file itself. This ingenious feature is automated: Windows 11 dynamically creates or discards these thumbnails in sync with your actions, such as when you generate, copy, or erase a file. This dynamic feature ensures a smooth system operation since there’s no need for Windows to craft a new thumbnail from scratch during every file interaction.

Yet, like all systems, it’s not infallible. Regular interactions, especially frequent additions of thumbnails, can sometimes cause the Thumbnails Cache Database to corrupt. Consequently, users might face the perplexing issue of missing thumbnails. But fret not, the remedy is often as simple as clearing out the existing database, permitting Windows to construct a fresh, error-free one.

In this risewindows guide, we’ll delve deep into the step-by-step process of clearing and resetting the Thumbnails Cache on Windows 11. So, if you’re battling the missing thumbnail conundrum, you’re in the right place!

If you want to view your thumbnail cache database, press Windows + R on the keyboard to open the Run dialog box. Now, type the following and press Enter:-


You’ll find several database (.db) files in the File Explorer.

How to Enable Thumbnails in File Explorer Options?

If you do not see any thumbnails on your computer, you need to check whether it is enabled in the File Explorer Options or not. If it’s not, use the following steps to turn it on:-

Step 1: To begin, open File Explorer Options.

To open File Explorer Options, you can use the shortcut Windows + R to open the Run dialog box. After that, type the following command in it and press Enter:-

control.exe folders

Step 2: After opening the File Explorer Options window, switch to the View tab.

Step 3: Find the Always show icons, never thumbnails option under the “Advanced settings” section. Uncheck it.

Step 4: Click the Apply button.

Step 5: Click the OK button.

How to Erase Thumbnail Cache Using Disk Cleanup?

If you want to delete the thumbnail cache using Disk Cleanup, use the following steps:-

Step 1: Open the Disk Cleanup tool.

To open the Disk Cleanup tool, first use the shortcut Windows + R to open the Run dialog box. After that, type the following command in it and press Enter:-


Step 2: Now, you need to select a drive you want to clean up, which is usually the Windows installation drive (“C” drive), and click on the OK button.

Step 3: Check Thumbnails and click on the OK button.

Completion of the above steps will delete and reset the thumbnail database cache. Lastly, reboot your system to apply the changes.

How to Delete Thumbnail Cache using Command Prompt?

You can also remove the thumbnail cache through Command Prompt. To do that, use the following steps:-

Step 1: Start by opening an elevated Command Prompt.

Step 2: After doing that, type the following commands one by one and press Enter on the keyboard:-

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

The first, second, and third commands will terminate File Explorer, erase the thumbnail cache, and restart the File Explorer, respectively.

That’s it.


Operating systems, such as Windows 11, offer an impressive thumbnail database feature, enhancing user experience by providing quick previews of media files and documents. While convenient, occasional hitches like thumbnail cache corruption can arise. This guide outlined a comprehensive approach to view, enable, and erase the Thumbnails Cache on Windows 11. By following the detailed steps, users can effortlessly resolve issues related to missing or corrupted thumbnails, ensuring a smoother user experience on their systems.


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