Windows uses a thumbnail database for media files like photos and videos and documents like PDFs, Word documents, PowerPoint presentations, etc. These small graphic files are used by Windows 11 to show a quick preview of the content within the files present inside a folder. These thumbnails are automatically generated and removed by Windows whenever you create, copy or delete a file on your computer. So that the next time thumbnail is picked directly from the thumbnail database instead of creating a new thumbnail. This makes your computer run smoother.

However, if the Thumbnails Cache Database is too large as you frequently add and remove files on your computer or the database is corrupt for some reason, you may see the missing thumbnail issue in Windows 11.

In such a condition, you need to delete the thumbnail cache database so that Windows may create a new database. This will solve the missing thumbnail issue if it has happened due to a database error.

In this gearupwindows article, we will guide you on clearing and resetting Thumbnails Cache in Windows 11.

If you want to see the thumbnail cache database, press the Windows + R keys on the keyboard to open the Run dialog box. Here, type the following and hit the Enter key on the keyboard:-


Here, you can find several database (.db) files in the Explorer folder.

How to Enable Thumbnails in File Explorer Options?

If thumbnails do not appear on your PC, ensure it is enabled in File Explorer Options.

To turn on thumbnails on Windows 11, use these steps:-

Step 1. Open File Explorer Options.

To do that, press the Windows + R keyboard shortcut to open the Run dialog box. Then, type the following command in the Run box, and press Enter on the keyboard:-

control.exe folders

Step 2. When the File Explorer Options window appears on the screen, switch to the View tab.

Step 3. Uncheck Always show icons, never thumbnails option under the “Advanced settings” section.

Step 4. Click Apply.

Step 5. Click OK.

How to Erase Thumbnail Cache Using Disk Cleanup?

To delete the thumbnail cache using Disk Cleanup, use these steps:-

Step 1. Open the Disk Cleanup tool.

To do that, use the Windows + R hotkey to launch the Run dialog box. In the Run box, type the following and hit Enter on the keyboard:-


Step 2. Next, select a drive you want to clean up (Windows installation drive, usually “C” drive) and click the OK button.

Step 3. Check the Thumbnails and click the OK button.

Once you complete the above steps, the thumbnail database cache will be deleted and reset. After restarting your computer, the thumbnail issue should be fixed.

How to Delete Thumbnail Cache using Command Prompt?

To remove the thumbnail cache through Command Prompt, use these steps:-

Step 1. Open an elevated Command Prompt.

Step 2. Then, type the following commands one by one and hit Enter key on the keyboard to erase the thumbnail cache on Windows 11:-

taskkill /f /im explorer.exe
del /f /s /q /a %LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Windows\Explorer\thumbcache_*.db
start explorer.exe

The first command will terminate File Explorer, and the second command will erase the thumbnail cache. And the last command will again start File Explorer.


In conclusion, thumbnail cache in Windows 11 helps to show a quick preview of media files and documents within a folder, making the computer run smoother. However, a corrupt or large thumbnail cache database can cause missing thumbnail issues. In such cases, deleting the cache database can help fix the issue. This can be done using Disk Cleanup or Command Prompt. Additionally, users can enable thumbnails in File Explorer Options to ensure they are not disabled. By following the steps mentioned in this article, Windows 11 users can easily clear and reset their thumbnail cache and resolve any thumbnail-related issues they may be facing.

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