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Windows 7: Missing, disappearing folder thumbnails only from the Desktop

07 Apr 2013   #1
uchkur

windows 7 ultimate 32bit
 
 
Missing, disappearing folder thumbnails only from the Desktop

Hello

I have a weird problem that started happening few weeks ago.
This only happens to the folders on the Desktop.
The thumbnails that are shown on the folder (attached image) well they simply disappear (it changes to a normal folder like icon) if I add a new file to the folder, regardless of the type (picture, video, txt doc, exe etc) or even if I delete or cut a file from that folder to another folder. It's like the folders have a certain memory of itself and a slight change messes up the thumbnails.

I have tried uninstalling the last few software applications I've installed but the problem still persists.
I have tried deleting the hidden system file desktop.ini but nothing.

Again, this only happens to the folders on the Desktop.
A possible solution might be creating a new user account but I'm not willing to do that and searching for alternatives.

Thumbnails inside the folders work flawlessly.




Attached Images
Missing, disappearing folder thumbnails only from the Desktop-ulqmnan.jpg 
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.
07 Apr 2013   #2
UsernameIssues

W7 Pro SP1 64bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by uchkur View Post
~~~
A possible solution might be creating a new user account but I'm not willing to do that and searching for alternatives.

Thumbnails inside the folders work flawlessly.
Welcome to the Seven Forums. Nice first post. Good details. Love the screenshot example.

If you need to upload other screenshots, please see this tutorial:
Screenshots and Files - Upload and Post in Seven Forums

Just as a test, maybe you could create a new user and see how the thumbnails behave ob that user's desktop. you can delete that user and the files after we are done testing.

You might also try the steps in this tutorial:
Icon Cache - Rebuild
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Apr 2013   #3
uchkur

windows 7 ultimate 32bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by UsernameIssues View Post
Welcome to the Seven Forums. Nice first post. Good details. Love the screenshot example.
Thank you, I consider myself fairly experienced with computers and forums and stuff, I know how frustrating is when people scream in their subjects etc.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by UsernameIssues View Post
If you need to upload other screenshots, please see this tutorial:
Screenshots and Files - Upload and Post in Seven Forums
Fixed, and will do that from now on.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by UsernameIssues View Post
Just as a test, maybe you could create a new user and see how the thumbnails behave ob that user's desktop. you can delete that user and the files after we are done testing.
Just tested and as I suspected, it works great there.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by UsernameIssues View Post
You might also try the steps in this tutorial:
Icon Cache - Rebuild
Tried this as well, no success.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

07 Apr 2013   #4
UsernameIssues

W7 Pro SP1 64bit
 
 

Rather than continue to uninstall stuff, let's try this troubleshooting method:
Troubleshoot Application Conflicts by Performing a Clean Startup

If that fails to locate an offending app, then I tend to dive straight into a tool like Process Monitor (nothing to install). Let me know if you opt to use that tool, there are some tricks that might reduce the labor of wading thru the thousands of entries that it can capture.

I assume that your desktop.ini files have been recreated. Can you post their content. You should have two such ini files on your desktop once those files are set to show.


Have you used any registry cleaning tools?

What antivirus tool do you use?
(although you would think this would be system wide, so have user specific settings)

What OS theme? (test that theme on the test profile)

What happens if you put a check by the folder option:
"Always show icons, never thumbnails"
apply that, refresh the desktop, uncheck that, apply, refresh. test.

What happens if you put a check by the folder option:
"Display file icon on thumbnails"
apply that, refresh the desktop, uncheck that, apply, refresh. test.
(just hoping to reset some setting)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Apr 2013   #5
uchkur

windows 7 ultimate 32bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by UsernameIssues View Post
Rather than continue to uninstall stuff, let's try this troubleshooting method:
Troubleshoot Application Conflicts by Performing a Clean Startup

If that fails to locate an offending app, then I tend to dive straight into a tool like Process Monitor (nothing to install). Let me know if you opt to use that tool, there are some tricks that might reduce the labor of wading thru the thousands of entries that it can capture.

I assume that your desktop.ini files have been recreated. Can you post their content. You should have two such ini files on your desktop once those files are set to show.
I have tried the clean start up but it does not fix the problem.

I would like you to guide me with Process Monitor. I have tried a similar tool (processactivityview) but it loads up a lot of stuff... and I'm not that experienced.

I forgot to mention that there's a troublesome temporary fix to this, if I cut the contents from the desktop folders to a new folder in C:\, then cut that folder back to the Desktop, folder thumbnails work. But only until there's a change in the content of the folder.

Desktop.ini does not recreate. The contents of that file

Code:
[.ShellClassInfo]
LocalizedResourceName=@%SystemRoot%\system32\shell32.dll,-21769
IconResource=%SystemRoot%\system32\imageres.dll,-183
No, I don't believe in registry cleaning tools.

I don't use an antivirus. I'm kind of a malware expert and decided I don't need it and I'm running fine for 6 months without one.

I have never changed themes, I think I'm using the standard windows 7 aero theme.
I just shared that theme with the other account and still thumbs work fine on that account.

Quote:
What happens if you put a check by the folder option:
"Always show icons, never thumbnails"
apply that, refresh the desktop, uncheck that, apply, refresh. test

What happens if you put a check by the folder option:
"Display file icon on thumbnails"
apply that, refresh the desktop, uncheck that, apply, refresh. test.
(just hoping to reset some setting)
They do what what they are supposed to do and work fine but it does not fix my problem.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Apr 2013   #6
UsernameIssues

W7 Pro SP1 64bit
 
 

I wonder why desktop ini files recreate themselves on some systems but not on others. There should be one desktop.ini file for the public desktop and one for the user desktop. If you drag a pinned item from the start menu and let it create a shortcut on the desktop, that should make a new desktop.ini file, but it will only contain the info for that pinned shortcut.

Anyway, using Process Monitor:
The first time you open it, you agree to the EULA, then the window opens and it starts capturing tons of stuff. You can stop the collection via the magnifying glass on the tool bar. Mouse over the various icons on the tool bar to learn what each does. Clear the data that it has gathered. Add a filter for the process name explorer.exe. (Let me know if you need help doing that.)

On the far right of the toolbar, there should be a few icons that show various types of activity. Deselect all but the one for file system activity.

Now you want to setup the conditions that cause the thumbnail issue to occur, but you want to do as few things as possible while gathering data via Process Monitor, so do whatever it takes to get the thumbnails back on the folder, open the folder, start gathering data via Process Monitor, make your change in the folder, halt gathering data in Process Monitor.

At this point, it just takes time to read thru the data and see if anything comes to mind. You can save the data that was collected and repeat the experiment on the test profile... saving that data too. Then manually compare the two files.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Apr 2013   #7
uchkur

windows 7 ultimate 32bit
 
 

Well, with a simple refresh on the desktop (it is needed (actually 2 refreshes are needed) for this problem to happen/be fixed) Process Monitor with a filter for explorer.exe only, still fires up thousands of entries.

I have used the previous application I mentioned, ProcessActivityView
and that shoots up about 40 entries.

These are the 2 differences I was able to notice

A = main account, thumbs dont work
B = 2nd account, thumbs work


In B this file was called, it wasn't in A
C:\Windows\System32\ieframe.dll
This file also seems to be modified on 21 march which might actually be the date around I've noticed this problem.

In A it seems that many more desktop inis were called (C:\Users\desktop.ini, C:\Users\MyName\Videos\Desktop.ini, C:\desktop.ini, D:\desktop.ini, C:\Users\Public\Desktop\desktop.ini and few more inis from other foldes on the desktop)

While in B only C:\Users\My2ndName\Desktop\test2\desktop.ini
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Apr 2013   #8
UsernameIssues

W7 Pro SP1 64bit
 
 

sorry - I got a call from a local friend about a computer problem...

Excellent job on finding that DLL. Did you happen to install IE10 on that date? It seems that installing IE creates several files in that folder that begin with "ie". Those files have a date modified time stamp which reflects the date and time of the installation rather than something that can be compared from one computer to the next.

While it was fun to learn something about that DLL, I'm not sure that it matters much to the issue at hand. I too see that DLL being called, but not during operations that update the thumbnail database files. I'll make this post and then do some experimenting inside a virtual machine to see what I can learn.

Please let me know if you are using IE10 - just in case that does happen to come into play.

BTW, I meant to convey that there should only be two desktop.ini files that pertain to you desktop (the public one and yours). But now that I think about it some more, perhaps the desktop.ini files that reside inside of the folders with the images also comes into play... but I don't see them being accessed in the Process Manager data that I briefly gathered.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Apr 2013   #9
uchkur

windows 7 ultimate 32bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by UsernameIssues View Post
Excellent job on finding that DLL. Did you happen to install IE10 on that date?
I think so, yes. I don't use it but it came with the windows updates I guess.

I'm really thankful for your involvement in this.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Apr 2013   #10
UsernameIssues

W7 Pro SP1 64bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by uchkur View Post
~~~
I'm really thankful for your involvement in this.
I hope that you still feel that way if the end result is: we don't fix this :-)

About all I can do is help you do the work. I don't know much about how this particular part of the OS works. Let's hope that I'm not leading you down the wrong path, but at least you are getting to play with Process Monitor.

I've made two videos detailing some of what we have already covered (setting up Process Monitor), but they also show two experiments that you should be able to replicate. Hopefully, you will see some anomaly on your end that might help you solve the problem that you are seeing with thumbnails going away.

You don't have to use the sample pictures folder, but I would try to use a folder that is directly on your desktop and not just a shortcut to a folder elsewhere. The more shortcuts that you have on your desktop the more entries you might have in Process Monitor as explorer updates them all during a refresh.

Perhaps best viewed at 720p and in the full screen mode.





The videos also show how I setup things so that I don't have too many entries to dig thru.

Some of the details shown in the videos and some of the pausing on items, hovering over icons and pointing to things are not really meant for you per se; they are included for the benefit of others that I might direct to this post since I did not have videos in my repertoire showing the use of Process Monitor.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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