How to Repair Damaged or Corrupted Thumbs.db Files

Thumbs.db files can sometimes become damaged or corrupted which can cause some very specific problems in Windows.

Sometimes one or more damaged or corrupted thumbs.db files can cause problems when navigating around folders with multimedia content, or they could be the cause of error messages like this kernel32.dll error:

Explorer caused an invalid page fault in module Kernel32.dll

Repairing thumbs.db files is a pretty simple task considering Windows will regenerate the DB file when the particular folder it's contained in is viewed in a special way (you'll learn how below).

How to Repair Damaged or Corrupted Thumbs.db Files

  1. Open the folder that you suspect the damaged or corrupted thumbs.db file to be contained in.

  2. Locate the thumbs.db file.

    thumbs.db file in windows 8

    If you can't see the file, your computer may be configured to not show hidden files. If that's the case, change the folder options to allow the display of hidden files and protected operating system files. See How Do I Show Hidden Files and Folders in Windows? for instructions.

  3. Once you locate the thumbs.db file, right click it and choose Delete.

    If you can't delete the file, you may need to change the folder view. To do this, select View and then choose either Tiles, Icons, List, or Details. Depending on the version of the Windows you're using, some of these options may vary slightly.

  4. To recreate the file, select View and then Thumbnails from the menu in the folder from which you deleted the thumbs.db file. Doing this will initiate the Thumbnails view and will automatically create a new copy of the thumbs.db file.

Tips

Not all versions of Windows use the thumbs.db file. The thumbnail database thumbcache_xxxx.db might instead be centrally located in this folder:

%userprofile%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Explorer