This is a common problem on Windows for as far back as I remember. For some reason Windows decides not to generate thumbnails for some of the images on your network drive. This shouldn’t be confused with a much more common issue where NO thumbnails are displayed on any images.

I am often creating image files in my job as an Icon Designer and it is sometimes absolutely imperative that I can see the thumbnails as they are generated to spot errors and just to keep track of where I am when working with hundreds of icons.

I have provided the solution to both issues below.

NO Image Thumbnails are being displayed, only Icons

The most common cause of this problem is a setting in windows that just turns the thumbnail generation on or off.

  • Open an Explorer Window, click on the View Tab and select ‘Options’ on the right hand side.
  • Click on the ‘View’ tab and untick ‘Always show icons, never thumbnails’.

Windows 8 Thumbnails Missing

Hopefully, this will solve your problem. If not have a look at the next solution.

Missing thumbnails on a Network Drive

I think this problem is a little more unusual and I have read several solutions to this but none seem to work or if they do, not for long. The solution I found is fairly simple but not well documented as far as I can find in Windows 8 anyway.

What you need to do is adjust the Group Policies for Network Drives in Windows to display thumbnails.

  • Open gpedit.msc (I opened a command prompt and typed ‘gpedit’ and hit enter).
  • In the left hand column navigate to: User Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Windows Components -> File Explorer

Windows thumbnails missing on network drive

  • In the right hand window you will see a list, most with ‘Not configured’ to the right. Double click on the 1st one ‘Turn off the display of thumbnails and only display icons’. Select the ‘Disabled’ radio button on the left and click OK. This should sort the thumbnails out on local drives.
  • Click ‘Next Setting’ to skip to the next policy: Turn off the display of thumbnails and only display icons on network folders’ and set this to disabled. (If you have your network drive open you may notice the thumbnails all change to icons but don’t worry.)
  • If you click ‘Next Settings’ again it will take you to: ‘Turn off the caching of thumbnails in hidden thumbs.db files’. You may want to try setting this to disabled as well but you may find enabling it helps as long as you don’t mind the thumbnails rebuilding each time you enter the folder. I set it to disabled.
  • At this stage you may be wondering where all your thumbnails have gone, cursing my name and throwing things at your keyboard but despair not. A simple reboot should see your folders displaying thumbnails as normal, yay!

This problem was driving me nuts so I hope this works for you. Cheers, Adam 🙂

Need Windows application icons?

We can tell your story and transform your software in one great new desktop icon

Windows icons designers

8 thoughts on “Windows 8 Thumbnails not Displayed on Network Drives”

  1. Avatar for Adam Parrish cutelee says:

    thanks alot for helping me…God bless you

  2. Avatar for Adam Parrish Jakob Thur says:

    Many Thanks for this – it solved the problem for my 8.1 PRO machines
    but for 8.1 [plain as it came with my new Lenovo]
    [User Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Windows Components -> File Explorer] is not an option
    8.1 [Home Edition] has this
    [User Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Windows Components -> Windows Explorer]
    but the
    ‘Turn off the display of thumbnails and only display icons’ and
    ‘Turn off the display of thumbnails and only display icons on network folders’
    are not there nor anywhere else I believe;
    only the related ‘Turn off caching of thumbnail pictures’ is in the Not Configured settings.
    – so I still cannot see the networked thumbs whereas the local thumbs work fine.

  3. Hello Jakob,

    Thanks for posting.

    I haven’t tried this in anything other than Windows 8 & 8.1 Pro. I am not sure why the different versions would make a difference but it is worth double checking you are logged in as an administrator?

    Let me know how you get on.



    1. Avatar for Adam Parrish Jakob Thur says:

      Hi Adam,
      Yes I am admin, but so far only limited progress.
      For the record I downloaded the Gpedit [875,012 bytes]
      The GP Editor works as it should.
      Then I applied Windows8.1-Update-ADMX.msi / and / Windows8.1-KB2693643-x64.msu

      – which installed the Admin Templates , but I have yet to discover how to use the templates to get the missing menu items installed


      1. Hi Jakob,

        Have you tried making the same changes in regedit.exe?

        It might be worth a look and see if the method works as from what you say you don’t have the facility I discussed in Win8 standard.

        See if you can locate:



        Not sure if it is what you are after but worth a look I guess.


        1. Avatar for Adam Parrish Jakob Thur says:

          Hi Adam,
          “DisableThumbnailCache” is not in my Registry
          – but thanks a lot, I believe I have found the solution through the following Registry Edit:


          Add the Key


          and in this key add the following DWORDs :

          DisableThumbnails REG_DWORD 0x00000000 (0)
          DisableThumbnailsOnNetworkFolders REG_DWORD 0x00000000 (0)
          NoDriveTypeAutoRun REG_DWORD 0x00000091 (145)

          This Key and Values were in 8.1 Pro but not in the HomeEdition
          (not sure what the last value is for – but it is there)
          btw – being inexperienced with Values – to enter the last Value you use
          0000 91 00 00 00 but I guess we all knew this 🙂

          Thanks a lot for the guidance – I still have to reboot but wanted to send this before everything is lost – pretty confident however this will work unless I also have to add the same key somewhere else in the Registry


          1. Avatar for Adam Parrish Jakob Thur says:

            No this cure was not enough apparently ..

          2. Avatar for Adam Parrish brian says:

            Did you ever solve this? Very frustrating!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.