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Integrating thumbnail preview in the context menu of Windows XP and Vista

Usually you prefer working with ‘List’ or ‘Details’ displays rather than with ‘Thumbnail Preview’ in Windows. But you still want to have a comfortable preview alternative when it comes to image files.

The Firm Tools shell extension provides an interesting solution to this. It shows a miniature preview in the context menu (right click menu) and particularly handy when you are in a file open dialog of the program that lacks the image preview functionality.

The free tool is very simple to use, just download and install it, right click on an image file to see it its preview. Clicking on the thumbnail will open the image in the default program.

Moreover, there is another option. The ‘Convert to’ context command is quite impressive. You can convert common graphic formats instantaneously with it.

Converting supports most of the formats you will ever need: JPEG, TIFF, PSD, PNG, GIF, BMP, TGA, PCX, and a few others.

You can configure a few settings like preview size, print option, etc from All Programs – FirmTools – ShellExtension – Configure ShellExtension.

The program tested on Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7 (not necessarily need in Windows 7). You can download (500Kb) from the program’s homepage.


  1. Nice tips. Thanks for sharing

  2. This is a nice utility, however...

    ...those who, like me, don't like Window's built-in graphics viewer, and who seek-out freeware, almost-universal (in that they'll work with almost any file format) alternatives such as xnView have been enjoying Windows Explorer right-click menu features such as are described in this article for some time, now.

    That's not to say that this utility has no value. Those who don't want to use xnView (or any of its competitors which do essentially the same thing) would, I'm sure, find this utility to be quite useful.

    Gregg L. DesElms
    gregg at greggdeselms dot com
    Napa, California

  3. Yes, Gregg L. DesElms, I also agree with you. Certainly a quite useful utility. I find it more useful for its converting feature and low resource usage.


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