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.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.