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Windows 7: Windows Explorer only processes images on screen not all in file?

02 Nov 2014   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
Windows Explorer only processes images on screen not all in file?

This problem isn't that big just time consuming and annoying.

I am a wedding photographer and process hundreds of images at a time. Most of the time I use Photoshop bridge to view images but when I burn to disc and want to verify that they were transferred correctly I use Windows Explorer. I select "Large Icons" to view the image's thumbnails. Windows will only process the images showing on the screen which is usually 180 images. With the size files of each image I use, a DVD will hold around 400 images so I have to scroll down, wait until the images load (which is extremely slow), then scroll down, wait again until all images are loaded and viewable. If Windows would process all the images on the disc at once and all I would need to do was scroll down to view instantaneously, I would not be tied up at the computer.

As I said, this isn't a major problem, just a time consumer and upsets my work flow. I verify the discs on three different computers, one with Vista, one with Windows 7 and one with 8.1 and all of them do the same. I use Windows Explorer because that is what most of my clients will use to view them. Is there any way to re-set how windows handles opening and displaying the thumbnails to speed up this process? Since all three computers behave the same I understand it is possible there is nothing I can do, but every time I go through this process, I wonder about it and thought I would ask.

Thank you,


My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Nov 2014   #2

W7 Pro SP1 64bit

I don't use that view - so, I might not be of much help here.

I was just wondering if you see a thumbnail cache file on the DVD?
Windows thumbnail cache - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Hopefully, someone more knowledgeable about this cache can tell you how to get it to work on the DVD files.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Nov 2014   #3

Win7 Enterprise, Win7 x86 (Ult 7600), Win7 x64 Ult 7600, TechNet RTM on AMD x64 (2.8Ghz)

I think it all depends on CPU speed, total RAM Memory & speed, and access (read speed) of hard drives & CD/DVD drives.

I see the same problem viewing all the photos, wallpapers, snips, etc that I have collected & stored.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

02 Nov 2014   #4

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

Thanks for your reply UsernameIssues,

As I understand it, Windows does produce a thumbnail cache when it opens the images on the disc, but I'm pretty sure it won't transfer the cache when they are burnt onto the disc. It may if I were to transfer the whole folder, but I prefer that the images show up instead of a folder that the client has to click on when they open the disc. No stored thumbnail cache is why it takes so long to open them when I check the discs. I've also learnt to delete the thumbnail cache from Windows when I check more than one copy of the same disc. If there is a problem with the burn and some of the images don't load correctly on the first disc, if I don't dump the cache for that particle disc, every additional copy will show the same corrupt image, even if it isn't corrupt on subsequent discs.

I just don't understand why Windows will not open all the files on the disc without them being displayed on the screen. If I go into Adobe Bridge and open a file folder with numerous images, it will process every image in that file at once and when I scroll down to look at the images they are all on display. Not so in Windows, no matter how long I wait, when I scroll down to display the next 180 images they appear as jpeg icons and will then proceed to process to a thumbnail of the images. Also, Windows will not use Bridge's thumbnails, they are completely different and can only be seen by certain Adobe programs.

Anyway thanks for your help, and sorry for rambling on about this,

My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Nov 2014   #5

W7 Pro SP1 64bit

Your ramblings are good/informative :-)
Thanks for the info.

I don't know of a setting that would tell Windows Explorer to process all of the image files when a folder is opened.

I was wondering: If you...
...created a temp folder with the images to be burned to DVD
...let Windows create the thumbnail cache by viewing each photo
...moved the images and the thumbnail cache file(s?) to the DVD
Does that speedup viewing the DVD's photos as icons?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Nov 2014   #6

Windows 7 Ultimate x64


I just tried that and it didn't help, still only opening the images seen on screen. As soon as they were opened the drive stopped turning (the drive is very loud and I can tell when it is reading data). As soon as I scrolled down the images started opening up again. I think I'm stuck with this with no way to change the way the disc is read. Whether it is a windows or the drive set up, I'm not sure.

I wonder why the files on the disc are treated differently than the ones on regular hard drives. Maybe I'll ask Microsoft and see if I can get an answer.

Thanks all who answered, I appreciate the time spent trying to figure out a fix for me.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Nov 2014   #7

W7 Pro SP1 64bit


But thanks for documenting the issue so well. Maybe it will be corrected someday.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Nov 2014   #8

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1

Well on my machine images are slow to load if the folder contains a huge number of images. I've speeded things up a little using a RAMDisk (not recommended for most users). Even using other photo viewers doesn't improve things too much. There are faster ones available like Nexus and the like.

The reason that I'm posting in this thread is just to let you know about an image viewer that you might want to try. It won't solve the problem for your clients though if they're using default windows photo viewing methods.


Take a look at WildBit Image Viewer

Personally I downloaded the portable version (no help) and no installation required.

In order to apply settings the program must be run with admin rights. Right click the executable and choose "run as administrator"

What's interesting is that you can set it to load thumbnails and pre-define thumbnail size and also store the thumbnail cache in your chosen location so that it loads thumbnails very quickly.

Here's some screenshots of settings:

Start in thumbnail mode
Windows Explorer only processes images on screen not all in file?-wildbit1.jpg

Save thumbnail cache to disk and load it
Windows Explorer only processes images on screen not all in file?-wildbit2.jpg

Define a small size for thumbnails for faster loading
Windows Explorer only processes images on screen not all in file?-wildbit3.jpg

Files in cache
Windows Explorer only processes images on screen not all in file?-wildbit-cache.jpg

My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Windows Explorer only processes images on screen not all in file?

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