How to block the automatic cleaning of Windows 10's Thumbnail Cache

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 4, 2019
Updated • Mar 4, 2019
Windows, Windows 10

Microsoft's Windows operating system uses a thumbnail cache for thumbnail icons used in Explorer to speed up the display of icons when a user opens a folder with cached items.

Microsoft changed how the thumbnail cache works in the Fall Creators Update for Windows 10. Starting with that release, Windows 10 clears the thumbnail cache automatically using a feature called Automatic Maintenance.

Automatic Maintenance

Automatic Maintenance performs a large number of tasks, from synchronizing the time and maintaining Windows Defender to defragmentation of drives and clean-up operations.

Tip: Open PowerShell and run the command Get-ScheduledTask | ? {$_.Settings.MaintenanceSettings} | Out-GridView to display all Automatic Maintenance tasks and the status of each in a listing.

One such task is called SilentCleanup. The task launches the built-in Disk Cleanup tool using the parameter /autoclean which makes the tool read Registry values to determine what to clean.

Cleaning the cache may free up storage on the device but it comes at the cost of having to renew the cache when File Explorer is used.  Windows 10 users who keep lots of photos in a single folder may experience issues when those folders are opened in File Explorer as it may increase the CPU load for the time it takes to generate and cache the thumbnails.

You can visit the hidden folder %userprofile%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Explorer in Explorer to display the cache.

Option 1: Making changes to the Registry

thumbnail cache autorun delete

SilentCleanup checks the data of each Autorun Dword value under HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\VolumeCaches\ and HKLM\SOFTWARE\WOW6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\VolumeCaches\ to determine whether it should include that cache in the cleanup operation.

A value of 0 blocks the maintenance task from deleting the cache, a value of 1 allows it to to so.

Here is how you configure Windows 10 to block or allow the clearing of the cache:

  1. Open Start, e.g. by clicking on the icon or tapping on the Windows-key on the keyboard.
  2. Type regedit.exe.
  3. Confirm the UAC prompt that Windows displays.
  4. Go to HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\VolumeCaches\Thumbnail Cache
  5. Double-click on the Autorun Dword value.
  6. Set it to 0 to prevent Windows from clearing the cache, or to 1 to allow it to do so.
  7. Go to HKLM\SOFTWARE\WOW6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\VolumeCaches\Thumbnail Cache
  8. Double-click on the Autorun Dword value.
  9. Set it to 0 or 1 accordingly.
  10. Optional: repeat the steps for any other cache listed under VolumeCaches.
  11. Restart the PC.

Windows won't delete the cache anymore as part of Automatic Maintenance if you set both entries to 0.

Option 2: The Task Scheduler

You may disable the entire SilentCleanup task or even Automatic Maintenance in the Task Scheduler. Disabling SilentCleanup may be an option if you don't want Windows to clear the cache automatically.

You may still run Disk Cleanup or any third-party tool that supports the cleaning of Windows caches to do so. Note that used disk space my increase if you don't as Windows won't run the cleanup task anymore.

  1. Open Start.
  2. Type Task Scheduler and load the result. You may also search for taskschd.msc directly if Windows Search acts up and does not reveal the right result in the search results.
  3. Use the navigation in the sidebar to go to Task Scheduler Library > Microsoft > Windows > DiskCleanup
  4. Right-click on the SilentCleanup task on the right and select Disable from the context menu; this turns the task off so that it is not run automatically anymore.

Tip: You can turn the task back on at any time by following the steps described above and selecting Enable from the context menu.

How to block the automatic cleaning of Windows 10's Thumbnail Cache
Article Name
How to block the automatic cleaning of Windows 10's Thumbnail Cache
Find out how to prevent Windows 10 from deleting cached thumbnails automatically to avoid the recreation in future sessions.
Ghacks Technology News

Tutorials & Tips

Previous Post: «
Next Post: «


  1. Dan Donx said on January 15, 2023 at 10:29 am

    What mental age of reader are you targeting with the first sentence? 10?

    Why not write an article on how to *avoid* upgrading from W10 to W11. Analogous to those like me who avoided upgrading from 7 to 10 for as long as possible.

    If your paymaster Microsoft permits it, of course.

  2. Dexter said on January 15, 2023 at 11:14 am

    5. Rufus
    6. Ventoy

    PS. I hate reading these “SEO optimized” articles.

    1. cdr said on January 15, 2023 at 3:32 pm

      I used Rufus to create an installer for a 6th gen intel i5 that had MBR. It upgraded using Setup. No issues except for Win 11 always prompting me to replace my local account. Still using Win 10 Pro on all my other PCs to avoid the bullying.

  3. sv said on January 15, 2023 at 6:40 pm

    bit pointless to upgrade for the sake of upgrading as you never know when you’ll get locked out because ms might suddenly not provide updates to unsupported systems.

    ps…. time travelling?
    written. Jan 15, 2023
    Updated • Jan 13, 2023

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 16, 2023 at 5:49 am

      This happens when you schedule a post in WordPress and update it before setting the publication date.

  4. Anonymous said on January 16, 2023 at 8:24 am

    Anyone willing to downgrade to this awful OS must like inflicting themselves with harm.

  5. basingstoke said on January 16, 2023 at 11:18 am

    I have become convinced now that anybody who has no qualms with using Windows 11/10 must fit into one of the following brackets:

    1) Too young to remember a time before W10 and W11 (doesn’t know better)

    2) Wants to play the latest games on their PC above anything else (or deeply needs some software which already dropped W7 support)

    3) Doesn’t know too much about how computers work, worried that they’d be absolutely lost and in trouble without the “”latest security””

    4) Microsoft apologist that tries to justify that the latest “features” and “changes” are actually a good thing, that improve Windows

    5) Uses their computer to do a bare minimum of like 3 different things, browse web, check emails, etc, so really doesn’t fuss

    Obviously that doesn’t cover everyone, there’s also the category that:

    6) Actually liked W7 more than 10, and held out as long as possible before switching, begrudgingly uses 10 now

    Have I missed any group off this list?

    1. Heinz Strunk said on September 19, 2023 at 3:57 pm

      You have missed in this group just about any professional user that uses business software like CAD programs or ERP Programs which are 99% of all professional users from this list.

      Linux doesn’t help anyone who is not a linux kid and apple is just a fancy facebook machine.

  6. ilev said on August 24, 2023 at 7:34 pm

    Microsoft has removed KB5029351 update

    1. EP said on August 24, 2023 at 9:21 pm

      only from windows update though
      KB5029351 is still available from the ms update catalog site

  7. Anonymous said on August 24, 2023 at 11:05 pm

    1. This update is labaled as PREVIEW if it causes issues to unintelligent people, then they shouldn’t have allowed Preview updates ot install.

    2. I have installed it in a 11 years old computer, and no problems at all.

    3. Making a big drama over a bluescreen for an updated labeled as preview is ridiculous.

    This is probably another BS internet drama where people ran programs and scripts that modified the registry until they broke Windows, just for removing stuff that they weren’t even using just for the sake of it.
    Maybe people should stop playing geeks and actually either use Windows 10 or Windows 11, but don’t try to modify things just for the sake of it.

    Sometimes removing or stopping things (like defender is a perfect example) only need intelligence, not scripts or 3rd party programs that might mess with windows.

  8. john said on August 24, 2023 at 11:17 pm

    Windows 11 was a pointless release, it was just created because some of the Windows team wanted to boost sales with some sort of new and improved Windows 10. Instead, Microsoft cannot support one version well let alone two.

    1. John G. said on August 25, 2023 at 12:08 pm

      Windows 11 is the worst ugly shame by Microsoft ever. They should release with every new W11 version a complete free version of Starallback inside just to make this sh** OS functionally again.

  9. EP said on August 25, 2023 at 3:10 pm

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released a statement regarding the “unsupported processor” blue screen error for their boards using Intel 600/700 series chipsets & to avoid the KB5029351 Win11 update:–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–Error-Message-of-Windows-11-Update-KB5029351-Preview-142215

  10. EP said on August 29, 2023 at 7:32 pm

    check out the following recent articles:

    Neowin – Microsoft puts little blame on its Windows update after UNSUPPORTED PROCESSOR BSOD bug:

    BleepingComputer – Microsoft blames ‘unsupported processor’ blue screens on OEM vendors:

  11. Leonard Britvolli said on August 30, 2023 at 10:33 pm

    While there may be changes or updates to the Windows 10 Store for Business and Education in the future, it is premature to conclude that it will be discontinued based solely on rumors.

  12. sembrador said on September 5, 2023 at 9:32 pm

    My advice, I left win 15 years ago. Now I’m a happy linux user (linuxmint) but there is Centos, Fedora, Ubuntu depending on your needs.

  13. EP said on September 6, 2023 at 11:55 am

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released new BIOS/firmware updates for their Intel 600 & 700 series motherboards to fix the “UNSUPPORTED_PROCESSOR” problem (Sept. 6):–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–caused-BSOD-on-MSI-s-Intel-700-and-600-Series-Motherboards-142277

  14. Raphael Benzo said on September 24, 2023 at 9:52 pm

    I try to disable the Diagnostics Tracking Service (Connected Devices Platform User Services) but it wont let me disable it, any help will be greatly appreciated.
    Tank you for your help

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.