Remove shortcut arrow overlay in Windows 10

Shortcuts in Windows have an arrow overlaid on top of the icon to indicate that they are links. If you find the default Windows 10 shortcut icon too large, or you wish to change the shortcut arrow from the default blue arrow overlay to a smaller one, then you can do that easily. You can even disable the shortcut arrow completely. In this article, we will see how it can be done. There are two ways available to do this.


If you are not happy to see the shortcut overlay icon, here is how you can disable it.
  1. Download the ZIP archive which contains an empty icon. It will be used instead of the blue arrow overlay icon.

    Download empty icon

    In the archive, you will also find ready-to-use Registry files so you can avoid manual Registry editing and save your time.

  2. Extract and put the blank.ico file to any folder you want. If you use the ready-to-use Registry files or for the sake of explaining with an example, let's use the following path:
  3. Open Registry Editor.
  4. Go to the following path:

    Tip: See how to jump to the desired Registry key with one click.

  5. Create a new subkey here named Shell Icons.
  6. Under the Shell Icons subkey, create a new string value and name it 29. Set its value data to the full path of the "blank.ico" file. In this example (and in the ready-to-use Registry files), I have to set it to

    Windows 10 disable shortcut arrow icon

  7. Sign out from your Windows session or restart the Explorer shell.

You are done. Instead of the blank icon, you can use any other icon you like. It will be overlaid on top of the program's icon. So, in this way you can set a custom shortcut icon.

Alternatively, you can use Winaero Tweaker. Run it and go to Appearance -> Shortcut Arrow.winaero tweaker shortcut arrow

There, you can apply of the following options:

  • remove the shortcut arrow with a single click;No arrows
  • set classic (XP-like) shortcut arrow with a single click;Classic Arrow
  • set ANY icon as the shortcut overlay;Custom Shortcut Overlay
  • and of course, reset the shortcut arrow to its default icon.Defautl Arrow

That's it. This trick should work in every Windows version starting from Windows XP.

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Author: Sergey Tkachenko

Sergey Tkachenko is a software developer who started Winaero back in 2011. On this blog, Sergey is writing about everything connected to Microsoft, Windows and popular software. Follow him on Telegram, Twitter, and YouTube.

12 thoughts on “Remove shortcut arrow overlay in Windows 10”

  1. when i try to use your tweak to disable shortcut arrows on desktop icons, the “change shortcut arrow” box is missing. please help me with this. it has been there in the past. im using the 12.0 one. thanks for your help.

  2. I did this to step by step to and to the letter, when I finished it, I noticed that my trash folder has completely disappeared off my desktop, I tried going to desktop icons settings and it says “Windows cannot access the specified device, path or folder you may not have the appropriate permissions to access the item

    Note that I have admin permissions, and I used the exit explorer option

  3. Is there a similar way to replace the blue/yellow shield overlay for apps running with admin rights?

  4. I installed Winaero Tweaker 0.18. The menu is different from the above. And under Appearance I can’t find Short Cut arrow. Where has it been moved to?

  5. I ran the tool on my last laptop and it was beautiful! I just ran it on my new one and my blue arrows have changed to green checkmarks. Any ideas?

  6. I would recommend to anybody who will try to apply this fix manually (or with their own C++ program, like I did) to edit the blank.ico and remove all the icons except 32×32 icon and 256×256 icon to make it smaller. It’s a waste to use other icon sizes, as it is just blank and will be scaled with no problem for any icon size. 256×256 is in PNG format, so it is very nicely compressed. You can make 6 Kb icon instead of 20 Kb and it will work regardless!

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