Windows 10 Tip: 4 Ways to Disable Image Preview Thumbnails

The feature of Image preview thumbnails is enabled by default in Windows because it’s a useful feature that lets you check out what’s in the image file without physically opening them. But it comes with a price. It could be resource-intensive, especially when navigating to a folder that contains a lot of photos on a slow computer.

If that’s often the case, you may want to consider disabling the Image Preview Thumbnails feature to speed up the folder navigation process.

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Here are 4 ways of doing it.

1. Through Folder Option in File Explorer

In File Explorer, go to the View tab and click the Options button in the Ribbon menu.

File Explorer - open Options

The Folder Options dialog window opens up. Switch to the View tab and check the option “Always show icons, never thumbnails“, then click OK to save the change.

Folder Options - always show icons

2. Through Visual Effects Options

Open Performance Options dialog window by doing a Start menu search for “performance” and opening one called “Adjust the appearance and performance of Windows” from Control Panel.

Start menu - search for performance

And uncheck the “Show thumbnails instead of icons” option under the Visual Effects tab and click OK to save the change.

Performance Options

3. Through Registry Editor

Open Registry Editor, navigator to the following key:


And change the IconsOnly DWORD value from 0 to 1. Once you click OK to save the change, all image thumbnails will be gone automatically.

Registry Editor - IconsOnly

Note that this is a user-level of registry change that will not affect other users on the same computer.

4. Through Group Policy

If you want to roll out this change in a large network, you will need the help of Group Policy to do a global change.

Open Group Policy Editor, go to the following location on the left pane,

User Configuration / Administrative Templates / Windows Components / File Explorer

And enable the setting “Turn off the display of thumbnails and only display icons.”

Group Policy - disable image preview thumbnails

Note that there is also another setting that disables the image preview thumbnails only on the network folders, which could come handy.