Is there a recommended way to clear out the thumbnail data that I have in DCIM/.thumbnails folder?

It occupies about 50 MB and I want to clear it out but when I press Ctrl+A in Windows Explorer it stops responding. There are maybe 10,000 files in there.

Is that enough to cause this problem where Explorer just hangs?

I read in another post here at AE that you're supposed to go to Settings, Applications, and then pick the Gallery app and tap Clear Cache button.

I tried this and it didn't help. Also it said in the dialog that the size occupied is like 170 KB or so. So I don't think that's it.

But this is on Android 2.2, just for the record, so maybe it doesn't work that way in this version.

  • I realize that this might be more of a Windows problem than Android problem. But is there actually a recommended procedure of clearing out this space? What I do is I mount the Android device as a USB mass storage and then try to delete these files with Windows Explorer and it hangs it. But maybe there is another way? From within Andorid? Am I even allowed to delete these files? Also, the Gallery app is the one that uses this folder, right? I didn't find any options for clearing out this stuff in the app.
    – Samir
    Commented Jan 24, 2013 at 10:51

1 Answer 1


You could use any file explorer directly on your Android device to do this. A good choice is e.g. ES File Explorer File Manager, which as a side-effect also enables you to directly access your PC from the Android device (accessing your Shared Folders via WiFi), and has many other nice features:

  • Start the app
  • Go to Settings → File Settings, and enable Show Hidden Files option
  • Navigate to the folder
  • long-press the folder name, and select "delete" from the pop-up menu
  • Confirm the deletion of folder and contents, if asked for
  • for "normal operations", you might want to disable Show Hidden Files again

It is pretty safe to delete the entire folder (instead of deleting all files separately). After all, with a new phone/sd card, the folder won't exist either. The app/service using the folder will simply re-create it if it does not (longer) exist.

  • Is it safe to delete the whole folder? Shouldn't I just delete the files? Does it matter? I will try this.
    – Samir
    Commented Jan 24, 2013 at 16:27
  • Consider the following: Your sd card "breaks", and you have to replace it. Or your device never had an SD card, and you decide to use one. In both cases, the (new) SD card most likely is completely empty, with no directories/data on. So yes, it should be pretty safe to delete the entire folder -- moreover it saves you from marking all files manually to delete them ;) If the folder is needed, the corresponding app/service will simply re-create it. // added that to my answer.
    – Izzy
    Commented Jan 24, 2013 at 16:33
  • When I go to DCIM in ES File Explorer I don't see the thumbnails folder.
    – Samir
    Commented Jan 24, 2013 at 17:31
  • Never mind, I've found it. It was hidden so I had to go to Settings, File Settings, and enable Show Hidden Files option. I managed to delete all the files in this folder using this app.
    – Samir
    Commented Jan 24, 2013 at 18:25
  • Yeah, I forgot to mention that with the "hidden" stuff. Will add it to my answer as well -- thanks for pointing it out!
    – Izzy
    Commented Jan 24, 2013 at 19:12

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