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Thumbs.db is a thumbnail cache used by Windows Explorer to speed up some types of folder displays. You can delete it and prevent more from appearing.
I've seen thumbs.db files in some of my folders. Are they safe to delete? How do I delete them?
Thumbs.db is totally safe to delete. It's an automatically generated thumbnail cache.
I'll explain just what that is and I'm going to use this as an excuse to turn it off on my own machine, and show you how along the way.
Thumbnails are the "little" versions of images that Windows Explorer displays in some folder views. You can see what an image is, in miniature, presumably so you can choose the right one for whatever it is you're doing.
Rather than create the thumbnail each time Windows Explorer displays the contents of a folder, it creates the thumbnails once, and then save them using thumbs.db. If the original file changes, the thumbnail would be updated, but other than that Windows Explorer doesn't need to recreate the thumbnail again, and can display the folder view more quickly the next time you take a look.
Thumbs.db is normally a hidden file, so we'll need to change a setting to view those. In Windows Explorer, click on Tools, and then Folder Options. Now click on the View tab, an scroll down to Hidden Files and Folders:
I make sure to set Show hidden files and folders, as well as Hide extensions for known file types and Hide protected operating system files. The later will give you a warning, but I prefer to see everything.
Now you'll see thumbs.db in various locations. If you like, you can right click on it and click on Delete:
Thumbs.db is a nice little optimization, but if like me you don't use the icon or image view in Windows Explorer, it's just not that useful. Fortunately you can turn it off with a simple setting.
In fact, it was right above what we were looking at a moment ago:
Just check Do not cache thumbnails, and no new thumbs.db files should be created.
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