What is the purpose of the .thumbnails folder?

Asked by Jim Hutchinson on 2008-03-18

I just discovered ~/.thumbnails folder recently and it was full of thumbnail images. What's it's function? Is there any need for these thumbnails? My guess is no, so why don't they get deleted after some period of time?

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Max Schukin
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Max Schukin (schukin) said : #1

Thumbnails are reduced-size versions of pictures, used to make it easier to scan and recognize them, serving the same role for images as a normal text index does for words (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thumbnail).

For information about cleaning up thumbnails take a look at http://ubuntu.wordpress.com/2006/02/15/clean-up-old-thumbnails/

Jim Hutchinson (jphutch) said : #2

Thanks for the info. I know what thumbnails are, I'm just wondering why they are created and saved. They seem to be thumbs of my photos. Is this in any way a resource saver? It seems like creating and linking and managing thousands of thumbnails would be counter productive.

Best Max Schukin (schukin) said : #3

These thumbnails are created by Nautilus. Having thumbnails may make your system perform better. If you have pictures, Nautilus will have to create new thumbnails for them every time you go into your picture directory. If you scroll down the directory, you will notice that picture previews take quite a bit of time to display. By keeping a repository of thumbnails it already made, Nautilus can skip that part and display your pictures straightaway.

If you want to turn them off, start Nautilus, click on Edit -> Preferences -> Preview, choose Show thumbnails: Never.

Jim Hutchinson (jphutch) said : #4

Thanks Max Schukin, that solved my question.

You can change the maximum age of your thumbnails with gconf-editor in desktop>thumbnail cache change the maximum age setting to whatever you want in days. The default is 180 (6 months)

thats desktop>gnome>thumbnail cache