How to Display Thumbnail Preview in Windows 11

This post shows students and new users steps to enable or disable thumbnail preview in File Explorer when using Windows 11. By default, File Explorer in Windows 11 displays files and folder as list. Even images will be displayed as list.

However, Windows also supports displaying thumbnail images or icons in File Explorer. When working with lots of images with thumbnail preview enabled, File Explorer makes it easy to see the actual images or photos in thumbnail sizes, and this can provide you more details instead of a list.

By default, thumbnail preview is enabled, however, you’ll have to select a medium iconslarge icons, or extra large icons in File Explorer to preview thumbnail images. If thumbnail preview is disable, it will also be disabled in File Explorer.

The new Windows 11, when released generally to everyone, will come with many new features and enhancements that will work great for some while adding some learning challenges for others. Some things and settings have changed so much that folks will have to learn new ways to work with and manage Windows 11.

Thumbnail preview isn’t new in Windows 11. If you used it in previous versions of Windows, you know it all.

To get started with thumbnail preview in Windows 11, follow the steps below:

How to enable or disable thumbnail preview in Windows 11

As mentioned above, you can enable or disable previewing of thumbnail in Windows 11. By default, this is enabled, but if it’s disabled for some reasons, here’s how to enable it.

Open File Explorer, then select the ellipse (three dots on the toolbar) and select Options.

Then make sure the check box next to “Always show icons, never thumbnail” is not checked.

Now, in File Explorer, with list view, you’ll see your images as shown below.

To preview thumbnail in File Explorer, click on View in the toolbar menu and select Large icons, Medium icons or Small icons.

Now thumbnails are shown in preview mode.

To disable thumbnail preview, go to File Explorer options and click on the View tab, then check to box to “Always show icons, never thumbnail” .

That’s it!


This post showed you how to enable or disable thumbnail preview in Windows 11. If you find out any error above, please use the comment form below.

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