Removing the Arrow from Windows Shortcuts under Windows 7

The registry setting for removing the arrow from shortcuts under Windows 7 is not the same as one that can be used under Windows XP (see Removing the Arrow from Windows Shortcuts for information on removing the arrow from shortcuts under Windows XP).

Under Windows XP, there was a HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\lnkfile registry key under which appeared IsShortcut. One could simply delete IsShortcut to remove the arrow from all shortcuts. But under Windows 7, there is a HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\lnk registry key, but no HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\lnkfile key.

To remove the arrow from shortcut icons under Windows 7, download Remove_Restore_Shortcut_ Extract the Blank.ico file and either the 32-bit or 64-bit Remove_Shortcut_Arrow.reg file depending on your version of Windows 7.

Windows 7 comes in 32-bit and 64-bit versions. If you don't know which one is installed on your system, click on the Start button Start button, then right-click on Computer, then select Properties. You will see a System type value listed. For a 32-bit version of Windows 7, you will see "32-bit Operating System".

Right-click on the Blank.ico file and select Properties. If, under the General tab, you see an Unblock button beneath the Advanced button, click on the Unblock button. If there is no Unblock button, then the file is already unblocked.

Copy and paste the Blank.ico file to the %systemroot% directory. For most systems, this will be C:\Windows. You can issue the command echo %systemroot% at a command prompt, if you don't know the location for Windows on the system.

Then right-click on either the 32-bit_Remove_Shortcut_Arrow or the 64-bit_Remove_Shortcut_Arrow.reg file and choose Merge to merge its contents into the system's registry. If you want to see what registry change will be made before you merge the .reg file into the system's registry, you can right-click on the file and choose Edit. Registry files are text files.

The contents of the 32-bit_Remove_Shortcut_Arrow file is as follows:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\explorer\Shell Icons]

Note: you will have to take the above Merge step while logged into an account with administrator privileges on the system or you can run regedit as an administrator while logged into a regular user account by clicking on the Start button then typing runas /user:administrator regedit. You can subsitute the userid of any account which is in the administrator group on the system for administrator in the command. You will then be prompted for the password for the administrator account. Then, once regedit opens, you can click on File, Import, browse to the location of the Remove_Shortcut_Arrow file, click on it to select it, then click on Open to merge its contents into the registry.

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Registry before shortcut arrow removal:

Registry before shortcut
arrow removal

Registry after shortcut arrow removal:

Registry after shortcut
arrow removal

To see the effects of the registry change, you will need to log off and back on to the system or reboot. If you ever want to restore the shortcut arrow to shortcut icons, you can merge the contents of the Restore_Shortcut_Arrow.reg into the registry. You can also delete the Blank.ico file from the Windows directory after restoring the arrows to shortcuts, if you wish.


  1. Windows 7 - Shortcut Arrow - Remove or Restore
    By: Brink
    Date: February 6, 2009
    Windows 7 Forums


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Created: Tuesday December 1, 2009