How to extract Windows Explorer thumbnail previews

How to extract Windows Explorer thumbnail previews from a specific Windows folder, using old-school desktop freeware:

1. Install the freeware Q-Dir, a quad-view Windows Explorer replacement. This has a useful “print the folder as you see it” feature, something lacking in Windows Explorer.

2. Use Q-Dir to navigate to your chosen folder. Show the folder with medium or large thumbnails, as you prefer. Then print the folder view to a Microsoft .XPS file, using Q-Dir. The .XPS format was Microsoft’s attempt at a .PDF rival, and all Windows installations should be able to print to it.

3. Now install the little freeware utility STDU Extractor and load the .XPS file you just printed. This utility can extract images inside several formats, including from .XPS files. STDU will show you a preview of the available thumbnails and let you extract as .PNG files or in other image formats. For some reason its batch extract is very slow, but the individual select-and-extract is fast.

For batch processing of a folder with thousands of Windows thumbnail previews, you’re probably looking at an overnight job — due the slowness of batch in STDU Extractor. The workflow is more useful if you just want a few dozen at a uniform size, and without faffing around trying to manually take exactly-sized screenshots. As you can see from the above final-output example, the drop-shadow is also extracted. But neatly so.

What you don’t get is the extracted thumbnail being given the name of the file it represents. So far as I can tell, no such software exists for that sort of extraction.

So long as you have software that gives you Windows Explorer previews for its file-types, the above workflow can work even on files that are not images. For instance, the above test is with an E-on Vue 2016 3D scene file.


Saving the .XPS to .PDF and extracting images from that will not work. The preview thumbnails become fragmented into strips by the PDF printing process.

There are also freeware extractors that will attempt to load the Windows thumbnails .db database in the Windows ../System folder and extract from that. But that’s ‘pot luck’, even if you can get them to open. The above can target a specific folder and a few specific icons.

Release: DocFetcher Pro

DocFetcher Pro is now available and stable in a bugfixed 1.1.x version, as a perpetual free demo (limited to five search results, per search) or for $40 via Gumroad. It’s a leading desktop PC file-indexer and local keyword searcher, which in its freeware version was bjorked last September by a Java update. The maker then took the opportunity to put the project on a pro footing. This version now includes the required Java modules inside the software, so you don’t have to install Java on your PC.

How to ignore certificate errors in your browser

Total refusal to visit a normal website.

This common Web browser problem is usually related to only a handful of sites and is incredibly difficult to troubleshoot, and for most people will be impossible to fix. I tried everything, and I know Windows and browsers inside-out. Nothing worked.

The ‘nuclear’ cure, which works with Opera and apparently other Chrome-based browsers, is then to simply add the following to your browser icon’s launch path. This path is found by right-clicking on the launch-icon and then looking in its Properties path. No more problems, if you add there…

-ignore-certificate-errors

The site will now load fine. Tested and working with the Opera browser and theguardian .com

Obviously this will not be the same browser you use for Internet banking, PayPal etc. Or in such cases you will at least launch the same browser from another un-fixed launch icon.

How to block by keyword with uBlock Origin

Google Search is now adding “People also searched for” pop-down panels, placed under individual search results. These often appear on using the back button to go back to a page of former results.

I don’t want any kind of ‘pops’ in my search-results. Block them all in your uBlock Origin filter list, by adding this filter…

The above is also a working demo of how to use an xpath command to block any keyword inside a DIV’s ID. In this case the filter blocks all HTML DIVs with an internal ID containing the letters “eob”. This blocking is not constrained to just these letters, meaning that the command will also block “eob77” or “eob_34”, without the need for a wildcard * symbol. This is required for Google Search, as all the “eob” instances have a number after them.

Archive.org webinar – Controlled Digital Lending

“Frequently Asked Questions About Controlled Digital Lending”, a free Archive.org webinar on 19th June 2021, at 12:00 PM Eastern time USA. Via Zoom.

Even though CDL is used at hundreds of libraries around the world, questions remain about this important innovation in digital library lending. In this session, we’ll be tackling the most commonly asked questions surrounding CDL and answering some of yours.

How to enable hyphens to mdash in Word 2007

For some reason my fresh install of trusty old Microsoft Word 2007 does not do the autocorrect for converting two typed hyphens – – into a long and the mdash autocorrect thus setting had to be applied manually. For future reference, and perhaps useful for others, here’s how to do that…

As you can see here I’ve already added it, and it’s been saved to the options below. Word is supposed to do thus autocorrect automatically but if that fails, the above will set the behaviour manually.

Added to JURN

Indian Journal of History of Science (Indian National Science Academy)

VIS : Nordic Journal for Artistic Research

Arts, Buildings & Collections Bulletin (National Trust)

Mapping the Impossible : Journal for Fantasy Research

Journal of Gandharan Buddhist Texts

Symphonya : Emerging Issues in Management

Journal of Effective Teaching in Higher Education

IWA Publishing journals (group of journals on water technologies, now all OA)

Yippy-die-day…

Sad to see that the search-engine Yippy, based on Bing, has yipped its last yip. The domain now bounces to DuckDuckGo. When its sources were last heard of, Yippy was a version of Bing but with a strong boost given to sites for complex coders, regex wranglers, javascript jugglers and HTML hammerers. Also technical hobbyist sites in other fields, it was said. As such it was rather useful on occasion. It was also nice that it didn’t freak out if you ran the same search seven or eight times or more. It tolerated drilling at depth, which Google now has problems with.

DuckDuckGo is partly based on Bing (a blend of Bing and Yandex, when its sources were last heard of). It appears to be unknown if there has been a back-end ingestion that makes it a replacement for Yippy. But a few initial tests suggest it might be a reasonable replacement, and may have had some of Yippy’s weightings plugged in. For instance try a search for…

“href.replace” regex script

But if you want a technical search for your field or hobby in 2021, with full indexing reach and relevance-ranking, it’s probably best to create a Google Custom Search Engine (CSE) and populate it with about 100 or so of the top relevant URLs.