PDF Thumbnail Icon Preview Fix for Windows 10

If you have a big collection of books/documents in PDF format, it will be nice that you are able to see their preview thumbnails in File Explorer.  This had been a problem for 64 bit Windows 7 and 10 for a long time. PDF thumbnails are not showing in Windows Explorer. All you can see in file explorer are some generic Adobe icons and their boring file names. Some people even see horrible black square thumbnail icons.


Apparently, that thumbnail preview functionality was deliberately removed in Acrobat Reader – There are an 8 page long discussion thread over the Adobe forum if you want to check it out (File preview thumbnails aren’t working for Acrobat DC files in Windows Explorer).

Third party fixes such as Leo Davidson’s Adobe PDF x64 fixes worked for me when I was using Windows 7. But after upgraded to Windows 10, nothing seems to work any more. Windows 10 fails to display any PDF thumbnails even with Davidson’s fixes installed. Fortunately, Adode has finally got its act together and fix this problem in their latest Acrobat Reader. All you need to do now is to update you Acrobat to the latest version – there is a constant reminder for you to update anyway, if you have not opted out of the automatic update notification.


Once that is done, open Acrobat, head over to Edit -> Preferences or just press Ctrl + K to open the Preferences window. Select General from the left hand side Categories menu. Then you will see near the middle of the screen Enable PDF thumbnail previews in Windows Explorer. Tick that box and hit OK then you are done. Hooray! Now I can see all my favourite MagPi magazines and pick out the one I want to read!


Presumably this will work with Windows 7 too – I will confirm it in my Windows 7 VM later.