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There were methods for doing this in earlier versions of Safari but I don't know of one that works with 5.1.

The reason I want to do this is that it takes up a great deal of disk space, and I suspect it slows things down on my older, slower Mac running Lion because of all the extra caching going on. I never use the feature anyway.

Here is the link to an earlier question on Ask Different with regard to Safari 5.0.

How can I disable "Top Sites" in Safari/Webkit completely?

I am creating a new question because apparently any methods that would work for Safari 5.0 will not work for 5.1.

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Haven't found a specific answer, but if you're having performance issues with 5.1, try one of the WebKit nightlies. I've switched recently and it improved a lot a of the performance problems introduced with 5.1, and so far haven't seen any problematic bugs. – robmathers Sep 29 '11 at 2:10

While not a clean solution and not properly preventing Safari from creating the thumbnails in the first place, this apparently works to keep them from taking up disk space:

rm ~/Library/Safari/WebpageIcons.db && ln -s /dev/null ~/Library/Safari/WebpageIcons.db

Incidentally, even going to Safari → Reset Safari… and ticking Remove all webpage preview images will apparently leave this hack intact.

As for Top Sites, there are a few places you can remove it from:

  • Safari → Preferences → General → New windows open with
  • Safari → Preferences → General → New tabs open with
  • Safari → Preferences → Bookmarks → Bookmarks bar

I don't believe the menu item can be removed this easily.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

TinkerTool 4.7, a free utility for system customization, has just added a new feature for Safari 5.1, "Disable storage of preview images for web pages."

TinkerTool

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