In this blog post, we explore Windows Thumbnail Cache If you’ve ever used Windows, you’ve probably seen the thumbnails of images, videos, and other media files that appear when you browse through folders. These thumbnails help you quickly identify the contents of a file without having to open it. But have you ever wondered how Windows generates these thumbnails? The answer lies in the Windows thumbnail cache.
What is Windows Thumbnail Cache?
The Windows thumbnail cache is a database that stores small images, or thumbnails, of files and folders on your computer. These thumbnails are created by Windows to give you a preview of the contents of a file without having to open it. By default, Windows stores these thumbnails in a hidden system folder called “Thumbnails,” which is located in your user profile directory.
How Does the Windows Thumbnail Cache Work?
When you browse through a folder in Windows, the operating system checks to see if a thumbnail image of the file or folder already exists in the thumbnail cache. If it does, Windows displays the cached thumbnail. If not, Windows generates a new thumbnail and stores it in the cache for future use.
Windows generates thumbnails based on the contents of the file or folder. For example, if you have a folder of photos, Windows will generate a thumbnail image that shows a collage of the photos in the folder. If you have a video file, Windows will generate a thumbnail image that shows a frame from the video.
Benefits of the Windows Thumbnail Cache
The Windows thumbnail cache provides several benefits, including:
Faster browsing: Because Windows doesn’t have to generate a new thumbnail image every time you browse through a folder, browsing is faster and more responsive.
Reduced resource usage: Generating thumbnail images can be resource-intensive, especially for large files. By storing thumbnails in the cache, Windows minimizes the number of system resources needed to display thumbnails.
Improved user experience: Thumbnails provide a quick and easy way to identify the contents of a file or folder. By using the Windows thumbnail cache, Windows provides a consistent and reliable user experience.
How to Clear the Windows Thumbnail Cache
Over time, the Windows thumbnail cache can become large and take up valuable storage space on your computer. If you’re experiencing issues with thumbnails not displaying correctly, or if you need to free up storage space on your computer, you may want to clear the Windows thumbnail cache.
To clear the Windows thumbnail cache, follow these steps:
- Launch File Explorer and navigate to the directory listed below:
- In the Explorer folder, locate the file named “thumbcache_.db” (where “represents a string of letters and numbers).
- Delete all instances of the “thumbcache_*.db” file.
- Press the Windows key + R to open the Run dialog box.
- In the box labeled “Run,” type “cleanmgr,” and then press the Enter key.
- In the Disk Cleanup dialog box, select the drive where Windows is installed (usually the C: drive).
- Click the “Cleanup system files” button.
- In the “Files to delete” list, check the box next to “Thumbnails.”
- To clear the thumbnail cache, select the “OK” button from the menu.
Note: Clearing the thumbnail cache will cause Windows to regenerate thumbnails the next time you browse through a folder. This may cause a temporary slowdown in browsing performance.
The Windows thumbnail cache is a useful feature that helps to speed up the display of thumbnails of images, videos, and documents in Windows Explorer. By caching the thumbnail images of frequently accessed files, Windows can quickly display the thumbnail images without having to generate them from scratch every time you open a folder or browse through files.
However, the thumbnail cache can also become a source of problems when it gets corrupted or when it becomes too large, leading to slow performance or even crashes in some cases. To avoid these issues, you can clear the thumbnail cache periodically or disable it altogether if you don’t need it.
Overall, the Windows thumbnail cache is a valuable feature that can improve your user experience. Still, you should be aware of its potential drawbacks and know how to manage it properly to avoid any issues.