How To Fix Preview Pane not Working on Windows 11

The “Preview Pane” is one of the coolest features on Windows File Explorer that allows you to quickly view the file’s content without having to open it. You can use the preview pane to review the selected file’s contents without opening it. The Preview Pane feature can preview different files, including photos, documents, PDFs, videos, and so on.


Image source: TechNet

Although, if you are facing some difficulties in accessing the preview pane feature on Windows 11, we’re here to help you. 

Preview pane not working on File Explorer? In this post, we have listed a bunch of solutions you can use to resolve this issue. You can use any of the below-listed methods for troubleshooting this glitch and resume using the preview pane on Windows 11. 

Let’s get started. 

Also read: How To Fix Preview Not Working on Mac (6 Solutions)

How to Manually Enable the Preview Pane on File Explorer?

To ensure that the preview pane is enabled on File Explorer, follow these quick steps:

Launch the File Explorer app on your Windows 11 PC. 

Tap the “View” option on the top menu bar and select Show> Preview Pane. 


Once you manually enable this option, you can view and access the Preview Pane on Windows File Explorer. However, if you cannot use the preview pane feature on Windows 11, you can refer to the below-listed troubleshooting methods. 

How to Fix the “Preview Pane not working” Issue on Windows 11?

Solution 1: Enable Preview Handlers

Launch the File Explorer app on your device. Tap on the three-dot icon placed on the top and select “Options.” 


The Folder Options window will now appear on the screen. Switch to the “View” tab. 

Scroll down through the “Advanced Settings” section to look for the “Show preview handlers in preview pane” option. Check on it to enable it. 


Hit on the OK and Apply buttons to save the recent changes. 

Also read: How to Sort and Preview Duplicate Files Before Removing Them Permanently?

Solution 2: Modify the Startup Mode of the File Explorer App

Here comes another solution to fix the “preview pane not working” issue on Windows 11. Here’s what you need to do:

Launch the File Explorer app and tap on the three-dot icon on the top menu bar. Select “Options” to launch the Folder Options window. Switch to the “General” tab. 


Now, tweak the “Open File Explorer to:” value from “Quick Access” to “This PC.” 

Hit on the OK and Apply buttons to save changes. After making the above-listed change, relaunch the File Explorer app to check if the issue was resolved. 

Solution 3: Change System Performance Mode

Press the Windows + R key combination to open the Run dialog box. Type “sysdm.cpl” in the textbox and hit Enter.


The “System Properties” window will now appear on the screen. Switch to the “Advanced” tab.


Hit on the “Settings” button placed in the “Performance” section. 

You will now see the Performance Options window on the screen. Switch to the “Visual Effects” tab. 


Check on the “Adjust for best performance” option. 

Hit on the OK and Apply buttons to save the recent changes. 

Solution 4: Run an SFC Scan

A corrupt system file or setting can also affect File Explorer’s functioning. You can use the SFC (System File Checker) command, a built-in utility that scans and replaces corrupt system files on your device. Follow these steps to run an SFC scan on Windows 11:

Tap on the search icon placed on the Taskbar and type “Command Prompt.” Select “Run as administrator.”


In the Terminal window, type the following command and hit Enter to execute it: 



Once the SFC scan is complete, reboot your device and relaunch File Explorer to check if the preview pane is working. 

Also read: How to Fix “Couldn’t Preview File” Error on Google Drive.

Solution 5: Reset File Explorer

Press the Windows + R key combination to open the Run dialog box. Type “Control Folders” and hit Enter.


Switch to the “General” tab.


Hit on the “Restore Defaults” button placed at the bottom. 

Now, jump to the “View” tab. Tap on the “Restore Defaults” button. 


Hit on the OK and Apply buttons to save the recent changes. Relaunch the File Explorer app and check that the issue was resolved. 


Here are a few simple solutions to fix the “Preview pane not working on Windows 11” issue. We hope the above-listed troubleshooting methods help you in resolving the issue. 

Do let us know which method did the trick for you in getting the preview pane back on track. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section. 

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  • comment_avtar
    The message I get when I hit the right button on an MS Word document in File Explorer is “this file can’t be previewed because of an error in the Microsoft Word previewer”, and none of the actions listed in the above post solve it. I would appreciate your help in solving the situation.

    1 year ago
    • comment_avtar
      Mridula Nimawat
      Hello Samuel, We would suggest you to run the Microsoft Office Repair Tool to see if it fixes the issue. Hope it helps.

      1 year ago
  • comment_avtar
    Paul Sebesta
    I’ve tried/completed every suggestion that you laid out above. I still cant get anything to show up in the preview pane when I single click on an item. I believe this problem (cant preview items) evolved out of the transition from Windows 10 to Windows 11 upgrade. I cant be certain but I do know that I use this feature often and its been approximately 3 months from the time that I first noticed that the preview feature was inoperative. Its also been about 3 months since I opted to overwrite my laptop from 10 to 11. I’m stumped. Thank you for all of your suggestions, I greatly appreciate it!!!!!

    1 year ago

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