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.
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.
3. Here, we need to create a new folder. So, right-click on the “Explorer” folder and select the “New -> Key” option.
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.
5. Select the Shell Icons folder, right-click on the right panel and choose the “New -> String Value” option.
6. Name the string value as “29”.
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.
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.