Home / Windows / Unable to delete folders in Windows 8 . Thumbs.db is a system file error.

Unable to delete folders in Windows 8 . Thumbs.db is a system file error.

In windows 8 the option to create a thumbs.db file is on by default . This can be a problem when you try to delete those media folders that you no longer need.

Windows won’t let you delete the thumbs.db file and you will end up with a lot of empty folders that you can’t remove.
tumbs error
After some digging I  found a solution on the Microsoft site and I will share it with you here.

First you want to deactivate the thumbs.db from being generated . The fastest way  in windows 7 was to run the following command :

REG ADD “HKCU\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Explorer” /v “DisableThumbsDBOnNetworkFolders” /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f

For Windows 8 try doing the steps bellow:

Run (windows key + R)  – write: regedit  and press Enter



Navigate to:  HKEY_CURRENT_USER > Software > Microsoft > Windows > CurrentVersion > Explorer > Advanced

Right click and create New DWORD Value , name it DisableThumbnailCache  and set its value to 1.

This does exactly the same thing as the command I wrote.

Now you will need to clean the thumbs.db files that are already created . To do this we are gonna use the disk cleanup tool.

Press again Windows key + R to start run and write there cleanmgr then Enter


This will start the Disk cleanup tool . Select the drive you want to clean , if you have more drives you gonna have to repeat this for each drive.

Disc cleanup tool will calculate for a bit what files can be deleted and then the following window will appear.

diskclean tumbnails

Make sure the Thumbnails is checked and press OK .  That is it. Now you can delete those folders you want to go away.

As always leave me a comment if you found this helpful

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  1. Followed your instructions and it’s still not working. Thumbs are not removed.

    • Disk cleanup doesn’t delete them ?

      • It doesn’t remove them. I have windows 8.1 and two thumbnails: desktop.ini and Thumbs.db. Please help.

        • Steps to remove thumbs.db:
          1. Open Windows Explorer.
          2. (Ctrl + F1) to open commands pane.
          3. Select/click Thumbs.db file
          4. On commands pane, click “Properties” dropdown.
          5. Select “Remove Properties”
          6. On “Remove Properties” dialog pane, select “Remove the following properties from this file:” radio button.
          7. Click “OK” button.
          8. On commands pane, click “Delete”.
          9. On “Delete File” dialog pane, Click “Yes” button.


          • Wonderful solution for deleting a folder containing a thumbs.db file… especially in case one doesn’t want to stop thumbs from being created like me… Thank you sooooooo much!!

          • I’ve tried everything to no avail when i click “properties” the “remove properties” option is unavailable to me

          • Those steps are for Windows OS 8.1. You probably have Windows 7. In Windows 7 on the “windows explorer,” there is “Organize” button on top left. Click the “dropdown” or “arrow down”. You should be able to see “Remove Properties” selection. Please follow the next steps that are stated for Windows OS 8.1.


          • Thank you for solution

          • Thank you my friend !

  2. Thank you that worked very well

  3. It didn’t worked thumbs.db still here

  4. worked like a charm, thanks buddy

  5. Thanks Buddy. This is the only place a solution is listed. I’m surprised people are using win8 with this major flaw.

  6. DeleteThumbnailCache or DisableThumbnailCache?

  7. DisableThumbnailCache.
    Thanks for the help on this issue which has been causing me a lot of grief.

  8. dude DWORD value suppose to be in hexadecimal or decimal … ?

  9. “Navigate to: HKEY_CURRENT_USER > Software > Microsoft > Windows > CurrentVersion > Explore > Advanced”

    There is no folder called Explore in the directory you indicated. There is one called Explorer. Is that what you meant? (I’m using windows 8.1, 64 bit)

  10. Worked like a charm. Thank you.

  11. Win 8.1 and I followed your instructions but a thumbs.db file show up on my desktop and every single folder. Any suggestions?

  12. Does not work for Windows 8.1
    I followed the instructions, but the system still generates Thumbs.db file in any folder when where I switch from details view to icons or tiles. I wonder if it should be QWORD (64 bit) for windows 8.1 but my conclusion is we probably shouldn’t be messing with the registry when we don’t know what we’re doing, we’re basically guessing. Microsoft should provide a solution or try a third party software.

  13. It worked fine, thank you.

  14. Did all of above more than once, but a thumbs.db file remains on my desktop. Rebooted to try it again, but now thumbnails is no longer offered as a file type in disk clean-up, and the thumbs.db file stubbornly remains on my desktop.

  15. It worked fine…. Thanks a lot…

  16. yaya it worked like a CHARM!!!

  17. Tried it twice. Doesn’t work the f## @€^g is still there. Think dynamite is only way to get rid of it

  18. Am I the only one who has noticed that the command line you showed creates a totally different Registry Value from the step-by-step instructions you showed? They are in two completely different areas of the Registry.

    Also, the REG ADD command (at least in Windows 8.1) only works correctly WITHOUT any quotation marks. So if you simply copy and paste the command as it appears right now, it won’t work. If you use quotes around the Key name (“HKCU\….”), the command returns “ERROR: Invalid key name.” And if you omit the quotes around the Key name so the command goes through, but you leave the quotes around the Value name (“DisableThumbsDBOnNetworkFolders”), the command will include the quotes as part of the Value name, in which case, the Value does nothing.

    It would also be worth pointing out that while some aspects of WIndows don’t care whether you capitalize, the Registry is very much case-sensitive. If you don’t capitalize the entry exactly as Windows expects to find it, it will be ignored.

    These “little” details may have something to do with why some of the users are having trouble getting it to work.

    • Read the article again. I was in doubt if your comment worth approving because it doesn’t bring anything to the topic. The commands are for different versions of windows. If you have a better solution please share.

      • Now that you’ve edited the article to show that the two methods are for different versions of Windows, that might clear up a little of people’s confusion. The whole reason I made my first comment – and subsequently this one – and why I feel it does add something significant to the topic, is because your readers come from every skill level. The details I mentioned may be small, but they are important. Something that one reader might know instinctively, another would never think of without seeing it mentioned.

        The REG ADD method and the Regedit method would work for either version of Windows, as long as they use the correct Registry key for their version, and the correct syntax (quotes or no quotes) for the REG ADD command.

        I also noticed on my WIndows 7 computer, that the REG ADD command requires elevated privileges, and if you try to run it without using an Administrator Command Prompt, you will get “ERROR: Access Denied”. If you simply try to run it from the Run Dialog (Windows Key + R), you won’t see that error message flash across the screen. People would assume that the command worked when it didn’t, and hence wonder why it didn’t produce the intended results.

        The command might also work if you turn off UAC, but I didn’t try that. It’s easier to use an Administrator Command Prompt unless you already have UAC turned off, and the benefit of using the Command Prompt is that you can see plainly if you get an error or if the command completes successfully.

  19. Thanks it worked well

  20. 1. go to the command prompt (admin mode) and navigate to the folder in question
    2. type in the following command: attrib -s -h Thumbs.db
    3. delete the folder.

    Should be simple enough 🙂

  21. just change the extension of .db to .txt & delete the file.
    So much easier, I have tried several methods but this actually works!

  22. Thank you so much !

    I’m french, and I couldn’t find how to disable those horribles things ! I didn’t find any french website to help me. I just found things which didn’t work. This you’ve done is really clear (even for me, french and 15 years old, sorry for my bad english). Easy to understand, perfect explanation… again, thank you, thank you !

  23. Alternatively, if like me you have a library of media files which need sorting out and the thumbs files are getting in the way, you can:
    1. Open a cmd window
    2. Navigate to the top level of the library
    3. Run the command ‘attrib /S -s -h Thumbs.db’ (as above but with a recursive search included)
    4. Run the command ‘del /S Thumbs.db’ (this will list each instance of the file it removes.
    5. Run the regadd command at the top of this page to prevent new files being created.

    Note, I have only run this under Windows 7, may need modification for Windows 8.

  24. Hi ,

    after following all above instruction still i not able to remove “$recycle.bin and system volume infor”.
    so plz let me know how to remove all these files from all drives.

    • Hi. You can find some good ideas in the comments here to delete single files. Try changing the extension or the attributes.

    • Well, $recycle.bin -as you could probably guess- is the recycle bin for the drive. Beginning with XP (I think) Windows started storing recycled files on the drive from which they were deleted, rather than moving them to a centrally located recycle bin. If it’s a portable drive, you may occasionally need to remove one of the folders within it, as they are user-specific, and you could get orphans in there if you swap the drive amongst several computers. However, even if you do manage to change all the ownerships and permissions, and remove the $recycle.bin folder itself, Windows will simply recreate it.

      Likewise, the System Volume Information folder will get recreated even if you do manage to remove it. It contains information for the file system itself, so removing it has the potential for causing problems.

      I’ve never come across any instructions for disabling either of them.

  25. PowerShell: Get-ChildItem -Include Thumbs.db -Recurse -Force | Remove-Item -Force

  26. Forgot to mention : Windows 8.1 (64 bit)

  27. But what if you do want thumbs in a folder, as they can be useful with large media sets, and still want to be able to actually delete a folder when you are done with it?

  28. Thank you so much ! >.<

  29. thank you very much

  30. i have another file desktop.ini i can’t deleted please help.

  31. Well it’s not hard finding solution to this problem on Google, but great job making this step by step and easy to understand. Thank you

  32. Thank you! This worked straight away. x

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