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Control Panel

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 Control Panel


The control panel is where you adjust settings, enable / disable file formats and adjust global options.


The most important thing to keep in mind when using the control panel is that it uses a state machine in order to make changes.

          Put simply, this means that when you make changes to a selected set of file formats / extensions and are happy with the changes you have to apply them to the system using the Apply  button (bottom right corner).


If you make a mistake before applying changes you can use the Undo  button back to the most recently applied state.


The basic concept of making changes is:

oWork from top left to bottom right. Think of the thumbnail generation filtering down from each option to the next.

oSelect the level of change you wish to make using the "Apply To"   button (top left).

oSelect all formats or the file format / extension you wish to make a change to in the Format group. This gives you the required granularity for subsequent changes required.

oOptionally change performance options group to disable large files and improve thumbnail generation speed.

oChange thumbnail appearance group options such as transparency control, embedded thumbnail extraction, filtering and thumbnail adornment, that will be applied to the selected set of formats / extensions.

oWhen changes are made to an option, a small Apply icon  is overlaid on the bottom right of the option to indicate which options have been modified and are ready to apply.

oEnable / disable and override thumbnail icon overlays as desired in the Icon group.

oWhen in File format or All formats mode, any option that has multiple states has an indeterminate state icon  overlaid on the top right of the button.

oApply  to the system and optionally refresh open Explorer windows by holding the [Control] key.


The global group options are not part of the individual thumbnail state machine generation options and are applied immediately when changed. Apply is not required.


The bottom row shelf icons contain tools such as language selection, thumbnail cache clearing, plugins, on-line support queries, checking for updates, network and registration options as well as the undo and apply buttons.


Launching the Control Panel

The control panel can be opened in a number of ways.

Double clicking or by using the context menu of the Tray Application

Using the context menu of the Shell Extension (right click on desktop and choose "Thumbnail control"

Using the entries in the system control panel.

Windows 7 or later - Thumbnail Options in 'Appearance and Personalization' or 'Programs'




Pin Control Panel

Use this to make the control panel a top most window so it is always above all other windows whilst open.



 Unpinned - The control panel window will behave normally and be covered by other windows.

 Pinned - The control panel will stay on top of other windows.


Control Panel Type

Toggle between Novice and Expert modes. Once you are familiar with what each control does you can switch into Expert mode in order to free up some desktop space.



Toggling this button toggles between the default Novice window and the Expert Window which takes less screen space and can be used by experienced users that are familiar with the functions and layout of the control panel.


Expert Mode Window



  - Debug Log

Hold [Control] and the the Window Size button switches to debug log mode, enabling you to toggle logging for helping track down bugs or issues with the developer. For performance reasons normally keep this disabled (default).




Custom themes can be created and shared by customizing the icons.


Light / Dark Mode

Switch between light, dark or system theme modes.



 Use system preference.

 Use light theme.

 Use dark theme.

Help Type

Help can be opened for a specific item by either using the window help icon (? next to the close button) or by pressing F1 over a control.

Press to enable context sensitive help. Then press a control to open the local or on-line help guide for the selected control.



Hold [Control] key and click to toggle between local and on-line help mode:


 Local help - This help is installed with the version of MysticThumbs you have installed. Does not require an Internet connection.

 Online help - Requires an Internet connection and may be updated to reflect more recent changes than the installed version. (Disabled if no Internet connection is available.)


Closes the Control Panel.


If there are any unsaved changes you will be prompted to save.


Tutorial mode.


Tutorial mode helps train you in how to use the control panel.

The tutorial will take you step by step through the control panel controls to teach you how each function works and how they work together to help fine tune your thumbnail experience.

Tool tips

Enable or disable the tool tip balloon help with this button.


Application Info

Displays the application credits.


Button Sounds

Buttons and combo boxes play sounds depending on their state to help recognize their state and function.


There are four levels of volume, or by default mute the sounds.

 This is an accessability feature.

Version and History

The control panel shows the currently installed version. If there is any kind of installation error the version will be reported as *ERROR* indicating you may need to do a repair install or re-install.

 Clicking this will open the version history page online for this version.


Copyright and Web Link

Displays program copyright.

Clicking this will open the MysticThumbs online website.


Generated Count

The amount of thumbnails generated is also displayed here so you know just how useful MysticThumbs is.

Clicking this will open the MysticThumbs online website.

[Control] click will reset the count to zero.


Copy and Paste Settings

Copy settings from one file extension to others quickly.



With file extension Apply to Mode enabled, you can mark an extension as a copy source for quickly copying the settings for that extension to another extension, file format (all extensions of) or to all file formats.

 The copy button will only be available when file extension Apply to Mode is selected.

 The paste button will only be available if the clipboard contains an extension from using the copy button.

 [Ctrl]+C and [Ctrl]+V keyboard shortcuts can also be used for these functions.

Format Group

This is where you select the file formats or extensions that you want to make changes to, as well as what to apply changes to.


Apply Changes Mode

This mode is used for changing individual or multiple settings to all file formats or to all extensions of a file format without having to individually select each format.

Subsequent changes are applied to other formats and or extensions based on the state of this button.

For example, if you enable 'Apply to all'  and then select Checkerboard transparency, all file formats that support transparency will now use Checkerboard transparency (after applying the changes).


 Changes are not saved or applied to the system until Apply is pressed.

 Before Apply is pressed, you can undo all unsaved changes with Undo


 Apply changes to file extension.

 Apply changes to file format. Changes are made to all file extensions that the file format contains.

 Apply changes to all file formats and extensions.

Search for Extension

Select from all supported file extensions.

Scroll or type the extension you require. The best match will be highlighted.


Active File Format

Use this combo box to select the file format you want to adjust changes.

If an application is installed and assigned to the file type then its icon is displayed for each file type.

You can begin typing the name of the the format you want to find it.

 When in Apply to All mode this option is unavailable due to operations being carried out on all file formats. Instead a  warning icon is displayed to indicate that changes made will be to all supported file formats.


Active File Extension

Use this combo box to select specific extensions for the selected file format you want to adjust changes to.

Each file format displays either its assigned override icon or the default icon for the file extension/type.

You can begin typing the the extension you want to find it.

 When in Apply to All or Apply to File Format mode, this option is unavailable due to operations being carried out to all extensions.


Thumbnail Enable

Enable or disable generating thumbnails for this file format / extension thumbnails.


Small Icon Enable

Enable this option to enable small icon thumbnail generation for this file extension. Small Icon, List View and Details view modes that display using a small icon (usually 16x16 in standard DPI) will also generate thumbnails and store them in the system icon cache. The system icon cache can be erased when using the Clear Thumbnail Cache option.

This option is disabled by default as it incurs extra overhead and is generally not especially useful.


Performance Group

Performance options designed to limit the scope of generating thumbnails for large files.

These can be adjusted if required for slower computers that may struggle with files that are either very large images or have large memory footprints and can be changed on a file format or extension basis as required.

 If an image fails either of these checks and has an embedded thumbnail, the embedded thumbnail will be used.


Maximum file size

Select the maximum file size for the given file format. If an image file size is larger than this value (in megabytes - MB) then it will not be thumb-nailed unless it has an embedded thumbnail.

Select Inactive to disable maximum size check.



When adjusting you get a slider:

Maximum pixel size

Select the maximum dimension for the given file format. If an image has more rows or columns (in pixels) than this value it will not be thumb-nailed unless it has an embedded thumbnail.

Select Inactive to disable maximum dimension check.



When adjusting you get a slider:

Appearance Group

Options in this group control how thumbnails are to be rendered and can be changed on a file format or extension basis as required.


Embedded Thumbnail

If available, choose if the thumbnail should use an embedded thumbnail within the file or the file image itself.

This can be used for either performance or visual reasons depending on the file format.

This option is only available for file formats that support embedded thumbnails.



 Use Image

Never use embedded thumbnails unless it is not possible to extract a regular image, and an embedded thumbnail exists within the image.


 Use Embedded Thumbnail

Always use the embedded thumbnail if it exists regardless of the requested thumbnail size. This can be useful for performance reasons on some file types however special effects such as transparency etc. may not be available.


 Use Embedded Thumbnail if Larger          

Use the embedded thumbnail if it exists, and it is a larger size than the requested thumbnail size. The thumbnail size requested is the size of the thumbnail that Explorer is currently asking for (ie. 48x48 for Medium thumbnail view).


Resize Sampling

Adjust the sampling mode for images when they are scaled up or down.



Highest quality sampling. Cubic sampling produces better images when they are scaled down to a smaller sizes. This is the default and produces the most visually pleasing result in most circumstances.


When scaling down an image is scaled with bilinear / smooth sampling. Gives a more smooth result as each resultant pixel is sampled from the surrounding 4 pixels of the source sample point.


Images are scaled with nearest / point sampling. Gives a sharper result but may not look as nice. This can be useful for video game texture artists.


Rotate Using Metadata Mode

Some files for example camera images may contain rotation or flip metadata to indicate the orientation of the image.

In some cases you may not want this to be applied. This option is available for those file types to disable this transformation.


 Rotation is applied

Rotate or flip according to metadata information in the file.

 Rotation is not applied

Do not rotate or flip according to metadata information in the file.


Toggle to enable or disable metadata based rotation and flipping in file formats that support it, for example camera formats.

For images taken by cameras or other rotatable sources, enable or disable rotating and flipping using metadata information in the file.

Only file formats that include rotation metadata support this feature.

Gamma Correction

Some file formats are designed to, or look more correct with color correction. Gamma correction can be used for this purpose.



When adjusting you get a slider:


Usually, most photographic type files such as RAW, JPEG etc. contain their own color correction settings and these are used when possible by MysticThumbs, however in some formats these are not supplied and the gamma setting can be useful to apply a specific gamma correction to these formats.


A value of 1.0 is default and a value of 2.2 is a common adjustment for photographic images.


Selecting to inactive disables gamma correction.


Adjust transparency options for selected file types.

It can be useful to use different transparency modes such as checkerboards to visualize the alpha channels of some pictures such as video game textures.



Disables transparency for generated thumbnails of the selected file type, discarding any alpha information and making them fully opaque. You will not be able to see through transparent areas of thumbnails in most files.



Shows a custom, selectable canvas color behind any transparent areas of the thumbnail.


       Double click to select a canvas color that will be displayed behind any transparent areas not explicit in images without a background, such as rendered postscript / PDF files.

       You can save favorite canvas colors in the selector palette "Custom colors" when choosing the color.



Enables transparency for generated thumbnails of the selected file type. You will be able to see through transparent or partially transparent areas of thumbnails. This can make thumbnails on the desktop look cleaner for example.

 Checkerboard Light

Overlays generated thumbnails on a light checkerboard background so you can clearly see detail not easily seen through transparency alone. This option can be very useful for graphic designers, video game artists etc. MysticThumbs tries to keep the checkerboard pattern to around a 8x8 pixel grid.

 Checkerboard Dark

Overlays generated thumbnails on a dark checkerboard background so you can clearly see detail not easily seen through transparency alone. This option can be very useful for graphic designers, video game artists etc. MysticThumbs tries to keep the checkerboard pattern to around a 8x8 pixel grid. The dark checkerboard is useful for images that consist of a white matte layer over transparency.

Scale up / Full size

Scale small images up to requested thumbnail size,


Create a full size thumbnail of the requested size with various options.



Two modes are modified with this button - Scale up and Full thumbnail.

• Scale up (single click) - If an image is smaller than the requested thumbnail size, enabling scale up will scale the image to the requested thumbnail size maintaining aspect ratio.

• Full thumbnail (double click) - Thumbnails are rendered to a square canvas the size of the requested thumbnail using the selected fill mode. The image is anchored to the center or corner of the canvas based on the checkerboard anchor setting.This can be useful for comparing images in Explorer.


Scaling options


Actual Size

Thumbnails will be made at the lesser of the size of the requested thumbnail size and the actual size of the image. Very small images may appear smaller than the tiled thumbnails in Explorer.


 Scale To Fit

Images smaller than the requested thumbnail size (say 256x256 for Extra Large Icons mode) will be scaled up to that size.

In other words, if the image is 96x48 pixels it will be scaled up to 256x128 pixels when Explorer is asking for a thumbnail of the size 256 pixels.


Full thumbnail options


 Double click to change.


Full thumbnail modes are transparent, light and dark checkerboard and canvas fill.


Actual size with the optional full thumbnail modes



Scale up with the optional full thumbnail modes



 Selecting the appropriate modes can be useful to keep a consistent thumbnail size regardless of how small images are, or when wanting to have embedded thumbnails up-scaled to the requested thumbnail size. Very useful for embedded thumbnails that are known to be small (3ds / max).

 Using full thumbnail mode can be useful for texture artists to compare textures side by side within Explorer. There are many other use cases for using full thumbnail mode.

Premultiply Alpha

Premultiplied alpha is often used by some rendering engines such as video games for a number of reasons. A premultiplied alpha image has had its color channels (R,G,B) multiplied by the alpha/transparency value before saving. If a premultiplied image is viewed over a backdrop such as a checkerboard without allowing for this, the image may appear to have a fringe around the more transparent areas.


 Premultiply Disable

Treats the image as if it is not premultiplied.

 Premultiply Enable

Treats the image as if it has premultiplied alpha.


 When thumbnailing an image that is explicitly marked as premultiplied, the image is always treated as premultiplied regardless of this setting. An example file format that has explicit premultiplied flag support is PowerVR / PVR. When using QuickView however, the premultiply alpha setting is respected so you can compare differences.


Thumbnail adornment options.



Allows you to specify what type of adornment you want on thumbnails. You currently can choose from a Drop Shadow or Nothing.


This option can be useful to remove the default drop shadow if you like to see your icons clearly as possible next to each other without borders or without borders on the desktop.


 Drop Shadow

Adds a drop shadow to the thumbnail. This makes the actual thumbnail area slightly smaller.



No adornment to the thumbnail. This will give you the maximum size thumbnail without any extra shadow detail.


 Adornments are added by Explorer based on this setting, not by MysticThumbs. This keeps a consistent display in accordance with suggested Windows guidelines.

Icon Group

Customize the icon overlay that is displayed on specific file formats and extensions.

Usually any associated appication icon is overlaid on the bottom right of a thumbnail showing that application opens the file. These options can fine tune this.



Usually, the icon overlay used for a file extension is taken from the default icon assigned by the application currently associated with that file extension.

You can override this behavior and use a specific icon to help you more readily recognize your files when they are in thumbnail view.

This is particularly useful when you have "Hide extensions for known file types" enabled in the Explorer folder options and the extension of file names are not displayed.


Click to toggle enable or disable using a custom icon for this file type/extension.

Double click to choose an icon from a file. Files that contain icons supported are .exe .dll .ico.


Toggle visibility of the icon overlay for this file type/extension.


 File icon libraries are often found in the default application's main executable for a given file format.


Enable to allow overriding the default application icon for the given extension.

Custom Icon

Custom icon enable and selection from file.



This allows you to select and override a specific icon for file extension(s).

- Single click to enable or disable the icon overlay override option. A enabled  or disabled  icon is overlaid on the icon upper right.

 Double click to click to open a Choose Icon dialog allowing you to select an application, library or icon file that contains the desired icon to use for the given file extension.


Show Association Icon

Show or hide associated application icon overlay.



 Hide the icon for the file format / extension.


 Show the icon overlay for the file format / extension.  The icon for the selected file extension will be shown.

Global Group

These buttons control various global options and toggles that determine the overall program flow.


 In novice control panel mode, you can toggle folding this group to save space by clicking on the Global strip header.


Thumbnail Generation

Enable or disable thumbnail generation globally.



Press [Space Bar] on selected files in Explorer windows to open a QuickView window for each selected file.

QuickView is an integrated simple tool to allow you to quickly view any MysticThumbs supported file type without having to open associated applications.

Using the context menu within QuickView you can also adjust most of the states such as transparency and inspect embedded thumbnails etc.



Pressing [Space Bar] in Explorer windows opens a QuickView window the selected file. QuickView allows you to preview files, modify visual states and compare files quickly without opening the asociated application.


Force Desktop Transparency

Enabling this option will always produce a thumbnail with a transparent background for a file on the desktop, instead of the currently selected transparency mode for the file type of the image.

 This option can improve visual fidelity if you save images to your desktop.


Checkerboard Anchor and Scale

When using checkerboard transparency, this option allows you to define the scale and origin for the checkerboard to be corner, side or center of the image or thumbnail.

Click on the desired anchor position to change the anchor, click again on the existing anchor to change the scale.


Global Icon Overlays

Enable global icon overlays for all thumbnails.

This is a system wide setting that effects all file types regardless of if they are handled by MysticThumbs.

An application icon overlay is shown bottom right of a thumbnail for any file extension that has an application associated that can open them.


Context Menu

Explorer context menu mode.


 Disable - the MysticThumbs context menus in Windows Explorer.


 Context - menu options are expanded into a single menu.


 Context menu options are collapsed into sub menus by state.

Context Menu Folder Recursion

Context menu folder recursion mode.

When refreshing thumbnails via the context menu in Explorer or applying folder level changes in Explorer, enabling this option will apply to all folders beneath the selected folders.



 Context menu actions will only apply to the selected folders.


 Context menu actions will apply to the selected folders and recursively to folders contained within.


 Double click opens the Blocked Folders dialog box where you can choose sensitive folders that you don't want to be thumbnailed.

 Blocked folders and all their child folders will prevent thumbnails being created.

Apply Refreshes Open Explorer Thumbnails

When enabled, applying state changes will automatically update all open Windows Explorer windows for changed file types.

 This can be very useful to quickly visualize thumbnail contents and compare thumbs side by side when you have open Explorer windows.

 Only file formats that have changed state will be updated for improved performance.



 Disabled - There will be no updates made to thumbnails in open Explorer windows.


 Enabled - Open Explorer windows will be checked for changed file formats and updated as required. Context menu recursion mode is respected.

Show Notification Icon

Shows or hides the notification icon (system tray)



If disabled, the icon will not be in the notification area.


 Visible, QuickView not enabled.


 Visible with QuickView enabled.


 The MysticThumbs tray application still runs in the background to handle automatic updates and QuickView functionality so this option merely allows you to hide the icon if you don't want it visible.


Update Check Period

Enable to check for updates on a periodic basis.

When a new update is available you will receive a notification.

 You may have to open your firewall for the control panel application if required. Administrator priviliges will be required.


 Do not check for updates.

 Daily check for updates.

 Weekly check for updates.

 Monthly check for updates.

 Check for Beta builds as well as Stable builds hourly.

 Beta development builds can be tested but may be unstable or have unforeseen issues. Useful for testers or anyone wanting bleeding edge changes. You can always install an older stable build if there are problems.

Shelf Group

The shelf contains utility functions for controlling MysticThumbs.


Thumbnail Cache

Clears the thumbnail and/or the icon cache so all thumbnails will be recreated if their file type and extensions are enabled.


Use this function to flush and recreate thumbnails and / or icons system wide.

If you have problems with thumbnails being recreated for no apparent reason or have installed a new license key and want to refresh thumbnails then use this. All thumbnails and / or icons will be refreshed depending on your choice.

MysticThumbs launches the "Disk Cleanup" Windows utility to perform the clear thumbnail cache to perform the operation.


Also see: Clear Cache

Support Request

Create a new support request to email to the developer.


Open a support query in your web browser to create a support request or ask for feature enhancements.

You will receive a notification of a saved image of the control panel's current state which you may optionally attach to the support request. It is strongly advised you switch to a specific file format you may be having trouble with before beginning the support request so that support can inspect your current settings from this screen shot.

 Disabled if no Internet connection is available.


Manage custom plug-ins.


Custom file format plugins are managed with the plugin dialog.

Also see: Plugins

Check for Updates

Check for updates.


Checks for updates immediately and informs you if there is any new version available for download and will show you changes and options for downloading.

Disabled if no Internet connection is available.

Network Proxy

Set proxy settings for all Internet communication, including checking for updates, registering license keys.


Also see: Proxy Settings

License Key

License management.


You can view, enter and change your license and registration with the License registration dialog.

 Registered license is installed with full support and product maintenance.

 License maintenance expired or Evaluation period 14 days.

 Current version is beyond maintenance date. Install a version built before license support expired, or renew your license to extend your product maintenance another year and enjoy new features, optimizations and bug fixes.


Language selection.


The system user language is used by default, however you can force a supported language if desired.


Current supported languages are (this is subject to change):


          Arabic, Chinese Simpled, Chinese Traditional, Dutch, English, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Ukrainian.


 Selecting the default language (United Nations flag) will use your computers local language if supported, otherwise English.

 The closest national flag for your area is chosen to represent the selected language if supported.

Undo / Defaults

Undo changes - Undo changes made since last apply.



The control panel uses a deferred state machine to allow you to make multiple changes and selectively apply them to the system and/or open Explorer windows for fine control.

If you have made changes and not yet saved them, you can undo those changes back to the current saved state using the undo button.


 Load Defaults

Holding the [Control] key will present the load defaults button instead of undo.

Load defaults / revert changes will reset default states for the current 'Apply to mode'. Restore the default state for an extension, file format or all file formats as required.

 Reverting changes will reset state but still requires applying back to the system using Apply Changes.

Apply Changes

Apply current state changes to the system and optionally refresh open Explorer windows by holding the [Control] key or by setting the global option Apply Refreshes Open Explorer Windows.



 This button will be disabled and ghosted when no changes have been made that require applying.


 If Apply and Refresh Open Explorer Windows is disabled then applying will save changes but not update any open Explorer windows.


 If Apply and Refresh Open Explorer Windows global option is enabled, or [Control] key is held down, then applying will update all open Explorer windows with the changed states.



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