View Your RAW Photos as Thumbnails With FastPictureViewer WIC RAW Codec Pack
"Windows Vista introduced a modern and extensible imaging framework called Windows Imaging Component (WIC). The operating system comes with built-in support for several common image formats including jpeg, bmp, png, gif, tiff and HD Photo. WIC makes it possible for 3rd parties to add first-class support for image formats to Windows, complete with thumbnails in Explorer, preview and slideshow support in Photo Gallery / Photo Viewer and metadata search integration. The FastPictureViewer WIC RAW Codec Pack provides such platform support for additional formats and turns Windows Explorer into a raw viewer, through read-only image decoders, simultaneously available in both 32 and 64-bit flavor for Win7, Vista and XP SP3. The codec pack contains 32-bit and 64-bit NEF and 64-bit CR2 codecs, along with 64-bit DNG and a lot more!"
If you've ever had the frustration of looking at a folder full of raw photos and seeing no thumbnail preview, this is your solution. This amazing codec pack is donationware - meaning if you use it, you're encouraged to donate a few bucks to the author - and for me, it's definitely worth the donation I just made this morning. I work with raw files inside Lightroom for processing, but often I'll want to jump into a folder and see the raw images there, and with Windows 7 lacking support for raw files, this tool fills the gap perfectly. Definitely worth checking out!