In Windows you can preview various documents like Microsoft Word documents, image files and video files using the preview panel of Windows File Explorer. But when it comes to the PDF documents, the preview feature seems to fail no matter which PDF viewer (like Foxit PDF Reader or Adobe PDF Reader) you install on your system. This is very frustrating as you have to actually open the PDF files in order to view their contents. If you really want to see the preview of the PDF files, then you can use the free PDF Preview for Windows 8 application that installs plugins in File Explroer and allows the PDF previews. This application works for both the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 8.
You can get the PDF Preview for Windows 8 from the Win8 PDF website. The download is a small installer package of about 3 megabytes. The same package contents the files for both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows. After the installation, you can open the File Explorer and enable the Preview Panel by using the hotkey Alt + P. You can click on a PDF file in the folder to select it and after a few seconds, its preview will be visible in the Preview Panel.
The time taken to generate the preview can vary depending on your system performance and the size of your PDF documents. In my testing, PDFs containing high-res images took longer time to generate previews compared to text based PDF documents.
In addition to the preview component, a PDF reader application is also installed. You can launch it from the Start Menu shortcuts or from the search charms bar (Win + C). But compared to mainstream PDF viewers like Foxit PDF Reader, Adobe PDF Reader, this is very very slow in loading the PDF files.
Conclusion: The PDF Preview for Windows 8 allows you to see the previews of your PDF documents in the Windows File Explorer. Albeit being a little slow, this shows you the PDF document previews in the preview panel.
You can download PDF Preview for Windows 8 application from http://www.win8pdf.com/.