Top 8 Ways to Fix Thumbnail Preview Missing on Folders in Windows 11

Windows 11 not showing thumbnail previews for folders may disturb your workflow. You can no longer peek at folder contents without opening them. You must open every folder to check images, files, and videos. If the issue is irritating, read along to find the best ways to fix the thumbnail preview missing on folders in Windows 11.

Several solutions fix the folder thumbnail preview missing in Windows 11. We will start with the basics and move to the advanced tricks to troubleshoot the problem.

1. Refresh the Desktop

You can simply minimize the File Explorer app and refresh the desktop to fix small glitches like thumbnail preview missing on folders. Right-click on your mouse and select ‘Refresh’ from the context menu. Restart File Explorer again and check whether the folder thumbnail preview is showing.

2. Revert the Folder to Default Settings

Do you face a thumbnail preview missing with a specific folder in Windows 11? It might be due to a setting tweak in the File Explorer. You must revert the folder to its default settings. Here’s how.

Step 1: Open File Explorer and find a folder that’s giving you trouble.

Step 2: Select ‘Properties’ from the context menu.

Step 3: Click ‘Customize’ from the toolbar.

Step 4: Select ‘Restore Default’ and hit Apply.

Click OK and restart the File Explorer app to check folder thumbnail previews.

3. Restore File Explorer Settings to Default

If you can’t see thumbnail previews for every folder in the File Explorer app, it’s time to restore File Explorer settings to default. Go through the steps below to make changes.

Step 1: Press Windows + I keys to open File Explorer.

Step 2: Click the three-dot menu in the top right corner and open Options.

Step 3: Move to the ‘View’ menu.

Step 4: Select ‘Rest’ore Defaults’ and hit Apply.

Click OK, and you are good to go.

4. Enable Thumbnails for Folders

Did you disable thumbnails for folders? You must enable it from the File Explorer settings.

Step 1: Open Folder options in File Explorer (refer to the steps above).

Step 2: Select the View tab at the top.

Step 3: Disable the ‘Always show icons, never thumbnails’ option.

Step 4: Click Apply and select OK to save changes.

Restart File Explorer, and you should start thumbnails should appear as usual.

5. Remove Thumbnail Cache

File Explorer might stop showing folder thumbnails due to a corrupt cache. Using the built-in Windows tool, you can easily delete damaged cache and fix the problem.

Step 1: Press the Windows key and search for disk cleanup.

Step 2: Hit Enter and select the drive you want to clean up.

Step 3: Select the files you want to remove.

Step 4: Click the ‘Clean up system files’ button and hit OK.

6. Change the Default App

Folders in File Explorer might not show thumbnails when you don’t define the default apps to open files. You must set default apps to open photos, videos, and PDF files on your Windows machines.

Step 1: Open Windows 11 Settings (use Windows + I keys).

Step 2: Select Apps from the left sidebar.

Step 3: Click Default apps.

Step 4: Scroll to the ‘Choose defaults by file type’ option.

Step 5: Select frequently used file types from the following menu and select ‘Choose a default’.

Step 6: Select an app from the following menu and click ‘set as default’.

7. Remove Malware

Do you frequently download apps and media from unknown sources on the web? You might have infected your computer with bogus and malicious files. Due to such malware and virus, File Explorer might not show thumbnail previews for folders.

You can always use third-party anti-virus apps to remove malware. The default Windows Defender tool is equally capable of keeping your computer virus-free. You must run a full PC scan using the steps below.

Step 1: Press the Windows key and search for Windows Security. Hit Enter to open the app.

Step 2: Select ‘Virus & threat protection’ from the left sidebar.

Step 3: Select ‘Scan options’.

Step 4: Click the radio button beside ‘Full scan’ and hit the Scan now button.

You can minimize the app during the scanning process and continue your work.

8. Update Windows 11

Microsoft recently released a huge File Explorer makeover with new design and features. It’s not bug-free, though. You might encounter glitches and errors like thumbnail preview not showing for folders and more. Microsoft is usually quick to fix such problems via OS updates.

Step 1: Open the Windows Settings menu by hitting Windows + I keys.

Step 2: Select ‘Windows Update’ from the left sidebar.

Step 3: Download and install the latest Windows build on your PC.

If you ever face any problem installing Windows 11 build, read our dedicated troubleshooting guide to fix the problem.

Check Thumbnail Previews for Folders in Windows 11

Opening every folder to check files might get time-consuming at times. Instead of resetting your PC and starting everything from the scratch, use the tricks above and fix the problem in no time.

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