Adobe CS3 and the Case of the Disappearing Thumbnails – The Sequel

So, it’s been almost two years since we first published a little a piece on getting your thumbnails to work again in Adobe Creative Suite 2. The exec summary: Adobe disabled many of thumbnails that used to display in Explorer, presumably to ‘motivate‘ CS3 users to use Bridge. After some teeth gritting and a little research, we figured out a workaround and published it there.

Two years later, it’s been one of our more popular posts ever since — approaching 140 comments last time I checked, and generally getting another comment or two most weeks.

However, Adobe still like Bridge and still would like you to use Bridge, so responded by making things just that little bit more difficult in CS3. If allowed, Illustrator CS3 checks that thumbnails are disabled every time it starts — if it finds they aren’t, it makes changes to ensure they are.

If you let it that is..

Thankfully the issue has been solved, and I’m keen to pass on the solution and the credit for it.

William M Park is a talented painter, Photoshop power user and apparently sometime registry tweaker.

Along with the DLLs and REG files mentioned in the original solution, William has put together a detailed PDF explaining the registry changes CS3 users will need to make to get their AI and PSD thumbnails back.

You can download the PDF, DLL and REG files in a nice neat ZIP from here.

Nice work, William.

With William’s kind permission, I’ve republished the instructions from his PDF here to give you an idea of what’s involved without having to download.

Enabling AI and PSD thumbnails in Windows Explorer

Adobe CS, CS2 and CS3 disables thumbnail previews in Windows Explorer. To correct this:

1). Go to ‘Start/All Programs/Accessories/System Tools/System Restore’ and follow the instructions to create a system restore point. In the unlikely event things go wrong, come back to this menu to undo any changes you’ve a made since.

2). Place the following files in C:Program FilesCommon FilesAdobeShell

  • psicon.dll
  • aiicon.dll

3). Run the two registry files.

That will work if you are running CS or CS2. For CS3 you will have to edit a key in the registry, to prevent Illustrator from deleting the key every time it starts.

4). Click start/run, type ‘regedit’, then locate and right click the following key:

 
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTCLSID{0C5B0CED-206B-4c39-B615-0EB23C824612}InProcServer32

Permissions on the right click menu
5). Click ‘Permissions‘.

6). Click the ‘Advanced‘ button.

7). Find *your* user name (i.e not WILLIAM(DELLWILLIAM)), highlight it, then click the ‘Edit…‘ button.

Permissions on the right click menu

8). Put a tick in the Deny column’s ‘Delete’ box, then click ‘OK’. Ignore any security warning and just click OK.

Permissions on the right click menu

9). This will prevent Illustrator from deleting the key when it starts.

That’s it. If everything has gone to plan, you should now have thumbnails.

>> jgaris points out in a comment below that Windows Vista has an issue with some of the uppercase directory names used in the Illustrator reg file. The fix is straight forward.

To correct this, follow these steps:
1. Before double-clicking the file aiicon.dll.reg, open it in a text editor
2. On line 6 is the path to the aiicon.dll, but it is in CAPS. Change it to all lowercase (like the actual filename – aiicon.dll).
3. Save the file and close it, then double click the file to apply the registry changes.

The psicon.dll.reg is already correct and does not need to be edited.
Then restart your computer and all should be good.

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  • logic_earth

    Oooo very nice I was hoping someone would find a way to do this. I really dislike having to open Bridge just to find that one file I need.

  • dedicated adobe user since forever

    WOOHOO how totally awesome! i wasn’t aware the first fix existed and have really resented having to occasionally stuff around opening bridge when i just couldn’t remember from the filename what i was looking at.

    GUESS WHAT ADOBE – a lot of us aren’t mac users, so stop trying to force us to behave like them – just a thought.

    i was thinking myself fortunate not to have lost PDF thumbnails as well, even though they have now developed that nasty magenta frame

    THANK YOU mr developer and thank you SITEPOINT – *runs away to set it up*

  • http://www.appliedeye.com Appliedeye

    Oh nice thanks for posting!

  • http://www.sitepoint.com AlexW

    Oooo very nice I was hoping someone would find a way to do this. I really dislike having to open Bridge just to find that one file I need.

    Yeah, I guess Adobe built Bridge but most of us have gotten over it. ;)

  • Mack

    I’m running CS3 on Vista… The photoshop thumbnails now work GREAT (THANKS!!!), but I can’t seem to get the illustrator thumbs to work properly. Any hints?

  • http://rollerscapes.net s.stok

    O yes!!!
    I works like a charm, i always thought this was an bug or something.
    But it works again!

  • http://rollerscapes.net s.stok

    Cool, it also work for PDF :)
    I never have this in the first place.

  • luponero

    Great! That’s what I looking for. Bridge, on my laptop open slowly. Most of the time I use explorer to access files. Say said, “gotten over it”. Thanks

  • mroemer

    does anyone know where the dll’s go in vista?

    I dont have a folder named Shell in Common FilesAdobe

  • mroemer

    never mind my question………I decided to create the Shell folder in C:Program FilesCommon FilesAdobe, drop the psicon.dll in there, run the reg file and now I am a very happy user :)

    Thank you very much!

  • http://www.sitepoint.com AlexW

    never mind my question………I decided to create the Shell folder in C:Program FilesCommon FilesAdobe, drop the psicon.dll in there, run the reg file and now I am a very happy user :)

    Thank you very much!

    Good work, mroemer.

    I’m not a Vista user, but I’m sure plenty of future readers will appreciate your R&D.

  • Eduardo M.

    Works great, thanks to all involved in finding this solution.
    Just one advise for all of you with non-english systems: edit the reg files to make them reflect the appropriate path, or it won’t work at all.

    Thanks again!

  • http://solasproductions.com/ mcsolas

    Thanks for publishing this. Although, I think its total bull sh. that we have to do a registry hack in this day and age just to do this, just one more reason that there is a 99.99% chance my next computer purchase is going be a mac.

  • http://www.sitepoint.com AlexW

    Thanks for publishing this. Although, I think its total bull sh. that we have to do a registry hack in this day and age just to do this, just one more reason that there is a 99.99% chance my next computer purchase is going be a mac.

    Not really. Having a Mac wouldn’t really help you here. This is an Adobe issue.

    In my experience, thumbnails at the OS level is something that PC does better than Mac, which is the main reason Adobe is having much more trouble getting traction with Bridge on the windows platform compared to Mac and by extension — and why these thumbnail fix posts get so many visits.

    Explorer automatically generates thumbs based on file extension and relying on local DLLs (often provided 3rd party providers like Adobe). It keeps that thumb data in the folder.

    Finder seems to rely on the authoring app to make a thumb when file is created and embedded into the file. So if you make a PNG in Photoshop it will have a thumbnail, but if download, browse or get the PNG elsewhere, it won’t have a thumb.

    As a result, Bridge is much more useful to Mac users.

  • Ved

    Awesome!, but, its not working, do I have to reboot?

  • Mr. O

    Ah! Great article, great screen shots and a *very* useful link.
    Good job :)
    Thank you!

  • macbcn

    Despite my nickname I’m a Windows user, and just like “Mack” says some comments above, I also use Vista and CS3, and I get to see fine the PSD thumbnails, but not the AI ones, it keeps on showing the Illustrator logo instead.

    Any hint on this anyone?

    Thanks!

  • Christine Shock

    However, there is a caveat here…the reason that Adobe created Bridge was not to drive users of Adobe products to use their image browser, but to prevent the problem of “this file is in use by another program and cannot be saved”. This is a flaw in the Windows code, as the thumbnail display can lock you out of saving your Photoshop or Illustrator document. This is why the psicon.dll and the aiicon.dll have been blocked out of the code, Adobe would rather have you use Bridge than to not be able to save your document due to a flaw in the Windows code that Microsoft refuses to fix.

  • http://www.sitepoint.com AlexW

    However, there is a caveat here…the reason that Adobe created Bridge was not to drive users of Adobe products to use their image browser, but to prevent the problem of “this file is in use by another program and cannot be saved”. This is a flaw in the Windows code, as the thumbnail display can lock you out of saving your Photoshop or Illustrator document. This is why the psicon.dll and the aiicon.dll have been blocked out of the code, Adobe would rather have you use Bridge than to not be able to save your document due to a flaw in the Windows code that Microsoft refuses to fix.

    Interesting. I haven’t seen that issue on any of my systems but thanks for the snippet on Adobe’s reasoning, Christine.

    I’m still a little skeptical though. There are 150+ comments between the two threads, and no-one seems to have mentioned a permissions issue.

    I’m not saying it can’t ever happen, but it doesn’t appear to be an issue demanding the kind of far-reaching response we’ve seen.

  • Cristian Eslava

    Hi,

    Thank you very much for this improvement in the workflow of designers. I changed the register for windows spaninsh users and posted it here:

    http://ceslava.com/blog/como-ver-las-miniaturas-de-los-psd-y-ai-en-el-explorador-de-windows/

    El mismo tutorial traducido e implementado los archivos y las instrucciones para Windows en español.

  • Elyzzea

    Great tips! Thank you. I was missing my Photoshop thumbnails :)
    The thumbnails for Photoshop work fine.
    However, I’m using Windows Vista and Adobe CS3, and the “aiicon.dll” doesn’t seem to work (as macbcn said above).
    I have no Illustrator thumbnails (neither .AI nor .EPS thumbnails) (not working in “Adobe Bridge” either by the way).
    Does anyone have a solution for this problem?

    Thanks in advance and again, great job! :)

  • jgaris

    I figured out why people are having problems with Illustrator icons in Vista with this fix… it is is very tiny issue, and easy to fix. Apparently the registry settings are case sensitive, and the supplied aiicon.dll.reg uses CAPS in the path to the file.

    To correct this, follow these steps:
    1. Before double-clicking the file aiicon.dll.reg, open it in a text editor
    2. On line 6 is the path to the aiicon.dll, but it is in CAPS. Change it to all lowercase (like the actual filename – aiicon.dll).
    3. Save the file and close it, then double click the file to apply the registry changes.

    The psicon.dll.reg is already correct and does not need to be edited.

    Then restart your computer and all should be good.

  • Valentin

    Thanks a lot. You have taken a lot of stress from a poor designer´s mind. Great site and great find. Thanks to the developer. Cheers.

  • http://www.sitepoint.com AlexW

    @jgaris: Nice work. I’ve copied your instructions to an update to the post above.

  • Anonymous

    Hi, I have had the problem of Photoshop not saving my file because it is open somewhere else, but I haven’t seen that problem in a long time and i’m using the solution here for the thumbnails.

    In another computer, that is loaded with Phosotoshop and Ilustrator CS3 the Ilustrator icons show the orange generic one, even that I changed the path to lowercase as someone pointed out and still no icons from AI. They look fine in Bridge, of course.

    Any help? Thanks…

  • http://www.sitepoint.com AlexW

    Any help? Thanks…

    If you’re using Vista, you might want to try jgaris’ solution above.

  • http://www.alebrijes.com jlgarcia

    If you’re using Vista, you might want to try jgaris’ solution above.

    Well, I did it before posting here. The problem is after doing what is stated here and is not working with the Illustrator icons, just with the Photoshop ones, so, any help? Thanks :)

  • Xsmoke

    Hey, i’m using Vista 32-bit Home Edition
    and i am the only user of this pc.
    In the registry i do not have my username in any of the entries.

    Users(Core DuoUsers)
    Administrators (CoreDuoAdministrators)
    SYSTEM
    CREATOR OWNER

    Can someone tell me which i should use.
    Thanks in advance.

  • Statix

    I have also had problems getting this to work with Illustrator CS3 on Vista32; i tried all the extra remedy solutions too, none of them work. But here’s something I noticed: if you right click an .ai file and go to Properties, the little icon in the upper left corner of the dialog will be the thumbnail, it just doesn’t show up in Explorer.. pretty strange. I noticed this after editing the registry settings created by the .reg file, the last few have a space in them so I thought that might be a mistake. That may or may not have anything to do with it, but like I said, i only noticed the thumbnail in Properties after removing these spaces by hand in the registry; could be wrong.

  • Statix

    Another thing: removing those spaces in the registry keys changes the .ai icon from a Vista vector logo to a bitmap flower logo. Beats me, i’ll keep messing around with it.

  • Statix

    Yes, removing the spaces in the keys the .reg file creates INDEED causes the thumbnail to appear in the Properties dialog. I’m surprised the Explorer thumbnails aren’t working though since inside each “shellex” key for .ai and .eps files, there are IconHandler and PropertySheetHandlers. The PropertySheetHandlers works (with spaces deleted), IconHandler doesn’t apparently, and the two keys point to the same CLSID, but are formatted differently. So once again, I’ll keep fiddling with it and get it hacked out.

  • Statix

    I’m stumped, I’ve tried all sorts of registry hacks and I’ve come to the conclusion that the problem lies within the aiicon.dll. The DLL itself is last modified 7/05 while the psicon.dll is last modified 12/05 and it works fine. So maybe a newer version would fix it. As of now the best i’ve been to accomplish is to allow for a Preview tab in the Properties dialog that gets enabled when you delete the strange spaces in the .reg file, as well as doing the permissions hack to prevent the keys from being deleted. Thats as much as I can accomplish, maybe someone who can locate a newer version of the aiicon.dll can try it out.

  • Fraser smith

    this still dosent work i have copyed the .dll’s after fixing the “Case sensitive aiicon.dll” line 6 of the dll,
    i did the regedit fix,
    still no AI icons, maybe my user settings is all messed up
    duplicate entries
    something of interest
    i removed inheritance
    thus deleting all previous users for the aiicon.dll file, then creating just a user permission for me
    being fraserbra/ANTEC900 also me being the administrator, and no luck, even after a restart, i then added the other key entries MANUALLY

  • micon

    The psicon.dll.reg went in without problem. aiicon.dll.reg gives me an error? Cannot import …aiicon.dll.reg: Error accessing the registry.
    thanks

  • micon

    It isn’t a permissions problem. I exported the contents of {0C5B0CED-206B-4c39-B615-0EB23C824612} and deleted the key
    from the registry, tried again and failed to merge aiicon.dll.reg
    then merged the exported key back in with no problem.

  • ThankGod!!!

    This web page literally saved my butt! Whomever figured this out is a rock god and I hope they are getting lots of sex! I cannot believe Adobe would actually engineer this to happen. I wasted a whole day re-installing software trying to figure out why this was not showing up. It’s absolutely insane and if any Adobe programmers or designers are reading this, stop being idiots and start making your products user-friendly, not user-hostile!!! I would’ve thought that the hatred Microsoft has elicited would’ve showed you that! And again, props for this page. What a save!

  • Dam-world

    I have Windows Vista too but nothig even if I follow all new steps (rename into the dll aiicon.dll in lowercase)!
    Someone have a solution please?!?!?

  • Tammy

    If you don’t have the Adobe SHell folder in your common files…like me… I did what someone else suggested… in my common files folder I had just “adobe” and then inside that folder I added “Shell” and put the .dll files in there and VOILA !! It worked !!! Good luck !!

  • poz

    how to change a size icon ?

  • gfxartist

    Okay, I have a (probably) dumb question. Does it matter if my program files are not located in the C: directory? I have a custom build computer and have a different directory letter for program files (running 2 hard drives, one for programs and the other for data storage). I’ve run this fix on my work PC and it’s like magic. However, on my home PC I can’t get it to work. Any ideas?

  • gfxartist

    Okay, I have a (probably) dumb question. Does it matter if my program files are not located in the C: directory? I have a custom build computer and have a different directory letter for program files (running 2 hard drives, one for programs and the other for data storage). I’ve run this fix on my work PC and it’s like magic. However, on my home PC I can’t get it to work. Any ideas?

    (If it matters, I’m running XP Pro)

  • gfxartist

    NM!!! I answered my own question. I edited the provided registry files in notepad and changed the directory from C: to my directory letter where the programs are stored. Re-ran the dll.reg files and “presto” my thumbnails are back! I bow down to the person who created this fix…THANK YOU!!!

  • Trevor

    Ok i found the fix for the issue for writing to the aiicon.dll error. first open up the registry and go [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTAdobe.Illustrator.EPS and go (rigjt click, go permissions, and go advanced, select your name ex: administrator(###Yourcomputername) and go edit, and select full controll, and apply.

    Next go to [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTAdobe.Illustrator.13 and do the same thing.. Right click, go permissions, go advanced, select the same … administrator(##your name) and go edit, select fill controll, and apply.

    Then close the regristy, and run the aiicon.dll reg edit icon.. andn you should beable to write the regristry keys then follow the rest of the steps.

    However i my .eps thumbnails still dont show up. It did right the reg keys!

  • Bruce

    I got the .psd thumbnails to work in Vista, but still no .ai thumbnails even after trying the reg key fix. has ANYONE gotten it to work in Vista using CS3? If so HOW??

  • Jay

    I decided to further investigate the problem of this hack not working in Vista. In the end, I concluded that Vista has a problem processing aiicon.dll, and it WILL NOT work under Vista, although there may be alternatives.

    First of all, I tried to make sense of what the registry entries were accomplishing. Here are select lines from the .reg file provided for the hack:

     
    ---> [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTCLSID{0C5B0CED-206B-4c39-B615-0EB23C824612}]
    
    

    This line creates a communication handler that will be assigned to the Adobe DLL file containing the code to process Illustrator icons. It is called a class ID or a GUID, and was created solely for this purpose. You could generate any number of these arcane-looking entries with a simple utility called GUIDGEN.EXE which comes with Visual Studio… It is meaningless in itself, until it is assigned in the following line to the aiicon.dll.

     
    --->[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTCLSID{0C5B0CED-206B-4c39-B615-0EB23C824612}InProcServer32]
    @="C:\Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\Shell\aiicon.dll"
    "ThreadingModel"="Apartment"
    
    

    These lines assume that you’ve put the aiicon.dll file into it’s default location, but if not, feel free to modify it as appropriate.

     
    --->[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT.aiShellEx]
    
    --->[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT.aiShellEx{BB2E617C-0920-11d1-9A0B-00C04FC2D6C1}]
    @="{0C5B0CED-206B-4c39-B615-0EB23C824612}"
    
    

    Okay, these entries are the meat of the matter. This is telling Windows that for Illustrator files (ending in .ai), it is going to extend its capabilities with a Shell Extension (ShellEx). The key {BB2E617C-0920-11d1-9A0B-00C04FC2D6C1} is a call to XP’s ‘Summary Info Thumbnail Handler’. Although Vista has a newer method of extracting thumbnails, this is still supported. (It is based on a routine known as IExtractImage instead of Vista’s , and does not support the ‘details’ pane in Vista’s Explorer. In Vista, a continuous spectrum of user-selectable sizes is available rather than the discrete sizes provided in XP. These are referred to as Live Icons.)

     
    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT.epsShellEx]
    
    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT.epsShellEx{BB2E617C-0920-11d1-9A0B-00C04FC2D6C1}]
    @="{0C5B0CED-206B-4c39-B615-0EB23C824612}"
    
    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTAdobe.Illustrator.EPSshellex]
    
    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTAdobe.Illustrator.EPSshellexIc onHandler]
    @="{0C5B0CED-206B-4c39-B615-0EB23C824612}"
    
    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTAdobe.Illustrator.EPSshellexPr opertySheetHandlers]
    
    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTAdobe.Illustrator.EPSshellexPr opertySheetHandlersAIPage]
    @="{0C5B0CED-206B-4c39-B615-0EB23C824612}"
    
    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTAdobe.Illustrator.12shellex]
    
    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTAdobe.Illustrator.12shellexIco nHandler]
    @="{0C5B0CED-206B-4c39-B615-0EB23C824612}"
    
    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTAdobe.Illustrator.12shellexPro pertySheetHandlers]
    
    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTAdobe.Illustrator.12shellexPro pertySheetHandlersAIPage]
    @="{0C5B0CED-206B-4c39-B615-0EB23C824612}"
    
    
  • Jay

    Oops, ignore the previous post… it posted too soon. Sorry :( Here is the complete gist of what I was trying to say. It is long and involved, but *should * be comprehendable to non-programmers, and those curious enough. Fool with your registry at your own risk! There is no undo button!

    I decided to further investigate the problem of this hack not working in Vista. In the end, I concluded that Vista has a problem processing aiicon.dll, and it WILL NOT work under Vista, although there may be alternatives.

    First of all, I tried to make sense of what the registry entries were accomplishing. Here are select lines from the .reg file provided for the hack:

     
    —> [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTCLSID{0C5B0CED-206B-4c39-B615-0EB23C824612}]
    
    

    This line creates a communication handler that will be assigned to the Adobe DLL file containing the code to process Illustrator icons. It is called a class ID or a GUID, and was created solely for this purpose. You could generate any number of these arcane-looking entries with a simple utility called GUIDGEN.EXE which comes with Visual Studio… It is meaningless in itself, until it is assigned in the following line to the aiicon.dll.

     
    --->[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT.aiShellEx{BB2E617C-0920-11d1-9A0B-00C04FC2D6C1}]
    @=”{0C5B0CED-206B-4c39-B615-0EB23C824612}”
    
    

    The call to “Summary Info Thumbnail Provider” is not the problem. It works in Vista, and is used time and time again in the registry for other file types. The value above, {0C5B0CED-206B-4c39-B615-0EB23C824612} sets it towards the previously defined location of aiicon.dll. If you put the file where it belongs, this too works. It is easily tested by observing that the icons for .ai files revert to their old feathers.

     
    --->HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT.epsShellEx]
    
    --->[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT.epsShellEx{BB2E617C-0920-11d1-9A0B-00C04FC2D6C1}]
    @=”{0C5B0CED-206B-4c39-B615-0EB23C824612}”
    
    

    The exact same is repeated for EPS files, with the same references pointing the thumbnail provider towards the adobe dll file.

     
    --->[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTAdobe.Illustrator.EPSshellexIc onHandler]
    @=”{0C5B0CED-206B-4c39-B615-0EB23C824612}”
    
    

    This line is unnecessary for CS3. This is only for Icon display, and has nothing to do with thumbnail generation. If omitted, then Windows will use the icons for CS3 which are found in Illustrator.exe itself, rather than using the out-of-date ones in aiicon.dll.

     
    --->[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTAdobe.Illustrator.EPSshellexPr opertySheetHandlers]
    
    --->[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTAdobe.Illustrator.EPSshellexPr opertySheetHandlersAIPage]
    @=”{0C5B0CED-206B-4c39-B615-0EB23C824612}”
    
    

    These lines also have nothing to do with thumbnail generation or display. Rather, if you right-click on an .ai file, the PropertySheetHandlers Shell Extension tells Windows Explorer to add another page to the summary box. In this case, the ‘Illustrator Thumbnail’ tab. If this appears, it is another indication that Windows is properly finding aiicon.dll.

    …and so on with the .reg file, repeating these for other file types.

    Basically this .reg file kind of sucks, and doesn’t reflect CS3, even if it does work on XP. I thought its omissions might be part of the problem Vista fails to display the thumbnails, so I set about changing it. Here is my new and improved reg file:

     
    ------------------------better_AI_Thumb.reg----------------------
    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
    
    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTCLSID{0C5B0CED-206B-4c39-B615-0EB23C824612}]
    @="Illustrator Icon Handler"
    
    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTCLSID{0C5B0CED-206B-4c39-B615-0EB23C824612}InProcServer32]
    @="C:\Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\Shell\aiicon.dll"
    "ThreadingModel"="Apartment"
    
    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTCLSID{0C5B0CED-206B-4c39-B615-0EB23C824612}MiscStatus]
    "IconBits"="16"
    
    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT.aiShellEx]
    
    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT.aiShellEx{BB2E617C-0920-11d1-9A0B-00C04FC2D6C1}]
    @="{0C5B0CED-206B-4c39-B615-0EB23C824612}"
    
    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT.epsShellEx]
    
    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT.epsShellEx{BB2E617C-0920-11d1-9A0B-00C04FC2D6C1}]
    @="{0C5B0CED-206B-4c39-B615-0EB23C824612}"
    
    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTAdobe.Illustrator.EPSShellExPropertySheetHandlers]
    
    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTAdobe.Illustrator.EPSShellExPropertySheetHandlersAIPage]
    @="{0C5B0CED-206B-4c39-B615-0EB23C824612}"
    
    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTAdobe.Illustrator.12ShellExPropertySheetHandlers]
    
    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTAdobe.Illustrator.12ShellExPropertySheetHandlersAIPage]
    @="{0C5B0CED-206B-4c39-B615-0EB23C824612}"
    
    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTAdobe.Illustrator.13ShellExPropertySheetHandlers]
    
    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTAdobe.Illustrator.13ShellExPropertySheetHandlersAIPage]
    @="{0C5B0CED-206B-4c39-B615-0EB23C824612}"
    
    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionPropertySystemPropertyHandlers.ai]
    @="{0C5B0CED-206B-4c39-B615-0EB23C824612}"
    
    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionPropertySystemPropertyHandlers.eps]
    @="{0C5B0CED-206B-4c39-B615-0EB23C824612}"
    
    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionSharedDLLs]
    "C:\Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\Shell\aiicon.dll"=dword:00000001
    
    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionShellExtensionsApproved]
    
    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionShellExtensionsApproved{0C5B0CED-206B-4c39-B615-0EB23C824612}]
    @="Illustrator Icon Handler"
    ------------------------------------------------------------------
    
    

    The above registry file is basically the same, although it adds support for CS3 (Adobe.Illustrator.13) and more importantly, adds our com entry for aiicon.dll into Windows approved shell extensions. XP isn’t so picky on this, but Vista really cracked down on what it assumes when handling properties.

    This registry file works beautifully with CS3 on XP, but again, it does absolutely nothing on Vista.

    I’ve confirmed that the call to the ‘Thumbnail Summary’ works on Vista; I’ve confirmed that Explorer is indeed interacting with aiicon.dll (when it comes to displaying old icons or the Property Summary Page), but the shell extension to display the thumbnail doesn’t even seem to be being processed.

    Why is this??? We known that aiicon.dll works with CS3 on XP with exactly the same registry entries. I decided to run a process explorer on what happens when you view a file folder in Vista that contains .ai and .eps files in a thumbnail view.

    What happens when you view a folder containing Illustrator files? First, dllhost.exe executes a com handler {AB8902B4-09CA-4BB6-B78D-A8F59079A8D5} which is the process id for ‘Thumbnail Cache Out of Proc Server’: Explorer is reading the thumbnail cache. Then, an instance of mcupdate.exe executed, which is ‘Windows Media Store Update Manager’, and then briefly, verclsid.exe. No matter how many times I refreshed the window or restarted Explorer, I never found a reference to aiicon.dll or it’s com handler. It simply wasn’t being processed.

    This lead me to investigate verclsid.exe (found in WindowsSystem32) which stands for ‘Verify Class ID’. from the following blog, I gleaned this:

    MSDN: The Old New Thing -> http://is.gd/3O77q

    “To protect against buggy shell extensions, Explorer was modified to use a helper program called verclsid.exe whose job was to be the “guinea pig” and host the shell extension and do some preliminary sniffing around to make sure the shell extension passed some basic functionality tests before letting it run loose in Explorer. That way, if the shell extension went crazy, the victim would be the verclsid.exe process and not the main Explorer process.”

    This makes Windows more stable, but also appeared to be keeping my thumbnails from ever leaving the starting gates.

    To test this, I renamed verclsid.exe, and viewed the same folder. Immediately Windows Explorer crashed (where as before it must have erred out inside verclsid and was never noticed) with the following messages:

    Problem Event Name: APPCRASH
    Application Name: Explorer.EXE
    Application Version: 6.0.6000.16549
    Application Timestamp: 46d230c5
    Fault Module Name: aiicon.dll
    Fault Module Version: 11.0.0.0
    Fault Module Timestamp: 3f4b4692
    Exception Code: c0000005
    Exception Offset: 00001f38
    OS Version: 6.0.6000.2.0.0.768.3
    Locale ID: 2057
    Additional Information 1: d6aa
    Additional Information 2: 550813108d42c370043e28bb37aac5af
    Additional Information 3: d6aa
    Additional Information 4: 550813108d42c370043e28bb37aac5af

    To sum things up, thumbnails don’t appear because Vista has a problem with the way aiicon.dll processes them, and prevents it from even executing.

    I don’t think there is any way to make aiicon.dll compatible with Windows Vista, but if there are other DLLs out there that are specifically for processing Illustrator files, there is no reason they couldn’t be harnessed to a Shell Extension with a simple registry edit.

    Also Windows Vista now uses codecs for thumbnail generation and actively discourages shell extensions. If there are any Windows programmers out there, it shouldn’t be hard to get details for processing Illustrator files and write a custom one. I would much rather extend Explorer than rely on Bridge or any of the numerous “shell replacements”!

    Hope someone takes this from here or proves me wrong… :)
    Jay

    NOTE: To review your Illustrator registry entries, open a command console window and navigate to “C:Program FilesAdobeAdobe Illustrator CS3Support FilesContentsWindows”. Next execute “Illustrator /DUMPREGINFO” from the command prompt. This will start Illustrator inside of Windows, but will also create a textfile in the same directory called “registryinfo.txt’. Open this file up in Notepad and have a look at it!

  • http://www.sitepoint.com AlexW

    That’s some impressive reg sleuthing there, Jay.

    If you do manage to come across a viable Illustrator DLL for Explorer, and you’re happy to tell the world, I’d be happy to set you up to post it here. I don’t use Vista, but almost every week there are people around here asking for a Vista solution, so there’s an appreciative audience waiting there.

    Let me know if you’re interested- alex[at]

  • bugsnot

    Here’s what has to be in the regs for german systems^^

    aiicon.dll.reg:
    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

     
    
    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTCLSID{0C5B0CED-206B-4c39-B615-0EB23C824612}]
    
    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTCLSID{0C5B0CED-206B-4c39-B615-0EB23C824612}InProcServer32]
    @="C:\Programme\Gemeinsame Dateien\Adobe\Shell\AIIcon.dll"
    "ThreadingModel"="Apartment"
    
    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTCLSID{0C5B0CED-206B-4c39-B615-0EB23C824612}MiscStatus]
    "IconBits"="16"
    
    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT.aiShellEx]
    
    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT.aiShellEx{BB2E617C-0920-11d1-9A0B-00C04FC2D6C1}]
    @="{0C5B0CED-206B-4c39-B615-0EB23C824612}"
    
    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT.epsShellEx]
    
    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT.epsShellEx{BB2E617C-0920-11d1-9A0B-00C04FC2D6C1}]
    @="{0C5B0CED-206B-4c39-B615-0EB23C824612}"
    
    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTAdobe.Illustrator.EPSshellex]
    
    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTAdobe.Illustrator.EPSshellexIc onHandler]
    @="{0C5B0CED-206B-4c39-B615-0EB23C824612}"
    
    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTAdobe.Illustrator.EPSshellexPr opertySheetHandlers]
    
    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTAdobe.Illustrator.EPSshellexPr opertySheetHandlersAIPage]
    @="{0C5B0CED-206B-4c39-B615-0EB23C824612}"
    
    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTAdobe.Illustrator.13shellex]
    
    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTAdobe.Illustrator.13shellexIco nHandler]
    @="{0C5B0CED-206B-4c39-B615-0EB23C824612}"
    
    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTAdobe.Illustrator.13shellexPro pertySheetHandlers]
    
    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTAdobe.Illustrator.13shellexPro pertySheetHandlersAIPage]
    @="{0C5B0CED-206B-4c39-B615-0EB23C824612}"
    
    
    psicon.dll.reg:
    
    
    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
    
    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionSharedDLLs]
    
    "C:\Programme\Gemeinsame Dateien\Adobe\Shell\psicon.dll"=dword:00000001
    
    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT.psdShellEx]
    
    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT.psdShellEx{BB2E617C-0920-11d1-9A0B-00C04FC2D6C1}]
    
    @="{0B6DC6EE-C4FD-11d1-819A-00C04FB69B4D}"
    
    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTCLSID{0B6DC6EE-C4FD-11d1-819A-00C04FB69B4D}]
    
    @="Photoshop Icon Handler"
    
    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTCLSID{0B6DC6EE-C4FD-11d1-819A-00C04FB69B4D}InProcServer32]
    
    @="C:\Programme\Gemeinsame Dateien\Adobe\Shell\psicon.dll"
    
    "ThreadingModel"="Apartment"
    
     
  • Darlyn

    Thank you so much for this! I’m on Vista and thumbnails are working perfectly! As mroemer discovered above, all you have to do is create the C:Program FilesCommon FilesAdobeShell folder on Vista.

  • chris

    I wish I knew enough to even begin to tweak the registry, but thank you so much!

  • Daphna

    You just made my day very bright and shiney!
    I finally got to see my .ai and .psd thumbs afer a year of gazing at those annoying iconthumbs.
    I’ve been wondering how to see them without opening a whole new prog. like bridge.
    And it was here all the time…..
    Should have gone on this “search mission” a long time ago ;-)
    But Yes!!! Thank you sooooo much for this.
    greetings from a verrrrry happy me!

  • SilverPixel

    Thank you again Site Point & William.
    I’m running XP Prof and the routine worked great the first time.

  • SilverPixel

    Thank you again Site Point & William.
    I’m running XP Prof and the routine worked great the first time.

    I love Bridge (with ACR) for much of my workflow. But I also use Windows Explorer a lot.

  • spaceboy412

    any idea how to get this to work on xp64 pro?

  • buljag

    Oh my God! thank you sooo much…. it realy helps me ! just now i’m thinking of re-installing my xp to vista, but when i read this article, it felt like teardrops from heaven. again, thank you !

  • Denton

    yeh – this worked GREAT in x86, but now that ive moved to x64 i really really really miss the thumbs!
    im lost without them!
    anyone got any ideas for the 64bit environment?

  • skyline800

    I’m having the same problem with the 64bit environment. I followed the steps above and am having no luck.

  • pnapp1

    Get used to Bridge. I too run Vista 64 and I have not found a fix for this in a year of searching.

  • happy user

    thx for the good solution
    stopped reading after some posts that helped me
    works well on my win xp!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    :)

  • sadvistauser

    No fix to view eps thumbnails for Vista means I may go back to XP just for that purpose. This is a big headache and Bridge just doesn’t cut it.

  • mix

    Ah, so no fix for vista 64bit no wonder. I give up. I have spent many hours looking and trying things myself. Hard to believe it is still an issue with SP1 on vista 64 as well. Having the icons show the files is so handy. Very disappointed.

  • moodyedge

    all thats all very well if you know about reg edits etc but i doint and when i tried to follow that guide i couldnt….and that so called ‘key’ HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTCLSID{0C5B0CED-206B-4c39-B615-0EB23C824612}InProcServer32

    i did a search and it didnt find it…i also dont understand

    stages 2 and 3

    Place the following files in C:Program FilesCommon FilesAdobeShell
    psicon.dll
    aiicon.dll
    Run the two registry files.

    ??? can any1 translate this into really simple terms/guide as Im totally FEDUP with having to go through 20 files to find out which 1 im after in illustrator on cs3 for windows xp…I REFUSE TO BUY A MAC…I HATE THEM………………….but adobe on window3s aint good either. driving my round the twist

    HElp plz…………………

  • chache17

    to moodyedge,
    you first have to run the *.reg file in order for the key to be added to your registry, then do all the steps.

    But FIRST, backup the whole registry: run regedit > file > export… > -give it a name- > export range = all > Save

    Hope this helps, good luck.

    to the authors,
    thanks for the tweak, it’s working and I’m glad I won’t have to open all illustrator files just to see what is inside. I’m another thankful soul in this thread.

  • BlahBlah

    Adobe just doesn’t seem to realise the world does not revolve around them and their applications and their limited ways of doing things.

    I very seldom have a project that is ‘one application only’ or is immune from the need to use Explorer add-ins such as bulk renaming tools, one-stop indexed searches, and sourcecode/version control.

    Bridge just simply cannot handle a typical project which encompasses many files from many programs and the idea that we are going to give up on Explorer because Adobe seem to be the only people on the planet who can’t write a working previewer, or because of a minimal risk, rarely encountered bug with a simple workaround, is absurd. To reinvent the wheel as a square is nonsense.

    Of course, the other excuse is always “it must be cross-platform”. No. As a software developer I call that laziness (and a willingness to compromise product quality for no good reason).

  • pyro777

    I just tried to do this on my XP Pro 64 bit system and had no luck getting it to work. Has anyone else tried it on XP-64?

    Seems simple enough to do…can’t figure out why it didn’t work…

    TIA!

    Dean

  • IanSechler

    I’m running XP Pro SP3 on a fresh install, and this hasn’t worked. I’ve tried it twice. So unless I’m just doing something stupid…

    CS3 is my first CS, and looks like a fine piece of software, but Adobe really seriously has me questioning going BACK to Photoshop 7 now, simply because of some of the crap I’ve had to deal with so far.

    I’ve only installed pieces of the Master Collection (Acrobat, After Effect, Premiere, Encore, Soundbooth, Photoshop) but was also forced to swallow the pill of installing Bridge and Version Cue among other things. Programs I have no need or interest for, and cannot uninstall.

    Photoshop gave me no options for file associations. 5 did it. 7 did it. Why can’t CS3? After install the only file it was associated with aside from Adobe formats was BMP. I had to tell Windows which files Photoshop should associate with. And even then, things still seem broken.

    If I right click and tell a BMP file to “Preview”, it opens in CS3. Not what I want. If I tell it to “Preview”, I want it to open in Windows Picture and Fax Viewer. JPG files on the other hand, work as expected. “Open” opens in Photoshop, “Preview” opens in Windows Picture and Fax Viewer.

    And then we have the problem of thumbnails. For some reason BMP and PSD files have the Photoshop icon, but all of my JPG files do not. It’s still the standard Windows one. Ugh. It’s maddening.

    Having to go through Windows to tell Photoshop it’s file associations, I can deal with. I can fix the problem of BMPs not previewing with Windows Picture and Fax Viewer. But the utter lack of thumbnail previews is simply unacceptable.

    I’m finished with my rant… Is there help to be had for me since this fix hasn’t worked? Or should I just resign myself to uninstalling Photoshop CS3 and reinstalling Photoshop 7?

  • Peridot180

    Thanks a ton for posting this! I’ve been searching everywhere for a way to view my PSD and AI files in Windows Explorer and finally came across this site. I love Bridge and all, but sometimes I just want to view my files in Explorer because it’s faster and easier. I’m running Windows XP Professional 32-bit SP2 and it worked like a charm! Thank you so much!! :D

  • Uninhabited

    Thank you, it works a treat.

  • SBergstc

    I cannot get it to display .ai files in xp media center sp3 either. But I think I did figure out why the thumbnail displays a pink flower icon (or other icons). I have several .ai and .eps files that were made with different versions of Illustrator. If you check under the properties of each file, there are two new tabs after the reg edit. One reads “Illustrator Thumbnail” which displays a thumbnail of the image (as mentioned in a previous post) and the other reads Information. Under Information it tells what version of Illustrator was used to create the image as well as other info. Not real important info, but at least an explanation.

    PDF files are displaying, which did not work before so I’m happy with that.

    SBergstc

  • SBergstc

    Here’s a question… When checking under the “Illustrator Thumbnail” tab, there are radio buttons to choose the Icon Thumbnail bit size. All mine show 32-bit chosen… The 3rd entry in the .AI regedit indicates “16″ for “Iconbits”… Would this mean anything???

    SBergstc

  • kermith

    Cheers from Sweden!! Works sooo nice :)

  • Myr

    Hello,
    I placed the 2 dll in the right folders, I changed the key properly and it still doesn’t work! Is there anyone who can help, it seems this solution works for the most reactions I’ve read here.
    Thanks a lot.
    Myr

  • Anonymous

    i’ve the same ugly thumbs dissapearing problem after i installed acrobat8. the procedure described in sitePointBlog doesn’t help, …since it’s especially made for the illustrater abuse…:(

  • Anonymously

    i’ve the same ugly thumbs dissapearing problem after i installed acrobat8. the procedure described in sitePointBlog doesn’t help, …since it’s especially made for the illustrater abuse…:(

  • Anonymous

    Anyone have an answer how to get this implemented on a PC at work? I can’t figure out which one of the dozen listed users is mine.

    Thanks!

  • gibus

    no solution for vista and illustrator cs3?

  • ajyoung

    I’ve been searching for a way to prevent CS3 from replacing the thumbnails of my CS. CS thumbnails shows the version of the EPS and AI files (eg. EPS8, AI10) which is useful for my line of work. But after installing CS3, the thumbnail now shows only a generic image for EPS and AI.

    Would anyone know how to get back the thumbnails of CS back that shows the version numbers?

    Thanks!

  • isidore

    hello there….im having issues with pdf thumbnails in vista 32bit….

    can it be that no one official from adobe has a clue why everyone uses vista, suddenly lost the pdf THUMBNAILS????

    this is outrageous for a company like adobe…

    is there no way that i can get my pdf thumbnails back????

    thanks in advance

  • AIM: HughKazoo

    First vista systems (new laptops) and thumbnails for simple things like even jpg files flash on the screen in thumbnail view and then disappear to be replaced by icons. I’ve been reading about this through google and everyone is pointing to adobe but I have yet to see an answer. On some folders, some thumbs show, but on my network drive it is about one in 5. Crazy! Help?

  • Led foot dude

    OK so I’ve got Vista 64bit like a few others here and this fix doesn’t work for me either. I found from another group that you need a 32 bit app to create the thumbnail.

    For example, say you can only see the generic logo in window explore for your jpgs – open word 97 (or similar 32 bit app) and go to your jpg directory like your opening a new file (make sure your looking at your files as icons/Thumbnails and not in detail view). No need to actually open your jpg files just make sure that you can see the thumbnail.
    Close word and when you go back to explore you should see your jpgs made in CS3 as Thumbnails, thanks to your word app.

    A pain I grant you but I hate not being able to see my jps as Thumbnails, kind of makes you wonder why bother upgrading or at least buying a legit copy ????

  • Chloe

    the zip link is dead !!

  • Ludo

    Finally, after spending a fair bit of time it works!! Many of you may have experienced the same trouble!
    – a) the link for the download is dead.
    – b) you google aiicon.dll.reg, find it, then you follow all the instructions but still doesn’t work. What transpired for me was that the aiicon.dll.reg was corrupted (probably since it is a very old problem, + a lot of people were in the same situation and the files were somehow forwarded a lot resulting in some damage) (in fact the ‘damage’ was only a space that was inserted in the last 6 lines of the *.reg file (openable with a txt editor) as in the following examples: Ico nHandler, Pro pertySheetHandlers, Pro pertySheetHandlersAIPage). So i just removed the space to what seemed logical as in: IconHandler, PropertySheetHandlers etc…). I hope i am making some kind of sense. Then I followed the instructions. IT DEFINITELY worked for me.

    I am posting the whole shebang (the amended one and the corrupted one for reference to ‘illustrate’ my point. Thanks to Alex Walker who posted this in the first place.

    It now works like a Charm! Hurray after much head scratching all thumbnails are now back! Enjoy

    I am posting the whole shebang (the amended one and the corrupte one for reference to ‘illustrate’ my point. Thanks to Alex Walker who posted this in the first place.

    It now works like a Charm! Hurray after much head scratching all thumbnails are now back! Enjoy

    (I don’t know where to post the link files so I will do some research, but in the meantime will put it on limewire and emule, just look for: “ludovic aiicon Works! (was faulty).zip” (without the quotes).

  • Ludo

    Was able to upload the zip file:

    ww.savefile.com/files/1829285
    ww.snapdrive.net/qs/387af3321cc6
    ww.yourfilelink.com/get.php?fid=471902 (bottom right of the page & and wait a few seconds for some reason)

  • Malvis4

    Really… You guys saved my sanity with this… works great.

    Any idea on inDesign thumbnails?

    I’m running xp pro and CS3.

    Thanks!

  • Sarah

    This was AMAZING!!!! Thank you so much!

  • James Cilinder C.

    And… for CS4. What can I Do?

    Please.

  • Shaun

    Any luck with Vista 64? I have tried changing the path in the registry entries from Program Files to Program Files (x86) with no luck. Any other ideas?

  • Doug

    I tried the link titled “You can download the PDF, DLL and REG files in a nice neat ZIP from here” but the link doesn’t seem to be working – it brings up a “page not found” message from the tiscali web site. Anyone else having that problem? If anyone has the file, I’d really appreciate being able to download it — perhaps via a post on box.net or other file sharing service. It would be tremendously appreciated!

  • Doug

    Oh my gosh – I’m so embarrassed – In my previous post I reported that the link to the zip in the article was broken and requested that someone post the file. If I would have read the comments more thoroughly, I would have found that Ludo did exactly that! Thank you, Ludo, for doing that *and* for fixing a problem with the file.

    Note: The first two links to the zip file in Ludo’s second post do work (just add the first w so they start with www — for some reson on my display the first w was truncated.) I couldn’t get the the third link to work, but, no matter, since all three links are used for downloading the same file — I’m sure Ludo posted it three times just to give folks some options for downloading.

    I’m going to try the procedure soon and will report back here with results. Thanks so much to all the people who have worked to correct this problem, including William M Park, and Ludo.

  • Doug

    OK. Ludo’s zip package worked for me to restore PSD and AI thumbnails in Explorer. Hooray!

    Unfortunately, I still don’t have PDF thumbnails (they’re what I really want — and the reason I started on the quest that led me here). So it’s back to the drawing board on that one.

    Anyway, the PSD and AI thumbnail fix is working great with no adverse effects so far (e.g., no performance issues, instabilities, etc.) I’ll report back here if any problems crop up resulting from this fix — assume “no news is good news.”

    Meanwhile — if anyone has any more ideas on a fix for displaying PDF thumbnails in Explorer, I’d love to hear your advice!

  • Doug

    Now I do have limited pdf thumbnail support. As I had read elsewhere, you can generate pdf thumbnails by using the “Open File” dialog box in Reader 8. When you select thumbnail view for this dialog box, it generates thumbnails of all the pdfs in the current folder — and they persist so they can be seen in Explorer. This also works if you use the Open dialog box in Word 2007 (set the view to ‘thumbnails’ and select the option to show all files or the pdf files won’t be displayed).

    I believe that you need Reader 8 for this to work (even if you just use Word to create the thumbnails) because the thumbnails are created by an exectuable that is installed with Reader 8 (AcroRd32Info.exe) – it is automatically activated when you use the Open dialog box in thumbnail view. You can see the process start in Task Manager (sort tasks alphabetically) when you enter a folder that does not have the thumbnails generated. The task stays active while the thumbnails are generated and then goes away after a few seconds. (Take all this with a grain of salt!)

    I’m not sure if you need to perform the PSD and AI thumbnail fix described in this blog post for this to work with PDF files. But I do know it works for me after performing that fix — so if it’s not working for you, then try performing that fix and see if it works then. (I also re-installed Acrobat Reader 8 — that may be needed in some cases, too.)

    I’m glad there is a partial solution to the lack of pdf thumbnails, but it’s only partial — I say ‘partial’ because you manually need to go in and use an Open dialog box to create the thumbnails — no way I’m going to do that on the hundreds of folders in which I have pdfs. I sure hope Adobe does something about this — (I know they blame it on Microsoft, but come on Adobe, that’s baloney.)

  • Elias

    The same way will work with Adobe CS4

  • Platinum

    Thank You! Ive been wondering how to do this for the longest. Very nice tutorial.

  • Mike

    For vista 64 bit users:

    Creat a shortcut on desktop and name it as “windows explorer (32 bit)”
    1) Right click on desktop
    2) click on >New> Shortcut
    3) type in the path without quotes “C:WindowsSysWOW64explorer.exe /separate”

    Open the shortcut browse to file and bingo you see the .psd tumbs!

    PS First install the dll + reg files in dir!!!!!

    Mike

  • Justin

    The link is 404ing on me, anyone have another copy of the files online?

  • Justin

    nevermind, as others figured out, ludo already reposted above in the comments. thanks

  • Richard

    This one is for Vista 64bitters and CS4. For retrieving pdf-thumbnails I used the “open file”-box of MSWord like Doug said. In the upper right corner of that box you can search for “pdf” change the view to normal thumbnails. Like this you can search your whole documents-drive and not having to do the proces for each location.

    When I buy a program I’d like to have extra functionality and NOT more and less functionality. Just extra.

  • Kezcer

    Hi everyone,

    I’ve posted this a few places around the web now as everyone seems to be having issues with thumbnails under Vista. Hopefully it will work for you.

    For those of you who have not been able to get this working under Vista, or have had mixed results (e.g. thumbs show in some folders but not others), here is a brief explanation and the solution.

    Explanation:
    Jay did an excellent bit of investigative work above but didn’t quite crack it. The real issue is that Vista caches thumbnails differently than XP did. In XP every folder with thumbnails had a hidden thumbs.db file. In Vista all the thumbnail files are cached centrally in one location.

    Some of you don’t see thumbnails after applying the fix because Vista is returning the thumbnail images from the central cache instead of regenerating them for any files you have previously viewed in a thumbnail mode (i.e. any explorer view except “list” or “detail”).

    Furthermore, the thumbnail refresh trigger/mechanism in Vista also differs from XP. Too detailed to get into really (i.e. I’m too lazy to type that much), but if you copy or even just move your PSD files from one location to another, then you should be able to see the thumbnails. Even simply renaming the directory they are in should allow you to view the thumbnails as Vista will generate new ones.

    However, that is not a real solution to the problem because if you copy/move the files back to the original location or rename the directory back to it’s former name, then Vista again pulls bogus thumbnails from its central cache.

    Solution:
    Simply clear Vista’s thumbnail cache. How? Microsoft have already provided a tool in Vista to do this for you, it’s the Disk Cleanup tool.

    The Disk Cleanup tool is found under
    All Programs – Accessories – System Tools – Disk Cleanup
    or just hit WindowsKey + r to get the run box and type cleanmgr.exe

    When the tool starts, select the “Files from all users on this computer” option. The tool will then do a bit of calculating and present you with a list of check-box items to choose from for cleaning tasks.

    Make sure that the Thumbnails option (near the bottom of the list – you’ll need to scroll down) is the only one that has a check in it and click OK.

    Go back to a folder with some PSDs in it that weren’t showing thumbnails correctly, select one of the thumbnail views and you should now see them appear. If your files are on a network drive, it make take a bit for the thumbnails to appear, but they will eventually.

    Enjoy!

    Tim

  • Katy

    just tried to download the file and get the message that the link is broken.
    Is this zip file available anywhere else?

  • happy

    reading the forum posts will solve it.

    thanks!!

  • ecogiochi

    on CS4 there isn’t C:Program FilesCommon FilesAdobeShell directory….

  • n00

    bew….
    using vista 64 and CS4.
    tried to edit the reg files, put inside shell in prog.files (x64) AND prog. files.
    tried to clean the thumbnail cache. tried even the explorer shortcut thing….
    no good…
    *sigh*
    i guess is back to F******ing bridge again…

  • zenkai76@yahoo.com

    I found a work around…. I use Acrobat writer 8, but I found that if I download Acrobat Reader 9.1 and open up my directory of PDFs and view them as thumbnails, acrobat reader creates thumbnails. Now I can view these thumbnails with windows explorer

    I use Vista 64 Business edition BTW

  • Altaf

    Thanks, It was a pain arranging files in windows, I had to transfer files to my MacBook Pro and see the preview. Opeing in Bridge was another problem, waiting to load was another pain Adobe gave us after paying so much for the software.

    Thanks a ton for the help and work around. But I still cannot view my eps files. Any help, Im using Win Xp Pro SP3 CS3 Master Collection

  • shr

    Sigh there is no Adobe/Shell folder in CS4 – anyone worked around that yet?