Disable and delete the thumbs.db files in Windows 7

The utility thumbs.db files


Thumbs.db files represent the outline of the contents of a file when it contains images. It is considered a hidden file but it can get annoying when you copy the contents of a folder and it occupies space on the hard disk.


Delete these files


To do this, Click Start orb, then click Computer and do a search with “thumbs.db” (type in the search field without quotation marks and after typing hit Enter from keyboard):


Disable and delete the thumbs.db files in Windows 7



You should see all files on the disk. It is now time to select all then delete everything; select any file by single click, then select all files by simply hitting CTRL and A key combination from your keyboard. Hit the Delete (or Del) key from keyboard to delete them.


Disable these files


Note: Only Windows 7 Ultimate and Professional users can use gpedit.msc (Group Policy Editor). So, read ahead if you are using Windows 7 Ultimate or Professional; else read this tutorial to tweak and disable caching using Windows 7 Registry Editor (can be accessed by any version of Windows 7).


This is quite laborious in Windows 7, in comparison to Windows XP; where you could do it from Folder Options.

Click the Start Orb. Type “gpedit.msc” (type in the search field without quotation marks) :


Disable and delete the thumbs.db files in Windows 7-1


Windows Group Policy Editor will open.

Expand on the left hand column the following one after one:

User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components :


Disable and delete the thumbs.db files in Windows 7-2


Scroll down in that left pane, and click on Windows Explorer:


Disable and delete the thumbs.db files in Windows 7-3


On the right sided pane, there will be an option saying “Turn off caching of thumbnails…” :


Disable and delete the thumbs.db files in Windows 7-4


You can see that here it is set to “Not configured“, which means that it will take on the default setting, which is to cache thumbnails.

Double click on the item and you will get a (large) dialog in which to change the setting. Click on Enabled, then click on OK to make the change we want:


Disable and delete the thumbs.db files in Windows 7-5


The option is to turn off thumbnails. We changed that option to enabled.


This is it. Close all the open Windows after clicking OK. A restart is needed for the change to take place.


To summarize

  • Thumbs.db files are the preview pictures in a folder.
  • You can remove them using a simple search.
  • Disabling thumbs.db, on the other hand is tough.


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