How to Remove the Shortcut Arrow for Windows 10 Icons

Update [2018-02-20]: We have been informed that the steps in this article may no longer work for the latest versions of Windows 10, including the Fall Creators Update.
When you create a shortcut to an application or file, or if an application’s installer automatically places a shortcut on your desktop, Windows 10 (and previous versions of Windows, too) identifies the icon as a shortcut by placing a small arrow in the lower-left corner. This can be helpful for easily distinguishing between shortcuts and original files but it’s not the most aesthetically pleasing way to showcase your application icons. Thankfully, you can remove the shortcut arrow from your desktop application icons by making a small change in your Windows Registry. Here’s how to do it.
shortcut arrow icons windows 10
It’s first important to note that this tip involves making changes to the Windows Registry, which is a crucial database of low-level system settings. Therefore, make sure to avoid changing or removing any Registry entries not referenced here, and you may want to consider making a backup of your Registry and PC data before you dive in, just for good measure.
regedit start menu windows 10
To get started, launch the Windows Registry Editor by searching for regedit via the Start Menu search feature or Cortana. Click the indicated search result to open the Registry Editor. Alternatively, you can use the keyboard shortcut Windows Key + R to open the Run dialog, type regedit into the “Open” box, and press Enter on your keyboard.
regedit explorer
The Registry Editor window is divided by a hierarchy of sections on the left and each section’s corresponding values on the right. First, using the hierarchy on the left, navigate to the following location:

How to Remove the Shortcut Arrow for Windows 10 Icons

regedit new key
Right-click on Explorer and choose New > Key to create a new Registry key within Explorer. You’ll see the new key appear at the end of the list (“New Key #1”). Rename it Shell Icons and press Enter on your keyboard to save the change.
regedit new string
Next, with the new Shell Icons key selected, right-click on the right side of the window and select New > String Value. A new entry will appear (“New Value #1”). Rename it 29.
remove windows shortcut arrow
Double-click the new 29 value to reveal the “Edit String” window, which lets you define the value’s properties. In the “Value Data” box, enter the following text:


Click OK to save the change and close the “Edit String” window. This string effectively removes the Windows shortcut arrow by making it transparent, but you’ll need to reboot or log out of your Windows account for the change to take effect.
remove windows shortcut arrow
Once you’ve rebooted, or logged out and then back in, you’ll see that the shortcut arrow is no longer present on your Windows desktop application icons, providing a much cleaner look. If you ever want to turn the shortcut arrow back on, just head back to the Shell Icons key in the Registry and delete the 29 string value you created (you can leave the Shell Icons key intact so that you won’t need to recreate it if you want disable shortcut arrows again in the future; without the “29” string value, the Shell Icons key will have no effect).

How to Identify a Shortcut After Disabling Shortcut Arrows

Your Windows 10 desktop will certainly look cleaner after turning off shortcut arrows on your application icons, but as mentioned at the beginning of this tip, those shortcut arrows allowed you to easily distinguish between shortcut links and actual original files. So, with the shortcut arrows disabled, how can you confirm whether an unknown desktop icon is a shortcut or an original?
windows 10 shortcut properties
While not as quick as seeing an arrow in the lower-left corner of your icon, you can always right-click on any icon or file and select Properties. The General tab of a file’s Properties window will tell you what type of file you’re dealing with. In the example featured in the screenshot above, the icon is correctly identified as a Shortcut.

Remove Shortcut Arrows via Third Party Tools

If you’re familiar with the Windows Registry, the steps to remove the shortcut arrows outlined above can be accomplished fairly quickly. But if you’re uncomfortable with making changes to the Registry, there are several third party tools that can make the changes and remove the shortcut arrows for you with just a click.
You’ll want to be careful when downloading and installing third party utilities that are designed to make changes to Windows as there are many questionable apps floating around the Internet that, at best, are simply out of date and not designed for the latest versions of Windows or, at worst, are intentionally designed to infect or damage your computer.
ultimate windows tweaker remove shortcut arrow
That said, one tool we know and trust is Ultimate Windows Tweaker, a free app from The Windows Club. Ultimate Windows Tweaker 4, the version compatible with Windows 10, offers hundreds of tweaks and modifications, including the ability to disable (or re-enable) the shortcut arrows with a single click. Just be careful as you play around with the app’s various options and settings, as some of them can make significant changes to the way that Windows looks and works. Thankfully, the app features the ability to quickly create a Restore Point, as well as a “Restore Defaults” button, both of which you can use to get yourself out of trouble if you make too many changes.

7 thoughts on “How to Remove the Shortcut Arrow for Windows 10 Icons”

John Lol Smith says:
If you want to remove the shortcut icon do everything this tutorial says but DONT give the 29 string a value (leave out the %windir% bit) do everything else. The %windir% string removes the actual shortcut icon but windows will replace it with a larger error icon. If you just add the 29 string and leave it with no value you replace the shortcut icon with nothing. It wont corrupt your dll files and works perfectly on windows 10. Plus its less work than the other solutions posted around here.
Alex says:
This worked, thanks a lot!!
Wolf says:
DO NOT Use this method. This will corrupt an icon in shell32.dll, thus turning the shortcut arrows black instead of transparent upon restarting once more. Instead you should try this:
“To permanently fix the problem without using 3rd party software, do this…
Download a transparent.ico and save it somewhere on your C: drive.
For example,
C:\Users\UserName\Pictures\Desktop Icons.
Then use this value instead of %windir%\System32\shell32.dll,-50 in Shell Icons value 29 in regedit like this.
C:\Users\UserName\Pictures\Desktop Icons\transparent.ico
This will use the transparent.ico file on your C: drive instead of accessing the transparent icon files on shell32.dll and your IconCache.db will no longer be corrupted, removing the black boxes and the shortcut arrows forever.”
taken from
adam says:
Can you confirm this still works? I used the other method and ended up having to re-install windows. This is not something that I would like to do again but the shortcut arrows drive be crazy.
hitachi customer service says:
if you want to remove the icon use these step…
right click the mouse
after that click to the view icon
after that unclick the show desktop icon….which helps to remove the shortcuts icons from the desktop.
Pace says:
The solution for the black boxes for me was to delete the value of the key 29. So you don’t delete the key itself, but the data “%windir%\System32\shell32.dll,-50” in it. So at the end it’s just empty.
Now restart windows-explorer.exe and it should be fine.
Pace says:
After restarting my computer my method didn’t work anymore. But then writing in the key 29 the value “%windir%\System32\shell32.dll,-50” solved it, after restarting windows-explorer.exe.
So it seems like you have to change it after each computer restart from this value and to empty value and back again.
What is annoying.. But it works
NSummer says:
The solution above appears on several websites and appears to be incorrect. Try replacing ‘ShellIcons.dll,-50’ with ‘ShellIcons.dll,+50’. I say this because the blank icon is at position 50 in the icons table of ShellIcons and -50 seems strange. All Windows 10 computers I modified as directed above displayed black boxes or other unwanted overlays either immediately or sporadically. They went away once I used +50. I would say the solution as given in the article does not work at all and may appear to simply by chance.
Christopher Van Zetta says:
+50 just gave me white icons overlaying the icons… Running Windows 10 Home Insider Preview Build 16251.rs3_release.170721-2122
Dr Why says:
unsubscribe please
Christopher Van Zetta says:
Um, no? these commands just screw the icons up. Doesn’t workanymore
arjunny says:
Guys if you see black box just remove everything under Value Data and re-login to Windows. It should be fine.
Dr Why says:
This doesn’t work. Specifically, it worked once, and then at boots after that the icons were mostly covered with a big black box.
the dude says:
yeah happened to me too, its probably out of date thats why, the new updates changed how this work around works. if you figure it out ill definitely like to hear it i want to get rid of them too.
Dr Why says:
Actually I was given a fix that works. Get a thing called Ultimate Windows Tweaker 4. Somewhere in it there’s a box that says remove arrows. Do that and you’re done. Don’t screw around with all the other stuff in Ultimate Windows Tweaker unless you’re sure of what you’re doing. It can really mess up your machine.
the dude says:
if you uninstall the program after youre done will it revert the process?
Dr Why says:
Don’t know, never tried. You can be first. I can tell you that the program stays out of the way after you’ve used it. I don’t think I’ve seen it or bumped into it after I’ve used it.

Comments are closed.

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