Windows 11 Preview window settings that can be seen without opening the file

The preview window display setting , which allows you to see and check the contents without opening the file in Windows 11 Explorer, can be used by selecting preview display in Explorer and enabling handler display in Folder Options. This page introduces the settings of the preview window and how to deal with it not being displayed.
If the preview cannot be displayed due to heavy hardening of Explorer, etc., please refer to the following page.
Setting to display the preview window

There are two settings for preview window display settings: selecting preview display in Explorer and enabling preview in folder options.

1.Explorer preview window display settings

If ” Select the file to preview ” is not displayed on the right side of Explorer , the preview window has not been set.
1-1. Move the mouse pointer to “View” in the menu after clicking “View” in the menu bar of Explorer.
 1-2. If you click “Preview Window” in the submenu and add a checkmark, the preview window can be displayed.

preview window size

If the display area of ​​the preview window is too small, the preview may not be displayed. If it is not displayed, increase the display area.
2. Enable Show Preview Handler

In this setting, it is enabled by default, but check it once. The preview window cannot be displayed unless the display of “Preview Handler” in Folder Options is enabled. 2-1. Click “Options” in the menu that clicks the ”  ” menu button in Explorer .
 2-2. When Folder Options appears, click the View tab.
 2-3. Check and enable “Show preview handler in preview window” in the “Advanced Settings” box.
 2-4.Tick and enable “Show file icons in thumbnails” and click “OK” to close Folder Options.
If “Always show icons, never thumbnails” is enabled, remove the check mark to disable it.

This completes the preview window display settings.

Folder Options
Folder Options is an explorer preference tool that allows you to configure various settings for folders and files. A description of the settings is provided on the following pages.

I can’t see the preview window

1. Restart Explorer to improve

Explorer is an important process of the Graphical User Interface (GUI). If you have problems with this process, you may not be able to see the preview window. If there are no problems with the above Explorer and folder option settings and the preview window does not appear, restarting Explorer may solve the problem. 

restart explorer

1-1. Right-click the Start button and click “Task Manager” in the menu.
With Ver.22H2, you can start the task manager by right-clicking on the taskbar.
If the task manager is “simple display” as shown below, click “Details (D)” at the bottom left to switch to the detailed screen.
1-2. Execute restart of explorer
The screen is different depending on the version, so it is divided. Restart Explorer with Ver.22H2

  • On the “Processes” screen, click “Explorer” to select it.
  • Click “Restart Task” at the top of the screen to restart Explorer.

 Restart Explorer with Ver.22H1

  • On the “Processes” screen, click “Explorer” to select it.
  • Click “Restart” at the bottom right of the screen to restart Explorer.

You can do the same thing by restarting your computer as if you restarted Explorer.

2. Reset performance options

If you have changed the performance option settings or if the option is disabled for some reason, the preview window function may not work.
2-1. Right-click the start button and click “System” in the menu.
 2-2. When “Version information” is displayed, click “System protection” in the related link.
 2-3. Click “Settings” under “Performance”.
 2-4. Select “Automatically select the best one for my computer” and click “Apply”.
If “Automatically select the best one for my computer” is already selected , please select another item and return.

By operating in this way, you can completely reset (initial value). When customizing performance options in the future, be aware of disabling the display of window previews.2-5. Click “OK” to complete resetting performance options.
3. Run System File Checker

If some of the Windows 11 system files are damaged or missing, functions such as the preview window may not work properly. In this case, you can run Command Prompt or Terminal as administrator and use System File Checker to detect and repair system problems. 3-1. Start Command Prompt

  • After pressing the “Windows” key on your keyboard, press ” cmd “.
  • When the search screen appears, click “Run as administrator” in Command Prompt.

*This operation is the same as entering “cmd” in the search. 

From the Start menu
To start from the Start menu, click “All apps” and click “Windows Tools” in the list to open Explorer, right-click “Command Prompt” and select “Run as administrator” “Click. 

3-2. Input ” sfc /scannow ” and press “Enter” on the keyboard.
It will start checking and repairing system files. It may take some time, but wait until it finishes.3-3.If “…no integrity violations were detected.” or “…repaired successfully.” is displayed, the system check is complete.

About the display function of the preview window

The preview window is a convenient function that allows you to check the contents of a file by simply selecting it without opening the file. However, there are the following necessary requirements.

A compatible app is required to display the preview

There are many apps that are installed as standard in Windows 11, but in order to display them in the preview window, it is important to have an app that can open the preview file installed .

Can’t preview all files

Some file types cannot be displayed in the preview window even if the app is installed. Not all files can be displayed in the preview window.

Preview window supports multimedia

The preview window also supports multimedia files such as videos. However, it is only a file that can be played with Windows 11 standard player. If you install another media player etc. and make it the default app, the file association may be changed and you may not be able to preview. (File associations manage the apps that launch when you open a file.)

It may not be displayed if you change the default app that opens files

PDF files may not be displayed in the preview window even if they are opened with a third-party browser app.

Explorer Tips:

Thumbnail display of files Refer to the following page for how to deal with thumbnails of video and image file icons not being displayed.
The following page introduces how to hide quick access for recently used files and frequently used folders displayed on the home screen of Explorer.

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