I am looking for a File Explorer alternative that is:

  • Portable.
  • Generates its own thumbnails cache, separate from the Windows 10 native thumbnails cache.
  • Stores said thumbnails preferably in its own folder or alternatively in the folders that it explores.

Basically, I inherited a bunch of external drives with massive amounts of pictures and films from a relative who worked as a professional photographer, am sorting through them using large thumbnail sizes to make it easier to sift through but this is causing my \AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Explorer in Windows 10 to swell up to insane sizes hence why I am trying to find something that works like the older Windows Explorers back in Windows XP that stored thumbnail databases in the folders on the drives rather than in \AppData.

If anyone has any suggestions, I'd be extremely thankful.

2 Answers 2


XYplorer is a commercial portable file manager with many features among which is a configurable thumbnail folder.

It uses a customizable folder for thumbnail storage, which can be set anywhere in your system, including user folder, application folder, relative to the content path, or any other absolute path.

enter image description here

Tablacus Explorer is another free and open source portable file manager. While natively it uses Windows Explorer builtin thumbnail engine, it can be extended with various plugins.

One of them is Thumbnail Engine which allows using SageThumbs as a thumbnail generator. Sage thumbs seems to use a separate cache for thumbnails from explorer as illustrated in the screenshots (never used it myself).

enter image description here

Or just use SageThumbs directly.


A good portable Filemanager is Total Commander. This is a highly customizable and perfect Filemanager and works with Environment variables in his Config.ini. Like:

[Configuration] ThumbsLocation=%Commander_Path%\Thumbs\

  • I can't recommend TC enough. It was the first piece of shareware I ever paid for, 20+ years ago, and is probably most used app. Chdck it out, OP
    – Mawg
    Commented Mar 6 at 14:22

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