Change Thumbnail Preview Border in Windows

Viewing thumbnail representations of your images and selected files in Windows is nothing new, but are you aware that you can change the thumbnail preview border? This hack works with Windows 10 and all the way back to Windows XP.

This is a registry hack and requires knowledge of editing the Windows Registry. Read this article to familiarize yourself with the Registry before continuing.

Thumbnail Preview Border Styles

Thumbnail preview border

With this simple hack you can change between 3 different thumbnail preview border styles. Below are the available border settings as per Windows 10. Keep in mind the the values produces different results in different Windows versions.

  • No border (0, 4)
  • Shadow border (1, 2)
  • Filmstrip border (3)

How to change Thumbnail Preview Border styles.

As previously mentioned; to do this, we need to edit the Windows Registry. On your keyboard, hold down the Windows key and then press R (Windows+R). This will open the Run dialog. In the Open textbox, type regedit and press Enter or click on the OK button. This will open the Registry Editor.

Run regedit

In the Registry Editor, navigate to the HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\SystemFileAssociations\image key. In the right panel, right-click on Treatment and select Modify. Change the hexadecimal value from its default (2) to 3 and click OK to change the Thumbnail Preview Border to the filmstrip style. Consult the list at the beginning of this article for more results.

Registry editor image preview border value

Reboot your computer and open a folder with images in it to see your new Thumbnail Preview Border style. Play around with the values to find your optimal setting. I prefer the default (2).

Editing the Registry using a reg file

An easier way to edit the Registry is by using a .reg file. Download Notepad3, open it and start with a blank text file. Enter the code below, changing the 2 to your desired setting. Finally, save it with a .reg extension.

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00


Now, double-click on your newly created .reg file and answer Yes to import it. Remember to reboot your computer for the setting to take effect.

Run thmbnail border reg file


Hope this article is somewhat useful. Personally, I have no need to change the Thumbnail Preview Border style, but that’s just me.

author avatar
Derick Payne
My name is Derick Payne. With a deep-seated passion for programming and an unwavering commitment to innovation, I've spent the past 23 years pushing the envelope of what's possible. As the founder of Rizonetech and Rizonesoft, I've had the unique opportunity to channel my love for technology into creating solutions that make a difference.
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