After installing Windows Live Photo Gallery on my Vista x64 box I've lost picture preview and thumbnails in Windows Explorer. Only the Photo Gallery "flower" image thumbnail shows for all images types (tested with jpg, bmp, png).

How can I restore the built-in preview/thumbnail in Windows Explorer?


Turning on the thumbnail feature is slightly different in Windows Vista. Open Windows Explorer and navigate to the images folder where you would like to see thumbnails displayed. On the menu, click the Organize tab and then Folder And Search Options. On the ensuing control applet, click the View tab, as shown in Figure C.

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Figure C

Vista Folder Options - View

Under Files And Folders, uncheck the Always Show Icons, Never Thumbnails check box. That will turn on thumbnails for that particular folder. If you want to apply the change to all folders, you should click the Apply To Folders button. Click OK to finish the process.

Just as you did in Windows XP, for Vista you have to take one more step to actually reveal thumbnails in Windows Explorer. On the Explorer menu, click the down arrow next to Views and select a view other than List or Details (see Figure D).

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Figure D

Thumbnails - Vista

Windows Vista has an additional way to view thumbnails in Windows Explorer. Click Organize | Layout and choose to add the Preview Pane. That selection will add an area to the right of the display where a larger thumbnail of each image will be displayed as you highlight it, as shown in Figure E.

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Figure E

Preview Pane - Vista

Once again remember the caveat: thumbnails take up resources. Be careful how you use them. And if there comes a time when you want to turn them off, just do the opposite of the procedures described here. In Windows XP, you would also want to delete the Thumb.db file in each folder.

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  • Totally works! Thanks for the extensive answer :) – Peter Lillevold Sep 18 '09 at 14:09
  • Anytime time, glad i could help – admintech Sep 18 '09 at 15:11

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