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Windows 7: Windows 7 64-bit not displaying thumbnails for certain AVI files

14 Aug 2011   #1

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
Windows 7 64-bit not displaying thumbnails for certain AVI files

Hi, I am looking for a way to display thumbnails for AVI files encoded with MPEG-4 Xvid Simple@L3. Currently these are the only video files that my computer cannot display thumbnails for. (Originally, I couldn't see FLV thumbnails either, but I solved that problem.) Strangely, my computer, a Sony Vaio running Windows 7 Pro 64-bit, can display thumbnails for all other types of AVI files, as well as for MPEG, MP4, WMV, and FLV files. Here is what I did to successfully display thumbnails for FLV, but after doing all of this, I still have not had success with AVI files encoded in Xvid Simple@L3:

  • Tools | Folder Options | View | Always show icons, never thumbnails.
  • Made sure Windows Media Player 12 is installed and turned on. Start | Control Panel | Programs and Features | Turn Windows features on or off | Media Features | Windows Media Player. The reason: On Windows 7, the shell extension that is used for generating thumbnails for non-native formats such as FLV is part of the Windows Media Player installation.
    • Question: Should Explorer always display thumbnails of native Windows formats such as AVI, MPEG, and WMV, without needing WMP 12 to be installed and turned on? I turned on WMP 12 and can now see FLV thumbnails, but I still can't see AVI thumbnails encoded with MPEG-4 xvid Simple@L3.
  • Verified that I don't have N or KN version of Windows 7 that is missing Windows Media Player 12, and therefore, I don't need to download and install Media Feature Pack.
  • Made sure the file association for AVI is set to Windows Media Player. (I'm not sure why this should be necessary, but I saw a few people recommend it in different forums.)
  • Merged the following data into the registry to make sure that the AVI file format has thumbnail capability:
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
  • Opened an elevated command prompt (Start | Programs | Accessories | Right-click on Command Prompt | Run as Administrator), and ran the following commands:
To cleanup disk:
  • cleanmgr /sageset:99
  • cleanmgr /sagerun:99
To check system files:
  • sfc /scannow
To delete icon cache:
  • taskkill /IM explorer.exe /F
  • cd /d %userprofile% AppData Local
  • del IconCache.db /a
  • shutdown /r
To make sure Windows can display thumbnails:
  • regsvr32 shmedia.dll. Is shmedia.dll missing or renamed in Windows 7? This apparently did not work, producing a long error message ending with "The specified module could not be found". I also tried Start | Run | regsvr32 shmedia.dll and saw the same error message. I see plenty of thumbnails in Explorer, so I'm assuming there is nothing wrong here.
  • Installed Shark007 (32-bit) Win7codecs v301 first.
  • Installed Shark007 x64 Components v301 second. Reason for installing both versions is that 64-bit Windows 7 uses a 64-bit Explorer, requiring 64-bit codecs to display thumbnails.
  • Rebooted and ran each Shark007 component as admin. (Right-click, Run as Administrator.)
  • Specified "Shark007 Suggested Settings" in each.
  • Specified "Use FFDshow's codec" in H.264 tab of each. The reason: Windows 7's built-in decoders for video formats such as H.264 don't work properly for displaying thumbnails. (Are you also supposed to change the swap tab where it says "Use FFDshow's codec"? For displaying thumbnails of AVI files encoded with xvid, should you specify Xvid or libavcodec on the Config tab?)
  • Ran each Shark007 component as user and exited.
  • Rebooted computer and still saw certain AVI files with no thumbnails.
  • Uninstalled Shark007's 64-bit codecs and 32-bit codecs, in that order, and rebooted.
  • Installed K-Lite Codec Pack Mega (32-bit) v760.
  • Installed K-Lite Codec Pack 64-bit v510.
  • Verified that H.264 is enabled on the Codecs page in ffdshow video decoder configuration.
  • Used Win7DS Filter Tweaker 4.5 to set ffdshow as the preferred 32-bit and 64-bit decoder for H.264. The reason: Windows 7's built-in decoders for video formats such as H.264 don't work properly for displaying thumbnails.
  • Played around with AVI and "manage filter" settings in K-Lite Codec Tweak Tool v505. Regardless, I still have certain AVI files with no thumbnails.
  • Cleared the thumbnail caches using Start | Programs | Accessories | System Tools | Disk Cleanup | Delete thumbnails. (Windows stores the thumbnails in C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Explorer. Disk cleanup moves existing thumbcache_(x) files to the ThumbCacheToDelete folder.)
  • Rebooted. Still no thumbnails for certain AVI files.
  • Used Shark007's Fix It feature on a few of my AVI files. Did clean restart of Windows Explorer using Ctrl + Esc, right arrow, Ctrl + Shift + F10, X key, Ctrl + Shift + Esc, File, New task, explorer, OK. The new, "fixed" AVI files do not display thumbnails, either.
  • Did clean boot to see if a third-party program is interfering with Windows' ability to display AVI thumbnails: Start | Run | Msconfig | Services tab | Hide all Microsoft services | Disable all [non-Microsoft services] | switch to Startup tab | Disable all | Apply | OK | restart. Windows in clean boot environment still cannot display certain AVI thumbnails.
  • Installed MediaInfo.
  • Dragged various video files onto MediaInfo window to look for patterns. Tried to find common denominators that are unique to AVI files that have no thumbnails. This is when I discovered that the problem files are all encoded in Xvid Simple@L3. The bit rates, dimensions, frame rates, and files sizes don't seem to have any bearing on Windows' ability to display thumbnails, but they do affect the ability for WMP 12 to play files. (For example, WMP 12 has trouble playing gigantic uncompressed AVI files.)

Formats that work fine displaying thumbnails on my installation of Windows:

Any MPEG, MPG, or MP4 files - all different bit rates, dimensions, and frame rates.

Any FLV files. (These started displaying thumbnails as soon as I turned on WMP 12 from Control Panel, set ffdshow as the preferred 64-bit decoder for H.264, cleared the thumbnail caches, and rebooted.)

Any WMV files. (Mine are anywhere from about 1000 to 7000 Kbps, about 4:3 aspect ratio with dimensions up to 640 x 480, and either 12.000 or 29.97 fps.)

Any AVI files encoded with MS Video. (Mine are anywhere from about 100 to 1000 Kbps, about 4:3 aspect ratio with dimensions anywhere from 320 x 240 to 716 x 536, and either 12.000 fps, close to 12 such as 11.988 fps, or 15.000 fps.)

Any AVI files that are uncompressed RGB. (Mine are anywhere from about 20 to 60 Mbps, about the same aspect ratios and dimensions as the MS Video AVI files, and mostly 12.000 fps.)

Any AVI files that are encoded with MPEG-4 Visual Xvid without further description, or with MPEG-4 Visual Xvid Advanced Simple@L5. (Mine are anywhere from about 60 to 800 Kbps, about the same ratios and dimensions as the MS Video AVI files, and either 15.000 or 25.000 fps.)

The one format that does NOT display thumbnails:
Any AVI files that are encoded with MPEG-4 Visual Xvid packed bitstream, Simple@L3, BVOP2. Some also say PAL. (Mine are various bit rates, averaging about 200 Kbps, various dimensions, mostly 4:3 or 1.22x, various sizes, from 435 KB to 220 MB, and mostly 12.000 fps.)

So, this is as far as I have been able to spelunk into the depths of Windows hell, trying to figure out what is wrong with my codecs. Anyone have a clue why I can't display thumbnails for the last mentioned files?

My System SpecsSystem Spec


 Windows 7 64-bit not displaying thumbnails for certain AVI files

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