Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Reader Asks, What Is “Thumbs.db”?

Reader Question Answered

Q:Hi Paul. I have a quick question. Sometimes when I am copying my files from one place to another I get stopped by a message about a file called thumbs.db. I have seen this file sometimes and often wondered what it is because I did not put it there. Is it safe to delete it? Thank you

A: Sir or Ms,
The Thumbs is short for “thumbnails”, and the .db is short for “database”. In Windows XP and older, the operating system will create a Thumbs.db file in any folder containing images – basically a way for the machine to “remember” how to render the ‘thumbnail view’ of that folder, so that the next time you open it the small image previews can load much, much faster (called a “cache”).
In short – it is a performance enhancing “system file”.

If you delete it, the machine will just create a new one. And, it will have to re-figure out how to render the thumbnails the next time you open that folder.. not a “big deal” but it will slow things down for a bit. (So, no, even though it is ‘safe’, deleting Thumbs.db is not recommended.)

When you are copying a folder to another place (say.. you are making a backup), and get a Thumbs.db “what should I do?” message, place a check in the “Do this for all” checkbox and click the “Skip” button. That will allow the copy command ‘batch job’ to complete, and you will get your files copied over.. minus the thumbnail cache (which you don’t need a copy of).

Today’s Tech News Tidbit: Netflix scraps Qwikster.com
In a move that can only be described as a Let’s Remove Our Head From Our Derriere: due to “negative feedback”, Netflix announced yesterday that it’s dropping its plan to split its DVD and streaming services into two separate websites. (aka “no Qwikster”)
Yay!

Today’s free download: Freemake Video Downloader

Download YouTube, Facebook, Megavideo, MTV, Vimeo, Tubeplus and 50+ sites, extract audio from YouTube, convert online videos to AVI, MKV, MP3, iPhone, iPod, PSP, Android with YouTube video downloader from Freemake!

Today’s quotable quote:A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs – jolted by every pebble in the road.” ~ Henry Ward Beecher

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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October 11, 2011 - Posted by | advice, computers, free software | , , , , , , , , , , , ,

28 Comments »

  1. Fine question, and great answer!

    Thanks Paul

    Like

    Comment by kstinman | October 11, 2011 | Reply

    • kstinman,
      I enjoy reader submissions as they help keep me grounded; and sometimes the answers to the questions I receive are worth “making public”.

      Even though XP is “old” and being phased out, I felt this one qualified.

      I hope all is “groovy” with you and yours!

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | October 11, 2011 | Reply

  2. Your “Today’s free download: Freemake Video Downloader” is one of the best downloaders. I had to use it today.

    I was on YouTube looking up videos on the Kent State Shootings because of the parallels of today’s time for Google+. YouTube would NOT let me download them. I was signed in; I could make comments but no downloads. I even went into the Page Info..no go. Clicked on the addon for Freemake Video Downloader and BINGO..Got it.

    It has to be updated often but that is because the video sites keep changing. But it does what it says. When you go to install it, make sure your browser is closed because it inserts a button so you have quick access to the program when you need it to download.

    Like

    Comment by delenn13 | October 11, 2011 | Reply

    • delenn13,
      This particular “today’s free download” is one of a very small handful (I have been posting for 4 years.. everyday, so..) of apps that I have not personally “test drove”, but have relied on trusted friends & reviewers to come up with.
      So I am very happy to see this RL testimonial. Thank you.

      I know this is “weird” in today’s world, but I’ve simply never felt the need to “download” any videos to keep on hand. But I understand it’s a very popular activity…….

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | October 11, 2011 | Reply

      • If you like the downloader/converter, you should try it’s companion program..Free Video Converter | Convert Video Formats Free | Freemake. It converts to over 200 formats form websites. Plus it burns. To be honest, I haven’t used the burner so I don’t know how well it does that. I use the Ashampoo program for burning.

        There is a method to my madness of downloading videos.

        First of all, we usually go camping for 2 weeks in the summer and sometimes I like to watch/hear videos. And sometimes I download video “readings” by the author(like Neil Gaiman etc)…they don’t stay up long. Plus I have limited download/access to internet when I am camping.

        2nd, I belong to lot of Star Trek(been a fan since TOS) fan video sites on YouTube. Sometimes people leave and take their videos with them or Google/YouTube takes the music or take the entire video down. The music had disappeared in some of the videos I was searching for yesterday because they were using Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young’s “4 Dead in Ohio”. So I thought if I found a few, I should keep them. One I kept because the slant..showed how history can be rewritten after over 40 years. His excuse was…”It was for a school project. I just did what the book told me, sorry I wasnt there”. (Hmmm.OK Not the place for a rant.)

        Like

        Comment by Anonymous | October 12, 2011 | Reply

        • I am assuming.. delenn13? (this was unsigned),
          Camping? You have time for camping? Lucky!

          I understand that downloading (perhaps “capturing” might be more appropriate) now, for use later, or for use on another device, is the primary application for these applications.. I just don’t have time, now or later, for watching vids, it seems.
          And yes, you’re absolutely right. Just because something is freely available today does not mean it will be so tomorrow.

          Folks, it is not a requirement to be a fan of Star Trek here. But.. it doesn’t hurt. Ha!

          Like

          Comment by techpaul | October 12, 2011 | Reply

          • Yes it was me! My Twitter account still has me signed in…WordPress lost me. :( And I didn’t notice..LOL

            We MAKE time. However this next yr, may not have the money. Got things going on. He, also, for 5 days goes up North ice fishing. He went on Lake Erie yesterday for 3 hrs. in a boat and caught 29 perch..His friend caught 34.

            I download pics and videos…never know when you might need to make a point with them. Just like you did with the pic above.

            As Leonard Nimoy/Spock says on each of his “Tweets”at the end……….LLAP

            Like

            Comment by delenn13 | October 12, 2011 | Reply

            • Forgot to say, most of the larger ISP’s with cable or DSL in Canada, have bandwidth caps. So I try to only download once….So another reason, I download videos/pics.

              Like

              Comment by delenn13 | October 12, 2011 | Reply

              • delenn13,
                Ew.

                Folks, you have to fight – with everything you have – the ISP’s, and their attempt to make you pay by the bits.
                They say it will only “punish abusers”.
                They also say it will mean a reduction in rates for ‘normal users’.
                But, you’ve been lied to before, right? You know what “spin” is? Don’t be fooled. Let your ISP’s know that if they implement such a “scale”, you will take your business elsewhere. It is a way to gouge, pure and simple. (And who knows how many bits you’ll be using/needing 5 years from now?)

                Like

                Comment by techpaul | October 12, 2011 | Reply

                • OK, ready……

                  When I came here from Florida, I had to make a lot of adjustments. I had a T1; all they had to offer here was..dialup. When you live in a teeny, tiny town you deal with what they offer. This area is horse/farmland territory and on the shores of the Great Lakes…it’s tourism. About 7 yrs( I may be wrong on the yrs..but close) Bell came in with DSL and soon after that the cable company brought in their modems. When it’s the 2 shows in town and they both charge admission…if you want to see it..you pay. They had caps but they weren’t enforced, at first. Now, they are.

                  Then you got the US with their BS…”Must be a resident of the US to view this”. Well, I pay over $100 for cable and still can’t see what I want. I have ALL the channels but I still can’t get Warehouse 13(even though it was filmed in Toronto) or NTSF.SD.SUV because they aren’t offered in CA. I only live 10 minutes away from the border. So I have a proxy and I know how to use it…and if all else fails…I have friends elsewhere and I download it.

                  We are gouged on our internet and cell phone usage. We are charged extra taxes on any removable media we use..CD’s, DVD’s, etc. There is so much more that is wrong but I am not in the mood for a full vented rant…I have to quit or I will be a bad mood.

                  Like

                  Comment by delenn13 | October 14, 2011 | Reply

                  • Yes please. No bad moods on my account.
                    Life is what it is.

                    I am going to go out on a limb and guess.. Niagara region?

                    (I have heard of folks using HotspotShield to emulate a US IP..)

                    Like

                    Comment by techpaul | October 14, 2011 | Reply

                    • Yes, 20 minutes from Niagara Falls, On. and 10 minutes to Buffalo, NY.

                      Like

                      Comment by delenn13 | October 14, 2011

                    • delenn13,
                      Is that Cogeco territory?

                      Like

                      Comment by techpaul | October 14, 2011

                    • Right on the money. I’d give you a GOLD star if I wasn’t sure your spam filter wouldn’t kick me out. It hates me already for all my links, as it is. I have Cogeco internet, cable and phone. Bell is worse than Cogeco.

                      Like

                      Comment by delenn13 | October 14, 2011

                    • I have used HotspotShield and UltraSurf and a few others. I don’t keep them active until I am ready to use them. I even have a H u l u account.

                      Like

                      Comment by delenn13 | October 14, 2011

            • Wait… Nimoy tweets?

              I may have to rethink.

              I don’t know if you found my Tech – for Everyone as long ago as spring.. if you didn’t, you may want to take a quick look at There’s something on my mind… and then Quick Update + Some Pics

              And the video here, is “download worthy”..

              Like

              Comment by techpaul | October 12, 2011 | Reply

              • I am dealing with something AGoogle+..so this will be short. Plus tomorrow is work day and 3:30am comes fast. Going to bed early.

                Yes, Nimoy tweets.. https://twitter.com/#!/TheRealNimoy So does “TheShat”, and Sulu. as does Wil Wheaton, Data, Riker, Geordi, 7 of 9..plus others I can’t think of right now. Scotty’s kid does..and so does Roddenberry’s kid. And a few are over at Google+ too.

                I started lurking(Babylon 5 term..hence my nick..delenn) here around that time. Bruce and Melissa tweet too..but Now they are divorced. :(

                Anyways, I will answer the other later..got to go.

                Like

                Comment by delenn13 | October 12, 2011 | Reply

  3. Paul,

    Where in the world did you find that graphic at? I cannot stop laughing…

    Rick

    Like

    Comment by Ramblinrick | October 12, 2011 | Reply

    • Rick,
      I really wish I knew, so I could give the creator applause, and proper credit. But I think this is one of those “all around the web” type images. If memory serves.. I first saw it (some time ago now) embedded in one of those “forwarded” emails.

      I have to confess I had some concerns posting it, as I do not want to offend anyone… but I think all of us have met the fella in the picture once or twice in our lives. (He resembles a employer I once had…)

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | October 12, 2011 | Reply

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    Like

    Comment by Understand the Australian Accent | October 18, 2011 | Reply

  5. Oh, I will have what ever Understand the Australian Accent is having. In fact, make it a double.

    Like

    Comment by delenn13 | October 18, 2011 | Reply

    • delenn13,
      A whisker’s breadth from another TPSS, there. Your reaction gave me a much needed laugh!

      (Stuff like that.. I [sometimes] don’t know whether to laugh.. or cry.)

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | October 18, 2011 | Reply

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    Like

    Comment by Hiedi Draney | November 1, 2011 | Reply

    • Hiedi Draney,
      Don’t get me wrong – I do appreciate your kind words – but this has to be the worst sample of the English language I have ever run across in my many decades of life on planet earth.

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | November 1, 2011 | Reply

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    Like

    Comment by social | May 3, 2012 | Reply


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