When photo thumbnails turn to a generic ocean illustration…
Q: When I opened my Pictures folder today in Windows 7, I could no longer see thumbnails of my photos. Instead, each thumbnail showed a generic illustration of an ocean view. What on earth did I do, and how do I see thumbnails of my actual photos?
A: It sounds like you may have used one of Windows 7’s many performance-enhancing tweaks. In this case, Windows 7 sped things up by neglecting to resize any of your photos as thumbnails. Instead, Windows 7 simply slips in the generic ocean scene (shown above) as a substitute.
Luckily, you can keep the other performance tweaks Windows 7 has made, but bring back your photo thumbnails by following these steps:
- Click the Start button and choose Control Panel.
- Choose the “System and Security” category.
- Click on the System icon.
- From the System window’s left pane, click on the Advanced System Settings link. (The Systems Properties window opens to the Advanced tab.)
- On the Advanced Tab’s “Performance” section, click on the Settings button. (It’s the top-most Settings button.)
- In the Visual Effects tab, click to put a checkmark in the box called, “Show thumbnails instead of icons.”
- Click the OK button.
Your thumbnails should return to normal.
Update: Jason Cole points out that you can also toggle between displaying icons and thumbnails by following these steps:
- Open your Photos folder (or any other folder, for that matter).
- Click the Organize button, and choose Folder and Search Options from the drop-down menu.
- Click the View tab, and click “Always show icons, never thumbnails.”
- Click the OK button to save your changes.
This post explains how to fix the same photo thumbnails problem in Windows Vista.