Kind of a weird question I guess :p Was just curious to if there is a way I can preload all thumbs.db files in directory (and its sub-directories) so that when I visit those folders later in explorer or media center, the thumbnails are already loaded.

Not so important for images, but would be handy to do once in a while for folders with lots of video files that seldom changes.


You can "force" to create all the needed Thumbs.db if you do a search of all image files in your disk, and then set the view to "Thumbnails".

  • Oh, nice trick. will have to try that out, hehe. Thanks! Will accept this as answer, since there haven't really been any other suggestions. and I kind of doubt there are any...
    – Svish
    Aug 21 '09 at 22:01
  • 3
    I’m pretty sure you still have to scroll through the whole list.
    – Synetech
    Dec 15 '13 at 6:15
  • What "thumbnails" option are you refrencing here? Is this a pre-Windows 10 thing? because I am not seeing it. Jul 29 '19 at 22:59
  • Well, it was 2009 so yes, very pre-Windows 10! In W10 anything bigger than "small icons" should enable the thumbnails view.
    – MM.
    Aug 2 '19 at 10:01

Thumbs.db is a caching mechanism. It stores the thumbnails so the system doesn't have to scan every file in the folder to get it's thumbnail. There's no way to cache it beyond that.

E: even though you're seeing the thumbs.db files, I would double check that the system is actually using them (and updating/generating new ones) by making sure Folder Options->View->"Do not cache thumbnails" is unchecked. Beyond that, I don't think you've got any options.

  • 2
    Well, I know they are the caching mechanism. Was just wondering if it was a way of pre-hitting all the files in all the folders so that everything was already cached when I started to browse through them =)
    – Svish
    Aug 3 '09 at 16:27
  • The "Do not cache thumbnails" has been deprecated and is no longer available in Windows 10. Jul 29 '19 at 22:55

Concerning Windows XP: Doing a SEARCH for images (*.jpg, *.bmp, ...) and switching to thumbnail-view does only TEMPORARILY generate those thumbnails: NO thumbs.db file(s) get generated and stored!

But recently I found out a special trick that can be used for an automatization procedure (e.g. command batch-file): If you first copy a (wrong) dummy thumbs.db-file into a folder and open that directory with windows explorer in thumbnail-view, you now DON´T HAVE TO SCROLL through the directory any more to get all thumbs generated!

Certainly it will take some time, especially in huge image-folders, until your (slow) single-core PC finishes the generation of the thumbs.db file. When it´s generated, or doesn´t grow in size any more, you can recursively traverse to the next directory in your batch-file.


I made a free open-source tool for this task: WinThumbsPreloader.

It allows you to preload thumbnails for the directory and, optionally, its subdirectories from the context menu of the directory.

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