How to Disable and Enable Taskbar Thumbnail Previews in Windows

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Disable and Enable taskbar thumbnails

In Windows, if you hover your mouse or touchpad over a program that’s open and running in the taskbar, a small preview appears. If it’s something that annoys you, here’s how to disable it. If it’s something that you like that isn’t working, here’s how to get it back.

There are a few methods to make the taskbar previews stop appearing, most notably increasing the delay in the amount of hover time before a thumbnail appears.

The method involves making changes to the Windows Registry. It’s good to have a system or file backup before editing the registry and back up the registry itself before making changes. Directions to change the registry entries, back up the registry, appropriate legal dire warnings and downloable one click registry hacks are available at this How-To Geek article.

For the most part, that method works, but at times it fails. That method works fine on my laptop, but doesn’t work in my Windows 10 dual monitor setup – one monitor has no previews, the other one shows thumbnails when the mouse cursor gets near the taskbar.
After some looking around, I found a batch file that works to disable taskbar thumbnail previews, and to easily reverse the process if I ever want them back. Instead of adjusting the hover time, the batch file works to disable the preview window.

The batch file is easy to use; download the file that you want (or download both) and run it. That’s it. The file and its contents are listed so you can see what the file does. A tip of the hat to Brink at tenforums.com for eliminating another major annoyance.

How to Enable or Disable Taskbar Thumbnail Live Previews in Windows 10


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Comments

This didn't work for me. I downloaded and ran the file to disable the previews. Defender popped up saying the file might be dangerous. I told Defender to run it anyway. The screen blinked. I pointed at a taskbar stub and a preview popped up. I right clicked the downloaded file and this time ran it as an administrator. The screen blinked. I pointed at a taskbar stub and a preview popped up. I navigated to the key in RegEdit and saw that it had been added and set appropriately. Hmm.

I did a little research and discovered there's a setting in Windows 10 for disabling taskbar previews, called Enable Peek:

1. Right-click on This PC in File Explorer or go to Control Panel\System and Security\System
2. Select Advanced System Settings on the left
3. Click the Settings button in the Performance section
4. On the Visual Effects tab, uncheck Enable Peek
5. Click OK
6. Reboot.

I performed those steps and I still get a popup preview when I hover on a taskbar task. Maybe the steps above will work for others here, but not for me. Strange. I'm running Windows 10 Pro 64-bit.

As an addendum, taskbar thumbnails have returned after I shut down the computer for a bit and then turned it back on. The registry entry that the batch file in the article creates has been removed.

Extending the UI hover time might work, the info is in the How-To Geek article. Unchecking Enable Peek is a good suggestion. Also right clicking the file and unblock the file is a good idea, I use WinAero to unblock downloaded files, and I also have the disable taskbar previews in WinAero checked and it made no difference.
I'm not surprised this isn't working for you, I have similar issues with Windows 10 often. Things I install disappear from the system, usually things that work in the Windows File Explorer context menu. Sage Thumbs disappears, Image Resizer disappears, and some other random programs disappear. All have to be reinstalled. I have more trouble with Windows 10 than any previous Windows operating system.

What's interesting to me is that the registry key and enable peek settings, which are supposed to control the preview, don't. Apparently there's one flag to rule them all (like LOTR). It also interests me that the registry key setting works for you, indicating that your Windows 10 works differently from my Windows 10. I have a similar problem with my UEFI BIOS now. It says Secure Boot is enabled, but both Windows System Information and Belarc Advisor say Secure Boot is Off. As my father would say, "It's not a perfect world."

I would like to find the one flag the rules them all. The registry key disappeared, and I applied the batch file. It's there now but it's not working, even after some reboots. I'll keep looking. Something may turn up.