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Windows 7: Unable to move folders because of thumbs.db and win exp


14 May 2010   #1

Win 7 - Mac OS X - Linux
 
 
Unable to move folders because of thumbs.db and win exp

Ever since using Windows 7 I got annoyed that some folders and files seemed immune to my attempts to move them or delete them invoking that "some program" was using them. Since I usually run no less than 5 or 6 main programs and a score of smaller utilities I always assumed tat it was one of may many programs blocking the Moving of folders and files.

Apparently not. Today I was trying to organize my music folder (400GB and as many folders as I have albums) and I kept getting the alert that a program was using the folder.

Aftr some research turns out that the file thumbs.db has a lot to do with it.

I downloaded LockHunter (I needed a 64bit program) and with that I was able to unlock the folders I needed to move. Except that it is a painstaking process and if I continue this way it will take me the rest f the week before I finish.

My solution will be to take the hard drive and connect it to my Mac. From there I should be able to move the files and place it back on the PC organized, but what do people without a mac do?

This is a terrible situation and I can't believe that there is so little coverage on it in the forums. Deleting and moving files and folders is something we have been able to do since 1984 on the Mac Plus. All of a sudden in 2010 we can't do it anymore or we have to invest a full day of work?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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05 Sep 2010   #2

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 

This is an old topic so I don't know if you've solved this. I found that it makes a difference how your files are displayed. If the folder is set (for example) to "List" display then you can't delete the thumbs.db file. However, if you change the display style to "Medium Icons" then you suddenly find that there's no problem.

Re your problem of moving a folder with masses of subfolders, I would imagine that it would simply a matter of setting the top folder to "Medium Icons" and then using the folder options dialog to set all subfolders to that display style as well. I haven't tried this myself as I've not found myself in the situation of having to move more than a few folders at a time.

Clearly the situation is not ideal and I'm still waiting for Windows to realise that it's a bug and fix it in an Update. Waiting.... waiting....
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Sep 2010   #3

Windows 8.1 Pro (x64)
 
 

You could just hit "skip" when it asks. It will skip any locked files folder but still move your important data not the "thumbs.db" files.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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05 Sep 2010   #4

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 

True. But that means you are left with the remnants of the structure with multiple folders & subfolders that have not been deleted. Hardly desirable.

Actually, I've since found a solution of sorts. You can do a registry edit that will switch off caching of thumbnails (while still allowing you to use them). As long as you have a fast enough computer that the caching is not crucial this works perfectly. See here. The only problem with the explanation is that the author appears to have left out some characters in the registry path. It's quoted as HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionPoliciesExplorer when it should be HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows etc. Rather than doing it via the .reg file as suggested, it's best to do it via a direct edit. However it does seem to work perfectly.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Sep 2010   #5

Windows 7 Enterprise (x64); Windows Server 2008 R2 (x64)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by AussieColin View Post
True. But that means you are left with the remnants of the structure with multiple folders & subfolders that have not been deleted. Hardly desirable.

Actually, I've since found a solution of sorts. You can do a registry edit that will switch off caching of thumbnails (while still allowing you to use them). As long as you have a fast enough computer that the caching is not crucial this works perfectly. See here. The only problem with the explanation is that the author appears to have left out some characters in the registry path. It's quoted as HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionPoliciesExplorer when it should be HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows etc. Rather than doing it via the .reg file as suggested, it's best to do it via a direct edit. However it does seem to work perfectly.
I used this registry key a long time back and it does work in letting you delete the thumbs.db however it had some rather terrible side effects. For the life of me I cannot remember them because once I discovered the side effects I changed the setting right back. (Thinking…pictures on shared drives, portable drives….ugh! still cannot remember). Please note it took me about 2 or 3 weeks to fully understand the side effects. I would use this registry change with caution.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Sep 2010   #6

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 

Ouch! That doesn't sound good!!

I assume that it was not "bad" in the sense of damage to the system, only in terms of something failing to work properly? If you recall what it was I'd love to know!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Sep 2010   #7

Windows 8.1 Pro (x64)
 
 

Group Policy > User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Explorer
The setting you want: "Turns off the caching of thumbnails in hidden thumbs.db files."

In Windows Vista and Windows 7, thumbs.db is only made when browsing via network shares.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Sep 2010   #8

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 

That's also what other places have said. The problem is that when I went to Windows Help to find out how to access Group Policy it said:

Quote:
It may be necessary to run MMC and the associated snap-ins with elevated privileges even if your account is in the Computer Administrators group. To open MMC with elevated privileges, click Start, click All Programs, click Accessories, right-click Command Prompt and then point to Run as administrator. If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation. In the command prompt that opens, type gpedit.msc.
However, when I do this it just says that gpedit.msc is not a recognised command. I did a search (dir /s gpedit.msc) and found instances of it but when I finally managed to get it running (in the folder in which I found them) it ran the Local Group Policy Editor but with an error message showing in the window of "MMC could not create the snapin". I had found it in four locations and tried this in all four with the same result. Is Group Policy only available in some installations of Windows 7? I'm running Home Premium 64 on a single machine but with networking switched on because I share files with a Western Digital Media Player hooked up to the stereo.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Sep 2010   #9

Windows 8.1 Pro (x64)
 
 

Group Policy is only on higher SKUs of Windows, Professional and higher.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Sep 2010   #10

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 

Ah. So be it. Thanks. If you happen to recall what the problem was with the registry hack I'd appreciate it if you could let me know.

ETD: Oops. That wasn't you who commented on problems. :-)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Unable to move folders because of thumbs.db and win exp




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