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Fix for No Thumbnail Preview for PDF Files in Windows 8 and 8.1

PDF thumbnail preview not showing

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I never knew there was a problem with PDF files not showing thumbnail image until I got a brand new 64 bit computer and installed Windows 8. I got a huge collection of PDF files which I prefer to display as thumbnails, so as to make it easier to find the book I wanted. PDF thumbnail picture not displayingFortunately I was able to fix it in Windows 8 using an article online. It worked perfectly until I decided to go for Windows 8.1. It was a clean installation and the same problem returned. The fix which worked for Windows 8 did not work for 8.1. I was able to find a work around to fix the problem in Windows 8.1. In this tutorial, I will show the fix for no thumbnail for PDF files in Windows 8 and 8.1.

Fix for Windows 8

  • The fix for Windows 8 is mentioned in the link 
  • Scroll down the page, download the zip file with or without installer (both will do the job)
  • Follow the instructions as mentioned in the website.
  • Clear the thumbnail cache by opening disk properties and select disk cleanup.

This fix worked for me in Win 8.

Work around for Windows 8.1

The fix that worked in Windows 8 didn’t work in 8.1. I even tried the manual methods offered in the above website. Try this step.

    • Install Foxit Reader (any other PDF reader might do the job for you. But I selected Foxit as it is the best alternative to Adobe PDF Reader)
    • Clear the thumbnail cache
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troubleshoot PDF thumbnail display

That’s it. You should have the thumbnail preview displayed for PDF files. You can either use Adobe or Foxit as default PDF reader and the thumbnail will still be displayed.

Please Note:

  • This is not a fix, but a work around for this problem. I will be happy if this worked for somebody who is looking for a quick fix.
  • It seems Adobe does not care about this issue and busy with fixing the security holes which is constantly reported. Thanks to the anonymous user for finding the fix which worked for me initially.

Hope this article helped you fix no thumbnail Preview for PDF files issue in Windows 8 or 8.1.

{ 10 comments… add one }
  • Peyman April 28, 2017, 6:18 am

    Tons of thanks for your practical solution bro. Installing “Foxit Reader” works like a MAN!

  • M.A. January 3, 2016, 5:23 pm

    Thanks. Like R. Chen, I tried everything to no avail…I was hoping not to have to install another program, but that is the only thing that has worked. Thanks.

  • sandy November 22, 2015, 1:26 am

    Thanks for this solution. Wish I’d found it before wasting a Saturday trying other suggestions.

  • Rubin Chen July 25, 2015, 4:49 pm

    HOLY **** IT ACTUALLY WORKED!!!!! I only wish i found you site earlier. Spent 3 hours destroying my PC editing registry entries trying to figure it out. Then spend 8 hours fixing my destruction and in the end still no previews. If i only i saw this site first!!! there goes 11 hours of my life. GG!

  • Cynara July 10, 2015, 9:30 pm

    Anup Raman,

    Thank you very much for this solution! It’s worked for me and it’s amazing coz I was so nervous – I’ve a thesis to finish and this lack of thumbnail in my new pc was driving me crazy… thanx, thanx, thanx!!

  • Yves Ligot May 4, 2015, 4:27 pm

    Yes, it worked perfectly, no need to clean thumbnail cache or playing with default program for opening pdf files. It even restored the … Adobe Reader icon on bottom right corner of thumbnail that had disappeared with this new “Adobe acrobat reader DC” release. And it also repaired something in any thumbnail displaying in Windows Explorer, making it so faster, providing instant thumbnail display when opening folders with many files, while it used to take ages before. Thanks !

  • Pit April 7, 2015, 2:19 pm

    “Foxit Reader” fixed it! Thank you! 🙂 Btw.: It is not vital to assign PDF files to “Foxit Reader”. Still using Adobe Acrobat, the previews disappeared right after installing the new Acrobat DC… It baffles me that Adobe doesn’t have a fix after all these years. Pathetic!

  • Edd Galleto December 24, 2014, 5:27 am

    works like a charm. Thanks.

  • Marc Assael October 15, 2014, 12:41 pm

    You are right, downloading Foxit Reader is not a fix, but it works wonderfully at 8.1, and that is perfect for me! thank you

  • Darren Smale August 12, 2014, 11:17 pm

    Thank you! I installed Foxit Reader on my Windows 8 Laptop and my Window 7 laptop and it worked equally as well. I can see my .pdf thumbnails now!!!!

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