Disabling the hidden “Thumbs.db” files

Monday, April 25th, 2011 | Technical | Mike Smith

 Many times when working on your local computer’s drives, or through mapped network drives, you will encounter this hidden system file (if hidden and system files are turned on).   A frequent error involves creating a folder on a mapped network drive, copying files to that folder such as PDFs, and trying to rename that folder.  This happens under a few different setups, but primarily when the user’s workstation is either Vista or Windows 7.  You will eventually be able to rename the folder, or delete it, but only after the system stops using the file. There are many different ways to handle and block the creation of these system files.
To block the thumbs.db on your LOCAL computer:

  • Open up the registry using REGEDIT from the run dialog
  • Navigate to “HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced”
  • Create a DWORD called “DisableThumbnailCache” and set it to a value of “1″
  • Restart your computer

To block the thumbs.db on NETWORK DRIVES:

  • Open up the registry using REGEDIT from the run dialog o
  • Navigate to “HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Explorer”
  • Create a DWORD called “DisableThumbsDBOnNetworkFolders” and set it to a value of “1″
  • Restart your computer

 

You can also automate this process through the login script or group policy.

To create REG files to use with the login script for LOCAL thumbs.db files:

  • Create a new text file, and name it “disablelocalthumbs.txt”
  • put the following content in the file “

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced]
“DisableThumbnailCache”=dword:00000001

  • Save the file, and rename the extenstion from .TXT to .REG
  • move the file to the network and add the follwing line to the login script: “regedit.exe /s “[UNC path to reg file]\DisableThumbsDBOnNetworkFoldersreg”

To create REG files to use with the login script:

  • Create a new text file, and name it “disablenetworkthumbs.txt”
  • put the following content in the file “

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Explorer]
“DisableThumbsDBOnNetworkFolders”=dword:00000001

  • Save the file, and rename the extenstion from .TXT to .REG
  • move the file to the network and add the follwing line to the login script: “regedit.exe /s “[UNC path to reg file]\DisableThumbsDBOnNetworkFoldersreg”

 

The important thing to remember about these settings is that you must either logoff or restart the computer for them to take effect.  The other thing to keep in mind is that the creation of these thumbs.db files are related to the computer copying or creating the files, not the “host” computer.  This means that if you are experiencing issues with these files when you copy items to the network, this setting needs to be set on the workstation doing the copying, not the computer that hosts the shared drive.

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