I use Windows Server 2008 R2 as my primary workstation, mostly so I can run Hyper-V. (At least until I get the time to upgrade to Windows 8.) One issue in particular that’s been irritating me is the lack of thumbnail previews on my pictures. It just works on my laptop. I finally decided to fix it and it turns out the solution is very simple. Open Windows Explorer, Tools, Folder Options. Under the View tab uncheck the first option – “Always show icons, never thumbnails.”
Easy. All of my GIF, JPG, and WMV files thumbnailed properly.
But that’s only a partial solution – only file formats that Windows understands natively were thumbnailed. Non-native formats such as the FLV Flash Video and MKV Matroska formats require an additional software download.
If you are running a 64-bit OS then Windows Explorer is also 64-bit. This is important because the thumbnail-generating dlls are loaded by Explorer, so if you only have a 32-bit dlls your videos may play just fine and the thumbnails may be not generated. You’ll need the 64-bit dlls.
Personally I like the K-Lite Codec Pack as it plays most any format I need, and I install both the 32-bit and 64-bit versions. After installing the 64-bit version the thumbnails for my .flv and .mkv files were generated automatically. No reboot needed.
The K-Lite Codec Pack home page is here: http://codecguide.com/index.html