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I like the windows 7 grouping behaviour for multiple similar windows, except when I have multiple Explorer windows open. In this case, showing thumbnails of each open explorer window is next to useless, and I would like to know how to either:

  • Disable thumbnail display completely (but preserve the grouping behaviour)
  • Disable thumbnail display for a subset of programs (all explorer.exe instances)
  • Change the number of similar programs that are open before the grouping behaviour falls back on a more sensible text preview when hovering over the taskbar icon (currently 14 or over)

I don't particularly want to disable any other features of windows to get this behaviour, so disabling the theme completely isn't what I want to do. I definitely want to keep the grouping behaviour. Its just those thumbnail previews I would like to alter.

Here are some screen shots of what I don't want, and what I do want:

What I do not want. Bad grouping.

What I want. Good grouping

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Change the number of similar programs that are open before the grouping behaviour falls back on a more sensible text preview when hovering over the taskbar icon (currently 14 or over)

This can be done.

  1. open regedit
  2. navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Taskband
  3. right-click on the empty space in the right-hand pane and create new DWORD value
  4. set the name to NumThumbnails
  5. double-click the value and set it to the maximum number of thumbnails you want to see
  6. close regedit, log off and log on again

That should do it. Note that you cannot completely disable thumbnails - setting the value to 0 is the same as setting it to 1.

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That's perfect, thanks a lot! –  russ Apr 16 '12 at 7:37
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