[Fix] Thumbnail Cache Automatic Deletion Problem in Windows

Today in this topic, we are going to address one of the most annoying and most frequently faced problems in Windows operating system.

This problem occurs mainly in Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1 and later Windows versions such as Windows 10.

Problem Symptom:

Suppose you have a folder containing lots of images and video files. You change the folder view type to show thumbnails of images and videos such as large icons, extra large icons, etc. Now Windows Explorer will start creating thumbnails of all images and video files. It'll take a few seconds for Windows to create thumbnails for each file. Windows automatically creates a thumbnail cache file to store all thumbnails so that it can directly show thumbnails for the same images or video files without any delay when you open the same folder again in future.

The problem occurs when you restart your system and try to open the same folder again. Windows automatically deletes the thumbnail cache upon reboot and recreates the thumbnails again for all images and video files.


When this happens again and again, it becomes quite annoying to wait for all thumbnails creation each time you open the same folder.

It might also happen with thumbnails of music files, PDF files or other file types which support thumbnail view.

It might happen without restarting the system as well. Sometimes Windows automatically deletes and rebuilds the thumbnails each time you open the same folder.

Problem Reasons:

There might be many reasons behind this annoying problem:

  • Corrupt thumbnail cache folder
  • Windows automatic maintenance service
  • Disk Cleanup utility
  • 3rd party data cleaning software such as CCleaner

The "C:\Users\Username\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Explorer" folder is the main folder which stores all thumbnail cache files. Sometimes the folder or the thumbnail cache files might become corrupted which may cause this problem.

Windows 8 and later operating systems come with a new Automatic maintenance service which regularly deletes unnecessary files and performs system optimization tasks. This service might also delete thumbnail cache files.

Windows built-in utility "Disk Cleanup" also comes with an option to remove thumbnail cache files. It might also be possible that you are running Disk Cleanup utility regularly which is clearing thumbnail cache files.

Also many 3rd party temporary file cleaning software such as CCleaner allow you to clean thumbnail cache files. So it may also be possible that you are regularly deleting thumbnail cache files using such tools.

Problem Solutions:

If you are facing this problem in Windows, you can try following solutions. We are sure that these solutions will help you in fixing this annoying problem:

METHOD 1: Reset Corrupt Thumbnail Cache Folder

First of all try to reset thumbnail cache folder so that it starts storing thumbnail cache files from scratch.

1. Press Win+R keys together to launch RUN dialog box, then type following string in RUN box and press Enter:


Replace Username with your correct Windows user account name.

If the above trick doesn't work for you. Type appdata in RUN dialog box and press Enter. It'll open AppData folder. Now go to "Local\Microsoft\Windows\Explorer" folder.

2. Once you open Explorer folder, select all files/folders present inside it and delete them.


Some files might remain in the folder. Leave them and restart your computer. Now Windows should create thumbnail cache without any problem and it'll not delete them again.

METHOD 2: Disable Automatic Maintenance Service

If the above mentioned method doesn't work for you, try following:

1. Press Win+R keys together to launch RUN dialog box, then type taskschd.msc in RUN box and press Enter.

2. It'll open Task Scheduler program. Now go to:

Task Scheduler Library -> Microsoft -> Windows -> TaskScheduler

3. In right-side pane, you'll see following 4 tasks:

  • Idle Maintenance
  • Maintenance Configurator
  • Manual Maintenance
  • Regular Maintenance


4. You need to disable following 3 tasks:

  • Idle Maintenance
  • Manual Maintenance
  • Regular Maintenance

To disable them, right-click on the task and select Disable option.

5. Sometimes "Maintenance Configurator" task may re-enable the other 3 tasks. In such case, you'll need to delete all 4 tasks. Click on each task and press Delete key.

But Windows will not allow many users to delete these tasks right from Task Scheduler program. If you also face this problem while deleting those tasks, do as following:

5. a. Type tasks in RUN dialog box and press Enter. It'll show permissions related message, click on Continue button. It'll open C:\Windows\System32\Tasks folder which stores all tasks listed in Task Scheduler program.

5. b. Now go to Microsoft\Windows\TaskScheduler folder and delete all 4 tasks files. If you face any permission related issue, take ownership of the files as mentioned in this guide and then delete the task files.

6. That's it. Now you have disabled Windows automatic maintenance service and it should fix the automatic thumbnail cache deletion problem.

METHOD 3: Prevent Disk Cleanup Utility from Deleting Thumbnail Cache

If you use Disk Cleanup Utility in future, make sure you uncheck "Thumbnails" option given in the list. It'll prevent Windows from deleting thumbnail cache files.


METHOD 4: Prevent 3rd Party Software from Deleting Thumbnail Cache

If you use CCleaner or other temp file cleaning utilities, make sure to uncheck options to delete thumbnail cache files.


That's it. If you know about any other working solution, feel free to share it with us...

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Posted in: Troubleshooting, Windows 7, Windows 8 / 8.1

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  • Thanks. 2nd method worked for me.

  • Windows automatic maintenance service is new for me. Never knew about it. Thanks for posting about it. :)

  • Hello vg i have installed win 8.1 from win vista. But the screen became small. It req nvidia geforce go 7400 driver. I m getting it for windows 8 so will it work for 8.1?

  • does disabling Windows automatic maintenance service can cause any adverse effect on window plz eloborate.... :-)

  • VG

    ^^ As far as I know, it should not.

    Most probably yes.

  • Hello Vishal, in windows 7 possibly in other later windows it may be there. I've been looking at this folder located C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution and its rather large in size in my windows. Its actually 525 MB and I'd like to know if there are files which can be deleted? I do wish if you can look at it and see if its supposed to be that size. What I noticed is when their are updates available from Microsoft and windows has been updated that folder seems to be getting larger!
    Thanks in advance.

  • VG

    ^^ That folder contains Windows updates setup files. You can delete them if you want but it might create problems in some cases. Better to leave the folder as it is.

  • OK, thanks VG.

  • And if I deleted all four tasks, how to get them back?

  • VG

    ^^ You can either copy them from another computer or repair Windows.

  • I tried method 1, didn't work. When trying out method 2 I went to Microsoft -> Windows -> but there was nothing called ''taskscheduler'' there. Can anyone tell me what the hell happened and why can't I fix this? I really need my thumbnails back. It's very difficult to post/comment memes without thumbnails.

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