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Windows 7: Viewing folder thumbnails like in XP?


09 Nov 2009   #1

Win7 Pro; Linux Mint 7
 
 
Viewing folder thumbnails like in XP?

Hi, I liked the way folder thumbnails showed up in XP - full face, rather than an image coming out of a folder.



instead of



Is there any way to get this view back???


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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09 Nov 2009   #2
Lee

Win 7 Pro x64, VM Win XP, Win7 Pro Sandbox, Kubuntu 11
 
 

If you put your music in the "Music Library Folder" you can choose "Album" in the "Arrange by:". Then adjust the size of the thumbnail by using "CTRL + Mouse Wheel" or going to "More Options" and use the slider to resize the thumbnails.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Nov 2009   #3

Win7 Pro; Linux Mint 7
 
 

OK, that looks good, but lots of my folders now have no icon. Guess the Album View only uses embedded artwork, not the folder.jpg. Time to do a batch re-tag...

Incidentally, is there any way to exclude a specific folder from a library? I don't want the Music library to include the iTunes folder, which includes lots of garbage. I can't move the iTunes folder out of the My Music folder.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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09 Nov 2009   #4

Windows 7 HP 64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Codify View Post
OK, that looks good, but lots of my folders now have no icon. Guess the Album View only uses embedded artwork, not the folder.jpg. Time to do a batch re-tag...

Incidentally, is there any way to exclude a specific folder from a library? I don't want the Music library to include the iTunes folder, which includes lots of garbage. I can't move the iTunes folder out of the My Music folder.
Right clicking on the specific library should allow you to choose "Properties" and then add or exclude folders from there.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Jan 2010   #5

Windows 7 Ulimate Edition 32 Bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Lee View Post
If you put your music in the "Music Library Folder" you can choose "Album" in the "Arrange by:". Then adjust the size of the thumbnail by using "CTRL + Mouse Wheel" or going to "More Options" and use the slider to resize the thumbnails.

Is there a registry hack that can apply the "Music Library Folder - Album" style thumbnail preview to any folder instead of having to add the folders to the music library? I would like to do this for picture folders as well that I have in multiple folders on a few different drives. I don't want to add them to the library, just change the folder icons to be more like XP.

[EDIT] I tried adding the folder to the music library anyway to see how it worked and when I changed to album view only 1 folder out of over 400 had an icon! Not really the fix I am looking for. Maybe there is a way to tweak where Windows retrieved the thumbnail from in album view.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Oct 2010   #6

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Ok, I managed to get around the problem finding out a nice (but still not perfect) solution. It' still a work in progress and is not a one-click solution.

Nonetheless, it's perfect if you have 100s of directories containing music or video and you like to see related covers for each and every one in the good-old XP style (which I really prefer to the modern Seven style).

---------------------------------------------------------

Disclaimer:

Beware! I make use of a quick and dirty batch script in which I didn't write any kind of error checking; that means the script is not error proof.
I tried to be as much clean as possible and nothing inside the script is going to override or delete any file other the temporary ones it creates itself. Anyway, beware, I'm not going to be held responsible for any lost file, be carefull.

---------------------------------------------------------

The trick is to make use of Windows Seven's capabilities in using desktop.ini files to specify which icon to use as a directory thumbnail.

I created a little batch script that recursively does the following on each subdirectory inside the one it runs in:
- makes ImageMagick convert the folder.jpg file into a folder.ico file;
- creates a desktop.ini file;
- makes the directory read-only.



Step 1
I used ImageMagick for converting the folder.jpg to folder.ico because ... well, it does it right :-) You can change the batch script and use any other image converter you like.

Step 2
Once I got a folder.ico inside the directory I had to create a desktop.ini file containing the following:
Code:
[.ShellClassInfo]
IconResource=folder.ico,0
That tells Windows Seven to use the file folder.ico as a folder thumbnail.

Step 3
Last entry is needed for Seven, because if the folder is not read-only, Seven does not use the desktop.ini file ... strange enough, that's the way it works.

I first tested the above method on a single directory, and I was pretty happy, finally I had the very same XP style back inside Seven.

Then I proceded writing a script that does that recursevely on a bunch of directories, each containg other subdirectories, some of them having a folder.jpg and some other without. The script will convert existing folder.jpg to folder.ico and set a corresponding desktop.ini but will do nothing to the directories not having any folder.jpg inside, they will remain clean as before.
In order to make my life easier I wrote down the above desktop.ini file and stored is aside for future use. The script will not generate the desktop.ini by itself, it will simply copy it inside all the subdirs recursively.


The Batch Script
Code:
xcopy desktop.ini %1\ /h
for /r /d %%x in (*) do (
    pushd "%%x"

    convert folder.jpg -resize 256x256 %1\folder_256.png
    convert %1\folder_256.png -gravity center -background none -extent 256x256 %1\folder_256x256_alpha.png
    convert %1\folder_256x256_alpha.png -resize 128x128 %1\folder_128x128_alpha.png
    convert %1\folder_256x256_alpha.png -resize 96x96 %1\folder_96x96_alpha.png
    convert %1\folder_256x256_alpha.png -resize 64x64 %1\folder_64x64_alpha.png
    convert %1\folder_256x256_alpha.png -resize 32x32 %1\folder_32x32_alpha.png
    convert %1\folder_256x256_alpha.png -resize 24x24 %1\folder_24x24_alpha.png
    convert %1\folder_256x256_alpha.png -resize 16x16 %1\folder_16x16_alpha.png

    convert %1\folder_256x256_alpha.png %1\folder_128x128_alpha.png %1\folder_96x96_alpha.png %1\folder_64x64_alpha.png %1\folder_32x32_alpha.png %1\folder_16x16_alpha.png folder.ico

    del %1\folder_256.png
    del %1\folder_256x256_alpha.png
    del %1\folder_128x128_alpha.png
    del %1\folder_96x96_alpha.png
    del %1\folder_64x64_alpha.png
    del %1\folder_32x32_alpha.png
    del %1\folder_24x24_alpha.png
    del %1\folder_16x16_alpha.png

    if exist folder.ico xcopy %1\desktop.ini . /h

    popd

    if exist "%%x"\folder.ico attrib +r "%%x" 
)
del /as %1\desktop.ini
Syntax:
The batch script should be run on the command line. Open a Prompt Window for that.
create_icons.bat temp_dir
"temp_dir" must be a temporary directory where to store desktop.ini file and the ImageMagick working files. Those files will be deleted at the end of the process. There is no error check

Example
create_icons.bat c:\temp
Note that I wrote c:\temp (without the ending slash) and not c:\temp\ !!!

Usage
Simply put, let's say you have a dir called mp3s:
- create a desktop.ini file with notepad with the above content inside. Store it inside the mp3s main folder (only once, the other copies will be made by the script) and change it's attributes to ahs (Archive, Hidden, System);
- create a create_thumbnails.bat batch file with notepad, fill it with the above content) and save it in the mp3s main folder (once, there only);
- open a command prompt window, change to the mp3s main directory and run: create_thumbnails.bat temp_dir (where temp_dir is a temporary directory, that you have to specify, where your temporary files will be stored, read the syntax paragraph).

At the end of the process, you will have a desktop.ini and a folder.ico file inside each subdir that previously had a folder.jpg inside.
folder.jpg files will not be touched, they will still be there, ready to be read by Windows XP again :-) Just in case you have a removable drive that's gonna be used on a WInXP system too.

Limits
- It does not create the XP style 4 icon folder thumbnails for folders containg other folders. Sorry, I still haven't got a solution to that :-(
- Did I already said this script does not have any kind of error handling at all?!!!

Pay attention
- There is no error checking at all inside the script.
- It creates and deletes temporary files while working. Make shure to check where it creates them and that they not overwrite usefull already existing files.
- If you run two instances of the same batch script at once, they will interfere with each other, cross deleting their temporary files and making a mess!!!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Nov 2010   #7

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Mmmm ... I think I will revert back to bash for the scripting side, the dos command line is making me very sad!!!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Nov 2010   #8

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

I slightly modified my script and made use of background image to make it closer to the old XP style and make clear it's a folder btw and not some generic file.

Now it looks that way:
Viewing folder thumbnails like in XP?-example.jpg


My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Nov 2010   #9

MS Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-bit
 
 

Am I missing something here?

Navigate to your music folder, then
following snips show the steps.
Viewing folder thumbnails like in XP?-select-change-display.png

Viewing folder thumbnails like in XP?-adjust-slider.png


My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Nov 2010   #10

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Yes, we don't like the skewed folder icon style. We prefer the old WinXP style were folder content was previewed in a plain rectangular shape.

I appreciate the fact that MS abandoned the old thumbs.db concept; I agree with people telling having a hard disk cluttered with unwanted files (those pesky thumbs.db) is no good. Still I'm ok if that's been used on a few custom folders; I mean, there are circumstances when I like those thumbs.db around. Customizing folder preview with simple folder.jpg files is nice, easy, linear, I liked that in WinXP (at least for those peculiar directories I store something like movies or music inside).

I miss it in Windows Seven. Seven abandoned the thumbs.db and now caches directories' thumbnails in a sort of cache, avoiding cluttering the filesystem with unwanted files (which is good), but it does that with those irritating (to me at least) skewed folders that distort everything :-( I really prefer the old XP Style.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Viewing folder thumbnails like in XP?




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