How to Enable the Preview of PDF Files in 64-bit Windows

I am currently using a x64 machine running Windows 8. For opening the PDF file I had been using Adobe Reader. Later, I shifted to PDF-XChange Viewer by Tracker Software, mainly for its light weight and tabbed interface. This light weight  Installing PDF-XChange Viewer disabled the thumbnail view of the PDF files in the windows explorer. Things went on until I got stuck in a situation where I have to search for a PDF file. I had no clue about the file name; all I had was the idea about the thumbnail of the file, it was a colored document.

At this point, it became a requirement to re-generate the thumbnails for the PDF file. I tried the plain old trick; make Adobe Reader the default program for PDF file. But it did not helped …

I searched for different options but no result. Based on the search result, it seems that this issue is mostly appearing on x64 machines and running 64bit version of Windows 7 (and 8). In the meanwhile, I came to notice that if I change the folder view to Medium icons, the thumbnail of PDF file appears. If the icon size is increased by just a single unit (Crtl + Mouse Scroll Up), the thumbnail reverts back to the icon.

On further exploring, I came across a post on Adobe Forum about the same issue. The Adobe support engineer gave a workaround to check the thumbnail

1. Run Acrobat Reader. In Reader, click File > Open and navigate to the folder(s) containing your PDF file(s). If necessary, move the slider to show all your PDF files.

2. Cancel out of Open and exit Reader.

3. Open Windows Explorer and navigate to the folders(s) containing your PDF file(s).

4. Click Views and move the slider until you see PDF thumbnails

It was okay to get the thumbnail for a certain folder but u need to repeat the same process for each and every folder.  So, its also not a permanent solution.

On the same page, another user has shared his own solution blaming the Adobe for being too lazy to fix the issue. The comment is dated more than a year ago (Apr 15, 2012) and I am still facing the issue. A side question, does it mean Adobe is more busy in the {newly} purchased products than its own products ??

I simply tried the solution offered (link below) which is in the form of installer and it worked like a charm.

The solution, made by an individual and available for free can be downloaded from the link:

Thumbnail for PDF on x64

Additional Notes:

I tried to make the XChange Viewer back as default but doing so again shifted the thumbnails to icons. Well it was not a good change. I tried to make Adobe Reader back as default and the thumbnails were restored. It seems that the XChange Viewer does not support this feature. So after installing the fix, if you need the thumbnail, Adobe Reader should be made the default; else you can continue with the tabbed browsing of XChange Viewer with no thumbnails.

Another option is to give other PDF viewers a try e.g. Foxit PDF Viewer, also a freeware.

One thought on “How to Enable the Preview of PDF Files in 64-bit Windows

Leave a Comment