Windows 10 delete thumbs.db in network folders
Workaround

How to delete network folder with thumbs.db file on Windows 10

If you're having problems deleting a network folder because of a thumbs.db error, then using these steps to fix the problem on Windows 10.

On Windows 10, thumbs.db are hidden files created when using thumbnail previews for folders in File Explorer.

Although these files are harmless, sometimes they can cause problems. For instance, if you moved content from a Windows 10 device to a network shared, and then you want to delete a folder, you may end up with a “The action can’t be completed because the file is open in Windows Explorer” message referring to the “thumbs.db” file that will prevent you from removing the folder.

In this guide, you will learn the steps to delete thumbs.db files to remove network folders using File Explorer on Windows 10.

Delete network folder with thumbs.db using File Explorer

To delete folders with thumbs.db file, use these steps:

  1. Open File Explorer on Windows 10.

  2. Navigate to the folder you want to delete.

  3. Click the View tab.

  4. Check the Hidden items option.

  5. Under the “Layout” section, select the Details view option.

  6. Select the thumbs.db file.

    Delete thumbs.db using Details view in File Explorer
    Delete thumbs.db using Details view in File Explorer
  7. Click the Delete button from the “View” tab.

  8. Click the Yes button.

Once you complete the steps, the thumbs.db file should delete without problems. However, if the steps don’t work, you can switch to another view and choose the Details views again.

Delete network folder with thumbs.db disabling preview cashing

If the thumbs.db is refusing to be deleted, you can try disabling the thumbnail previews feature on Windows 10.

Disable thumbs.db with Group Policy

To disable thumbs.db caching for network folders, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.

  2. Search for gpedit and click the top result to open the Group Policy Editor.

  3. Click on User Configuration from the left pane.

  4. Browser the following path:

    Administrative Templates > Windows Components > File Explorer.
  5. Double-click the Turn off the caching of thumbnails in hidden thumbs.db files policy.

    File Explorer Group Policy settings
    File Explorer Group Policy settings
  6. Select the Enabled option to disable the feature.

    Disable thumbnail caching policy to delete thumbs.db files
    Disable thumbnail caching policy to delete thumbs.db files
  7. Click the Apply button.

  8. Click the OK button.

  9. Restart your computer.

After you complete the steps, you should now be able to delete network folders with thumbs.db files.

Disable thumbs.db with Registry

To delete network shares with thumbs.db with the Registry, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.

  2. Search for regedit, right-click the top result, and select the Run as administrator option.

  3. Browse the following path:

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows
  4. Right-click the Windows folder, select the New submenu and click on Key.

    Create Explorer Registry key
    Create Explorer Registry key
  5. Name the key Explorer and press Enter.

  6. Right-click the newly created key, select the New submenu and click on the DWORD (32-bit) Value option.

    Registry create DisableThumbsDBOnNetworkFolders DWORD
    Registry creates DisableThumbsDBOnNetworkFolders DWORD
  7. Name the DWORD DisableThumbsDBOnNetworkFolders and press Enter.

  8. Double-click the newly created DWORD and change its value from 0 to 1.

    Registry disable thumbnail caching policy to delete thumbs.db files
    Registry disables thumbnail caching policy to delete thumbs.db files
  9. Click the OK button.

  10. Restart your computer.

Once you complete the steps, the new settings will apply, and you should now be able to delete thumbs.db files without the “The action can’t be completed because the file is open in Windows Explorer” message.