Thiemo Mättig

Thiemo Mättig

How to disable the thumbnail generation for video and PDF files in Ubuntus file manager?

I don't like it when the Nautilus file manager stresses external hard discs and USB sticks when it tries to render preview images for directories full of PDFs and videos. This slows down everything, but is almost entirely useless: A random still image from a full length movie does not tell me anything about it. Neither does the first page of a PDF. Often the first page is even empty. And even if this is a typical Stack Overflow question with many good answers, here is my approach:

  • On the terminal, quit the file manager with nautilus -q.
  • Try to start either the dconf-editor (should already be installed by default) or the gconf-editor. Do not start the editor with sudo. This will edit the administrators settings, but you want to edit your normal users settings.
  • If neither of the editors is available, you have to install it with either sudo apt-get install dconf-tools or sudo apt-get install gconf-editor first.
  • In the editor go to org/gnome/desktop/thumbnailers. There is a key named disable with the default value []. Set it to ['application/pdf', 'video/mp4', 'video/mpeg', 'video/x-matroska', 'video/x-msvideo'].
  • If you want you can delete all previously generated thumbnail with rm -rf ~/.thumbnails/normal.
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