Guide: How to Enable Windows 10 PSD Icon Previews

Photoshop users may find it disappointing that Windows 10 no longer supports thumbnail previews of icons. Fortunately, that doesn’t mean the feature is completely gone. Stay with us to see if there is a way to turn this option back on.

Good news, bad news

The bad news is there is nothing officially supported by Microsoft or Adobe to fix this problem. By default, only the Photoshop icon is displayed regardless of whether your icons are large enough to display a thumbnail or not. However, if you’re not too hesitant about using third-party software, there are quite a few programs that enable thumbnails, including thumbnails for PSD files. Some programs are simple photo viewers and photo editors, while others are specially made for this, so there is something for everyone. Most of these programs are also completely free or have a free version. Before we proceed, also keep in mind that you should check if you are running a 32-bit or 64-bit version of Windows. To check this, press the Windows and Pause keys simultaneously or right-click the “This PC” icon on your desktop and click “Properties”. Additionally, make sure you are logged in as an administrator, which is necessary to install most, if not all, of the programs.


IrfanView is a very popular and useful image viewer. What puts it at a disadvantage over other programs is that you can’t see previews of the PSD icon immediately. It does that only after you go to the folder of the file. The program can be completely free, there is no need to register and it is also an image viewer as well as an image editor.

Another program called IrfanView Thumbnails comes with IrfanView. It’s also worth mentioning, as it can be used as an alternative to File Explorer, especially if you prefer the “Explore” feature in older versions of Windows. In addition, you can save thumbnails as images and even sort them by rare criteria such as the width or height of the image.


If you add the ability to show PSD icon previews in File Explorer but remove some of IrfanView’s features, you would actually end up up with Pictus. This free lightweight program is also a photo editor, hardly, as its functionality is quite limited. It allows you to adjust brightness, contrast and gamma, but not much other than rotate/flip the image. On the other hand, it works very well with File Explorer, automatically displaying icon previews, while also allowing you to rename the file you are working on and open it in File Explorer. If you happen to use an extremely simple image editor in addition to the need for PSD icon previews, this might be the app for you. Another plus is the fact that it is available for both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows.


MysticThumbs is a program specially made for customizing thumbnails, both in File Explorer and beyond. It’s a great program for anyone who wants to see thumbnails for all of the more popular file formats, including PSD. This program runs in the background, so you don’t need to interact with it after it’s installed as it does its job quietly. However, it has two major drawbacks. One is that it comes with an evaluation period, which means that it is only free for the first 14 days after downloading. The other is that the free version adds a MysticThumbs watermark on one corner of an icon and the extension’s icon in another. Still, this is a good choice if you’ve been wondering if you can enable thumbnails for, say, Notepad and Microsoft Word files.


A program that works in the same way as MysticThumbs, SageThumbs is a shell extension, which means it runs completely in the background as well. However, it is primarily made for opening image files, with the ability to open more than 150 different image formats. It uses the “GLF library” created by the author of a program called XnView. Installing XnView plugins expands capabilities with additional support for even more image formats.

One thing that really sets this program apart is the File Explorer context menu integration. By right-clicking on an image, you will see the option “SageThumbs”. Hovering over it, you’ll see the improved image rendering and some other things you can do with that image right away, like convert it to another format or send it via email.

Looking at the big picture

SageThumbs is the most advanced of the bunch, but not too difficult to use as it just adds more features to your file explorer. Unfortunately, it doesn’t do anything other than this, so if you want an image viewer or editor on the go, you might want to try a different program. It all comes down to what your needs are. What’s your reason for wanting PSD icon previews? Once you’ve found your preferred solution, don’t forget to let us know in the comments below.

How to Enable Windows 10 PSD Icon Previews: benefits


Final note

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