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Nautilus's thumbnail cache in ~/.thumbnails has grown to several hundred megabytes.

Do I need to be concerned about unrestricted growth of this in the long term, or is its size automatically managed somehow?

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If you want more space delete it, if you want more speed dont delete it :) –  Tachyons Mar 20 '12 at 13:56
@tachyons When? –  ændrük Mar 20 '12 at 14:00
While using nautilus –  Tachyons Mar 20 '12 at 14:03

3 Answers 3

up vote 13 down vote accepted

Thumbnail cache is limited to 512MB, so several hundred megabytes sounds logical. It also shouldn't keep files older then 180 days.

If you want to change it, try gconf-editor, /desktop/gnome/thumbnail_cache.

Image showing maximum_size and maximum_age options for thumbnail_cache

Exactly the same solution is aplicable to 12.04. You may need to install gconf-editor, other then that, nothing has changed.


For 14.04 you need to install dconf-tools, and launch dconf-editor.

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Thanks .can i manually change 180 days to 30 day? –  Tachyons Mar 20 '12 at 14:13
See the edit above. :~) –  mikewhatever Mar 20 '12 at 15:10
@mikewhatever can you add the info I have about how "it will not cache files above a certain size limit"? If you do then I can delete my answer, which has no up/down votes and is thus useless. –  RolandiXor Sep 16 '12 at 22:58
It has one now. :~) I think your answer should stay, as it also provides a good alternative of using Ubuntu Tweak. A lot of people will have it installed before they even hear about gconf-editor. –  mikewhatever Sep 16 '12 at 23:02

It's size is automatically managed, because it has a built in limit of 512MB by default, and deletes thumbnails older than 180days. It will not cache files above a certain size limit either:

enter image description here

If you want to manage its settings, you can use Ubuntu-Tweak (See how to install it here: How do I install Ubuntu-Tweak?):
enter image description here

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As it is mentioned in an above answer, for 14.04 dconf editor from dconf-tools should be used. However, I only found the key under

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