How to Remove Shortcut Arrows in Windows 11 and 10

Windows desktop shortcuts have little arrows on their icons. The icons include those arrows to highlight that they’re shortcuts for software and files. As most of the icons on your desktop will likely be shortcuts, however, those arrows are hardly essential.

Some users might prefer to remove those arrows from desktop shortcut icons. Windows 11/10 doesn’t include any built-in option with which you can disable shortcut icon arrows. Nevertheless, you can still remove those arrows from desktop shortcut icons in Windows 11/10 with the two alternative methods below.

How to Remove Shortcut Arrows by Manually Editing the Registry

The registry is one big database of configuration settings for Windows. You can remove shortcut icon arrows by adding a new Shell Icons key to the registry. That might sound a little daunting, but a pretty straightforward registry tweak is all that’s needed. Just follow the steps directly below for editing the registry exactly as specified.

  1. To open Run, press its designated Win + R keyboard shortcut.
  2. Type the regedit Run command in the Open box.
  3. Click OK to bring up the Registry Editor.
  4. Next, select the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > SOFTWARE > Microsoft > Windows > CurrentVersion > Explorer within the Registry Editor’s left navigation pane.
  5. Right-click Explorer on the left of the Registry Editor to select New.
  6. Click the Key option on the submenu.

  7. Enter Shell Icons in the new key’s text box.
  8. Select the new Shell Icons registry key.
  9. Right-click a space within the right pane to select New and String Value.

  10. Enter 29 when naming the new string.
  11. Double-click the 29 string to view its Edit String window.
  12. Input %windir%System32shell32.dll,-50 in the data text box.

  13. Click OK to save changes.
  14. Exit the Registry Editor, and select the Restart Start menu option.

After the restart, you’ll notice the shortcut icons on your desktop don’t have arrows on them. You can restore the shortcut arrows at any time. To do so, reopen the Registry Editor, right-click the 29 string for the Shell Icons key, and select the Delete option.

How to Remove Arrows From Shortcuts With Third-Party Software

It might be slightly simpler to remove arrows from desktop shortcut icons with third-party customization software. ShortcutArrow Changer is a freeware customization app that enables users to remove the shortcut icon arrows in Windows 11, 10, 8, and 7. This is how you can disable shortcut icon arrows with ShortcutArrow Changer.

  1. Open the ShortcutArrow Changer download page on Softpedia.
  2. Click the Download Now button, and select the Softpedia Secure Download (US) option.
  3. Press the folder icon on the taskbar to bring up Explorer.
  4. Navigate to and open the folder that includes the ShortcutArrow Changer setup file.
  5. Double-click “[bti soft] shortcutarrow changer setup” to open the installer’s window.
  6. Click the Next option, and select the I accept the agreement radio button.
  7. Select Next again a couple of times.
  8. Press the Browse button to choose an installation folder for ShortcutArrow Changer, and click Next to proceed.

  9. Click Next a few more times to reach the Install option.
  10. Press the Install button.
  11. After installing ShorcutArrow Changer, double-click the desktop shortcut for that software.
  12. Select the Remove shortcut icon arrow radio button shown directly below.

  13. Click Apply to remove the desktop shortcuts’ arrows.

Aside from removing the arrow overlays, you can also change them to more appealing ones by selecting ShortcutArrow Changer’s Custom shortcut icon option. When you select that option, the Icons folder shown directly below will open from which you can select different arrows for the icon. Choose an alternative icon there, click Open, and press the Apply button.

You can also get more arrow overlays for shortcut icons from the IconArchive website. Enter shortcut arrow icon in that website’s search box to find more. Select an arrow to download from there, and click the ICO button.

Save it to the C:Program Files (x86)BTI Software HouseShortcutArrow Changer folder. Alternatively, move the arrow’s ICO file into that folder after downloading it. Then you can select to add your downloaded arrow to shortcut icons with ShortcutArrow Changer.

Get Rid of Windows 11’s Shortcut Icon Arrows

Windows 11’s default shortcut icon arrows aren’t especially visually appealing or important to keep. So, maybe you should remove, or at least change, the shortcut icon arrow overlay. It’s pretty quick and easy to remove the icon arrows with either of the methods above.

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