How to Fix PNG Preview Not Working in Windows 11

One common problem that some users have encountered is the PNG Preview Not Working in Windows 11, either in File Explorer or when using other programs.

This is especially aggravating if you routinely work with PNG images.

Fortunately, there are numerous approaches you may take to resolve the issue of PNG preview not working with Windows 11.

In this post, we’ll look at the probable causes of this problem and offer a step-by-step guide to get your PNG previews back up and running.

Why Aren’t PNG Previews Working in Windows 11

Before diving into the solutions, it’s essential to understand why PNG previews may not be working in Windows 11.

PNG preview may not work on your Windows 11 PC for various reasons. Among the most common causes are:

  • Corrupted Thumbnail Cache: Windows maintains a cache of thumbnail images for quick previews. If this cache becomes corrupted, it can lead to issues with previewing images, including PNGs.
  • Third-Party Software Interference: Sometimes, third-party software or extensions can interfere with Windows’ ability to generate file previews.
  • Outdated graphics drivers: If your graphics drivers are outdated or corrupted, they may be unable to display PNG files correctly.
  • File Association Problems: Correct or misconfigured file associations can prohibit Windows from displaying previews. If the default app for handling PNG files is not appropriately set, preview issues may occur.

Fix PNG Preview Not Working in Windows 11 

Now that we’ve discovered the potential reasons, let’s look at the solutions.

Restart your Windows 11 PC or Laptop

A quick and easy way to solve the PNG preview not working issue in Windows 11 is to restart your PC and laptop.

Restarting your computer may help to restore settings and remove any corrupted data or remaining temporary files that might be the problem.

restart your pc or laptop

To restart your Windows 11 computer or laptop, navigate to the Start Menu (or, press the window key on the keyboard) then click the Power button and select the Restart option.

Refresh Your Screen in Windows 11

If restarting your computer can not fix the issue you can also try to refresh your screen in your Windows 11 pc by clicking right-click on your mouse and then clicking refresh.


Refresh your screen can help you troubleshoot PNG Preview Not Working. Refresh can work also in any folder on your computer.

show more option

Restart File Explorer in Windows 11

Another solution for PNG Preview Not Working in Windows 11 is to restart File Explorer. This may help in resolving any temporary difficulties that might be the issue.

Follow the below steps to do this on your computer:

  • launch “Task Manager” by clicking “Ctrl + Shift + Esc” in windows 11.
  • Tap on the Processes tab.

processes tab

  • In the list of processes, scroll down until you see “Windows Explorer“. Or Search “Windows Explorer” in the search bar.

  • Right click” on it and tap on “Restart“.

Rebuild the Thumbnail Cache in File Explorer

Another potential solution to fix PNG Preview Not Working on Windows 11 PC or laptop is to change the file explorer settings.

Check the whether option to check the Always show icons, never thumbnails are checked or Not. To check follow these steps:

  • Launch File Explorer by clicking the Windows key + E.
  • Tap the three-dot button on the top navbar and select Option. This will open the Folder Options window on your screen.

file explorer option button

  • Now go to the View tab and check whether the checkbox for Always show icons, never thumbnails is checked or not.
  • If it is, then unchecked and hit the apply button

Restore File Explorer Options to Default in Windows 11

Restoring the File Explorer settings to their normal values is an additional solution you can try to get the PNG preview not working on your Windows 11 desktop or laptop.

Follow these steps to solve this issue:

  • Open File Explorer by clicking the Windows key + E on your keyboard.
  • Tap the three-dot button and select Option. This will open the Folder Options window on your screen.

option button to open the Folder Options

  • Tap on the Restore Defaults button and then click on the Apply button

restore defaults

Delete Corrupted Thumbnail Cache in Windows 11

Windows often stores the necessary information for displaying thumbnails in the background as cache files, but occasionally this data may get corrupted.

In this situation, you can experience a problem with Windows 11’s PNG preview. However, the problem can be quickly resolved on Windows 11 by emptying the thumbnail cache.

To delete the thumbnail cache data in Windows 11, simply follow these steps:

1. Open Settings App by clicking Windows + I.

2. Tap on the System tab and then click Storage.

Delete Corrupted Thumbnail Cache in Windows 11

3. Now, click on Temporary files.

temporary files

4. Next, check the Thumbnails box and click on the Remove Files button. After this restart your PC or laptop.


Set the Default App for PNG Files in Windows 11

If the issue persists, you can set it as the default app for opening PNG files. Sometimes the wrong default app appears to open for the image.

Here’s how to change the default app in Windows 11:

1. Launch the Settings App by clicking Windows + I on the keyboard.

2. Tap on the Apps tab on the left nav bar and click the Default Apps option.

Set the Default App for PNG Files in Windows 11

3. Type in .png in the search bar below the Set default for a file type or link type section and press Enter.

select photos app

4. select the Photos app and click on Set default to set as the default app for PNG files.

set default app

Another way to change Default App for .PNG Files

1. Launch File Explorer and right-click on .PNG format file

2. Choose “Open With” and then select “Choose another app.”

3. Select the Photos app and click on Always.

Update Your Graphics Drivers

The PNG preview can have issues if your graphics drivers are outdated or damaged.

Without graphics drivers, the operating system may not run smoothly or the computer may not be able to process the images. To update your graphics drivers follow these steps:

1. Press the Windows key + X, then select “Device Manager.”

device manager

2. Now, you are in the device manager to find the graphics card under the “Display Adapters” category.

3. Right-click on the graphics card and select Update driver.

update driver

4. Tap on “Search automatically for drivers.” 

search automatically for drivers

5. Once the graphics card is updated, restart your computer and see the changes.

Run SFC Scan in Windows 11

If the above step can not solve the fix PNG preview you must try the System File Checker utility to scan and repair any corrupted or missing system files in your computer.

Here’s how to run an SFC scan in Windows 11:

1. Press Windows + S to open search and type cmd or Command prompt.

2. Click the Run as Administrator button in the search result.

3. once the command prompt opens type the below code and hit Enter on the keyboard.

 sfc /scannow 

Run SFC Scan in Windows 11

4. Wait for the scan to finish.

5. After the scan is complete, Restart your Windows 11 PC or laptop.

Run DISM Scans in Windows 11

Try executing the Deployment Image Servicing and Management scans in Windows 11 if the SFC scan is not helping to fix the PNG preview not working issue.

These scans verify the disk images in Windows 11 and correct small problems to restore system-level functionality.

Follow the below steps to run DISM Scans in Windows 11:

1. Open Command prompt tools as an administrator as explained previous step.

2. Once the tool launch, type in the below commands and press Enter one by one.

DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /CheckHealth

 DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /ScanHealth

DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth

3. Wait for the scans to be completed one by one.

4. After completing the scan, Restart your Windows 11 PC or laptop.

Scan for Viruses

A virus or malware is another reason that might contribute to system problems, such as the Windows 11 PNG preview issue.

It is therefore recommended to utilize the Windows Security tool to scan your Windows 11 PC or laptop to see if there are any viruses or malware present that could be the root of the PNG preview issue.

To scan viruses follow these steps:

1. Launch the Settings app by pressing the Windows + I key in Windows 11.

2. Select the Privacy & security tab on the left nav bar and click Windows Security.

3. Tap the Virus & Threat Protection option.

virus & threat protection

4. click the Quick Scan button on the current thread section.

5. Wait until the scan to complete.

6. After the scan is complete, Restart your computer.

Update Windows

Another factor that can cause system issues such as the PNG preview not working issue in Windows 11 is Update Windows.

Microsoft frequently provides updates for Windows to address known problems and enhance the system’s performance.

Here’s how to update Windows 11:

Press Windows + I on your keyboard to launch the Settings app in Windows 11.

Select Windows Update from the left Navbar and Tap the Check for Updates button.

If any updates are available, click “Download & install” to start the update process. This process may take some time.

Wrap on PNG Preview Not Working in Windows 11

So, here are some of the best fixes for the Windows 11 PNG preview problem. Please let us know in the comments section below if you were experiencing the problem and if one of the solutions above helped you regain the feature on your Windows 11 laptop or computer.

FAQ on How to troubleshoot PNG Preview Not Working in Windows 11

Q1. Can I use third-party software to fix PNG preview issues?

Ans: While third-party software may help, it’s recommended to try built-in Windows solutions first to avoid potential conflicts.

Q2. Why do my PNG files show up as blank icons?

Ans: Blank icons usually indicate a problem with thumbnail caching. Try rebuilding the thumbnail cache as mentioned in the article.

Q3. Is there a way to prevent thumbnail cache corruption in the future?

Ans: Regularly cleaning up your computer and keeping your system files up to date can help prevent cache corruption issues.

Q4. What should I do if PNG previews are still not working after trying all the steps?

Ans: If the issue persists, consider updating your graphics drivers or seeking help from Microsoft support.

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