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Working with Thumbnail Files

In my "Pictures" folder, I keep getting files with the extension: Windows can't open these. Can I safely delete them? What are they? Celeste Stewart

Thumbnail Files

If you've ever played around with the different views in Windows Explorer, you'll have seen thumbnail files in action. For example, when looking at your "My Pictures" folder, you can change the view to show just the filename, date, and other details or you can see small "previews" of the photos. These previews are thumbnails. They are thumbnail-sized representations of the larger photo.

ZbThumbnail Files

The file is related to thumbnail files, though it is more of an index of thumbnail files. This file is generated by Canon's ZoomBrowser Ex software. When your Canon photos are transferred to a folder on your computer, the ZoomBrowser EX software creates this file which contains information about the thumbnail images stored within the folder.

Deleting the File

The file can be deleted without adversely affecting the photos in the My Pictures folder. However, deleting it isn't necessary. Plus, ZoomBrowser Ex will create a new file the next time you use the software.

If seeing this file bothers you, you may be able to hide it from view by changing the Folder Options settings. Do this by going into Windows Explorer and clicking the Organize button followed by Folder and Search Options in Windows Vista and Windows 7. If you have Windows XP, go to Windows Explorer and then click on Tools > Folder Options. Now, click on the View tab and scroll to the Hidden Files and Folders section. Make sure that "Don't show hidden files, folders, or drives" option is marked.  

The file is harmless and can be left on your computer. There's no need to open the file as the file is not meant for general viewing. If you do delete the file, no harm will occur (though you may not see previews of your photos) and the file will be regenerated the next time you use the ZoomBrowser Ex software. This is one of those file types that is best left alone.  

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