On my 64 bit Ubuntu 14.04, Nautilus shows me the thumbnails of .png files only when i select(single click) on the file. Otherwise it is just blank.

A post suggested to remove all the generated thumbnails using :

sudo rm -rf ~/.cache/thumbnails/*

The behaviour was the same after deleting. I can see that the thumbnails are being generated in ~/.cache/thumbnails/large whenever i open my png folder in nautilus. So why is Nautilus not showing the thmbnails?

The owner and group of the cache folder is faizal:faizal. The permissions are drwx------.

Edit : The behaviour seems inconsistent now after a couple of days(and restarts). The thumbnails mostly show now, but at times it is blank.

3 Answers 3


Go to Edit->Preferences and select the Preview tab. Increase the "Only for files smaller than" size to a value larger than the size of your file(s).

  • A general-use size is normally 512 MB. This should prevent attempting to show things like .iso disk images, etc. May 25, 2014 at 17:51
  • The value shows 10 MB for me right now. My files are hardly a few kb.
    – faizal
    May 25, 2014 at 19:00

if You uninstalled Totem player then just install it again (even if You are not using it). If You have it already installed, then I would suggest to reinstall it. After that check if thumbnails are working, if not check:


it should contain something like this:

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

if the file is not present or is emty then just paste above code. I also chowned /.cache/thumbnails/ to my user like in Kristofers solution & have libxine1-ffmpeg in the newest version. Hope my solution work for You.


For me the problem was that the ~/.cache/thumbnails folder had changed ownership to root for some reason. Fixed with (replacing user with the name of your user):

sudo chown -R user:user ~/.cache/thumbnails/

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