Remove the arrow and the “shortcut” text from your Windows Vista shortcuts

Since we launched wintuts.com we noticed that quite a high percentage of our visitors searched for a way to remove the arrow and the “shortcut” text from their Windows Vista shortcuts. So today we are publishing a guide on how to do just that.

Even though this is a topic for experienced users of Windows operating systems that know how to use the registry editor, we tried to make this process as simple as possible. It doesn’t matter if you used the registry editor or not, just follow these steps:


Since we launched wintuts.com we noticed that quite a high percentage of our visitors searched for a way to remove the arrow and the “shortcut” text from their Windows Vista shortcuts. So today we are publishing a guide on how to do just that.

Even though this is a topic for experienced users of Windows operating systems that know how to use the registry editor, we tried to make this process as simple as possible. It doesn’t matter if you used the registry editor or not, just follow these steps:

First, log in as an administrator. Then download the archive attached to this article and extract it to a folder of your choice.
You will see three files: rem_shortcut_arrow.reg, rem_shortcut_text_from_machine.reg and rem_shortcut_text_from_user.reg.

To remove the arrow from each shortcut, run the “rem_shortcut_arrow.reg” file and make the appropriate confirmations.

To remove the “shortcut” text you need to run one of the other two files. Run “rem_shortcut_text_from_user.reg” if you want to remove the text only for the shortcuts made by the current user and “rem_shortcut_text_from_machine.reg” to remove the text from the shortcuts created by all users registered on your Windows Vista PC.

Normal shortcut

Reboot your PC and log back in. You will see that the arrows disappeared from all shortcuts and all your newly created shortcuts will no longer have the “shortcut” text. The old ones will keep their name and must be renamed if you want to remove the “shortcut” text.

Modified shortcut

UPDATE: some of our readers requested for a solution to undo the removal of the shortcut arrow. Just download the “undo_rem_shortcut_arrow.zip” file, extract it and run the “.reg” file included. After you reboot your PC, you will see the shortcut arrows again.

WARNING: Removing the shortcut arrow using this method will disable the “Favorite Links” menu that appears on the left of any folder pane. It will remove all of your links from the pane and leave only a line of text that says “Empty”. Use this method only if you don’t care about these links.

Note: the attached files are provided “AS IS” with no warranties and confer no rights.


Related articles:
How to create shortcuts to files and folders
How to change the font size in Windows Vista
Take advantage of the new Quick Launch Bar
How to change the size of your icons

16 Replies to “Remove the arrow and the “shortcut” text from your Windows Vista shortcuts

  1. Okay, why do ppl want to do
    Okay, why do ppl want to do this? Confuses the shortcut with the actual file imo.

  2. The arrow icon is fine, I
    The arrow icon is fine, I just find the naming addition to be incredibly annoying.

  3. aaAAARRRGGGGGGG !!!!!!!!!!!
    the word “shortcut” should be gone by default install. btw, win95 would stop adding “shortcut to[]” if u deleted that mess from a couple shortcuts immediately after creating each of them.
    related annoyance:
    the vista icons are so muddy, the shortcut arrow doesn’t display in icons in my launch menu!

    I’ve noticed so many vista annoyances, that i rediscover them. ( i can’t even recall them, there are so many 🙂 )

    if i had a blog dedicated to vista annoyances and recalcitrance, i’d be blogging 10001/(365|364)/24/7

    admittedly at least 1/2 the trouble is that this is a laptop (crappy input hardware) Fortunately for my sanity, i only have to use it when trying to solve an annoyance. many will never be solved.

    impromptu rant fin.
    now i feel (marginally) better, ahhhh

    1. You obviously know nothing
      You obviously know nothing about vista. your anger prooves it. learn to use an operating system. and since ill NEVER be visiting this page ever again after finding this handy bit of info i wont get to see your reply.

  4. So how do I return the arrow
    So how do I return the arrow icons back? I removed it by adding the registry entries now I want to return it.

  5. WARNING!!!
    WARNING: Removing the shortcut arrow using this method will disable the “Favorite Links” menu that appears on the left of any folder pane. It will remove all of your links from the pane and leave only a line of text that says “Empty”. Use this method only if you don’t care about these links.

  6. “Okay, why do ppl want to do
    “Okay, why do ppl want to do this? Confuses the shortcut with the actual file imo.”

    if youre too stupid to recognize the real file from a shortcut one, you should not be screwing with any of this in the first place.

  7. DON’T DO THIS
    It disables your ‘Favorite Links’. You might not notice this at first, but it becomes really annoying when you need to use them.

    Just use something like Rocketdock for your desktop icons.

    1. To get rid of arrows present
      To get rid of arrows present in shortcuts:

      open regedit and select HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT > lnkfile

      Rename isShortcut available in the right pan to AriochlsShortcut

      Exit regedit and reboot your system

  8. REMOVE SHORTCUT ARROWS from ICONS!!!
    The best way is to edit the REGISTRY!!!

    1. Click “Start”
    2. Click “RUN”
    3. enter “regedit”
    4. Under “Edit” option click “FIND”
    5. Find What: line enter “Lnkfile”
    6. under LOOK AT: line make sure you check “KEYS” only
    7. click “Find Next”

    8. delte, remove “IsShortcut”

    and restart your computer…..

  9. Arrows
    Didn’t really have much of a problem with the arrows but today I noticed they were gone – and the replacement? A small icon of two people, the windows one, like you see it next to system or administrator. Was wondering if anyone knew where the hell that came from? Couldn’t find it anywhere online. This article looks good though, might remove the thing alltogether.

  10. IsShortcut WARNING
    IsShortcut can have undesirable effects on other features withinn vista and can make other features extremely frustrating to use.
    The other method is to use a transparent overlay (noarrow.ico) instead of the arrow overlay.

  11. incorrect
    You don’t have to reboot or log out for the changes to take effect. Just kill the process explorer.exe (with the task manager) and then restart it.

  12. yeah…arrow gone…but…ermm…whats this…
    Ok…so now i have removed the arrow, which is great..cos i like my icons better without them….ALL IS GREAT….

    oh…no….hang on..what is that horrible white box around my icon now?

    If you see the screenshots in the article above..you can see it there too…..wtf is that?

    I give up…ill take my arrow back thanks. 🙁

  13. vista, another woeful MS product
    You have to edit the registry to change an icon! And it stuffs up your favourites!
    I have a work issued laptop with UAC group policy that won’t let me do anything including change menu font sizes, turn off the MS farts and whistles, install a printer.
    Another usability milestone!

    Windows, broken by design.

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