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I believe you have updated to the latest version of InDesign and this is the new "File New" interface. If you want to use the old one, you can go the InDesign Preferences > General > Use Legacy "New Document" Dialog and that should fix your issue. See attached snapshot:
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now only some of the "recent icons" show a miniature of the file.
Hmmm. I haven't seen that happen before. Deleting preferences is a oft-used way to reset InDesign, but in this case it will remove all of your recent files, and the recent file list will have to rebuild itself. But if you want to see the thumbnails again, it may be worth a try.