I have set up a remote drive for storing my photos. I connect to the drive using "Connect to Server" in Nautilus. This works pretty well and even the preview images are loaded if I edit the Nautilus settings to show the preview always.

It just is pretty slow to get the previews so I thought if there is way to generate the preview image on the remote drive and make Nautilus to show that instead of downloading the whole image and then self generating the preview?

  • I see one problem though, if you can manage to do that (surely possible), you will "waiste" some space on your external drive by storing your thumbnails there.
    – MrVaykadji
    Feb 1 '14 at 19:22

I'm connecting to remote server using ssh and this works for me.

Nautilus (my version 3.8.2) saves it's thumbnails in ~/.thumbnails and ~/.cache/thumbnails. By default it shows thumbnails only for local files, but you could change it in preferences. enter image description here

And if the mount point for you remote server is the same, nautilus saves those thumbnails.

And this I haven't tested.

Generating nautilus thumbnails on the server is possible, cause nautilus use libgnome-desktop library that has it's own API. To generate thumbnails you could use script from this answer

But the problem is that nautilus doesn't support adding extra thumbnails paths(or just I haven't found) and the only workaround I see is to make another script that will copy those thumbnails from server to local thumbnails folder, but it sounds really crazy.

  • Thank you for a really good answer. I'll wait a bit for someone to confirm your words about Nautilus not having support for additional thumbnail paths. Because you said it with a disclaimer :)
    – Mika
    Feb 3 '14 at 22:45

On Ubuntu 16.04 using Nautilus 3.14.3 I don't have any preferences menu for Nautilus (I'm using Gnome in XMonad). Running the command

gsettings set org.gnome.nautilus.preferences show-image-thumbnails always

in a terminal turned on image thumbnails for USB drives. (That command sets the preferences without needing a preferences menu).


Start from Ubuntu 18.10, you should try this:

  1. FilesPreferences

    enter image description here

  2. Search & Preview, then under Thumbnails, select All files.

    enter image description here

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