Stop Windows 7 Thumbnail Animation Preview

Windows 7 has brought a truckload of graphical enhancements with it, which are sure to test the capabilities of your video card. One of the most notable features is the Thumbnail Animation Preview, visible when you minimize any window to the Taskbar. The feature shows a thumbnail preview of the window, which you have minimized, along with specific icons pertaining to the types of files stored in that particular folder.

The enhancement sure looks great, but it may seem a little awkward to users of previous versions of Windows operating system. If you think that you would rather not have the thumbnail animation enabled, you can turn it off any time you want. Disabling the option will also save some memory and processing power, so if your PC is not exactly a powerhouse, disabling previews will allow you to extract slightly better performance from it. Here’s how you can disable this feature from the Group Policy Editor:

  1. Click on the Start button and select Search.
  2. Type “gpedit.msc” (without the quotes) in the Search bar, and hit Enter.
  3. When the window opens, click on User Configuration, and then on Administrative Templates.
  4. Select the option Start Menu and Taskbar located in the left pane of the window.
  5. Find the option “Turn off Taskbar Thumbnails”, now visible on the right pane of the Group Policy Editor window. Double click on this option.
  6. Choose the option “Disable”.
  7. Click on Apply, and then on OK.

Now close the Group Policy Editor window, and check out your Taskbar. You should find that the Thumbnails are not showing any longer. Another way of disabling thumbnail previews would be to disable the Aero theme in Windows 7. If that theme is disabled, thumbnails will not show up on the Taskbar at all.

Fortunately, Aero theme does not get enabled by default in Windows® 7. Only if your PC has the necessary hardware for Aero, it will be enabled by the operating system. Otherwise, if you select an Aero based theme for Windows 7, then the thumbnail previews will be enabled along with the theme.

Thumbnail Previews on Taskbar may look real nice, but do consume significant amount of system resources. If you have a moderately powerful PC that can barely run Windows 7 properly, then make sure that this feature is always kept disabled. Your PC may run a lot smoother, and handle applications better.

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