I tend to download lots of articles as PDFs, and I find that when I browse a directory of these Nautilus takes 1 minute to load the directory. I assume that's because it's generating previews of their front pages. That feature is useless to me, alas.

I'd like to tell it not to do that.

  • Have these vulnerabilities that you mention already been reported? Dec 12, 2011 at 3:20

2 Answers 2


Assuming you're using Ubuntu 11.10, running the following in a terminal should do the trick:

gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.thumbnailers disable "['application/pdf']"

Alternatively, you can do this in the GUI by installing the dconf-tools package and running dconf-editor. In the tree on the left, navigate org → gnome → desktop → thumbnailers, then edit the disable option in the right pane as above.

I'm not sure what specific vulnerabilities you are trying to avoid (if they existed, I'd expect you could avoid them by installing the corresponding Ubuntu security updates), but the above should prevent generation of new PDF thumbnails.

  • In case you want to disable previews in general: gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.thumbnailers disable-all true should work, but it doesn't! Nautilus handles it according to it's own settings and eog ignores gsettings as well.
    – isync
    Jan 11, 2013 at 17:27
  • Until these bugs are fixed: rm -r ~/.thumbnails && ln -s /dev/null .thumbnails
    – isync
    Jan 11, 2013 at 17:35

In nautilus goto edit - preferences - preview and change the settings there.

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