How to remove the shortcut arrow on icons in Windows

Date: February 16th, 2011
Author: Mark Kolin

As you have probably noticed every shortcut in the operating system Windows has a little arrow in the bottom left corner of its icon. This is used to differentiate between shortcuts and the actual files. It is possible, though, to remove this little arrow if it annoys you.

To do this will have to venture in the great depths of the Windows Registry.
Advice: Read the whole tutorial (especially the notes at the end) before editing the registry.

First, let’s run the Registry Editor. Windows 7/Vista users type in regedit in the Start menu search box and press Enter:


How to remove the shortcut arrow on icons in Windows

Note for XP users: Go to Start menu > Run. Type in regedit and press Enter.

A new window will appear:

How to remove the shortcut arrow on icons in Windows

This is the Registry Editor. Using the left pane of the window navigate to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\\lnkfile

How to remove the shortcut arrow on icons in Windows

Rename the IsShortcut registry value (located in the right pane), for example rename it to IsNotShortcut:

How to remove the shortcut arrow on icons in Windows

Exit the registry editor. Restart Explorer (end it as a process and start it again or logout and login) for the changes to take effect.
Important notes:
There are some other registries that may need editing to remove the arrows from all shortcuts:
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\\piffile
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\\ConferenceLink
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\\DocShortCut
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\\InternetShortcut
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\\WSHFile

Note that this may not be necessary so be sure to check if the desired effect is reached after each step.

Basically, renaming the IsShortcut entry forces Windows to treat icons as real files. This may cause Explorer to behave in an undefined way. In Windows 7 there are some cases when you cannot pin a shortcut to the Taskbar or the Start menu after you have edited the registry. To avoid this pin all your items before you change the IsShorcut entry.

In result you should have:

How to remove the shortcut arrow on icons in Windows

instead of:

How to remove the shortcut arrow on icons in Windows

To make the little arrows visible simply rename the “IsNotShortcut” entry back to “IsShortcut”

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One Response to “How to remove the shortcut arrow on icons in Windows”

  • Marcel says:

    Worked perfectly except for the shortcuts to internet sites where the arrows remain.
    Is there a solution? Regards, Marcel.

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