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How to Refresh the Thumbnails on Google Chrome’s New Tab Page

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Have you ever noticed that the thumbnails for your most visited sites in Chrome aren’t refreshing like they should?  Here’s how you can flush your old icons and get the latest screenshots of your websites in your New Tab page.

Many of us use Google Chrome as our default browser, and have come to rely on the new tab page to get us our favorite pages.  Unfortunately, we’ve also noticed that Chrome often seems to get stuck on the same thumbnails and doesn’t refresh them as it should.  In the screenshot above, you can see how our install of Chrome looked, complete with an old screenshot of Twitter, a Bing picture from months ago, and messed up icons on sites.

Reset Your Chrome Thumbnails

To fix your thumbnails, exit Chrome and then open your Chrome User Data folder.  On a Windows PC, enter the following in the address bar in Explorer or in the Run command to open it:

%LOCALAPPDATA%\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\

On a Mac, browse to /users/[username]/library/application support/google/chrome/default, or enter the following in Terminal:

~/library/application support/google/chrome/default

And in Ubuntu, you should find it at:

/home/<user>/.config/google-chrome/default

In this folder, scroll down to the Thumbnails file, and delete it.  On our Windows 7 computer, our Thumbnails file was over 200Mb when we deleted it, which is absurd.

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Once that’s done, re-open Chrome.  You should notice now that all of your website thumbnails have been replaced with a broken camera image.

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That doesn’t look better than before, but we can quickly fix it.  Simply browse to each of the sites on your new tab page, then close any New Tab tabs and open a new one.  You should now see up to date images of your sites.  Plus, your Thumbnails file should be much smaller now; it was only a little over 1Mb after getting new shots of our most popular sites.

image

So this is a small tip, but one that made Chrome nicer for us again.  Do you have any favorite Chrome tips?  Feel free to share them in the comments below.

Matthew digs up tasty bytes about Windows, Virtualization, and the cloud, and serves them up for all to enjoy!

  • Published 11/8/10

Comments (31)

  1. Eric

    Strange, that file doesn’t exist (hidden or not) on my windows machines.

  2. Ian

    Good…

    Now can someone tell me how to change the _number_ of thumbnails? :)

  3. The Geek

    @Eric

    I think you have to close Chrome first.

  4. mike

    More than likely you need to be running an older stable build. Nothing like that on my dev or canary builds.

  5. David Levine

    Great tip! My thumbnails file was 54 MB. After deleting it and clicking on all of the sites to refresh the image, it’s 80 KB.

  6. Simon

    Yes, I can’t find the file neither (I’m on 9.0.570.1 dev on Windows 7)

  7. noah

    Mac instructions don’t work.

  8. Rand

    I’d like to do that with sfWare Iron’s chromium based browser but can’t seem to find the folder in local app data

  9. Chris

    I’m using 8.0.552.28 beta and the file mentioned doesn’t exist even with Chrome closed. I would love to refresh the icons . Even better would be the ability to choose them yourself i.e. just add them when you want to.

  10. Chris

    Found it. It’s called Chrome Plus User Data in my version, and is in Program Files, Chrome Plus.

  11. Matt

    You should tell people it also gets rid of all bookmark favicons. Was not at all psyched about this.

  12. George

    Wish I could set the cache file size in Chrome like you can in other web browsers.

  13. Camilo Martin

    Can you guys imagine how big my History* files are, combined???

    1,33 GB!!!!
    I gotta stop browsing so much XD
    (but the fact that I almost never cleaned the history adds to this a lot I guess)

  14. Roberto Roberts

    %LOCALAPPDATA%\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\

    produces an error
    “Windows cannot find…”

    so I can’t proceed with your instructions.

    I’ve copied and pasted your RUN command so I know any typos are not my own.
    Perhaps this command does not work in Windows XP?

  15. yethz

    for Windows XP users the location is:

    “C:\Documents and Settings\YOUR USERNAME\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default”

  16. seclub

    Great tip, thanks a lot!

  17. shaun

    find the file with a program like WinRar….

  18. SamIam

    Thank you @yethz! It might also be worth mentioning that Local Settings is a “hidden” file so you won’t find chrome if you do a default search

  19. Brian

    I’m running 9.0.597.98 on WinXP. The thumbnails file doesn’t exist. I’m showing hidden files and folders, I’m in the right folder, it’s just not there. Other files from the screenshot above ARE in my folder.

  20. Amanda Berry

    Actually in my case after searching the web and being totally baffled by this I noticed there was a little down arrow to the left of where it says “Most Visited” clicking on this expands the list and shows the thumbnails. Feel a bit stupid now lol

    That said the fact lots of people seem to be having the same issue and having to resort to all sorts of more complex ways of trying to fix this, suggests it isn’t particularly obvious the thumbnails are in an expandable layer. Maybe because there’s no obvious point of putting them in an expandable layer. j
    Just seems like a useless feature designed to confuse people lol

  21. steve

    totally doesn’t work [win7 64] … not even close, used your instructions and tried variants on my own.

    Nada.

    You should at least say which windows/chrome it works with, especially as half the comments state it doesn’t work for them.

  22. David

    In Chrome 11.0.696.50 beta, delete the Top Sites file to clear the thumbnails.

  23. Wm

    Top Sites file is a SQLite db
    You can use a SQLite utility to open this file and actually change URL’s , etc.

  24. Chris

    I deleted the Top Sites file and it worked just fine for me… not sure if it screws with anything else but everything is still there except the old photo…

  25. naz

    could anyone give me a link with this extension because the only one I can find is the speed dial ????

  26. Michael Murphy

    Me like alot of people here do not have the thumbnails file for Windows 7 on the new Google. All you do is delete the the file “top sites” and it will do the same thing above. It worked perfect for me.

  27. Edd Turtle

    Thanks for including the Ubuntu Directory :)

  28. Amazona

    That file does not exist on my windows 7 pc. Is there any other way please?

  29. BOBBY BROWN

    it’s more simple than that, just click on the arrow at the side of MOST VISITED

  30. joe

    Looks like the file is called “Top Sites” in the latest versions of Chrome. Delete this one (“Thumbnails” no longer exists).

  31. Nick

    Deleting the Top Sites file works in Chrome 15.0.874.106.

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