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
Open Note pad and paste the following text :
Replace .EXT with the desired extension (e.g. flv).
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.
Save the file with extension .reg (make sure save as type is “All Files” and not “Text Documents”).
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.
Download this file. It is a zip archive containing two files. Extract them to a temporary folder.
Copy the psicon.dll to C:Program FilesCommon FilesAdobeShell. If the folder ‘Shell’ doesn’t exist then create it.
After copying, double click on the psicon.dll.reg and confirm your action.
Enabling Thumbnail for MKV
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].
Launch “Media Splitter Settings” from Stat Menu.
Go to Options–>Explorer Integration–>Enable Thumbnail Extraction. Set it to yes.
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).
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.
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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.