I've removed totem and installed VLC instead. Now video files thumbnails are gone. Is there any way to get thumbnails back without reinstalling totem?

I know I can have both totem and VLC, but I really don't want to have more soft than I need :)

  • I have totem, and I still don't have thumbnails on mp4 video files.
    – Cerin
    Oct 19, 2017 at 15:49

2 Answers 2


I had no keys under desktop/gnome/tumbnailers in gconf-editor on 11.10 and 12.04. All thumbnails were generated normally, except for movies, because i uninstalled totem.

To use ffmpegthumbnailer i installed it like in upper post:

sudo apt-get install ffmpeg ffmpegthumbnailer gstreamer0.10-ffmpeg

Then deleted thumbnail cache like in upper post:

rm ~/.thumbnails/fail/gnome-thumbnail-factory/*
rm ~/.thumbnails/normal/*

I then made a change in /usr/share/thumbnailers/totem.thumbnailer

from this:

[Thumbnailer Entry]
Exec=/usr/bin/totem-video-thumbnailer -s %s %u %o

to this:

[Thumbnailer Entry]
Exec=ffmpegthumbnailer -s %s -i %i -o %o -c png -f -t 10

And exited nautilus:

nautilus -q

It is all working great now. Hope it helps!

If thumbnails still fail to generate, you might need to add the following to /usr/share/thumbnailers/totem.thumbnailer:


And again run nautilus -q in terminal.

  • This wonder why this is not accepted as an answer.
    – Chirag
    Aug 18, 2012 at 23:52
  • 1
    I only needed ffmpegthumbnailer on 14.10 - no cache reset necessary either.
    – Enigma
    Feb 28, 2015 at 4:03
  • Does the last one need totem player installed?
    – JulianLai
    Mar 25, 2016 at 3:57
  • it fails to generate thumbnails for HEVC and webm codec.
    – JulianLai
    Mar 25, 2016 at 3:58
  • 1
    The package gstreamer0.10-ffmpeg seems to have been removed from the standard repo a long time ago.
    – Cerin
    Oct 19, 2017 at 15:51

Open file manager and go to Edit -> Preferences -> Preview. Change preferences as required. Then close file manager and open terminal. Run the following command to install the necessary packages.

sudo apt-get install ffmpeg ffmpegthumbnailer gstreamer0.10-ffmpeg

Then remove the old thumbnails

rm ~/.thumbnails/fail/gnome-thumbnail-factory/*
rm ~/.thumbnails/normal/*

Open the file manager and enjoy your new thumbnails!

  • When I tried this the video files (.avi for example) don't have thumbnails anymore)
    – koushik
    Oct 1, 2010 at 21:38
  • You have to change also thumbnailers with gconf, above commands are not enought
    – zetah
    Feb 15, 2012 at 15:56

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