A shortcut is a link to an item (such as a file, folder, or app) on your PC. You can create shortcuts and then place them in a convenient location, such as on the desktop, so that you can easily access the item that the shortcut links to. Shortcuts can be distinguished from the original file by the arrow that appears overlayed on the icon.
This tutorial will show you how to change, remove, or restore the default shortcut arrow overlay on all shortcut icons for all users in Windows 10.
You must be signed in as an administrator to be able to change the shortcut arrow icon.
If you have a custom .ico file you would like to share, then please feel free to upload and post it here.
- Option One: To Change, Remove, or Restore Shortcut Arrow using a REG file
- Option Two: To Change, Remove, or Restore Shortcut Arrow in Registry Editor
To Change, Remove, or Restore Shortcut Arrow using a REG file
1. Do step 2 (remove arrow), step 3 (default arrow), step 4 (classic arrow), step 5 (large arrow), step 6 (small down arrow), or step 7 (large down arrow) below for what icon you want for a shortcut overlay.
A) Click/tap on the Download button below to download the .reg file you want to use below, and go to step 8 below.
(transparent with outline)
(transparent – see TIP box below)
(blank – see TIP box below)
You will then need to unblock the downloaded transparent.ico or Blank.ico file, and move it into the “C:\Windows\System32” folder.
8. Save the .reg file to your Desktop.
9. Double click/tap on the downloaded .reg file to merge it.
10. If prompted, click/tap on Run, Yes (UAC), Yes, and OK to approve the merge.
11.Restart explorer to apply.
12. When finished, you can delete the downloaded .reg file if you like.
To Change, Remove, or Restore Shortcut Arrow in Registry Editor
1. Download and merge the .reg file in step 3 of OPTION ONE above to reset the registry back to default before getting started below.
2. Open search (Win+Q) on your Start menu or taskbar, type regedit, and press Enter to open Registry Editor.
3. If prompted by UAC, click/tap on Yes.
4. In Registry Editor, navigate to the location below. (see screenshot below)
If you do not have the Shell Icons key, then right click or press and hold on the Explorer key, click/tap on New, click/tap on Key, type Shell Icons for the name, and press Enter.
5. In the right pane of Shell Icons, double click/tap on the 29 string value to modify it.
If you do not have the 29 string value, then right click or press and hold on an empty area in the right pane, click/tap on New, click/tap on String Value, type 29 for the name, and press Enter.
If you want to restore the default shortcut arrow overlay icon, then delete the 29 string value.
6. Type in the full path of your custom .ico file within quotes, OR copy and paste the data value in the table below for what overlay icon you would like to use, and click/tap on OK. (see screenshot below)
|Shortcut Overlay Icon||Data value|
|Transparent with outline||(leave value blank)
%windir%\System32\imageres.dll,-17OR (If used downloaded .ico file above)
|(small down arrow)||%windir%\System32\shell32.dll,-232|
|(large down arrow)||%windir%\System32\shell32.dll,-231|
7.Restart explorer to apply.
8. When finished, you can close Registry Editor if you like.