I had a disk issue necessitating a desperate recovery with foremost. Foremost seems to have recovered most of my photos, probably 1500 of them. But it must have found recovered a bunch of other (garbage) photos as well. Also foremost doesn't preserve directory structure. The result is that I now have 46,000 photos in one folder all with generic names such as 10202537827.jpg.

Problem: Now when I try to navigate to that folder in Nautilus it just churns the disk for a few hours then never shows me any file listing or thumbnails in the folder. I thought Nautilus saved photo thumbnails in a folder called .cache/thumbnails.

Question: Is my Nautilus in a rut somehow where it tries to recreate all the thumbnails each time I open the folder? Or is it walking all the photos to try to resync them with the .cache/thumbnails folder? Does anyone know any strategy for managing 46,000 photos in a GUI navigator? I definitely need the thumbnails to be able to sift thru 46,000 photos and find the 7% of them that are mine and discard the leftover photos from this disk's previous life.

1 Answer 1


You are correct, Nautilus will cache the thumbnails so it doesn't have to re-create them each time it displays them. However, keep in mind that:

  • It will take a lot of time to create thumbnails for 46,000 images, especially if there are many large images
  • If it doesn't finish creating all thumbnails, it will re-start the next time you view the folder
  • Nautilus is going to be a bit slow loading a directory with 46,000 files of any type, let alone images that need thumbnailing

Because of this I would suggest using a different program for this task. I have found that Gthumb does a better job than Nautilus when working with a bunch of photos. The catalog view lets you see all of the thumbnails, and you can open a photo for a closer look. It is still usable while generating thumbnails in the background. Listing that many files to begin with will still take a while though.

Another option is trying some alternate file browsers.

Lastly, you could run a script to divide the files into subfolders to make it more manageable.

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