Brian Gillespie Brian Gillespie - 2 years ago 139
C# Question

C# get thumbnail from file via windows api

Windows explorer has the ability to show thumbnails of files. These thumbnails are provided by core and third-party shell extensions.

I know how to extend the shell to provide thumbnails to Windows.

What I want to do is retrieve the thumbnail image from any file on the system via the shell using C#. Is this possible?

Essentially, I'm writing a custom file browser and I want to show thumbnails, and can't possibly parse every file on the planet to make my own thumbnails.

Clarification:
Many answers seem to be centered around web page thumbnails, or scaling an image. But that's not at all what I'm looking for. What I want is to ask Windows for the thumbnail representation of these file types: .DOC, .PDF, .3DM, .DWG... and mabye about a dozen more. I don't want to parse, render, and make thumbnails myself, because Windows already knows how.

The code I posted as an answer actually works... maybe it can be simplified and cleaned up a bit.

Answer Source

Ran across this today -- it's a few months old, but it got the job done for me (on Win7, extracting thumbnails on MPEG-4 files):

Code:

ShellFile shellFile = ShellFile.FromFilePath(pathToYourFile);
Bitmap shellThumb = shellFile.Thumbnail.ExtraLargeBitmap;

Hope it helps!

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