In Windows Explorer thumbnails for PDF-files aren't created. It just displays the icons, other files (such as jpg's) work fine. I've already tried every solution I could find on the internet. Registry hacks, the fix by PretentiousName, changing the default pdf-program,... but nothing helps. Strangely enough, the preview side pane displays the previews without problems.

Is there something else I could try? Identical computers with the same hard- and software don't have this problem. This is really annoying as I have multiple folders with each 100+ pdf-files, finding the right one is a real pain...

The computer runs on Windows 7 Pro x64, my PDF-reader is Adobe Acrobat DC

  • 1
    Maybe try clearing your thumbnail cache. – MC10 Aug 20 '15 at 12:11
  • Tried this, no change. More suggestions? – Nils Tiebos Aug 21 '15 at 6:34

It is as simple as 1-2-3 , install foxit reader. Make it the default pdf reader app (you can change it later, nothing harm). And see the magic, all the disappeared thumbnails will reappear. The easiest way i think. Even if you use adobe DC as default, the thumbnail will remain the same.

  • Thank you for your solution, I already did something similar. I installed an older version of Acrobat (Reader 8). Apparently Adobe removed the PDF handler in newer (x64) versions because it would be unstable. – Nils Tiebos Nov 9 '15 at 8:31

I can help you with the following workaraound, that I accidentally found out today. It works with Windows 7 - 64 bit and Adobe Reader XI, maybe with other versions too. It´s only a workaround, but beware that maybe there will NEVER be a solution, because Adobe has removed that function intentionally - see here their comment from 2015-07-12, post #98: https://forums.adobe.com/thread/303008?start=80&tstart=0

Now here´s how you do it: Open Adobe Reader XI and browse for your PDF-files to open them (but do only browsing) via -> menu -> files -> open. In the explorer-like browser-window change the view to medium/large symbols - the icons are generated immediately, and are also displayable in windows-explorer later too!

Alternatively (the way I found it out), you can open a PDF-file in your browser (Firefox) by using the Adobe-plugin, then save the file, and save it again, but change the view to medium/large symbols, when you reenter the explorer-like browser-window.

Enjoy preview-thumbnails again on your Windows 7 machine!

Edit: Today (2016-02-23) I´ve installed Adobe Reader DC (latest version) and from now on my workaround mentioned above doesn´t work anymore! So I stepped back to Version 11.0.14 and above is working again.

Another convenient tipp to save time: Launch Acrobat Reader XI and click on "File" - "Open" in the menu. Select the folder "Computer" on the left (be sure "Computer" shows up in the top-bar). Then type "*.pdf" in the search filter (at the top, right) and start the search (hit enter or loupe-icon). This way ALL pdf-files will get the desired preview-icons in one turn. Certainly you might have to wait some time till the process is finished.

[There are a lot of threads on superuser, all concerning this problem ("No Adobe Reader thumbnail icons in Windows Explorer on a Windows 7 machine"). Maybe it would be a good idea to put them all together, because I published my answer (facts from Adobe, workaraound, version information) only here.]

  • You can freely edit your own posts but for your protection, this must be done under the original user account. It looks like you have created a second account, which will also interfere with your ability to comment within your thread and to accept an answer. See Merge my accounts to get your accounts merged, which will solve the problem. – fixer1234 Feb 23 '16 at 18:03

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