How to Enable or Disable Thumbnail Preview for PDF Files

Thumbnail preview for PDF files can be enabled or disabled. Adobe Acrobat Reader includes a thumbnail extractor shell extension which generates thumbnail preview for PDF files in Explorer. If you want to disable PDF thumbnail generation for performance or for other reasons, use the steps listed below:

(This assumes that you have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed in your system.)


Disable Thumbnail Preview for .PDF files

Note: For an automated solution using REG files, see section Registry Fix in this article.

1. Launch Regedit.exe and navigate to the following branch:
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT \ AcroExch.Document.7 \ Shellex \ {BB2E617C-0920-11d1-9A0B-00C04FC2D6C1}

2. Backup the branch using the Export option under File menu.

3. Right-click {BB2E617C-0920-11d1-9A0B-00C04FC2D6C1} and choose Delete. Click Yes when prompted for confirmation.

4. Exit the Registry Editor.

5. Logoff and login back for the change to take effect.

Tip: Existing PDF files may still show thumbnail preview from the thumbnail cache. In Windows XP you can simply delete the hidden file named thumbs.db (thumbnail database file) to refresh the views. In Windows Vista, use the Disk Cleanup tool to clear the thumbnail cache. If you’re using Windows Vista, the Preview pane can still generate preview for PDF files, despite the above setting.


Registry Fix

1. Download and save to Desktop.

2. Extract the files to a folder.

3. Double-click pdf-thumb-disable.reg to run it.

4. Logoff and login back for the change to take effect.

Undo information: To reverse the changes, run the file pdf-thumb-enable.reg.


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