In Microsoft Windows operating systems, at thumbnail cache is used to storethumbnail images for Windows Explorer’s thumbnail view. This speeds up the display of images as the smaller images do not need to be recalculated every time the user views the folder.

Windows stores thumbnails of graphics files, and certain document and movie files, in the Thumbnail Cache file, including the following formats: JPEG, BMP, GIF, PNG, TIFF, AVI, PDF, PPTX, DOCX, HTML and many others.

Beginning with Windows Vista, thumbnail previews are stored in a centralized location on the system. This provides the system with access to images independent of their location, and addresses issues with the locality of Thumbs.db files.

The cache is stored at “%userprofile%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Explorer” as a number of files with the label thumbcache_xxx.db (numbered by size); as well as an index used to find thumbnails in each sized database.

When you browse through File Explorer, you want to be able to see what you have in there as soon as possible. The only way to achieve this is by using a thumbnail cache which shows you a preview of what is on the file. For example, if you have some video files in File Explorer, the thumbnail cache can show you part of what is on the video. This helps you identify what is on the video while you are browsing and is an excellent alternative than solely relying on the name of a video that you’re trying to find.

The downfall with using a cache to store information is that if you change the information, it can continue showing the old information and thus cause you to not see what you’re supposed to be seeing. This is considered a major downfall for Windows and subsequently, the operating system starting from Windows 10 Fall Creators Update has the thumbnail cache deleted every time the computer is restarted or shut down.

If you know that your thumbnails are not going to change, you may prefer to prevent Windows from deleting the cache every time the computer restarts or is shut down. Doing so will help you see the images quicker, like all good caching systems in place would. If you like, you could also change the setting in future when you think there may have been a chance so you’re getting the fresh cache showing again. Controlling the cache manually might be the better option for many Windows users out there, especially if they have many picture and video files in File Explorer.

The following tutorial demonstrates how to prevent the Windows 10 operating system from deleting the thumbnail cache, so you can always be getting thumbnails shown as quickly as possible.

How to Prevent Windows 10 from Deleting Thumbnail Cache

Here is how you can stop the thumbnail cache from being deleted from the Registry Editor:

1. Open the Registry Editor app by pressing the Windows logo + R keys to open Run and then typing regedit and clicking OK, or by typing regedit into Search.

2. If prompted by User Account Control, click on the Yes button.

3. In the console tree of the snap-in, navigate to the following path by clicking on each of the keys:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\VolumeCaches\Thumbnail Cache

4. After expanding the Thumbnail cache, click on the Autorun in the right pane to open up its DWORD. (click to enlarge screenshot below)

5. Change the Value data to 0 and then click on OK to save the changes.

You can now close the Registry Editor app and continue using your computer if you like.

That’s all.