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How to Fix PDF Thumbnail Not Showing in Windows

PDF Thumbnail Not Showing
Written by Kelly Houstan

File Explorer can show thumbnails for pictures and videos. For audio files i.e., those that belong to music bought online or also ripped from a CD. File Explorer can also display album art if it’s embedded in the file. If you guys have Microsoft 365 installed on your system. Then you guys may also see thumbnails for Word documents and PowerPoint presentations as well. These thumbnails are normally the cover or first page as well as the slide of the file in question. Just read this article to know all about How to Fix PDF Thumbnail Not Showing in Windows.

Generally speaking, documents do not actually show thumbnails as well. They tend to have a thumbnail that basically shows the default app that is set to open or read it too. The same holds true for PDF files but, you guys can show thumbnails for them.

How to Fix PDF Thumbnail Not Showing in Windows

PDF files can actually show thumbnails but File Explorer alone cannot generate them as well. The fact is that Windows 10 (and through extension File Explorer) doesn’t support thumbnails for PDFs and also many other types of files.

If you guys cannot see PDF thumbnails for your files in Windows 10, and there are two simple ways in order to fix it.

Adobe Acrobat Reader

In order to show PDF thumbnails in Windows 10, you guys have to install an app that can generate them.

  • First of all, download and install Adobe Acrobat Reader (it’s free of cost).
  • Run the app and tap on ‘Set as default’ on the home screen.
  • In the window that opens, tap on the Change button.
  • Choose Adobe Acrobat Reader from the list of apps.
  • You have to return to Adobe Acrobat Reader.
  • Just head to Edit>Preferences.
  • Then head to the General tab.
  • Turn on the “Enable PDF thumbnail previews in Windows Explorer” option.
  • Now scroll down and tap on OK.

PDF Thumbnail Not Showing

  • Allow Adobe Reader in order to install additional software.
  • Then just open File Explorer.
  • Now navigate to a folder with a PDF file in it.
  • The PDF file will basically show a thumbnail preview actually.

Edit Windows registry

This fix should also apply if the first one does not work but, you guys must have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your system. And also the thumbnail option must turn on in its settings as well.

  • First, just click on the Win+R keyboard shortcut to open the run box.
  • In the run box, enter regedit and click on Enter.
  • Now navigate to the following key.
  • Double-tap on the AppID value.
  • Now enter the following in the data box.
  • Tap on OK.
  • Now restart the system or Explorer.exe.
  • The PDF files should now show a thumbnail.

PDF file view in Preview pane

Adobe’s Acrobat Reader is not a really great app. It’s slow and poor in terms of features. Especially if you guys compare it along with other free options that are available. If you guys do not want to use Adobe Acrobat Reader, then you can get a preview of PDF files in the File Explorer Preview Pane as well.

Of course, the Windows 10 limitation still applies so you guys have to install a free app called Sumatra PDF reader. 

  • First, download and install the Sumatra PDF reader. 
  • Just open File Explorer.
  • Head to the View tab.
  • Turn on the Preview pane from the button on the left.
  • Now navigate to a PDF file and select it.
  • The preview pane will show a thumbnail of the first page of the file.

Just uninstall Adobe Reader X

If your PDF thumbnails are missing, and the problem might be Adobe Reader X. Most of the users reported that this application was the cause for this issue, and after deleting it, the problem with thumbnails was resolved as well. In order to completely delete this application from your PC, it’s advised to use uninstaller software as well.

If you guys are not familiar, these types of applications are specially designed to remove applications and they will delete all files and registry entries associated along with a particular application. By doing that, you guys will completely delete the desired application from your PC. And make sure that the problem doesn’t appear anymore.

If you guys are looking for good uninstaller software, you guys should try out IOBit Uninstaller. Here are some of its features:

  • Ability to delete any application
  • Full removal of applications as well
  • Can delete Universal Windows apps
  • Automatic scanner for leftover files as well

Install the fix for Adobe Acrobat

Well, according to users, Adobe Acrobat isn’t showing thumbnails for PDF files on Windows 10. And in order to fix this issue, most of the users are suggesting installing a fix for it as well.

Supposedly this third-party fix basically fixes the problem on 64-bit versions of Windows 10. Along with Adobe Acrobat X, so make sure that you should try it.

Note: This fix basically comes from a third-party source, and we’re not responsible for any damage that it might cause as well.

Preview files via Adobe Reader

  • First of all, just open Adobe Reader.
  • Now select File > Open.
  • Now navigate to the directory that has your PDF files. Your thumbnails should now be generated as well. Don’t open or choose any PDF files.
  • Now close Adobe Reader.
  • Now open File Explorer and head to the directory that has your PDF files.

If the Preview pane is not working for PDF files in Windows 10, make sure to try this instant and simple workaround

Use Disk Cleanup

If PDF thumbnails are not showing on Windows 10, then the problem might be your temporary files. Most of the time temporary files can get corrupted and that can also cause this and many other problems to appear as well. Well, your thumbnail cache is a temporary file, and if your thumbnails aren’t showing as well. It’s rather likely that your temporary files are corrupted too.

But, you might be able to fix this issue simply through using Disk Cleanup in order to remove temporary files. When your thumbnail cache is removed, and your PC will regenerate your thumbnails again.


Alright, That was all Folks! I hope you guys like this article and also find it helpful to you. Give us your feedback on it. Also if you guys have further queries and issues related to this article. Then let us know in the comments section below. We will get back to you shortly.

Have a Great Day!

Also See: How to Download APK Extractor For Windows

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Kelly Houstan

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