How to stop Windows 11 and 10 from using thumbnail preview icons for folders

As you probably know, Windows 11 and Windows 10 have the ability to show a preview of a folder contents on the icon of the folder itself. For example, if a folder contains videos, Windows 11/10 may show a set of video stills on the icon of that folder when you are browsing your computer.

In some cases this ability could be fun or useful, in others in could be annoying. The good thing is, you are in control of this behavior, and if you don't like seeing the folder contents previews, you have a way of telling Windows to stop displaying them, and show regular folder icons instead. Here is how:

  1. Open Windows 11/10 Settings app. For example, right-click on the Start button and choose Settings from the menu.

  2. In the Settings window, search for explorer and choose File Explorer Options from the results shown:

File Explorer Options

  1. Select the View tab, and check the box next to the option that reads Always show icons, never thumbnails:

Always show icons, never thumbnails

Press OK and you are done! From now on, Windows should show the regular folder icons rather than contents preview ones. You may need to refresh the File Explorer window (by pressing F5 within it) to force it to update the icons after making the change.

Happy computer browsing!

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