Enable Explorer Thumbnails for Custom File Types

By default Windows Explorer recognizes and generates thumbnails for a few pre-defined formats. It doesn’t generate thumbnails for many common file formats – which includes FLV, RM, RMVB, MOV, MP4, MKV. Luckily, there is a very simple fix for this.
Follow these steps –

Enabling Thumbnail For Generic Video File

Arrow Open Note pad and paste the following text :


Replace .EXT with the desired extension (e.g. flv).

Arrow If you want to enable thumbnails for multiple file types you can do so by adding the appropriate registry entries as demonstrated below :


This file would enable thumbnails for flv, mov and mp4.

Arrow Save the file with extension .reg (make sure save as type is “All Files” and not “Text Documents”).

Arrow Double Click on the saved registry entry and confirm the action. After this reboot.

Please note that Windows can only display the thumbnails if the appropriate codec for the chosen media type is installed. If the above tweak is not working try downloading a codec pack. I got this method to work for FLV, RM, RMVB, MOV and MP4 (with The Kmplayer installed and associated with these file types). But, as with most generic tweaks it failed on a couple of occasions – it didn’t work for MKV and PSD Files. But with a little bit of digging I found a way to enable thumbnails for MKV and PSD too.

Enabling Thumbnail for PSD

This trick requires that you have Adobe Photoshop installed.

Arrow Download this file. It is a zip archive containing two files. Extract them to a temporary folder.

Arrow Copy the psicon.dll to C:Program FilesCommon FilesAdobeShell. If the folder ‘Shell’ doesn’t exist then create it.

Arrow After copying, double click on the psicon.dll.reg and confirm your action.

Enabling Thumbnail for MKV

Arrow Download Haali Media Splitter from here and install it. [Note : Most Codec Packs install this by default, so if you installed a codec pack skip this step].

Arrow Launch “Media Splitter Settings” from Stat Menu.

Arrow Go to Options–>Explorer Integration–>Enable Thumbnail Extraction. Set it to yes.

Arrow Now move on to the next item which is “Thumbnails offset”. This value determines the position in the file from which the thumbnail would be generated. Remember the value is in milliseconds (1s=1000ms).

Arrow Apply the changes and restart your computer. That’s it!

Enabling Thumbnail for SWF

The easiest and simplest solution for viewing thumbnails of SWF files is SWF Live Preview (download it from here). It automatically creates a cache from directories (optional subdirectories) for faster thumbnail display, and allows you to select the frame to be used as preview image, as well as the size of the thumbnail. In addition, the program adds a new tab to the file properties dialog that displays detailed information about the Flash file selected, including Flash version, number of frames, compression and more.

Did you find this trick useful? Dont forget to leave your feedback.

Via – Neowin, Sizzledcore and A Red Herrings Space.

Please back up your registry or create a system restore point before applying these tweaks. I will not be responsible for any damage caused to your system.

#Updated on July 18th – Added info for SWF Files.

33 Responses to Enable Explorer Thumbnails for Custom File Types

  1. Haris June 17, 2008 at 4:48 am #

    Thanks a lot for the link back buddy! :)

  2. Siddharth June 17, 2008 at 6:48 pm #

    this is cool 😀
    I will use this for my Gimp .xcf files :)

  3. ameo June 18, 2008 at 1:12 am #

    pretty good ,
    i just have one question . if it works with flv will it work with swf ?

  4. Pallab June 18, 2008 at 1:56 am #

    I dont think it will work with SWF, as SWF isnt really a video file – whereas FLV is.
    Anyway, I have added a section for SWF files too.

  5. majax July 6, 2008 at 11:40 am #

    The FLV vids are previewing upside down while MPC Home Cinema play them just fine.

  6. Pallab July 8, 2008 at 5:20 pm #

    Not sure why that is happening. It works fine here. I have the FLV files associated with The KMPlayer. Dont know if that makes any difference.

  7. majax July 9, 2008 at 3:17 am #

    I always preferred MPC to KMPlayer. It’s just preference I guess.

  8. tim August 1, 2008 at 3:55 am #

    Does not work for FLV.

  9. Pallab August 2, 2008 at 3:55 pm #

    FLV was one of the file formats I specifically tested. It works fine.
    If it doesnt work for you, then install KMPlayer and associate flv files with it.

  10. Getitto August 8, 2008 at 5:12 pm #

    To get Vista Explorer Preview Pane on Xp Please See:

    Vista Live Icon and Text File Thumbnails on Xp Explorer:

    Ported QuickView Windows 95 / 98 for Xp:


  11. anticyclope November 19, 2008 at 9:43 pm #

    You can use CapTrue Thumbnailer. It is a WMP plugin and shell extension. You can load your video into WMP and assign any frame of media file as a thumbnail. Thumbnailer is shareware, but Explorer thumbnails function is not limited
    Look here for details: http://www.captrue.com/thumbnailer.html

  12. Kori May 21, 2009 at 5:15 am #

    i have the windows 7 release candidate on my computer
    it used to show thumbnails and now they don’t. it wasn’t the OS change cause it worked afterwards for a while too. and i tried both your .reg method and haali media splitter method

    they aren’t working

  13. silencer August 7, 2009 at 11:54 pm #

    Using FLVPlayer, the .flv files still will not show thumbnails after following this method.

    I moved to KMPlayer after reading the comments, removed FLVPlayer, and reassociated .flv files with KMPlayer. Still no thumbnails are displaying.

    I see in the registry that this key is tacked onto every file type that I know for a fact shows thumbnails correctly, but adding it into .flv’s entry is not working.

  14. Fehmeed August 23, 2009 at 4:38 pm #

    I have Vista Ultimate and FLV player. Followed instructions for three files and ran the .REG file. It created the entries but they were blank. I have now updated the shell sub-directory with the value as above manually (in the registry for .MOV, .FLV and .MP4) but so far no thumbnails for these files.

  15. Dissertation Help September 18, 2009 at 5:55 pm #

    Not working for me

  16. Alladin ka Chirag December 5, 2009 at 10:28 am #

    You suggested to use KM Player, but I heard it is an illegal software.

    • Pallab December 19, 2009 at 6:25 pm #

      I think it landed up in trouble for stealing portions of GPL code. I believe that issue has been taken care of now.

  17. Mark Welborn January 11, 2010 at 9:54 pm #

    Some please tell me how to remove this registry key safely.
    It shows some .flv thumbnails, but it causes Windows Explorer to crash.
    Please email me with the proper solution at marcuswelborn@earthlink.net, with the following in the subject window:
    “FLV thumbnail view Registry Key removal”

    Thank You,
    Mark Welborn

  18. Rudy March 13, 2010 at 6:27 pm #

    Great article and info thanks. I use ThumbView (Lite), it’s a great thumbnail plug in for Windows Explorer, extends its capability to see more thumbnails for more image file types as i can even see e.g. .PSD thumbnail on Explorer, search and open save dialog boxes for example, works on Windows All from XP to Seven, freeware. Get it here for free + more info etc:

    Oh btw i just found that the above links from Getitto is also great and very informative/useful for even better explorer thumbnail and preview supports, thanks again man: http://www.wincert.net/forum/index.php?/topic/4088-get-thumbnails-of-more-file-types-and-vista-live-icon-preview-on-xp-explorer/

  19. Rudy March 13, 2010 at 6:31 pm #

    Oh sorry one more, btw anyone knows that how to get mp3 thumbnail (embedded album/cover art) for individual file (not folder view i meant) on XP explorer / shell just like Vista / Windows 7? Would be very cool and useful if there’s a plug in/tweak for that feature as well, thanks anyway.

  20. sheesh7 May 12, 2010 at 5:34 pm #


    Great article. :)

    I have a question.
    i’d like to enable preview for files with .wfm extension. they are waveform files that store signal information and this file type is similar to an image.

    Can anyone tell me if there’s a way that i can find or get tips to writing a plugin to do this.

    Thanks in advance!

  21. Imee July 21, 2010 at 5:55 pm #

    Will this work on MP3 files & the like? I’m on Windows 7, but a software I installed then uninstalled caused all my audio media icons to just be icons instead of album art. It’s severely annoying and I don’t know what else I could do to return it to normal…
    .-= Imee´s last blog ..Early in the Decade =-.

    • Pallab July 22, 2010 at 9:59 am #

      No. This won’t work for mp3 and other audio files.

      • Imee July 25, 2010 at 6:38 am #

        Aww, just my luck. Anyway thanks! :)

  22. NiTeCr4Lr November 1, 2010 at 4:41 am #

    I have the same issue with explorer crashing (technical informantion shows some stuff about a “qedit.dll”..

  23. Zar December 15, 2010 at 2:25 am #

    Such a great article. He should receive credit for it. Thanks

  24. Daniel March 30, 2011 at 2:59 am #

    I’ve found a couple problems with the registry add code that I needed to fix to get this working on Windows 7.

    “ROOT.EXTShellEx” <– change that to "ROOT\.EXT\ShellEx" with the slashes on either side of .ext . Hopefully they aren't stripped out when I post the comment.

    ALSO, the quotations in the code might need to be retyped when you copy/paste as the characters are often not correct.

  25. NiTeCr4Lr May 15, 2011 at 2:34 am #

    “I have the same issue with explorer crashing (technical informantion shows some stuff about a ‘qedit.dll’.. ”

    I think the error occurs due to either DirectX 9.0c or codecs \ codecpacks for the codecs used in the veraity of custom filetypes that you force explorer to display thumbnails of

    • NiTeCr4Lr May 17, 2011 at 9:13 am #

      In my case it was CoreAVC raping qedit.dll .
      I got rid of CoreAVC and now use FFDShow Tryouts for everything.
      Hope this helps !

  26. PS3 May 15, 2011 at 3:01 am #

    Cheers for this. Makes finding hte right video much easier and quicker!

  27. Dan May 15, 2011 at 11:21 pm #

    For people who have explorer crashing.. Usually you can resolve this by getting a new version of qedit.dll. Yours may be corrupted.


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