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Can't display .blend thumbnail in the Windows explorer
Confirmed, NormalPublicKNOWN ISSUE


System Information
windows 7 64 bit

Blender Version
Broken: blender 2.75a c27589e

Short description of error
Can't display .blend thumbnail in the Windows explorer!

Exact steps for others to reproduce the error
both v2.75 and 2.75a all can't display .blend thumbnail in the windows explorer! I have install and uninstall again and again ,it's still don't display thumbnail.

Revisions and Commits

Event Timeline

Leroy (Leroy) raised the priority of this task from to 90.
Leroy (Leroy) updated the task description. (Show Details)
Leroy (Leroy) added a project: BF Blender.
Leroy (Leroy) edited a custom field.
Leroy (Leroy) added a subscriber: Leroy (Leroy).

Is any message not output in a console screen?

Is any message not output in a console screen?

It's have something on the console screen , something about extension, like .blend file associations with blender

Is there the message which is similar to warning/error not such a message?

Because I do not use win7, I do not understand that it has a lot on it.
Because the following contents are WinXP, it may be slightly different from your environment.
blender makes a folder named .thumbnails under Documents and Settings/ account folder.
A thumbnail made in that is stored.
There is the thumbnail of the file which failed in making.


Even if the file of this inside deletes it, it is made again.
Do not delete the folder.

I think that you understand it if you check there if you check whether a thumbnail is made.

not similar to warning, just an console screen when I install blender 2.75a

I understand ,.thumbnails folder can stored thumbnails files that some software generated, but now ,the .blend thumbnails files just generated by 2.74 or old version, can't created for v 2.75 or 2.75a, but the File Browser in blender editer could display the thumbnails for .blend files, I don't know why ,but install 2.74, it's will works good

You should confirm it whether any message is output by a console screen of blender when you open file browser of blender not a message when you installed blender.

all like you ,the windows explorer or blender file browser, all normal, nothing like warning or error ...

I see.
blender fails in the generation of the thumbnail file.

I confirmed it by the following methods.
I deleted the file in the folder that blender stored a thumbnail file.
If there is config folder, rename userpref.blend and startup.blend.
Run blender.
Store startup file.
Open File browser.
Open the folder with startup.blend
Enable the indication setting of the thumbnail.
Quit blender.
The file which failed in the thumbnail generation of the number same as .blend when I check the folder that a thumbnail file of blender is stored is generated.

I can't understand very clear, this is my methods to confirm

clean thumbnail cache on system( maybe the current thumbnail is generated by old version),
all .blend file can't display thumbnails in windows explorer now,
for confirm it , I install and uninstall blender 2.75 again and again, still not works, and no thumbnails in cache, but if you browser .blend in blender's file browser, it's will generate thumbnails for .blend and stored in .thumbnails folder, but not works for windows explorer.
if I uninstall 2.75, and install 2.74, the .blend file will generate thumbnail in windows explorer.

the blender will store thumbnail when save .blend file, but the windows explorer can't create thumbnail for .blend

Ah....I seemed to misunderstand the meaning of your question.
Blender generates the thumbnail to display it in file browser of blender, but thinks that blender does not generate the thumbnail file which it can display in file explorer of windows system.

Ah....I seemed to misunderstand the meaning of your question.
Blender generates the thumbnail to display it in file browser of blender, but thinks that blender does not generate the thumbnail file which it can display in file explorer of windows system.

I'm sorry , my english not good , i'm meaning the .blend can't display thumbnail in windows explorer ,like others images file type. hope you can understand : )

@Bastien Montagne (mont29) I can confirm this as an installer problem. Ill look into it asap

Does this feature only work with the installer version of blender?

No, the installer version does not create the file association.

Hi guys, sorry if I jump in but I not sure I understood the above issue. I've never seen the .blend scene "preview" thumbnail inside any Windows 7 explorer file manager, while I can see the saved preview of the .blend file inside the Blender's File Manager. I use only the zipped version of Blender and I do register manually the application every time I install a major "stable" release: blender.exe -R.

So, do I have understood it correctly that even inside Windows file manager the same .blend scene preview thumbnail should be displayed? Is this option available only for the Blender windows installer or can it be allowed or set manually if the zipped version is being used?

Could somebody who has this feature working under Windows 7 post a screenshot of the previews inside the Windows File Manager? Thank you.

@Riccardo Giovanetti (harvester): yes, windows' filemanager can display previews of .blend files, but only if you used installer version, .zip archive will never register the needed bits to enable that feature…

Also, this tracker is not a forum, please ask that kind of questions (or rather, find already answered previous same question) on forums like or next time.

OK, I understand and thank you Bastien for your reply, now that's clear.

I think I tracked the issue down. Test fix incoming.

I have installed blender 2.76 rc1 (Install version), and this problem still not fix! even not association with .blend and automatically uninstall 2.75 in others path with not any prompter, So I should manual assign .blend open with blender.exe, and amazing coming, when I assigned that, not work, and become open with others software ( Bing IME ), try again and again, So I have to uninstall and than install again, than manual assign .blend again, it's works, but still no thumbnail :(

I'm hope use the old method that packed blender with .exe, it provide more options for us, for example, file association, create desktop icon, thumbnails in Windows explorer, and it's lets me uninstall completely, all this can setting by myself, and much more smaller than .MSI, it's have 85Mb now!

sorry my poor English, thanks :D

Antonis Ryakiotakis (psy-fi) changed the task status from Resolved to Unknown Status.Sep 21 2015, 4:19 PM

Then that's indeed an issue with the installer, assigning to @Martijn Berger (juicyfruit)

The zip version works fine with -r

Probably needs a hook in the installer to call blender -R after installation.

yeah, the installer version with <blender -r> works fine too, but I don't know how to uninstall completely, it's need change regedit, I don't know -r add what in it. somebody who can write a batch file is used to install or uninstall blender through change the registry. and useful for us, even zip version, and should be included in zip version. or maybe by the performance setting(CTRL+Alt+U).

the .MSI really not good for install, Please back to .exe : (

Is this a problem on 2.76 rc-3?

@Alex (Kinryu) have fixed in 2.76 rc2, but still can't uninstall completely

I wish to let you know that Blender 2.76 64bit stable release, zipped version, works fine and using the -r option it registers properly the application and its path as the default one to open .blend files, as well as I can now see the thumbnail preview of the blend file on my Windows desktop as well as in the file manager. Well done!

Usually only the local user settings in the \AppData\Roaming\Blender Foundation\Blender\[blender version]\ should be left out and you can manually remove it or even in the program's installation path some stuff might be left out if you added manually scripts or files which weren't logged by Windows at the installation time.

Riccardo this has been a problem with the .msi installer only.

This is still a problem on 2.77...

I current solve the problem by installing an older version alongside the latest version so as to be able to see the thumbnails inside Window's File explorer. Here is the screen shot. Hope it's resolved soon.

Well, you can also go to blender installation folder, open a command line on that directory with shift-right click and the relevant command and enter then blender -R in the console.

But agree that this should be part of the installer actually.

The installer should create the association. And it even tries to do that but it seems that is failing in a lot of cases.

@Martijn Berger (juicyfruit) Hi, does any body can write a .reg file, just open it, and have option to install blender(build association(-R)) and uninstall blender(clean registry), currently we can use the -R to association, but i don't know how to uninstall, so I have go to Registry to delete by manually, if possible the .reg file can included into the Zip version, just run the .reg file to association. sorry for my bad english.

Anyone have the same problem in windows 10?

My Blender installation on Windows 10 was done using blender-2.78c-windows64.msi
With this the thumbnails are missing on .blend files in the Windows Explorer.
Running blender.exe -R fixes the problem - but as said above, it would be nice if it was done automatically as part of the installation.

I thought registering file extension with -R by the blender installer is not a big deal. That would be nice to have that fixed. It is small but nice user experience improvent.

Richard Antalik (ISS) changed the subtype of this task from "Report" to "Known Issue".Feb 10 2020, 4:08 PM

Can this please be fixed for the next version? tomorrow will be this task 5 year old birthday.

When testing this again, I noticed that installer did "component registration" before "copying files"

So I guess following syscall probably failed if that is the same, that installer uses?

    RegCmd, MAX_PATH * 2, "%s\\regsvr32 /s \"%s\\%s\"", SysDir, InstallDir, ThumbHandlerDLL);

Unless installDir is valid for some temporary location (and I guess for long enough). It seems to me that it would be better to do this step as last and in final installaton path. But I am just speculating here mostly.

I have tried to create my own package, and removed /s argument from regsvr32 call and it rather looks that this code is not executed. Not sure if this is intentional though. also my installer looked different, so I am not sure if I compare oranges to oranges.

this issue seems very small but impacts so much for smooth user experience, so need to fixed soon as this issue is already so old and has not been fixed. Developers need to be conscious for such small issues too which can have big impact.

The registration is controlled through lib\win64_vc15\package\installer_wix\WIX.template which calls the blender executable to perform the registration after the files are installed.

now this does seem to work as intended as indicated by the install log file

=== Logging started: 2020-08-10  7:06:40 ===
Action 7:06:40: INSTALL. 
InstallFiles: File: blender.exe,  Directory: f:\tools\blender\Blender 2.83\,  Size: 134566360
InstallFiles: File: BlendThumb.dll,  Directory: f:\tools\blender\Blender 2.83\,  Size: 54744
Action 7:07:51: RegisterBlender. 
=== Logging stopped: 2020-08-10  7:08:11 ===
MSI (c) (BC:3C) [07:08:11:498]: Product: Blender -- Installation completed successfully.

MSI (c) (BC:3C) [07:08:11:499]: Windows Installer installed the product. Product Name: Blender. Product Version: 2.83.4. Product Language: 1033. Manufacturer: Blender Foundation. Installation success or error status: 0.

However, given there's so many ways to obtain blender on windows currently (zip, msi, stream, window store) and only one of them (msi) is registering the thumbnail, it may be better to offer registration/unregistration options somewhere in the prefs panel, the -r or (-R) command line option will be on the obscure end for most users.

Thanks for clarification, I was just curious, where exactly did this fail and why. I should have checked the log.

In any case there is some oddity:

Action 16:27:56: RegisterBlender. 
Action start 16:27:56: RegisterBlender.
Action ended 16:27:56: RegisterBlender. Return value 1.

And then again after installing files, but with slightly "different format"

Action 16:28:14: RegisterBlender. 

Looks like many actions ran in the beginning, and this showed as some kind of glitch in installer progressbar. But again, not sure if there is anything to be seen here.

In my log it removed the previous version and then tried to unregister the extension (by foolishly running the register command once more) which naturally failed.

That being said, i still think that making the option more discoverable (ie adding it to the prefs screen) is the way to go here.

I had the same problem with the Blend file thumbnails no longer showing up in Windows 10 ( I think it was CCleaner "fixing" my registry), and I tried the -R method of registering the most recent version of Blender but it shows only the Blender icon, not the thumbnail. I couldn't find further help, but I believe that a re-install of a Blender version that does have that thumbnail generation option might fix the problem. A "Repair" of the installation didn't work, unless it was an earlier version of Blender that had that thumbnail feature?

Anyone let me know which version of Blender had that feature, because I remember that thumbnails started showing for *.Blend files right after an install of Blender, I just forget the version.

This is the part of the Blender page that says that thumbnail generation in Windows is "registered" during installation:

Blend-File Preview
Blender saves by default a small preview of current scene in the blend-file. This will show in the Thumbnail view of the File Browser.
During its installation, Blender also adds a small tool to your OS, that will allow your system file browser to show those previews as file thumbnails as well.