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Disable thumbs.db on Windows 7 and 8

The thumbs.db file is a hidden file in Windows systems since the XP version, which contains thumbnails of the images contained in a folder. This file serves as a system cache, speeding up the process of displaying thumbnails, since they do not have to be generated every time we visit the folder.

However, despite being a file specific to Windows, sometimes ironically this file prevents us from deleting or moving a folder, since it cannot delete the thumbs.db file (Windows is like that!)

This problem occurs in Windows XP, 7 and 8, and it happens because Windows accesses this file while we try to move or delete the folder. Generally, it can be solved simply by closing the folder, or restarting the computer. However, in other cases, it is really difficult to delete these folders, especially when they are stored on the user’s desktop.

To solve this annoyance, we can follow the following steps to temporarily disable the generation of thumbs.db files:

  • Press the Windows key
  • Type “Folder Options”
  • In the window, select the “View” tab, and check the “Always show icons, never thumbnails” option


With this, we have temporarily disabled the thumbnails in Windows. No folder will show previews of the images, only an icon.

Now we delete the existing thumbnails in the system. To do this:

  • Press the Windows key
  • Type “Disk Cleanup”


Finally, we can move or delete the folders. Later, we can re-enable the display of thumbnails by unchecking the previous option in the folder options window.