Extract images from the thumbs.db file

If you accidentally deleted photos or other images from your disc, you can restore them with the appropriate tools. However, if the deleted files cannot be recovered with the appropriate applications, you can try to get their previews from the cache.


You may be wondering what the meaning is, because the image will be in low resolution.

This depends on what exactly is shown in the image. May contain addresses, telephone numbers or passwords. Thus the retrieval of such an image makes sense regardless of its analysis.

The free Thumbs Viewer utility can be downloaded from thumbsviewer.github.io, and will help you in this matter.

The application will allow you to view database files, which can contain many interesting things. Specifically, it allows you to inspect the contents of the Thumbs.db file, which contains image thumbnails displayed by Windows File Explorer.

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Thumbs.db files are usually located at the root of the disk or folder where the images are stored.

In Windows 10 and Windows 11, it is saved in the folder c: \ Users \ <user profile> \ AppData \ Local \ Microsoft \ Windows \ Explorer.

There you will find files like thumbcache_7876.db, thumbcache_3456.db, thumbcache_8876.db, thumbcache_32454.db and so on.

By default, system files are hidden. So that you can edit them, enable the appearance of hidden protected system files in the folder.

To extract images from a Thumbs.db file, follow these steps.

Copy the Thumbs.db or thumbcache_xxxx.db file to a different folder on your PC.
Start Thumbs Viewer and browse for your file using the File menu.

thumbcache viewer

The application will display the list of thumbnails contained in your file. In addition to the thumbnail name, the list includes their size, modification date, operating system version, and path.

thumbs viewer
Click an entry to open a viewport in which you can view the images.
To save a thumbnail, right-click on it and select "Save Selected" from the menu.

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Image resolution, of course, is not original, but it may be enough to read text data.

Before selling your computer or giving it to someone else, be sure to delete the Thumbs.db files, especially if you viewed sensitive photos on your computer.

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