How to remove the Windows shortcut arrow from desktop icons

shortcut arrow expanded

William Beaver asked for "a simple, safe" way to remove the arrows from the shortcuts on his desktop.

Shortcuts point to files--usually but not always programs--that are stored elsewhere on your drive. If you drag and drop a program from the Start menu to the desktop, you create a shortcut to the original program. To make it clear that it's a shortcut and not the original file, Windows displays an arrow in the lower-left corner of the icon.

If you don't like the arrows, you can turn them off by editing the Windows Registry. But William asked for a safe solution, so I'm offering an easier, less dangerous way to make the change.

[Have a tech question? Ask PCWorld Contributing Editor Lincoln Spector. Send your query to answer@pcworld.com.]

And that way involves using the Windows Club's free and portable program, Ultimate Windows Tweaker. Since it's portable, you don't have to install it onto your PC.

If you're using Windows 8, you need the latest version, Ultimate Windows Tweaker 3 for Windows 8. The first time you launch it, it will ask if you want to create a restore point. You do.

Once it's up, click Customization in the left pane, then click the File Explorer tab. Click the Remove Shortcut Arrows From Shortcut Icons button. The change happens immediately.

0929 ultimate tweaker win8

 

If you're using Windows 7 or an earlier version, the Club recommends the older  Ultimate Windows Tweaker version 2. Unzip and load the program. Then click Additional Tweaks in the left pane. Check Remove arrows from Shortcut Icons. The changes won't take place until you click Apply, then Close, and then reboot (or at least log off and on).

0929 ultimate tweaker win7

Most programs allow you to click Apply or Close. But this one only works if you do one, and then the other.

To comment on this article and other PCWorld content, visit our Facebook page or our Twitter feed.
Related:
Shop Tech Products at Amazon
Notice to our Readers
We're now using social media to take your comments and feedback. Learn more about this here.