Hiding Shortcut Arrow overlays in Windows

Photo by Windows on Unsplash

I generally like to have a clean desktop for Windows machines that I use, and am not a fan of the small arrow overlays that Windows renders by default on newly created shortcuts. These can be easily removed by making a registry entry as follows:

  1. Open the Registry Editor by running REGEDIT from the Windows 11 Search Bar.
  2. In the Registry Editor, navigate the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE>Software>Microsoft>Windows>Current Version>Explorer
  3. Under Explorer, right click and create a new key called “Shell Icons”
  4. Inside the newly created key “Shell Icons”, create a new string
    • Name it 29.
    • Assign it the value: %windir%\System32\shell32.dll,-50
  5. Exit REGEDIT.
  6. Using the Task Manager, either restart Windows Explorer, or log out and log back in. Your desktop icons will no longer have the shortcut arrow overlay.