I can open them in browser just OK, but how can I have thumbnails in the Windows Explorer?

Edit: I installed Renesis Player as suggested by this answer, but it does not work for me, probably because I have 64-bit system.

  • 8
    There is an official Windows Feedback suggestion you can vote on for this feature: aka.ms/Eoucpm Jun 20, 2017 at 9:06
  • 3
    That feedback link didn't open for me. This is the same issue except it's one I could access aka.ms/R2boai Nov 28, 2017 at 4:47
  • 1
    After trying two explorer extensions (github.com/tibold/svg-explorer-extension and archive.codeplex.com/?p=svgextension), each time killing explorer and clearing the cache, nothing worked. The icon displayed was always the application associated with .svg (for example Google Chrome). Then I stumbled on Folder Options > View > Always show icons, never thumbnails. This was enabled on my system. After toggling this off, SVG icons started working.
    – AlainD
    Jun 29, 2020 at 15:39
  • 6
    It can also be achieved with the new Microsoft Power Toys. Oct 8, 2020 at 13:18

10 Answers 10


Use this awesome SVG thumbnail shell extension which works fine in Windows 7/8/10 (both 64-bit and 32-bit):

SVGSee - Extension module for Windows Explorer to render SVG thumbnails, so that you can have an overview of your SVG files.

It is open source and free - what more can you ask for?

On Windows 10 after installing, try changing your SVG file association (the "Open With"). By changing it, something somehow gets refreshed, and it starts working.

  • 7
    Yes, there are some issues related to refresh. You will need to delete your icon cache (sevenforums.com/tutorials/49819-icon-cache-rebuild.html) and say your prayers.
    – Mike Nakis
    Oct 30, 2013 at 13:37
  • 9
    I eventually managed to get it to work by removing thumbnails in Disk Cleanup, scripts didn't work for me.
    – eggbert
    Nov 18, 2016 at 17:21
  • 2
    CCleaner helped me clearing the icon/thumbnail cache.
    – Hugo H
    Jan 31, 2017 at 12:25
  • 13
    As people have stated in the CodePlex dicussions area - after installing you should change your file association (the "Open With"). By changing it something somehow gets refreshed and it starts working. Nothing else needs to be done other than that. Works fine for me on Win10 64bit
    – DAG
    Aug 10, 2017 at 18:41
  • 9
    CodePlex is shutting down, but you can still find the installer binaries here: code.google.com/archive/p/svg-explorer-extension/downloads Feb 10, 2018 at 1:36

In regards to the answer given by geo, in the event someone needs to rebuild the IconCache.db and wants to give a go at not needing to reboot try the following batch.


TASKKILL /IM explorer* /F
DEL "%localappdata%\IconCache.db" /A
  • 1
    Thanks for this! I should have mentioned in my response that the steps I gave were the "official" steps given by Microsoft. I too have found that killing 'explorer' and simply restarting it works, but I wanted to give the official instructions.
    – geo
    Mar 11, 2015 at 1:37
  • 1
    Or if you don't want to create a .bat file and have your system reboot, open a command prompt (as admin) and run this: TASKKILL /IM explorer* /F & DEL "%LOCALAPPDATA%\IconCache.db" /A & explorer.exe
    – Greg K
    Jul 27, 2018 at 14:34
  • Win 10 x64: I ran Greg K's script from comment and had to run Disk Cleanup clearing the Icon Thumbnails. And that worked.
    – cederlof
    Apr 30, 2019 at 6:47

Microsoft PowerToys does that: enter image description here

  • This works for me using Windows 11. I discovered Inkscape in the process which was a bonus.
    – MT1
    Jul 15, 2022 at 18:02

Adobe Illustrator isn't the only way to do this, nor is it the best way to do this.

See the post by @Deckard above...

Follow the link he provided to the SVG Explorer Extension. Download and install Dotz Software SVG Explorer Extension, aka DSSEE.

Once installed, open Task Manager and kill all instances of explorer.exe. From the Task Manager menu, choose File->Run new task menu. In the dialog box, simply type explorer and hit OK.

NOTE: Please do the above step only if you're comfortable with killing and restarting processes through the Task Manager. If not, then simply reboot your system so that the new explorer extension can load.

From then on, all SVG images will show up as thumbnails in Windows Explorer.

This extension has worked perfectly for me on both Win7_x64 and Win8_x64! In fact, I was recently pleasantly surprised to learn that it displays thumbnails for compressed SVGZ images as seamlessly as it does the non-compressed versions.

NOTE (2014/07/17):

Per the comment by John Rasch, if you can't see the SVG thumbnails after following the steps above, you can clear your icon cache using the following batch file:


TASKKILL /IM explorer* /F
DEL "%LOCALAPPDATA%\IconCache.db" /A
shutdown /r /f /t 5 /d 02:04

Copy this to RebuildIconCache.bat and run it as Administrator. It will kill all Windows Explorer processes, which is required before you can delete the icon cache, then delete the icon cache, and, finally, reboot your system.

EDIT (2015/12/08):

As noted by @user1698811 below, the last line, "shutdown /r /f /t 5 /d 02:04", can simply be replaced with "explorer.exe", getting rid of the need to reboot.

EDIT (2015/03/10):

I know this question was asked about Windows 7, but I thought it would be useful to add instructions for Windows 8 and above...

Windows 8 introduced a new icon and thumbnail cache system. Instead of a single file containing the entire icon cache, Windows 8 uses multiple cache files, based on the size and type of icon. These files are stored in "%LOCALAPPDATA%\Microsoft\Windows\Explorer". As an example, that directory on my system includes the following files:

iconcache_16.db         thumbcache_16.db
iconcache_32.db         thumbcache_32.db
iconcache_48.db         thumbcache_48.db
iconcache_96.db         thumbcache_96.db
iconcache_256.db        thumbcache_256.db
iconcache_1024.db       thumbcache_1024.db
iconcache_exif.db       thumbcache_exif.db
iconcache_idx.db        thumbcache_idx.db
iconcache_sr.db         thumbcache_sr.db
iconcache_wide.db       thumbcache_wide.db

As a result, in order to clear the icon cache in Windows 8 or above, you would need to delete all of the 'iconcache_*.db' files in the above directory.

Note that, in addition to the above files, Windows 8 still retains the "%LOCALAPPDATA%\IconCache.db" file. I honestly don't know if this file is used or not, but, to be thorough, it would be best to continue to delete that file as well.

Therefore, for Windows 8 and above, we have the RebuildIconCache8.bat file as follows:


TASKKILL /IM explorer* /F
DEL "%LOCALAPPDATA%\IconCache.db" /A
DEL "%LOCALAPPDATA%\Microsoft\Windows\Explorer\iconcache_*.db" /A
shutdown /r /f /t 5 /d 02:04

or as @user1698811 suggested:


TASKKILL /IM explorer* /F
DEL "%LOCALAPPDATA%\IconCache.db" /A
DEL "%LOCALAPPDATA%\Microsoft\Windows\Explorer\iconcache_*.db" /A

which resets the icon cache without having to reboot.

  • 2
    For anyone else who still cannot see the icons after these steps (including rebooting), I also had to go to Disk Cleanup and select Thumbnails to delete the existing cached thumbnails.
    – John Rasch
    Jul 16, 2014 at 15:46
  • It's a real downer that the original site does not offer install instructions as good as yours
    – BillyTom
    Dec 4, 2015 at 8:15
  • 1
    My icon cache files were in use. So deleting them didn't work. Feb 17, 2017 at 15:14
  • CarstenSchmitz's solution is much easier. You just need to install an application and restart in his case. Aug 23, 2017 at 20:10
  • 1
    You can run this from a command prompt (as admin) without rebooting with this one liner: TASKKILL /IM explorer* /F & DEL "%LOCALAPPDATA%\IconCache.db" /A & explorer.exe
    – Greg K
    Jul 27, 2018 at 14:33
  1. Download & install the latest svg viewer extension (32 or 64-bit)
  2. Download & run the rebuild_icon_cache.bat (if you still cannot see the thumbs)
  3. Reboot your system

This works on Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit.

  • 1
    Many thanks - just doing step 1 worked perfectly for me.
    – Felix Eve
    Sep 10, 2014 at 23:36
  • link of #2 doesn't exist anymore. Dec 21, 2016 at 7:44
  • Note that Folder Options > View > Always show icons, never thumbnails must be OFF otherwise you can delete the icon cache and reboot any number of times and will see only the icon of the application currently associated with .svg files.
    – AlainD
    Jun 29, 2020 at 15:43

Codeplex no longer has the download for the binary there anymore. Use the github built version.



After downloading and clicking through the installer, then open an admin command prompt and run:

TASKKILL /IM explorer* /F
DEL "%localappdata%\IconCache.db" /A

Hope that helps.


There is also SVGShellExtensions, available at https://github.com/EtheaDev/SVGShellExtensions which offers Thumbnail and Preview handlers (and an SVG Text Editor).

It is built with Delphi, see article https://blogs.embarcadero.com/impressive-svg-windows-shell-extension-tools-are-made-with-delphi/ for more info


The extensions mentioned by Deckard and telemarker work on Windows 10 x64. I selected the one mentioned by telemarker. However, clearing the icon cache or rebooting may not be enough. There is another setting which must be set correctly to see .svg (and other) thumbnails.

  • Open Explorer
  • Click to the View section
  • Click Options > Change folder and search options (far right)
  • Select the View tab
  • Ensure Always show icons, never thumbnails is unticked (ie. OFF)

Confusingly, Microsoft have tied this setting to another feature to show folder shortcuts with some representation of the contents of that folder, see image below.

Show thumbnails instead of icons

This setting is reached via:

  • Control Panel > All Control Panel Items > System
  • Click Advanced system settings
  • Select the Advanced tab, then Performance > Settings
  • Select the Visual Effects tab
  • If any of the Adjust X or Custom options are selected, Show thumbnails instead of icons needs to be ticked (ie. ON)

The setting is identical in the sense that toggle it on one place, and it is toggled in the other, but the wording is different and the ON/OFF state is inverted!

If, like me, you find this representation of folder contents ugly but still want to see your .svg thumnails, you're out of luck. There does not appear to be any way on Windows to show thumbnails for A but not B - its either all or none.


You could try the RENESIS Player Browser Plugins.


  • This does not work on 64-bit Windows versions.
    – Deckard
    Apr 7, 2015 at 9:37

If you are using Windows 7 64bit, you have only one way to see thumbnails:

Open (install) Adobe Illustrator trial, then press File > Open and change to a thumbnail view of your SVG files, and it will show all your SVGs.

  • Thanks. But are there other software which has this feature? Perhaps open-sourse Inkscape?
    – zbstof
    Nov 8, 2011 at 18:41
  • No, sorry. Inkscape cannot do this. I have been on the lookout for such a software myself for quite some time.
    – Deckard
    Nov 12, 2011 at 17:23
  • 2
    This is how to see a preview of thumbnails of the SVG within Illustrator and not in an explorer.exe window, as the question asked. Dec 26, 2016 at 20:58

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