Windows Vista creates and generates a preview thumbnail for almost every file which the file format is supported when the file is been viewed in Windows Explorer, regardless view type selected, including photos, pictures, videos, documents, etc. The Extra Large Icons, Large Icons, Medium Icons and Tiles view will show the thumbnails of the files, while Small Icons, List and Details view does not. However, when users open a folder in Windows Explorer, no matter which file view option selected, the system will start preview thumbnails generation process, with a green progress indicator sliding across the address bar to indicate the percentage completed.

Windows Explorer Progress Bar

The creation of thumbnail for quick previewing of files or images in Explorer slows down the other file operations and severely affect overall computer performance, especially when on initial viewing of folder containing thousands of videos, movies, graphics, photos and other media, as Vista system will access each and every files to generate the thumbnails. Thus, by disabling the thumbnail previewing feature in Windows Explorer will speed up access to the folder and increase system response time especially when have to browse back and forth between multiple folders.

  1. Click on the Start button, then on All Programs, follow by Accessories.
  2. Run Windows Explorer.
  3. In Windows Explorer window, click on Organize button on the menu/shortcut bar.
  4. In the pull down menu, click on Folder and Search Options.
  5. Folder Options dialog window will appear. Click on View tab.
  6. Under the Files and Folders tree heading, check (tick) the checkbox next to Always show icons, never thumbnails option.
  7. Click the OK button.

The Windows Vista Explorer will no longer generate and create any thumbnail when viewing a folder in any type of views. This trick is especially useful for users who need to copy or move files between folders to perform the task faster.