I am curious if there is a way to see thumbnails for more than the default file types (i.e. GIF, JPG, BMP, PNG) in Windows 7. I tend to use other formats like DNG, CRW, CR2, TIFF, etc., and sadly, Windows does not support thumbnail previews of these images by default.

I used to use a few registry hacks in previous version of windows, however they no longer seem to work for Vista/7. I currently run Windows 7 64bit.

  • As an aside, it's silly that so few manufacturers support 64-bit OSes, when photographers get the most out of having loads of memory. Until there is 64-bit support, I'm not upgrading from Vista Jul 24, 2010 at 18:16
  • @Rowland: Ah, you reminded me, I do have 64bit. Thanks!
    – jrista
    Jul 24, 2010 at 18:31
  • still worth installing the manufacturers' 32 bit codecs, as some applications will still use them, for example, Microsoft Pro Photo Tools Jul 24, 2010 at 19:10
  • @Roland: I am not really having problems with applications using them...I just need Windows Explorer to generate thumbnails.
    – jrista
    Jul 24, 2010 at 19:36
  • There are some third party (paid for) codecs that claim to support 64 bit operating systems, such as: ardfry.com/cr2-codec I had mixed results with them, and decided to uninstall at the end of my trial. Jul 24, 2010 at 20:10

5 Answers 5


Fast Picture Viewer is $9.99 and works just fine on 64-bit Windows 7 (I'm using it myself).

You can also install the 32-bit codec and then view the folder with Windows Live Photo Gallery, which will generate the thumbnails for you. Other applications, like Explorer, will then be able to use these thumbnails - but you'll have to reopen WLPG every time you add any new files. IMHO, this is an enormous amount of faffing about, just to save $10...

  • Thanks for the link. Fast Picture Viewer seems to be exactly what I was looking for. :)
    – jrista
    Jul 29, 2010 at 18:37

Fast Picture Viewer has an extensive pack for the low price of $9.99 and it appears to cover them all. They used to give the DNG one away for free (I'm using it), but I'm not sure if that is still the case.


All you need do is install the relevent codecs, which are available from Canon for CR2/CRW (32-bit only), Nikon for NEF (32-bit only), Olympus (32-bit only), Panasonic (32-bit only), Pentax (32-bit only) & Sony (32-bit and 64-bit)

The hack to run the 32-bit version of Windows Explorer (even on a 64-bit OS) no longer works on Windows 7, in my experience. For reference, as this works on 64-bit editions of Windows Vista; install the 32-bit codecs, and then create a shortcut to "C:\Windows\SysWOW64\explorer.exe /separate". Even on 64-bit editions of Windows 7, the 32-bit codecs do have some use and still work for any 32-bit applications that allow on Windows Imaging Components (WIC)


I found a tool called MysticThumbs, which supports a wide variety of formats. It has a free trial, but costs $15. The DNG thumbnails have not appeared yet...not sure if there is a bug or not. Every other image format on my system has a thumbnail now, however.


WTF.....!!!! Sagethumbs anyone? It will let you view any of those extension in windows explorer. Why pay $10 for a program (especially one that is not near as good as free ones out there) when you have a free extension for windows that works flawlessly. The accepted answer is obviously a spam answer.

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