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For some time now I have wondered about a file called Thumbs.db that appears in many folders on my computer. I finally decided to do a little research to find out what it is.

It turned out to be pretty innocent, yet unnecessary. The thumbs.db file is generated by the Windows operating system. It is a database file containing the small images displayed when you view a folder in "thumbnail" view (as opposed to tile, icon, list, or detail view). No harm is done by deleting thumbs.db files and there is no need to include them in your system backups. Whether you see these files or not depends on how you have your File Options set. Even if you can't see them, they are probably there (unless you've previously performed the following instructions).

To turn off this feature and save some disk space:

Click the Start button
Select Control Panel (or Settings, then Control Panel)
Select Folder Options
Click the View tab
Check Do not cache thumbnails
Click the Apply button
Click the OK button

Now you can search your computer for thumbs.db files and remove them:

Click the Start button
Click Search (or Find)
Click All files and folders
In the All or part of the file name box type Thumbs.db
Set the Look in pull-down menu to 'All Local Hard Drives' or just the one drive you wish to search
Click Search
A list of the files found appears in the right window
Go to the Edit tab at the top and click Select All
Hit the Delete key on your keyboard
If you're lucky, all the files will be deleted. If not (you may get a message like 'in use' or 'can't be found' or something like that), you will need to delete a group at a time until you find the one(s) that don't want to be deleted.

When I did this on one drive, Search found over 1,500 files! They ranged in size from a few KB to over 100KB, so you can see they were taking up quite a bit of space. I tried to delete them all at once, but I had one that wouldn't delete, so I deleted one page at a time. It turned out to be a TaxCut file that wouldn't delete -- I haven't bothered to try to find out why yet, I'm not really that worried about it :).

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Last Post by jeffdes
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Yes, you're right about what thumbs.db is. I delete them every once in awhile (in small directories) when I find them, but I've found that they are often more useful than harmful. They use some space, yes, but if it's in a directory of images (with unhelpful names mind you), having the Thumbs.db can make thumbnails load much faster.

The directory listing of C:\Documents and Settings\Administrator\My Documents\My Photos\2004\*.jpg on my computer is 212 files right now... let me see how long this actually takes. It took 51 seconds to display the thumbnails (no cache) and the Thumbs.db file accounts for only 3.8% of the space used by this directory. I just set it to thumbnails again (I had set to "large icons"), and it only took 2 seconds to load the thumbnails.

This Win2K and WinXP feature makes thumbnail view 25x faster. I don't suggest turning it off unless you're running low on hard drive space (I know I'm not).

Nice directions though. :)

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So turn it off and then install Google desktop which stores a literal copy of every file on your harddisk, effectively doubling your storage requirements ;)

thumbs.db files are harmless and make images load faster in preview mode, leave them be. Only reason to remove them is when packing a load of images for some purpose (like when including them with a piece of software as artwork), and then only because it's unprofessional to include unnecessary files.

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Personally, I don't see any difference in the time it takes to load; and I just don't like have anything on my computer that isn't necessary.

I guess it's a personal choice if anyone wants to keep them or delete them, no harm to the system either way.

If anyone was wondering what they were for, like I was, now they know :).

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First of all, I would like to apologize for reviving a thread this old, but this seemed like the best place to get an answer to my question.

You see, I have all of my music organized by artist, and I enjoy having thumbnails of the album covers show up on the folders. Unfortunately, for some reason the images on several random folders have failed to appear, and I believe that something within the thumbs.db file is to blame. The only problem is, I don't know how to open and edit thumbs.db, if it's even possible. Is there a way to edit thumbs.db (and if so, how?), or will I be forced to accept this annoyance?

Sorry again about bringing back the thread, but I have tried everything I can think of, and this problem is really starting to annoy me. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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The file will only show up if you are trying to view the files as "Thumbnails". If they are set to view as "List" it should not show up.

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Hi, i am having a similar problem - just wondering if anyone can help... Tried searching various resources but with no luck... Here goes : I have a music collection sorted by albums on an external HD. I spend ages finding the thumbnail images for the respective album covers and then i go into properties for each album to attach that image to the folder. This is great cause when i open up my vault in thumbnail view - i can see ALL the album covers which is really cool... However, whenever i try to open my collection on another machine OR if i copy my vault to another drive - i LOSE ALL MY WORK... There MUST be a work around this but i just cant find it - unless i am really dumb. Please can someone help me.

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deal slimimi
i have had the same annoying problem, i have googled quite a bit for this, here is the solution:
http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=243401
microsoft has a bug which occures after you access a folder of the type you described from a network share, it scrambles the re-creation of the thumbs.db file, hence you are unable to set a photo as the icon of the folder, nor view a folder in thumbnails.
hope this works,
MeRCuRY

Hi, i am having a similar problem - just wondering if anyone can help... Tried searching various resources but with no luck... Here goes : I have a music collection sorted by albums on an external HD. I spend ages finding the thumbnail images for the respective album covers and then i go into properties for each album to attach that image to the folder. This is great cause when i open up my vault in thumbnail view - i can see ALL the album covers which is really cool... However, whenever i try to open my collection on another machine OR if i copy my vault to another drive - i LOSE ALL MY WORK... There MUST be a work around this but i just cant find it - unless i am really dumb. Please can someone help me.

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in case that the problem isnt re creating the thumbs.db file, if you put the image of the folder inside the folder itself and name it folder.jpg, this will automatically set itself to be the icon of the folder (if in thumbnails mode)
hope this helps
MeRCuRY

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Now I've tried to disable the thumbs.db. I suspected, that the rotation of images no longer would last, that the .db-file had info on the rotation too, but I was wrong. The windowsxp Image and fax preview-software actually saves the rotated image?

By the way, if a question is uncovered, and the subject in question fit the thread, I don't see a reason not to awake the thread again...

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I can transfer the metadata in properties from computer to computer by using a USB flash drive that I have formatted as NTFS.

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