Thumbnails on Network Drive

Windows is being painful when viewing folders/files on my network hard drive.

Brand new PC (and I have the same issue on my other Windws 7 PC too).
Now that it is happening on two Windows 7 PCs it is time to get an answer.

How do I get Windows to create thumbnails without doing it manually one by one?

I have searched the Internet high and low but can only find hundreds of people with the same issue. No-one seems to have an answer.

Thumbnails for all four internal HD are fine.
When I open a folder, they are all there. Thumbnails for videos, pictures, documents etc.

On my networked HD it is a different story. Every thumbnail is just the default Windows image for that file type.

I can sit in the window for hours and nothing changes.

I have found a way around it, but I simply cannot apply this fix the entire 1TB networked drive. It would literally take me weeks in front of the PC.

The 'fix' is to open a folder on L Drive and, one by one, hover my mouse over the file. If I leave the mouse there for about a second or two and allow Windows to 'read' the file, the 'information' about that file appears at the bottom of the screen. It shows me the date taken, the file type, tags, dimensions etc (depending on the type of file) and more importantly it shows the thumbnail alongside that information.

However, the thumbnail in the main window is still the defult Windows icon. It does not update as I let windows 'read' the file.
If I 'Refresh' the window that icon now has a thumbnail - but the other files do not.
I have to perform this ritual on every file in the folder, one by one.

At this point I should mention that once I have done ths to every file in the folder I can safely leave the window and when I come back all the thumbnails are displayed correctly.

If however, I miss just one file (and i do mean just one), when I close the window and return, I am back to every thumbnail displaying as the Windows default for the file type.

It seems that Windows must be 'forced' to make thumbnail for each file and only when the entire folder has been 'thumbnailed' and the 'Thumbs' file within each folder has finalised will Windows retain the information. As I said before, if just one file within the folder has been missed, the 'Thumbs' database file forgets everyting about every file in the folder and reverts to it's raw form.

Once I have completed this arduous task on a particular folder I can change the 'view' from Large to Small to Extra Large (or anywhere in between) and the thumbnails appear the instant I change the view.

I have attached a screenshot of just one folder on the network drive.

The new laptop is running Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit and the old one is Windows 7 Professional 32 bit.


Last edited:


Honorable Member
You may have already tried this. I looked at pictures I have on a network drive and they all popped up a thumbnail after I left clicked on the folder and and then right clicked on the right side of windows explorer where the folders and pictures are. I put my cursor over view and then left clicked on medium icon. It took the whole folder containing hundreds of pictures and displayed a thumbnail of the pictures. Is that what you're looking for?

Unfortunately that did not work. I still have to 'highlight' each image placeholder for the thumbs to appear.

This website is not affiliated, owned, or endorsed by Microsoft Corporation. It is a member of the Microsoft Partner Program.