When you create a shortcut in Windows, it will automatically add an arrow icon overlay over the actual shortcut icon. If you don't like it, here's how to remove shortcut arrow from shortcut icons on Windows.
Generally, the arrow icon overlay on a shortcut icon helps you quickly differentiate between a file or application and a shortcut. Without the arrow overlay, you will be hard-pressed to find the difference between an actual file and a shortcut.
That being, if you are someone who likes to keep their desktop clean or only has shortcuts on the desktop, you can remove the arrow overlay from the shortcut icon. It's pretty easy to do. Follow the below steps and you should be good.
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 bad happens. As an added precaution, create a system restore point too.
1. Open the start menu, search for "Registry Editor" and click on the result to open the registry editor.
2. In the registry editor, copy the below path, paste it in the address bar and press Enter. You will be automatically taken to the target folder.
3. Here, we need to create a new folder. So, right-click on the "Explorer" folder and select "New -> Key" option.
4. Name the new folder as "Shell Icons". This is where we need to create a new value with removes the shortcut arrow.
5. Select the Shell Icons folder, right-click on the right panel and select "New -> String Value" option.
6. Name the string value as "29".
7. After creating the string value, double-click on it. In the new window, copy and paste the below path in the Value Data field and click on the "Ok" button.
8. Reboot Windows system.
That is it. From now on, you will no longer see the arrow icon overlay on the shortcut icons.
If you ever want to revert back, 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, then download the below file, extract it and double-click on the appropriate registry file to either remove or restore the shortcut arrows.
Once downloaded, extract the folder and you will see two registry files in it. To remove shortcut arrow, simply execute the "Remove Shortcut Arrow Overlay.reg" file. If you see a prompt, click on the "Yes"/"Ok" button to continue.
Reboot the system and the arrows will be removed from the shortcut icons.
If you ever change your mind and like to restore the shortcut arrow overlay, double-click on the "Restore Default Shortcut Arrow Overlay.reg" file and you will be good.
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 helps as much as possible.