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How to Remove Shortcut Arrow Icon in Windows 10 & 11

Creating a shortcut in Windows will automatically add an arrow icon overlay over the actual shortcut icon. If you don’t like it, here’s how to remove the shortcut arrow from shortcut icons in Windows 10 and 11.

Generally, the arrow icon overlay on a shortcut icon helps you differentiate between a file or application and a shortcut at a glance. Without the arrow overlay, you will be hard-pressed to find the difference between an actual file and a shortcut.

That being, the arrow icon over the shortcut can look ugly at times. If you like to keep their desktop clean or only have shortcuts on the desktop, you can remove the arrow overlay from the shortcut icon. It’s pretty easy to do. All you must do is make a few registry changes, and you are good to go.

Follow the below steps, and you should be good.

Note: Both methods shown below will work in Windows 10 and 11.

Table of contents:

Remove Shortcut Arrow on Shortcut Icons

To remove the shortcut arrow icon overlay, we need to edit the registry. Before editing the registry, make a registry backup. The backup helps you restore the system if anything terrible happens. As an added precaution, create a system restore point too.

1. First, we need a blank icon. So, download this zip file, open it, and extract the folder in it to the root of your C drive. The new folder should be “C:\BlankIcon\.” This folder contains the blank.ico file. This is the Icon we will use to remove the shortcut arrow icon in Windows 10 and 11.

blank icon folder

2. Open the start menu, search for “Registry Editor,” and click the result to open the Registry Editor.

3. In the registry editor, copy the below path, paste it in the address bar, and press “Enter.” Registry Editor takes you to the target folder immediately.

Win10 remove shortcut arrow - go to folder

3. Here, we need to create a new folder. So, right-click on the “Explorer” folder and select the “New -> Key” option.

Win10 remove shortcut arrow - select key

4. Name the new folder as “Shell Icons.” This is where we need to create a new value that removes the shortcut arrow in Windows 10 and 11.

Win10 remove shortcut arrow - name the new key

5. Select the Shell Icons folder, right-click on the right panel and choose the “New -> String Value” option.

Win10 remove shortcut arrow - select string

6. Name the string value as “29”.

Win10 remove shortcut arrow - name the string

7. After creating the string value, double-click on it. Copy & paste the below path in the Value Data field and click on the “Ok” button.


8. Reboot the Windows system.

That is it. From now on, you will no longer see the arrow icon overlay on the shortcut icons.

Win10 remove shortcut arrow - arrow removed

If you ever want to revert, simply delete the “29” value you created in Step 6, and you are good to go.

(Alternative) Download Registry Keys to Make Things Easier

If you are not comfortable editing the registry, you can automate things with a .reg file. Here is how.

Once downloaded, open the zip file.

Extract the “BlankIcon” folder to the root of the C drive.

Next, extract the “remove_shortcut_arrow_icon.reg” file. After that, double-click on the extracted file. Click on the “Yes”/”Ok” button to continue if you see a prompt.

Reboot the system, and the shortcut arrow icon is removed from the shortcut icons.

If you ever change your mind, open the Registry Editor, go to the below location and delete the “29” value. This restores the arrow icon.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\ CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Icons\

That is it. It is that simple to remove shortcut arrow overlay from shortcut icons. If you are stuck in the process and need any help, comment below, and I will try to help as much as possible.

16 thoughts on “How to Remove Shortcut Arrow Icon in Windows 10 & 11”

    1. Avatar for Bashkarla

      I just recreated the steps on my end and it worked fine. I recommend you download the reg keys given in the post and follow that method. If you’re still facing the issue, it might be due to icon cache. Try clearing it.

  1. Avatar for Thien An

    Dear Ben Nash, I left a reply to confirm method above works!
    If it’s not your case, follow steps below:
    – Download a Blank.ico
    – Copy the ico to your folder C:\Windows
    – Input value “C:\Windows\Blank.ico,0” for string “29” above.

    1. Avatar for Bastos

      Gordon’s method worked for me too, at last 🙂 (october 2020).
      Other methods resulted in arrows being replaced with black squares or even ugglier icons.

  2. Avatar for Jordy

    Works initially. But after a while the little arrow is replaced with a black box. Rather have the arrow than a black box.

  3. Avatar for Robert A Rothermel
    Robert A Rothermel

    After downloading the file “Remove Shortcut Arrow Overlay.reg”, I get, when I try to execute the file, a message, “The Publisher could not be verified.” Windows doesn’t seem to like this option.

    1. Avatar for Bashkarla

      Hi Robert,

      That is the Windows SmartScreen error message. In this case, it is safe to ignore. If you are unsure, follow the manual steps as shown in the post.

      1. Avatar for Ryan

        Is this software safe to install? I am just paranoid about installing things that I do not know the publisher.

        1. Avatar for Bashkarla

          Hi Ryan,

          It is good to be cautious when installing third-party software. The reg file is nothing but a set of instructions to add or remove values in the Windows Registry. You can open the .reg file with Notepad to see what value or keys it is modifying. That being said, If you are uncomfortable using the reg file method. Follow the manual method shown in the article.

  4. Avatar for Gumdrop

    You’re right! It took off the little arrows and now I have a page blocking the entirety of every icon … yes, I followed the steps correctly.

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