Windows displays small arrows in the bottom-left of the icons to determine that it’s a shortcut of a file existing in another directory on the system and any changes to that file will directly replicate the changes in the main file.
Basically, a shortcut is just a quick link to the file without you having to navigate all the way to the file.
For eg: If you’ve a Word document shortcut on your desktop, what that shortcut does is, calls the original file for you. In real, you’re editing the original file only!
But, there’s a little issue with shortcuts:
Shortcut Arrows on the icons look ugly.
There can be many reasons why you’d want to remove that arrow from the shortcut icon, but, there’s no such direct option to remove shortcut arrows from icon in Windows.
But, there are two workarounds:
- The easy way
- The geek way
The easy way simply uses a free desktop software to customize those icons and remove shortcut arrows; while the geek way involves registry editing to edit system defined values of those shortcut icons.
If you don’t want any hassles of editing the complex stuff, you should prefer the easier way – Method 1.
If you want to go geek, skip to Method 2.
How to Remove Shortcut Arrows from Icons in Windows
#1 – Using Windows Ultimate Tweaker
Windows Ultimate Tweaker is a simple, but powerful portable software application from The Windows Club which provides a super simple way to remove shortcut arrows from icons.
That’s just one of the 200+ tweaks that it provides!
It’s standalone; which means that you don’t have to install it on your system.
Just download and run it. And the magic will happen!
Steps to Remove Shortcut Arrows from Icons using Windows Ultimate Tweaker:
- Download Windows Ultimate Tweaker and Run it.
- Create a system restore point. This is useful when you want to revert the changes back to the original state.
- Click on “Customization” from the navigation pane.
- Click on the “File Explorer” Tab.
- Below all the checkboxes in the left-half section, click on the button that says “Remove Shortcut Arrows from Shortcut Icons“.
- Click “Apply“.
With this, you’ll no longer see the shortcut arrows on the shortcut icons after restarting the computer.
To get them back, again go to the File Explorer tab, click on that button “Restore Shortcut Arrows to Shortcut Icons“.
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#2 – With Manual Registry Edit
As this involves registry editing, a warning in the first place:
Windows Registry Editor is a powerful tool to edit functioning of Windows. If you’re going to edit it for the first time, you’ve to be careful. Until you’re following all the steps correctly and cautiously, everything’s all right, but if you mistakenly edit something else, it might even break your OS. Do it, but, carefully.
Okay, so let’s jump right into the steps.
Steps to Remove Shortcut Arrows from Icons in Windows:
- Open the Run command box (Win + R keys), type in “regedit” and press Enter.
- Using the left navigation pane, navigate to “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE -> SOFTWARE -> Microsoft -> Windows -> CurrentVersion -> Explorer“.
- In the Explorer sub-section, click on “Shell Icons“. (For Win 10 users, it’s Shell)
- In the right pane where the Default key is listed; in the empty space, Right Click -> New -> String Value.
- Change the name of the String Value to 29.
- Double click on the value, a dialog box will popup. In the Value Data input, enter “%windir%\System32\shell32.dll,-50“.
- Click OK.
With this done, restart your computer and you’ll then see that your shortcut icons no more has those ugly looking shortcut arrows!
If you want to bring the shortcut arrows back:
Navigate to the Shell Icons section in the Registry editor (following the above 1-3 steps), delete the String Value that you created i.e. Right Click on the Value, click Delete or simply press the Delete key.