I received an email from a subscriber recently who was having a problem with the icons that were displayed in Windows Explorer. He wanted thumbnails of the images or videos to be displayed instead of the icons.
Windows Explorer, at least in versions up through Windows 7, defaults to list files that are photos or videos by showing thumbnail images of them. That’s pretty helpful if you’re trying to find one picture in a folder stuffed full of photos.
However, on the negative side, your computer has to spend time opening all those images and creating the thumbnails to be displayed. That’s where the file Thumbs.db comes in (at least in Windows XP — Windows 7 puts the thumbnails in a protected operating system file called Desktop.ini, even though the file is in the folder that has the videos & images and not actually on the Windows Desktop) — Windows stores the thumbnails, once they’ve been created, in that file.
Below, you can see the recorded TV directory on my desktop computer, displaying an icon for a folder and three thumbnails for recorded shows. Read more about this capability in my next article…
When you click on the downward-pointing triangle (indicated in the image above by the arrow and the label "Change Display Mode," you can see that the currently selected option is Large Icons (lower-left image).
To change this display option, either click on the words respresenting the choice you want (for example, click on Details) or drag the slider.
If you click on the words, you get an instant change and the option list closes.
If you drag the slider, as you pass each option, you get to see a preview of what that selection will show you. That’s nice, if you want to see what is available (and just how bit "Extra Large Icons" are!).
In the image on the lower right, I’ve changed the selection to Details.
Below, we see the same folder being displayed, but with Details instead of Large Icons.
It’s your choice which of the displays you want to see. Which is better? It depends on your desire.
If you want to quickly check the size of files, the Details view is the one to use. If you want to see what an image looks like, or see the first frame of a video, then one of the Icons views is impaortant (although Tiles will also
give you a small thumbnail view.
Which you choose to display is up to you…and can vary by folder, too.
If you decide on a layout you like, such as Details, which offers a lot of additional columns to be displayed depending on the folder’s contents, and you change the column sizes, or rearrange them, or display additional columns (right-click on the column headings to see what you can display), you can apply those changes to all folders, if you want.
Just click on Tools on the Windows Explorer menu bar (if it’s not displayed, press and release the Alt key). Select the View tab. Then, in the top section Folder Views, click the button that says "Apply to Folders."