Changing Thumbnail Size in Windows XP

This simple tutorial will walk you through the steps to configure you thumbnails to be bigger than the default size. Alternatively, you could make them smaller as well, if you would like to fit more on a page but still have the thumbnail view. This will only change it for one user as well, so if other people use your machine, it will not affect them. Keep in mind that if the thumbnails are getting made bigger than they should they may distort after a certain size. Let’s get started.


This is the default size of the thumbnail images in windows XP.


We will be modifying the registry to make this change. To open the registry editor, click on Start and select Run (Please note that my start menu says TeamTutorials instead of “start” – Learn how to change that by following


Type in “regedit” (without the quotes) and press enter to launch the Registry Editor.


This is the default view of the registry. Click the expand button (the plus signs) next to the proper keys to navigate to the following key:


Once you are there, click on Explorer instead of click the expand sign in the left pane and the right pane will fill up with keys.


You editor should now look like the above picture. Look for a key called ThumbnailSize. If one does not exist (like the picture above) we will need to create it. If it does exist you can skip this step.


Right-click on any whitespace located in the right pane, hover over new, and select DWORD Value. This will create a key in the right pane. Name it ThumbnailSize. Make sure you have no spaces in the name.


Once you double-click on the value a box will pop up that looks like the picture above. You can now enter the value you wish to use. You can select either decimal or hexadecimal, doesn’t really matter, except the number limits are different. If you are using decimal, the number can be 32 (smallest) to 256 (largest) which converts to 20 (smallest) and 100 (largest) if you are using hexadecimal. You can now close out of your windows you have open and check your work.


Hex – 20
Decimal – 32


Windows Default:
Hex – 64
Decimal – 100


Hex – 100
Decimal – 256

This concludes this tutorial. I hope you were able to follow it with little trouble. Please comment with problems and suggestions for new tutorials. Thank you for reading.

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  • avaloncraven

    This is great tutorial.I even did not know this was possible.For many years i had cruel for nothing.Thank you teamtutorials

  • steve

    Excellent! Who knew you could do this? Looked intimidating at first glance but was super easy. Thanks for the help!

  • this is good one

  • Abram

    Thanks, just what I was looking for. Very understandable instructions.

  • Asim

    very usefull!
    Thank you teamtutorials!

  • zaz

    Thank you!Very useful!

  • awesome, thanks for this tutorial, i will do it to my computer windows xp

  • Asif

    Thanks! Great instructions, exactly what I was looking for.

  • David

    This works great. I was wondering if there is a way to make explorer build a thumbnail of every avi on a drive or directory with out slowly scrolling thru the directory?
    I have a drive with thousands of avis and scrolling thru the directory is slow.

  • koko

    wow, that is very nice , thanks :)))))

  • Gregor

    You could add as an extra that the quality of the thumbnail (resulting of course in different render times) can be set with another DWORD “ThumbnailQuality” between 50 and 100

  • Now my folders & image thumbnails are nice & big, but the pictures i have on the folders get really pixelated. The source pictures themselves are a nice size, yet windows renders them small then stretches them.

  • Anonymous

    You could also just use TweakUI from Microsoft. It has a slider bar to select thumbnail size and quality.

  • Mike Skerritt

    Very nice… I’ve been wondering how to do this.

  • Darrel

    Excellent tutorial.

  • Randy

    Very straight forward, thank you.

  • Zege

    EXACTLY what I was looking for. Tank you so much for publishing this, and thanks to Gregor for the tip on quality.

  • Thanks Yaar …

    It’s Very Important Trick …

  • Sanjeev Sharma

    Hey Mike, Thank you so much! You’ve explained things so nicely and accurately.

  • Gab

    I have installed xp 64bites but I can’t see the files as thumbnails. What should I do?

    thanks in advance

  • Chris Taylor

    The Thumbnails are always SQUARE and any part of the square left visible is WHITE.

    is there a way to get rid of this white letter boxing? either by making it transparent OR changing the shape of the thumbnail to non square (NOT to alter the aspect ratio of the content of the thumbnail)

  • Soheil

    EXCELLENT tutorial! Worked perfectly!
    I also made a .reg file so you can add the values just by merging it with your registry. It goes:


    where 64 is the hexadecimal value. For example, to change the value to 100, your hex number would be 00000100 (the hex number has to be 8 digits).

  • Just.

    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00


    You can also put it here, so that it works for all users 😉

  • sugunakar

    Thank you.. it is very use ful

  • lu

    Thank you!

  • Oblique

    That was a great tutorial, made it so easy.
    now i wonder if i could make a smaller thumbnail option at the same time, a second thumbnail view or changing the tiles to be thumbnails, that would be great. Thanks

  • mohsenyahu

    very well tutorial so pushed me to ask you how to control (decrease ) the space between thumbnails

  • Daku

    This is BRILLIANT ! I have a folder of 3,000+ unsorted images of ancient coins with Greek legends on my external harddrive and they all need to be sorted into city of minting and emperor. I was struggling, having to open every image to read the legend then close it and put it into the correct city folder. Now I can just whizz through most of them and move them straight over. Many many thanks – an extremely helpful mod.

  • Daku

    In case Gab (who wrote last year) ever comes back or anyone else doesn’t know how to see their files as thumbnails in XP, open the folder where your pics are, e.g. in Windows Explorer, so you have your harddrive listed on the left and your list of image files on the right. At the top of your screen there should be a View menu. In the dropdown list select thumbnails (the German language version of XP calls it “Miniaturansicht”).

  • Dave


  • LordNeko

    Incredibly easy step to follow and worked perfectly, thank you.

  • Jay Ar

    Thanks for the great tutorial