PDF Desktop Icons??


Well-Known Member
I have 3 PDF files stored on my desktop; they've been there for months. I use the newest version of Foxit Reader and have for years. In the middle of last week the icons for those 3 files changed from the generic PDF file page icon passport.jpg to mini thumbnails of the pages themselves. I did nothing that I can recall that would have caused this change. My IT genius said that this was default behavior for Windows 7 (HP, SP1 64-bit) but I'm wondering why the transformations occurred only recently.

Yesterday I had to do a system restoration to undo some damage done by a program installation and when all was said and done the icons have reverted to the original "PDF" file page.

My question is: did I witness a normal behavior for this version of Windows 7 or might the mini-thumbnail icons be related to Foxit Reader itself (which is the same version that was in place before the transformation to mini-thumbs).


Excellent Member
Microsoft Community Contributor
On your system, as far as I know there are two places to effect such behavior as Icons vs. thumbnails.

The first is in the folder options in the Control Panel where you can select "Always show icons, never thumbnails" check box. The other is on the System panel, Advanced system settings, Performance, Settings "Show thumbnails instead of icons".

But beyond that, I believe the program involved may or may not be able to create the thumbnails so they show correctly. There are also caches that may have held a thumbnail for a period of time but was finally changed. The last time I used Foxit Reader I don't remember it having thumbnail capabilities, but that was some time ago.

Even Adobe Reader doesn't add thumbnails to the desktop in certain circumstances. So all I could suggest is to open Foxit Reader and then open the file so you see it in the Open Files dialog. Perhaps that will change it back to a thumbnail. You can also try changing the size of the icons to see if it makes a difference.

Edit: You can change the size of icons by holding CTRL and rolling the mouse wheel. I have one PDF that goes from a thumbnail to an Icon whenever gets above a certain size.

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Well-Known Member
Thanks for the reply!

The source of the behavior is Foxit Reader itself. The system rollback (rerstore) I did removed a previously-installed update that apparently introduced the mini-thumb appearance to PDF icons. Foxit prompted for an update this morning and I had the suspicion that I had also rolled Foxit back to a previous version. Installing the update and rebooting restored the icons to their mini-thumb appearance.


Essential Member
Microsoft Community Contributor

Only a short time ago I intentionally added an update that made PDF files display in Windows Explorers preview window, when I did that the icons all started acting as you have experienced.

Personally I'd rather have the previews then the generic PDF icons.



Extraordinary Member
If it happens again, restore the icon cache.

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