Thumbs.db – What’s it and how to get rid of it.

You have been using windows for a while and suddenly you find that there is an extra file called thumbs.db which appears beside all of your downloaded pictures and in several of your folders. And no matter how many times you delete it, it keeps returning. Enough signs for you to suspect that this is some kind of virus or trojan.

Fortunately, your fears are unfounded. The thumbs.db is a legitimate windows file that contains thumbnails of the files that are in a folder, so that if you change to Filmstrip or Thumbnail view when using Windows Explorer, the computer doesn’t have to render new thumbnails every time. This is done to speed up the process of moving around your computer.

The thumbs.db files are usually hidden from view and become visible only if you had chosen to view all files in a folder, including the hidden files. So, if you feel that these files weren’t there before and have appeared only recently, then rest assured that they were in fact there all along, you just couldn’t see them until you chose to view the hidden files also.

You’re safe to delete the files but they’ll reappear when you open the folder again. There are three ways to deal with the thumbs.db file.

  1. Ignore them. Just ignore the existence of the files and you are fine. They are not going to harm your system.
  2. Hide them. Of course, they were hidden in the first place. So if you don’t want them to be visible, go to your folder options and under the View tab, turn off ‘Show hidden files and folders’.
  3. Remove them. If you feel that you would rather not have these files and probably consider them a waste of space, you can set your computer so that it never creates the thumbs.db files. From My Computer, choose Tools, click on Folder Options and then the View tab. Scroll down until you find the box labelled ‘Do not cache thumbnails’ and put a tick in it. You can then delete all the existing files. The easiest way of doing this would be to search for thumbs.db on your hard disk and deleting them from there.

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