Why I can't see the thumbnails in Nautilus?

Problem Loading Thumb Previews:

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This started to happen after upgraded Ubuntu from 12.04 to 12.10.

Asked By: Vishnu Bathala


This may happen if you get a different UID from the one you had before (this will remove you the ownership of those files). Try executing this on a terminal:

sudo chown -R $USER:$USER ~/.thumbnails

From 12.10 onward, thumbnais are also stored in ~/.cache/thumbnails, so you may repeat the same process for this location.

If none of those solves your issue, you can always remove them (they are automatically generated, and I think failed thumbs generations are cached):

sudo rm -rf ~/.thumbnails/* ~/.cache/thumbnails/*

Note: it’s not the case of OP, but if you don’t get previews to video files (ex: mkv, mp4) probably you are missing the video codec. This can be easily fixed by open the video with “Movie Player”: it will propose a suitable codec.

Answered By: Salem

I had the same issue.

I solved it by moving the .thumbnails folder and setting a symbolic link to .cache/thumbnails instead.

mv ~/.thumbnails ~/thumbnails
ln -s ~/.cache/thumbnails ~/.thumbnails

Is it possible that there were some changes?

It looks to me like the thumbnailers create their thumbnails in .cache/thumbnails, while nautilus keeps looking in .thumbnails.

Answered By: cataclysmic

Looks like the path has changed in recent versions. For me the issue in 13.04 was that ~/.cache/thumbnails was owned by root.

So for 13.04 at least, the command is:

sudo chown -R yourusername:yourusername ~/.cache/thumbnails

So Salem did have it-

Answered By: jejbarr

try changing nautilus preferences

Edit-> Preferences-> Preview-> Other Previewable Files-> only files under (set a higher MB value and then try reloading)

Answered By: Aswn

there may be another factor causing this – perhaps you didn’t install the right codec as suggested here: http://iwillfolo.blogspot.co.il/2013/10/thumbnail-doesnt-load.html

try installing ubuntu restricted extras. Open a terminmal and type:

sudo apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras -y
Answered By: yuri

Depends on version of glib, the change was in the Gio module starting in the 2.35 series.

The thumbnail cache directory is prefixed with $XDG_CACHE_DIR/ and the leading dot removed (since $XDG_CACHE_DIR is normally $HOME/.cache). The glib ChangeLog indicates the path for large sizes was “fixed” (Added $XDG_CACHE_DIR)

starting with 2.35.3 so as to match the path for normal sizes, implying some versions using the added prefix, pior to 2.35.3 (I did not find any) are broke. The solution to add the symbolic link would provide a work-around for these broken versions.

Answered By: Wiley

If you are trying to access a network device like a NAS, then go to nautilus preferences, and choose Edit-> Preferences-> Preview-> Other Previewable Files->Show thumbnails->Always

Hope this helps!

Answered By: Paul Preibisch

In my case it was pretty simple: All I had to do is to change the preference in nautilus, by switching from “show thumbnails: only local files” to “show thumbnails: always” (my JPGs located in my smartphone weren’t being shown). I found the issue thanks to Aswn, practically, so thumbs up for him/her.

Answered By: Acácio Florentino

Change nautilus preferences in

Edit -> Preferences -> Preview -> Files -> Show Thumbnails

from “Local files Only” to “Always”.
This could be helpful for usb memories or any external source like phones.

(ubuntu 14.04 LTS)

Answered By: ddrbcn

I had the same symptom and fixed it by installing the following package

sudo apt install libgdk-pixbuf2.0-bin
Answered By: vidstige

In my case I disabled a kernel sysctl setting because of CVE-2022-32250 and this broke "bwrap" from package bubblewrap which is used internally when creating thumbnails!

So the following as "root" made it work again for me:

echo "1" > /proc/sys/kernel/unprivileged_userns_clone

Unfortunately the actual error messages in nautilus is hidden deeply inside so that only running with strace allowed to find out the "bwrap" commandline which then showed the proper error-message.

Answered By: centic
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