Your Windows 11 File Explorer and desktop display thumbnails for files and folders by default.
Follow these steps if you don’t want to see thumbnails but want icons.
How to Show Icons Instead of Thumbnails in File Explorer
Open the File Explorer Options.
Go to the View tab.
Select the option “Always show icons, never thumbnails.”
Click on the “OK” button at the bottom.
That’s it. You’ll only see icons in the File Explorer and on your desktop.
Note: You can restore the default settings by following the steps above but unchecking the option.
How to Show Icons Instead of Thumbnails in File Explorer using System Properties
Click on the Advanced tab.
In the “Performance” section, click the “Settings” button.
Uncheck the “Show thumbnails instead of icons” option in the Performance Options window.
Click the “OK” button in the popup.
Note: Remember that you can go back by selecting the abovementioned option and clicking on the OK button.
How to Show Icons Instead of Thumbnails in File Explorer using Registry Editor
Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER > Software > Microsoft > Windows > CurrentVersion > Explorer > Advanced.
Locate IconsOnly in the right pane and double-click it.
Provide 1 (for icons) or 0 (for thumbnails) in the Value data field.
Hit the OK button.
Thanks for reading.