By Alex Walker

Adobe CS2 and the Case of the Disappearing Thumbnails!

By Alex Walker

For all its unquestionable power, Adobe Creative Suite 2 certainly has a number of irritating habits.

Number #1 with a bullet on my list has been its deliberate disabling of thumbnail views of Illustrator and Photoshop native files.

‘Pre-CS’ versions of both programs did an excellent job of providing a quick refresher of what each file contained, but with the birth of CS (and suspiciously enough, Adobe Bridge which DOES give you full thumbnails) all PSD, EPS and AI files suddenly reverted to being displayed as nothing more than blithe little icons in Windows Explorer. Welcome to 1999.

Figuring this was probably something that had been disabled rather than removed, Matt spent a little time researching the issue this afternoon, and thanks to some outstanding work by Mike Golding and Stewart Whaley, here are the findings.

A screenshot of icons changed to thumbnails

In short, the issue is solvable. This solution does, however require you to make some registry changes and install a couple of DLLs. It also assumes you installed CS2 in it’s default folders.

However be warned: playing with the registry is a dark, dangerous art, properly understood only by great wizards and the clinically insane. Basically, we can’t guarantee you won’t turn your PC into a large blancmange.

However, if you’re feeling brave (or you just really like blancmange), here are the instructions.

  1. Download this file to a temporary folder.
  2. Shut down all Adobe programs.
  3. Set a ‘system return point’ to allow you to rollback the changes should anything go wrong (if your system supports it).
  4. Unzip it to ‘C:Program FilesCommon FilesAdobeShell‘. You could quite likely already have either of the DLL files. No matter.
  5. Run ‘aiicon.dll.reg‘ by double clicking it.
  6. Run ‘psicon.dll.reg‘ by double clicking it.

That should do it. If you can’t smell smoke right now it probably worked. To be fair, we’ve had no problems at all, and it’s worked faultlessly everytime. Memories of long past registry meltdowns die hard though.

Ah,.. sometimes it’s the tiny joys that really make a difference.

There is an update to this post for Adobe CS3 users published here.

  • Hmm, I have an older version of PS (7) and it renders thumbnails, as you said. I wonder why they would stop doing this? It seems a bit stupid really.

  • I wonder why they would stop doing this?

    The line that Adobe have taken is that there was “a problem in the operating system” rendering thumbnails in Explorer, which resulted in files staying open, even after you had closed Photoshop or Illustrator. As Alex hinted, it is quite coincidental that this “problem” was discovered at the same time that Adobe Bridge was introduced and that users were encouraged to use that rather than Explorer to navigate files.

  • Wow, I’ve been wondering about that since I installed CS2 about 2 months ago. Excellent article!!

  • Ahh.. the days of unnecessary dives into the Bridge are now over. Many thanks!

  • On the topic of CS2. Any one know a good, clear resource for the proper use of Version Cue on a network?

  • mmj

    Adobe bridge is a headache for me. Even on a 3ghz pentium 4 with 512 MB Ram it is excessively slow to load, use and navigate. I much preferred the ‘file browser’ of the old Photoshop days.

  • Everyday I’m wondering where my thumnails have gone but I thought it was a problem with my laptop or something.
    Just a minute before reading the heading of this article I was getting annoyed, waiting for a thumbnail that never showed :p
    Thanks for the fix.

    I’m also very unhappy with the adobe bridge system, each time I use save-for-web it locks up for like 5 seconds and it somehow only works quickly if I alt-tab through some programs.

  • Pingback: » Blog Archive - » Adobe CS2 and the Case of the Disappearing Thumbnails! Alex Jones - No, not that Alex Jones… Really, I’m not the Alex Jones you think I am.()

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the heads up.

    Now I don’t have to rename all my files so I know what they are.

    welcome back 1.psd, 2.psd and 3.psd :)

  • Savagefire, I messed with VC for a little while when my company first got CS2. Previously our team of 3 has been working with a shared network folder where we store all our files, and our organization system pretty much involves a lot of folders and subfolders and naming conventions for versioning. I’ve been wanting to get us on a better version & asset management system.

    However, from everything I could tell in my research, to use a network folder with VersionCue, you must install it on the server. Alas, our files are on a company-wide file server and there’s no way our admin will let us install something on there. So our only option would be to store each of our projects/workspaces locally and open up our hard drives to everyone on the team, which is just not an acceptable solution – I want everything in one place!

    I must say the VC documentation that comes with CS and from Adobe’s website is severely inadequate and vague. I tried creating a workspace on a network folder anyway, and it broke VC so badly I had to reinstall. So far, I’ve just tabled it.

    Does anyone have any VersionCue success stories? How about suggestions for migrating from regular file folders to a Version Control solution?

  • Great article! I always appreciate your injection of humor, Alex. :)

  • extremer

    Excellent article works everytime :)

    Great Job!

  • Btw, there’s this other bug that’s really bugging me… after working on a file for a bit, I want to type in a value in the zoom input box, but when I type in a value it doesn’t edit the highlighted zoom value but it changes the opacity of the layer I’m working on :S

  • Thanks for this… I even reinstalled Photoshop but with out any luck… I was thinking this was a problem with windows.

    Bridge is ok, but I will love it when it came close to Aperture on the Mac for pictures or like Portfolio with a lot more file formats to display.

    Anyway, I use AcDsee for managing pictures.

    Thanks again for this fix, I really appreciate it.

  • Andy Beeching

    Excellent, worked perfect for me, very useful tip! :)

  • orbital

    GREAT solution. Works flawlessly! THANKS!!!!

  • macadocious

    dope add. great help. muchas gracias hermano.

  • Carina

    Muchas gracias!
    Thanks a lot! I’m following this issue in some forums and blogs, but I found no solutions yet. Hope this one helps.


    Thankyou and ve Teşekkürler

  • Andrew (hair pulled out)

    After pulling NEARLY all my hair out trying to find out why this fix didn’t work for me (and reading thank yous from all the people who it did work for), I realized that the two .reg files assume that your Windows installation is on the C: drive… mine was on the D: drive! … gyeaahhhh … wasting time pulling my hair out makes me want to pull my hair out even MORE!!

    Be careful about this! (to fix it just use the .reg files in notepad to change the path).

  • Thom K in CA

    Thank you so much! This has been annoying the crap out of me for a long time. Worked perfectly for me except that the AI thumbnails seem to be pixelated. Probably something I’m doing wrong in illustrator since I’m a casual user.

    I have noticed that some of my .PSD files do not display a thumbnail until I’ve opened and resaved. I think these may be from a PS3 version files.

    Thanks again for figuring this out!

  • Nice Article, i have tried this, its gr8.

  • bluesluver

    This solved the problem for me however the setting seems to be only temporary as the thumb nails go away usually everytime I shut down but I have had them go away without shutting down or rebooting and I have had it work after restarting.
    I run ‘aiicon.dll.reg’ again and it works but never stays for long. Any ideas?

  • NeZDoctor


    Adobe doesn’t even create this foder during install, but I followed instructions and IMMEDIATELY the psd thumbnails worked.



    hi thanks. this works great in windows xp 32. does anyone know how to get this working in window 64bit?

    thanks in advance.

    – Q

  • Mike

    Fantastic post. Now if I could only figure out why my Illustrator files (though associated with AI) won’t show the icon. Works on laptop, not on desktop. Grrrrr.

  • Killerbean

    Just tried it on Windows Xp 64bit. Works the same.

  • This solved the problem for me however the setting seems to be only temporary as the thumb nails go away usually everytime I shut down but I have had them go away without shutting down or rebooting and I have had it work after restarting.
    I run ‘aiicon.dll.reg’ again and it works but never stays for long. Any ideas?

    Bluesluver, I’d venture a guess that you’re running some sort of antivirus/firewall program that is set up to revert changes that might be made by a virus/spyware. It appears to not trust your ability to make changes to reg. You might be able to diable it for a short time while you solidify these changes.

  • Daniel de Jong

    What a fantastic tip, i’ve searched for a while now, and i knew it was possible, so THANK YOU! now i won’t have to open it first, but look at it first. sounds more logical!

  • nib95

    Just want to say thanks for providing this very necessary solution!
    Was wondering why it stopped working for me. Unusually CS2 shows thumbnail PSD prviews on my laptop, just not my desktop.

    Anyway, again, appreciate your help!

  • Anonymous


    This is really very useful to know, as it is very inconvenient to be tied to one file browser. I wanted to make one point, however. Running the registry merge did not initially work for me. This is because it assumes that your “Program Files” reside on C:, which is true for most users, but not me.

    Anyway, if you still want it to work, just open the psicon.reg by clicking “open with” and choose notepad. there are two lines that include start with
    change the the X in the lines starting:

    “X:\Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\
    @=”X:\Program Files\Common Files\Adobe

    to the letter for the drive that your “program files” are on

    what is below between the dashed lines will work if they are on drive X:

    then just save the changes and click psicon.reg
    (do the same for aiicon.reg if you also use Adobe Illustrator)

    I think this is pretty simple to do, but you should always consult your local computer geek before doing anything you think could damage your computer!



    “X:\Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\Shell\psicon.dll”=dword:00000001





    @=”Photoshop Icon Handler”


    @=”X:\Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\Shell\psicon.dll”


    Thanks Again, Alex et All. If my note helps anyone else, it is the least I can do to show my appreciation!

    – HandsOff

  • Yes, the reg files are certainly set up for the default drive being C. I decided that it would be most useful to the largest audience if I made it a pretty much point-n-click, but I knew that doing that wouldn’t be too helpful for users with non-standard windows setups.

    Nice work, HandsOff. Appreciate the time you’ve taken to lay out the edits.

  • Nik

    Similar issue with XP 64, the program files folder is “Program Files (x86)” instead of “Program Files”.

  • Nik

    Even so, it doesn’t work for me under XP 64.

  • Phil Rose

    Worked a treat on both my laptop and desktop. Wonderful.

  • Chris S

    Thank you very much, it worked flawlessly! Thank God for computer wizards.

  • Joe D

    You are the King of thumbnails! Thank you for your easy-to-implement workaround. Fabulous!

  • Ben J Walker

    I LOVE YOU!!! Thanks so much for that!

  • Lagen

    Thank You
    and what abaout INDESIGN “ghost” Thumbs?
    Any suggestion too?

  • ChadoeKyll

    Bluesilver, your preview flushing might actual be related to a setting in windows explorer.
    Try this to see if the setting is correct.
    In Windows Explorer go to Tools|Folder Options
    Select the View tab
    Find the ‘Do not cache thumbnails’ option.
    If it is checked, problem solved. If not, well…good luck.

    I’m REALLY hoping that’s all it is. Otherwise try Googling ‘windows explorer thumbnail cache error’ or something like that.

    Good Luck,

  • Ricardo-Brasil

    thanks!!! u solved my problem perfectly!

  • Sharon

    Thanks for this!! Just upgraded my laptop, and haven’t had any earlier versions of Photoshop installed. Your fix is perfect!!!
    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  • sham

    oh good friggin grief…after fiddling to the ends of the earth with my folder settings in some vain attempt to get these dang things to show, thank the good lord google ended me up here. THANKYOU for answering this question.

    and gawddang adobe for mucking with the thumbnails.

    *kind reagrds*

  • Scrat The Rat

    Thank you……peace now resides in the house….no more screams of frustration, midnight rituals and incantations to the Gods…..Oh! yes!, and I think I come under the heading of clinically insane.

  • Bassek

    AHHH – That helped a lot! THX

  • evan

    Hi, my setup does not have a “C:Program FilesCommon FilesAdobeShell folder “…
    The “C:Program FilesCommon FilesAdobe” folder has the following subfolders:

    SVG Viewer 3.0

    What to do?

  • pete

    mine does not have the SHELL directory either! Help!

  • JoKKe-svin

    Doesn’t work. I have CS (not CS2). Does that make a difference?

  • Guys, it sounds like you’ve got non-standard Adobe setups, there so it’s hard to sit here and tell you precisely where your Adobe shell folder is. Perhaps you had older installs of Photoshop used a different structure and CS2 inherited those folder structures.

    If so, you would need to text edit the REG files to reflect that structure. However, you’re getting into serious reg editing then so, as I said above, be careful.

  • NC

    I don’t had the shell dir also, but i tried something like creating it in the ‘C:Program FilesCommon FilesAdobe’, and it worked for me.

  • slehc

    Are you all talking about black or blank thumbnails? I have seen people mention icons instead of thumbnails – all I have is a black thumbnail. Will this fix it?

  • Are you all talking about black or blank thumbnails? I have seen people mention icons instead of thumbnails—all I have is a black thumbnail. Will this fix it?

    Check the image above to see what we’re talking about.

  • Cranjled

    I nominate Alex for an Academy Award!

    “What academy?” you ask.

    “Every last one of ’em,” I say.

    Thanks for posting this!!! I just rolled over and took it when Adobe did this to us.

    Now, I’m happily running PS2 Unabridged Edition…


  • Nestor

    Excellent solution I tried with an Spanish Version y only had to edit the files and put the correct path, y do not have also the folder Shell, I just created it and works very well, but I still have problems with EPS files anyone have an idea to solve this issue. Thanks

  • cranjled

    Just wanted to stop back in and say thanks again!! I’m really going to have to get used to seeing true thumbs again…

    You da’ man!

  • JoKKe-svin

    I have Photoshop CS (not CS2) but my thumbs aren’t showing either. I DO have the mentioned shell dir though, and I did the procedure step by step. Nothing. Why?

  • Anonymous

    I have installed these and my psd and ai files are now showing thumbs..YAAAYY!! However, not seeing eps files? Did I miss something?


  • cranjled

    @JoKKe-svin: I’d give it another try, the end result is uber-worth-it! If you have the directories mentioned in the “docs” then it should work pretty much instantly, so I’d guess maybe you made a tiny mistake in the process. Just be sure to make your restore point ahead of time and give’r another go… =)

    Easy for me to say, I know…it worked for my install. And in all the excitement, I decided to jump off the bridge completely. Yep, uninstalled the bridge completely and gained a quarter-Gb in the process… I’ll keep my eyes peeled for any funky behaviours that might be a result, but overall, damn was that liberating.

    8 )

  • cranjled

    @JoKKe-svin again … See what Andrew had to say above; maybe that can help.


  • You don’t know me, but…

    Found this site when googling for a solution to the lost Illustrator preview problem. Fixed it! Many, many thanks.

    Then saw Lagen’s question about InDesign…another pain-in-the-rear problem. But I did finally figure out how to get rid of the generic icon…here’s how:
    Go to Uninstall CS2 and then choose the option to Repair it. That’s it. It takes forever but when it’s done there’s a nice little InDesign icon with every document and an idicon.dll file in the adobe shell folder. That sounds so easy, but it took me forever to figure it out.

    Now…is there a way to get InDesign to show previews? Or is that even an option.

    Sorry for going OT here.

  • You don’t know me, but…

    oops…meant to say “go to InDesign CS2″…

  • Anonymous

    Thnk you so much
    you are the only one that can provide the solution for this problem
    thank you so much

  • mr thanks heaps

    thanks so much for the download and info on how to do it all, was so annoying not being able to see what my files were without opening them. cheers again.

  • WanLin Wang

    wonderful article !thank you ~Alex

  • Darkknight

    Did this and still have “some” psd files not showing the icons. they are in teh format 3000x3000x8. Could that be a prolem? The ones that are working are 1800x1800x32…


  • Simon

    I had the problem in the normal CS-version. The files fixed my problem right up. Maybe you should tell Adobe there problem and get them to offer an official fix for it, as it might make people feel less anxious when editing their registry.

  • Grimnir

    Hello.. just wanted to thank you for this fine release… i’ve got my psd Thumbs back!!
    ive made som modifications to the reg files.. so it would fit the swedish standard.
    if you are interested to get this swedish version, contact me on, and i will send you the zip archive..


  • Ki Ryn

    Is there an easy way to undo this fix?

    I did it and my thumbnails came back, but so did the “locked file” problem – I can’t save over, rename, or delete a Photoshop file after I’ve been working on it for a while. It’s even more agravating than the lack of thumbnails :/

    (no, I didn’t do a system restore as that process has never worked for me in th past).

  • Ki, I wish I could give you an easy answer to that question, but unfortunately the System Restore Point was it. I can’t remember anyone else having a file locking issue before — presonally I think your best bet is to solve the locking issue rather than try to undo.

  • Ki Ryn

    Thanks, I guess I can always reinstall if I can’t find an undo. This has been an issue for others, and I’ve even heard that it is one of the main reasons that Adobe took out the thumbnail functionality to begin with. It used to do this before I got CS2 so I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised that the problem came back when I re-activated the thumbnails.

    I am surprised that the file locking isn’t a common problem though, since my system is really very vanilla (Windows XP Service Pack 2 with the usual updates etc.). I don’t know what would cause the problem on my machine but not on most others. Anyway, thanks for trying – I’ll see about fixing the problems directly.

  • bahmooh

    simply put… i love you~

  • Anonymous


  • pierre javis

    fantastic – this issue has done my box in for ages. Worked straight away! ;)

  • refa

    thanx for the tips

  • Jon Andrew Hughes

    Just an FYI,
    This technique works with Adobe Photoshop CS3 as well (beta, at least)

    Just run the .reg’s again after you install CS3.

  • Thanks for the heads-up, Jon.

  • faruk

    ooo..thank you..saolasin gardasim benim..

  • traian

    hi….ive seen this fix a lot of times before…it even worked when i had the regular XP, but now when im running x64 XP it doesnt work…ive tried everything, making a folder in program files, making the folder in program files(x86), regging to the right folder….well everything i could think of at least…
    plss tell me that u have something that works, and no, switching back to regular xp is not an option…if any1 knows how to fix this, plss email me at

  • Sharath

    Thanx guys, it worked for me, everyone to exactly as they have given in the instructions..:)

  • smok

    I had a fresh install of PS CS2… and there was no “shell” folder. I tried creating it and doing the REG file, but still no luck.
    so I just went back and installed PS7.0 and that fixed everything. don’t have PS7.0? I recommend going and downloading a pirated version just to install it to fix this BS. I paid good money for CS2 and these jerks cripple my ability to view files in my own operating system???! crazy. just so we’ll use their stupid bridge software which takes up 80MB of RAM just sitting there!

  • For the record, this has mixed results in Vista x64. In the 64 bit OS, even though 32 bit applications can run fine, shell extensions have to be 64 bit. Since these dlls are 32 bit, they do not effect the icons in the Vista explorer. But in a 32 bit application, like xplorer2, they do work. So it just depends on what you use to browse the files.

  • Thanks for the heads-up, David. If we can manage to hack together a 64 bit compatible version, I’ll be happy to post it up here.

  • Encounters

    Also a very helpful software: thumbnails for windows XP.
    So you can see thumbnails from icons (f.e. on your desktop)

  • Dick Henry

    This has been a very frustrating issue for me. I use Photoshop as part of my work flow, but I am not a daily user. Thanks so much for putting this issue to rest. I originally thought that I had screwed something up, but was happy to learn that my files were OK and that some other force was at play.

    I am now a convert and will monitor this site with a new-found respect and appreciation as a subtle and informative source of great tips and fixes.

    Thanks for solving this perplexing problem.


    Dick Henry

  • Gee


    @ Anyone WITHOUT the “C:Program FilesCommon FilesAdobeShell” folder – just create it! :) and follow the steps as normal!

    Thank you so much!!

  • shawna

    This process seemed to work once and then the AICS2 icon dissapeared – when i try to go through the process again, by using the aiicon.dll.reg i get the error message – cannot import c:Program FilesCommon FilesAdobeShellaiicon.dll.reg:error accessing the registry.

    any ideas?

  • Nylz

    Great! Thanks

  • Anonymous

    Thank you… a 30 second turn around result for a two year problem!

  • Geico

    So simple even a caveman can do it. Thanks for the tip.

  • YouDon’tMeanMuch

    Doesn’t seem to work with windows vista.

  • Ezca

    Thanks for working this out. Simple and effective!

  • YankeeVictor

    Worked perfectly! Thanks so much for finding a solution.

  • Diane

    This is fantastic! I have one issue – once I am four or five folders deep I no longer see the previews for either .ai or .eps files. I have thumbnail caching turned off. Anyone else have this issue/is there a solution or do I need to just flatten out my folder structures?


  • padiq

    Um… mine has not worked. My local disk is actually F:/ …would this have made it not work???

  • Duncan

    Thank you SO very much… It all make sense now and everything is awesome.

  • Mics

    This worked for me! Thank you! I had no shell folder too but I just created it and did the rest and now it works =) thanks!

  • Mark

    You’re a doll. Save tons of time.

  • Wilhelm

    A big THANK YOU for this article! I was really going to mad with these stupid Photoshop/Illustrator icons… >:-S No need to use the Bridge elephant anymore, you saved me!

  • BigHope

    Many thanks ! I had this problem for years, and now it is just fine !
    To french people with a French Microsoft Windows version, just edit the reg. files and change “Common Files” by “Fichiers communs”

    Pour les français, avec un système windows en français, modifiez les fichiers registres .reg à l’aide du bloc-note et remplacez “Common Files” par “Fichiers communs” sinon cela risque de ne pas marcher.

  • Johnboy

    FINALLY! A solution this minor annmoyance that really has becoem a MAJOR annoyance over time. When I upgraded from PS7 to CS2 at owrk, the thumbs stopped working. I also upgraded PS7 on my home computer to CS2 an for some reason the thumbs worked there… hmmm…

    No matter it is all good to go now due to this very easy fix. Thanks guys!

  • Edwin

    I can confirm this also works with CS3 and with Windows Vista.

  • Joe Joe

    I am using CS3.
    I have done as posted…BUT still no thumbnails.
    Someone please help. Use Illustartor everyday and would rather go back to an older version than not see thumbnails. HATE HATE HATE Bridge.

  • meow

    its a saviour :) thank you very much.

  • jd

    Worked flawlessly. Thanks!

  • chthonic

    To get this to work in XP64, you need to change not only the paths to point to program files (x86), but also place the registry entries in a slightly different place so that they work properly.

    This is the PS reg file, you can edit the AI reg file to do the same thing. Basically, put Wow6432Node before any and all CLSID references:

    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00



    @=”Photoshop Icon Handler”

    @=”C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\Adobe\Shell\PSICON.DLL”


  • Anonymous

    chthonic wrote:
    “To get this to work in XP64…”
    Would that also apply to Vista64, since I don’t get this magic trick to work
    on my Vista64 -machine?

    Or do I need other Vista64-dll’s for this to work?
    Many thanks from Sweden

  • midnight

    This fix used to work flawlessly for Photoshop CS 2 and Illustrator CS 2. I have upgraded to CS3, and although the Photoshop fix still works, the Illustrator fix doesn’t work any longer. Could someone with more knowledge on editing these reg files please release an updated fix or work-around for Illustrator?

    It sure would be appreciated as Adobe’s ‘fix’ for this is forcing us to use Bridge and that is clearly not an option. Bridge does NOT show thumbnails for older Illustrator files. Any files I have created in CS and older versions are not displaying thumbnails no matter how many times I clear Bridge’s cache and choose to recreate them. This is the response they give as to how to fix thumbnail issues in Bridge but it doesn’t work at all.

    Thanks so much!

  • Dangeech

    Actually, I can confirm that this fix DOES work with BOTH Photoshop and Illustrator. Applied it literally 30 seconds ago. .PSD .AI, and .EPS files all show up with thumbnail previews. Only problem is that the “shell” folder does not exist in the specified directory by the default install of CS3. Create that folder, then place the .DLLs there, and apply the registry patches. It’s good to have thumbs.

  • Batou

    Thank you very much foк this tip!

    Vista x86 (32), CS3.

    1) Do I need to set my Photoshop CS3 File Handling – Image previews = Always save and [x] Maximize files compatibility to get this to work? I’ve got this preview handler works with *some* of my PSD files.

    2) My AI CS3 still show AI CS (11) icon instead of AI CS3 previews. Do I need to save my AI CS3 with internal PDF enabled when saving?

    3) On my friend’s XP SP2 +CS2 everything now is thumbnailed fine!
    CS2 AI’s, PSD’s (not all of them, but…)

  • danjchau

    I LOVE YOU!!

  • Gidgidonihah

    For the record, the fix works on CS3, but there is an additional step to take to make the fix permanent. I don’t remember what that step is, however. I can’t seem to find it on google anymore. I did the fix on my personal computer, but can’t find it again for my work computer.

    Does anyone know what that additional step is?

  • Gidgidonihah

    Sorry, I believe the additional step is to deny permissions on the registry keys that are added/changed in the .reg files. Not sure which need to be denied permissions though.

  • snoddy

    Thanx a billion. Had to create the shell file and it works a treat.

  • miguel

    awesome, thanks a lot! works just fine!

  • jdblackwell

    Didn’t these used to appear as thumbnails on the desktop, too under xp?


  • abort

    Thanks a lot that works wonderfully. It was just what I was expected since I use Photoshop !!!

  • Julie

    It worked on my work computer where I use XP and CS2, but at home i use Windows Vista and CS2 and it dosent work.

    Does anyone know how to get CS2 to work on vista?

  • julie81

    It worked on my work computer where I use XP and CS2, but at home i use Windows Vista and CS2 and it dosent work.

    Does anyone know how to get CS2 thumpnails to work on vista?

  • Googuy

    Fangtastic :)

  • Googuy

    …CS2 on ‘Windows 2003 Server as a workstation’ – laavly jaably

  • Anonymous

    This should work the same with cs3, just create a shell folder in the directory and do the following.

  • Anonymous

    Hurrah! thanks for taking the time to figure this out and make it easy to do.

  • Garrett

    thanks guys!

  • Anonymous

    Thank You thank You thank you!

  • xxx

    did anyone found out if there is a way to make it work on vista 64 with cs3?

  • R.M.

    It works for Photoshop Elements5 too! Thanks

  • christian

    THANK YOU !!! How frustrating was that.
    Anyone have any idea why i cant right click on a .jpeg and have CS as one of my program options to open the file with? Even if i go to select a program and browse to find the program it will not open. I have to fo file-open-then browse for the .jpeg i want and open it.
    really frustrating!!

  • ludo

    message for xxx i have tried that the little twiking of the registry for cs2 still works for cs3. However no success for illustrator cs3. At least one works. i don’t knwow where to post the file so email me direct if you want me to send you the dll and teh regedit entry:

  • Other Side

    Forgive my ignorance, but how do you ‘run’ the registry files? I tried double clicking them, and they just open in notepad.

  • Simon

    Hi All,

    I have found this this to be a great help, however it only shows thumbnails for some files in each folder.

    EG, I have a folder with 700 eps and ai files. Most have the pink EPS CS logo, some the Adobe Illustrator logo and some show a pic of what the file is?

    I have tried again, re ran the files to no avail. Am I doing something wrong? Using Windows XP if that helps.

    All I want to do is like everyone else, view my eps and ai files in thumbnails like all of my jpegs!


  • nad

    cs2 on windows xp 64 bit, did everything, still no good, any suggestions ?

  • Anonymous

    Hello all,
    Iis there any solution on WinXP for fixing the thumbnails for CS3 ai, psd files?

  • Grateful beyond words

    THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • PeonProductions

    I just downloaded , which claims that it will work with CS3. (even illustrator, though it involves an extra step) Don’t know if it works yet – I’m trying it out myself.

  • David

    I was having a problem with CS2 that I’ve seen a few other people had. First off I didn’t have the “C:Program FilesCommon FilesAdobeShell” folder, but as other people have mentioned you can just create it. Then after extracting the files into the folder and double-clicking the reg files all they did was open in Notepad. Here is what I figured out:

    Open regedit and click File–>Import. Then find the reg files in the Shell folder and import them to your registry.

    Now you will be happy.

  • Sunny

    Thanks a lot!

    @ BigHope: thanks a lot too, for the french tip!
    Have a nice week end!!

  • Cameron

    SO. After hours of -yeah- I finally figured out how to fix this.

    This is regarding CS3 on Windows XP Pro 32bit.

    The Photoshop thumbs show up just fine, but I was having trouble with Illustrator. They would work fine after running the registry file, but then when I opened Illustrator they would go back to showing the Illustrator Icon. So…I did a bit of digging and found a fix. You have to manually change the permissions in your registry so that Illustrator can’t delete the updated key every time you start it up. The fix I got (which looked sketchy but is just the package you download here with a pdf about how to reset permissions) is available for download here:

    Saved my life and sanity, thank you william m park whoever you are.

  • Olivier

    Fantastic. This works perfectly with Windows Vista (in French) and Photoshop CS2 (in English). I just had to create the Shell folder, unzip, double-click the .reg files and that’s it! No other changes needed. Marvelous.

  • Saymn

    DIdn’t work for Photoshop 7.0 or Illustrator 10 – I still get icons for eps files.

  • Futrell

    First off, thanks a bunch! This worked great a while back on my desktop computer running XP and I never sent thanks.

    Unfortunately, we just bought a laptop running Vista (32 bit I believe) and, after installing the Creative Suite CS2, the thumbs weren’t appearing (as expected) so I ran this fix… It appears to have worked for Photoshop files but not for Illustrator files. Anyone else have this Vista/CS2 problem and, if so, got a fix?

    Thanks in advance for your help!

  • Futrell, personally I only have experience with XP with this issue, but perhaps another reader has figured out Vista.

  • Anonymous

    cannot import Error accesing the registry

  • nachar

    this should be intresting for german user… (or using windows in another language)

    i also didn’t have a folder named “shell”, so i created a new one.

    – save all files from the download in this folder.

    – open the aiicon.dll.reg and/or the psicon.dll.reg with the notepad.

    – exchange:

    @=”C:\Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\Shell\AIIcon.dll”


    @=”C:\Programme\Gemeinsame Dateien\Adobe\Shell\AIIcon.dll”

    (do the same with the other .reg file)

    or with the path, where you have saved the aiicon.dll and psicon.dll

    than doubleclick the .reg’s and it’s magic! You don’t need a reboot!

    Thank you very much! You helped me enormous!

  • Tyler

    Worked beautifully with CS3, thanks!

  • Mark

    I’m running an older version of Illustrator (ver 9.0). I recently had a HD crash and had to reload the Operating System (Win XP SP2) and all programs. Prior to the crash, Illustrator displayed the thumbnails perfectly. I ran the reg update files aiicon.dll.reg and psicon.dll.reg (thankfully no smoke). Unfortunately, the updates did not work for this AI ver9.0. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  • Mark

    Oops – Spoke too soon. Apparently, AI ver 9.0 requires a reboot of the system. My Bad. Thanks for a great fix !!

  • Matero

    Well thank you for the work around.
    Now booooooooo to Adobe who makes me have to hustle with my registry to get a simple necessary function.

  • Jane

    I’m using CS3 on Vista 64 bit and I’m having problems. I didn’t have a shell folder, but I did like Nachar said – just made one. But I’m getting an error when I double-click on psicon.dll.reg

    Error opening file. There may be a disk or file system error.

    Has anyone else using Vista 64 been able to solve this. I miss my thumbnails!

  • K

    Thx for this!

  • Beckygtx

    Woohoo! It worked! I already had those dll files but they just were not “installed”. Thank you!

  • Rai

    I still can’t see my eps thumbnails :(

  • Natalie

    Yea!! I didn’t really think this was possible to fix…just figured it was “quirk” of CS3 and Adobe’s way of forcing you to use the Bridge. (ACK!) It worked immediately for me…although I did have to create the Shell folder, and followed Andrew’s tip to change the drive letter in both files first. Thanks so much for this fix!

  • ian

    nice.. worx!

  • KC

    Yes! Thanks a ton, I have Windows XP with Photoshop CS2, and it worked perfectly. No smoke or anything.

    I didn’t have a “Shell” folder in C:Program FilesCommon FilesAdobe, so I wasn’t sure what to do, but I just created a folder, named it Shell, put the files in and installed them.

    Thank you so much!

  • Austin H

    Didn’t work for me :( May have something to do with my work’s firewall/virus settings. Oh well, I will just use Irfanview’s thumbnail program I guess!

  • matthew h

    this is amazing, i havent tried it yet as im away from home but i thought something was wrong with my computer as my friend could see the thumbnails and i couldnt, its been bugging me for days, installing it and uninstalling it endlessly…it becomes stressful and tiresome!

    thankyou in advance!

  • Love You

    Awesome!! Thanks so much, that was really doing my head in. Cheers!!

    Props and Big-Ups

  • spaceboy412

    any idea on getting this to work on xp64, can someone not turn the psicon.dll into 64 bit?

  • 4wallz

    Well, the comments on the post here say it all. This is a great tip and it seems people have been using it for years. Anyway, it is still as good today as the day you posted it thanks.

    I used the PSICON.DLL and the PSICON.DLL.REG files only and the explorer thumbnails appeared perfectly. I don’t use AI and therefore did not need to install the AIICON.DLL and the associated REG file.

    Thanks again.

  • Malatya

    This is really great, thanks for your time and effort.

  • Arianne

    tiny joys…you aren’t kidding. I love you.

  • Doganharp

    I’m running Vista (32) and using CS2 Photoshop. I’ve tried a few different versions of this same solution but to no avail… :(

    I really can’t think of anything else I could try and I’ve read this whole forum top to bottom. I haven’t had any registry meltdowns or anything, but from what I can tell nothing happened at all… HELP! I’m a graphic designer and I really rely on the ability to see the thumbnails. THANKS ALL!

  • Cattel

    Great! Even in my spanish installation. I just have a “c:archivos de programas” folder, so I create the “C:Program FilesCommon FilesAdobe” and I put the files inside.
    It works fine.

  • Emily

    Does anyone know how to fix the same thing on a Mac?

  • Rai

    To Emily:
    You can do this with “EPS Quick Look Plugin” for your Mac.

    Find it here:

  • ok

    Great !!!!!! worked fine

  • Shohag Bhuiyan

    thank you. i was sooo looking for this..
    thnx again. :)

  • lokbi

    wonderful article!
    thanks so much!
    now i don’t have to open the files one by one to know what’s inside

  • gunther

    Many thanks from France! Your precious informations enabled me to use psicon.dll on my french version of Photoshop CS with XP installed on drive D: Everythink works fine now!

  • Anonymous

    awesome. worked for me with Vista 32 bit / CS 3!

  • Bobby

    Thank You!!!
    I can’t believe I didn’t find this site since I had this problem in 2006!!!
    The solution I found before was to reinstall PS 7 or ai10 after installing the CS2 version. Recently had to reinstall everything again, and I thought to myself there must be another way to do this!
    Imagine the time it takes!?! And this solution only took a few minutes to download, and a few more seconds to apply!!!
    Again I must say thank you!!!

  • BowtechRedneck

    Hey guys just wanted to let everyone know that this also works with CS4.You have to place the dll files in the CS4 folder located in the shell and edit the registry files a little.To point to the correct location of these dll files.In my case I just had to redirect add CS4 in the registry entries

  • tehuti

    For those still wanting a proper fix to this problem there is a thumbnail generator for PSD, TGA & DDS files for Vista & XP 32 & 64 bit:

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