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Disable Thumbs.db creation on network drives in Windows

Windows Thumbs.db files can cause a great deal of annoyance when they’re placed on network locations. Not only can it cause extra resource consumption, but can inadvertently lock files and folders that otherwise need to be manipulated.

However, it’s easy to turn off the generation of these files. To do so, just follow these steps:

  1. Click Start, type ‘gpedit.msc’ and hit enter.
  2. Go to User Config > Admin Templates > Windows Components > Windows Explorer
  3. Locate ‘Turn off the caching of thumbnails in hidden thumbs.db files’ and double click on it to edit the policy
  4. Set the Policy to ‘Enabled’ and click Apply, then ok.

That’s it. I don’t remember if it requires a reboot to fully take effect, but Thumbs.db files will not be created or used.

Questions, comments, or suggestions on the above? Please leave them in the comments section below. Thank you!

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  1. #1 by EAKF on December 20, 2013 - 9:58 am

    Thanks for this info and your site!

    This will not work on my Win 7 Home Premium, as gpedit is only available on the higher-end Windows versions like enterprise and ultimate. Is there a way of doing this on Home Premium?

    I would also like to know a little more about this option:
    1. Does this only stop the creation on Network drives?
    2. What (potentially) am I giving up by doing this? I.E. will file thumbnails no longer show up in explorer if they’re on the NAS?

    Thanks.

    • #2 by admin on December 22, 2013 - 10:02 am

      Is there a way of doing this on Home Premium?

      I’m not certain.

      1. Does this only stop the creation on Network drives?

      As far as I’m aware.

      2. What (potentially) am I giving up by doing this? I.E. will file thumbnails no longer show up in explorer if they’re on the NAS?

      File thumbnails will show up, but they are rebuilt each time instead of being cached. This will be slower.