What are Thumbs.db and .DS_Store files? Can I delete them? Do I need them and how can i make them stop coming back? ~ Ask The Admin

Friday, June 20, 2008

What are Thumbs.db and .DS_Store files? Can I delete them? Do I need them and how can i make them stop coming back?

James from Virginia wanted to know if it was safe to delete these Thumbs.db and .DS_Store files from his network. Check out our answer and step by step removal tips.

Running in a mixed Windows/Mac environment I find it annoying to deal with all the little artifacts the great OS's leave behind. All of our mixed shares and network drives are full of these frickin 'Thumbs.db and .DS_Store files.

I hate them so much.

Each folder with initiated thumbnail views (that is where they have displayed a Thumbnails or Filmstrip view in Windows Explorer) will have a Thumbs.db file.
They do nothing for me. I look at them like litter on the ground. I looked up what they do and started deleting them. But they came back...

Some times I get caught up in doing something after in enrages me enough. So I was now determined to get rid of these files from my shares here on out. I did some research on how to get rid of them permanently and how to prevent them from coming back!

Here is how you prevent Windows and OS X from creating these annoying files.

Prevent the creation of Thumbs.db in Windows:

From “My Computer” click on the “Tools” menu item
  • Click on “Folder Options”, and the folder options dialog will appear
  • Click on the “View” tab
  • Check the “Do not cache thumbnails” option

  • Prevent the creation of .DS_Store files on Network volumes in MacOS:

    • Open the Terminal application from the Utilities folder which is nested in the Applications folder
    • In the newly opened terminal type (all on one line) defaults write com.apple.desktopservices DSDontWriteNetworkStores true
    • Restart the computer for the change to take effect

    • Now this doesn’t help you deleting the files that already may exist.

      To accomplish that you may be interested in BlueHarvest to scrub your network of .DS_Store files and you can do a simple find and replace on Windows.

      Find and Replace:

      To delete all the existing Thumbs.db files on your computer you just:

      • Begin by first clicking on the Start Button
      • Then click on Search and then Click on the All files and folders option
      • In the All or part of the file name: box type in Thumbs.db
      • Quickly ensure that the Look in: pull-down menu is set to whatever network drives you want to scrub
      • Now Click on the Search button to search for all Thumbs.db files on your system
      • In the All or part of the file name box type in Thumbs.db
      • After the Search completes, click on the word Edit contained in your top tool bar area
        This will pull down a menu for you to now click on Select All
      • Now Press the Delete key on your keyboard to delete all the Thumbs.db files on your system
      • Then Close the Search Results window to return back to your Windows session

      For those of you who are scared to delete system files, the Thumbs.db and .DS_Store files are strictly cosmetic on network volumes and will have almost no impact on pretty much anything! Do you use them for something? Let us know in the comments.