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How to remove thumbs.db file for good

thumbs.db file
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If you enable “show hidden files” option under Folder options, you might notice there are plenty of files with the name thumbs.db. These are temporary files which can be deleted just like deleting a normal file. But once you close the folder and open it again, these files will be listed back. Since these file comes back even after deletion, it might look to some users as some sort of virus or a file generated as a result of virus activity.

What is thumbs.db?

Thumbs.db is a database file containing the details of thumbnails of pictures and videos in your PC. When a folder is opened, you can set it to display thumbnail images of videos and pictures inside.  A thumbs.db file is generated. Next time, when the same folder is opened, thumbs.db makes it possible to quickly load the thumbnail of pictures and videos.

Thumbs.db file is harmless. By default, you may not be able to see this file as it is hidden. You can only see it if the option “show hidden files and folders” is enabled. The only harm from thumbs.db is that after a certain period, there will be lot of these files and they might take couple of hundred MB’s. So if that bothers we can try removing these files.

How to remove thumbs.db file?

You can use free tools like Thumbs Remover or SwiftSearch to remove these files. The procedure is simple. Just type thumbs.db is search box and do a search. It comes with a list of thumbs.db file in different location. Select them all and remove.

Removing thumbs.db file from explorer might take time. So you may also try the command interface.

  • Press Windows Key + R for Run window, type cmd for opening command prompt
  • del /s /ah thumbs.db

This command will quickly remove thumbs.db files from your computer.

How to prevent thumbs.db file from getting recreated?

The above method only can help you in removing the created thumbs.db file, but it can’t prevent creation of newer thumbs.db files. If you have plenty of photos in your PC, these files will get regenerated easily and start consuming hard disk space.

To prevent this file from getting generated, try this tweak.

  • Press Windows key + R for opening Run window. Type gpedit.msc and hit Enter
    Note: Group Policy Editor is a feature included with premium versions of Windows mainly the professional and enterprise edition. So if you don’t get any window opened after typing gpedit.msc, the version of windows in your PC may not support that feature.
  • On the left side of Group Policy Editor window, open User Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Windows Components -> File Explorer (Windows Explorer in 7, File explorer in Windows 8). On the right side double click on “Turn off the caching of thumbnails in hidden thumbs.db files”. Click Enabled. Click OK.
    thumbs db file
    thumbs db file

Once the step is done, no more thumbs.db files will be generated in your computer.

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About the author: Anup Raman A Tech Enthusiast|Blogger|Tech Trainer with 10+ yrs experience in the field of IT. My expertise are in Operating Systems, mainly Windows and Computer security which comes from my experience, working as Tech Support and Trainer for Microsoft, Symantec and McAfee. Loves blogging about Technical Troubleshooting, discussing latest Gadgets, Games and doing Reviews.

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