When browsing your files in Windows 10 File Explorer, you can switch to a handy “Icon” view, which displays a preview image for your files in addition to the file name. This can help you quickly identify a file visually instead of relying on remembering file names.
There’s just one problem: many common file formats aren’t compatible. Sure, File Explorer will give you nice previews of your JPG images and MP4 videos, but important file types like Photoshop and AutoCAD just show you a big, unhelpful icon instead.
The reason for this issue is that Windows doesn’t support the codecs for these file types by default. Microsoft, likely due to licensing issues, has yet to officially provide a fix for this, but that hasn’t stopped third party developers from coming up with their own solutions.
One such solution is SageThumbs, a free utility that adds codec support for hundreds of file types to File Explorer in Windows. To test it out, just download the latest version (18.104.22.168 as of the date of this article’s publication) and install it. We tested the latest version of SageThumbs with the newly released Windows 10 Fall Creators Update and it worked without a problem, but be sure to check for updates or compatibility issues if you’re running a newer version of Windows in the future.
As soon as you complete the SageThumbs installation, open a File Explorer window and switch to one of the icon views. You’ll notice that your previously missing file previews are now displaying in all their visually helpful glory. There’s no need to reboot or log out, the new icons should show up immediately.
Keep in mind that while SageThumbs adds preview icon support for hundreds of file types, it’s not exhaustive and you may still be seeing a few icons for more esoteric file formats. Again, be sure to also check for new versions of SageThumbs before performing major Windows upgrades, as there may be compatibility issues with newer versions of Windows.
SageThumbs is incredibly helpful for providing these File Explorer icon previews alone, but it also offers a number of other features, including the ability to convert images via the right-click menu, set an image as your wallpaper, attach images directly to email messages, and copy images to the clipboard without needing to open them first.
It’s an incredibly handy utility, so head over to the SageThumbs website and give it a look!
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