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I realised that in disk cleanup (cleanmgr.exe) there is an item "Thumbnails":

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Windows keeps a copy of all of your picture, video, and document thumbnails so they can be displayed quickly when you open a folder. If you delete these thumbnails, they will be automatically recreated as needed.

I was pondering about why there is even an option to delete the thumbnails. Is it true that there will be "dead" thumbnails (for example if I delete a folder that has a thumbnail and the folder is deleted but the thumbnail still exists) so this option is used to clean "dead" thumbnails?

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Dead Thumbnails?

There are just plain old thumbnails. Windows creates them the first time you visit a folder with videos or pictures. (If you have thumbnail creation turned on, and it's on by default.)

Now let's say that you had lot of folders with videos and pictures, and you visited every one of them; a whole lot of thumbnails would get created. If you don't have the habit of visiting these folders frequently, deleting all the thumbnails by using the 'Disk Cleanup' would be good idea to gain some space.

If you did visit these folders a lot, having those thumbnails there wouldn't be a bad idea since windows won't have to create them every-time these folders are visited since you keep deleting them.

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But what's the point of deleting them since if I ever re-visit it even once, it's recreated again? –  Pacerier Nov 20 '11 at 16:28
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You delete to gain space. If you have tons of folders, you may not vist all of them again (once deleted) to gain space. Also there is a way to turn off thumbnail creation permanently, if you're not interested in seeing thumbnails at all. –  Thomas Nov 20 '11 at 16:49
    
heys cool, how would we go about disabling that functionality? –  Pacerier Nov 20 '11 at 17:27
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Found this link. Should be applicable to vista as well. –  Thomas Nov 20 '11 at 17:31
    
That link should work. That was the same procedure I was going to suggest. –  surfasb Nov 20 '11 at 18:38

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