How to View Adobe Photoshop PSD Thumbnails in Windows XP Explorer

March 15, 2009 by
Filed under: FIX-IT, HOW TO 

 “A great feature of Photoshop 7.0, was the ability to view thumbnails of PSD files when browsing a Windows XP folder. Adobe then removed this”

photoshop-boxUnless you have been living under a rock for the last 20 years, I guess you would have heard of a software company that goes by the name of Adobe

In my opinion,  Adobe produces the best software on the planet when it comes to drawing and photo editing, with packages such as Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator


This is an Adobe Photoshop .PSD file

HELPI cannot See
The Thumbnail

Definition of Thumbnail:

For those that don’t know, a thumbnail is simply a small representation of what the file is when looking inside a folder on your PC……

As you can see, you cannot get a lot of information as to what the file is
A great feature of Photoshop 7.0, was the ability to view thumbnails of PSD files when browsing a Windows XP folder. Having got used to this as standard, Adobe then removed this ability due to issues with the DLL file conflicting with Windows XP. This is One of the most frustrating things with newer versions, such as the Adobe Photoshop CS series,because you cannot see the thumbnail images, You spend a lot of time opening up the file just to see what it is. A step backwards in my view!………… So what are your options, and can we do anything about it ?

It may be just a coincidence, but around that same time, the file browser and sorting facility,  Adobe bridge, was introduced. and yes it can be used to see what the files are without opening them……. But would you prefer to have the option of viewing the file directly in the folder ?  

Now you can, and to change the normal  adobe photoshop .psd thumbnail into a  (small picture)  thumbnail of the actual saved document! Is very easy to do, and works with Photoshop CS and above.

The Solution

The solution is very simple and takes less than a minute to implement. You don’t even need to reboot Windows. The change is immediate.

  1. Go to ‘Start/All Programs/Accessories/System Tools/System Restore’ and follow the instructions to create a system restore point. In the unlikely event things go wrong, come back to this menu to undo any changes you’ve a made
  2. Download and open the file,
  3. Copy psicon.dll to C:\Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\Shell – if this folder doesn’t exist create it
  4. Run Adobe.reg (double click on it ) 
  5. You now can view PSD files in Thumbnails view within Windows Explorer.
  6. When in the folder where the .PSD files are, Make sure that you select thumbnails from the views drop-down, or you may still see the icon as before.


Let me know how you get on , and please leave a comment below. Your comments will help others.

I have other Fixes for common windows XP problems – click here


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