What are ‘Blue Arrows’ on Icons and How to Get Rid of them?

You must have seen one blue arrow located at the bottom right corner of the desktop icons. This is called an overlay icon and is used to indicate that the particular file is a shortcut file.

However, if you see two blue arrows on the top-right corner of the icons, that means you are dealing with compressed files or folders. This is an indication by the Windows OS to tell you that the specific file/folder has been compressed to save some disk space.

In this article, we’ll let you know how to remove these two blue arrows from the file/folder icons.

how to get rid of two blue arrows on icons

What Are The Two Blue Arrows Facing Each Other On Icons?

If you see an icon with two blue arrows facing each other at its top-right corner, that means it is a compressed folder or file. This is known as an NTFS compression and it happens when the user has enabled compression on a file.

Windows will then compress the data in the file via a compression algorithm aka data compression. This is done to save disk space on your system. As a result, data in such a file will stay compressed and if you want to access it, you need to decompress it first.

Thus, accessing such compressed files will be more time-consuming. To sum up, we can say that the blue arrows can be seen on icons in the following situations:

  1. You have moved a file from another NTFS drive into the compressed folder.
  2. You have compressed the folder/file using the Windows compression feature.
  3. You have moved the file from the same NTFS drive into a compressed folder.

We can get rid of the two blue arrows on the icons via two different methods. One way is by disabling the compression feature on the file or folder and another way is by overriding the two arrows icon with a blank icon.

The second method will allow you to have the compression function enabled but you won’t see the two arrows on the icon anymore. However, in this case, you won’t be able to know if the icon is compressed or not by simply looking at it.

In the case of the former method, the compression feature is disabled for a certain file or folder. Hence, this will help you save some time and processing power that you earlier had to expend for accessing the compressed file or folder.

How To Get Rid Of The Blue Arrows On Desktop Icons?

  1. By Disabling Content Compression
  2. Remove Two Blue Arrows Using Registry Editor

Method #1. By Disabling Content Compression

You can remove the two blue arrows on the icons by disabling the file compression feature. Follow the steps given below to do so:

  1. Right-click on the folder or file whose compression feature is to be disabled.
  2. Click on the Properties option from the drop-down menu.
right click on the icon and click on properties
  1. Go to the General tab in the Properties window and click on Advanced.
click on advanced in the properties window
  1. From the Compress and Encrypt attributes, unmark the checkbox next to “Compress contents to save disk space.”
uncheck the compress contents to save disk space
  1. Click on Apply to apply the changes.
click on ok to apply the changes

If it is a folder and not a file, click on “Apply changes to this folder, subfolder, and files” when prompted. Once you are done with this process, the two blue arrows should disappear.

However, if you want to keep the content compression feature enabled but not have the two blue arrows on the icons, move on to the next methods.

Method #2. Remove Two Blue Arrows Using Registry Editor

If the content compression is enabled on your computer, Windows will place two blue arrows on the file/ folder icons to let you know so. Now, we can override the default two blue arrows which you see in this case with a blank icon.

This way, Windows will display blank icons on the compressed files instead of showing the two blue arrows on them.

Here’s how to remove the two blue arrows from icons via the Registry Editor:

  1. Press the Windows key + R to open the Run utility
  2. Type in “regedit” and then, hit the Enter key
  3. Next, click on “Yes” when prompted by the user account control window.
  4. This will take you to the Registry Editor. Here, you will be able to check out and alter Windows registry files.
windows registry editor window
  1. Go to the following address in the Windows Registry: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Icons
remove blue arrows on icon by altering registry key
  1. Look for the key called Shell Icons from the left panel. If it doesn’t exist, right-click on the Explorer and click on New, and then on Key. Name this new key as “Shell Icons.”
  2. Right-click on “Shell Icons” and create a new String Value. Name it 179.
create a new string value
  1. Now, download a blank or transparent favicon icon. You can download one from here. Then, extract the zipped file and right-click on the favicon icon file. Copy the address of the favicon file.
  2. Right-click on the 179 String value and click on Modify
  3. Now, paste the path you copied earlier in the field for Value data and click on OK.
  4. Next, open the Task Manager from the Windows menu.
  5. Restart Windows Explorer and check if the two blue arrows have disappeared from the icons or not.

If the two blue icons are still there, then, rebuilding the icon cache database might be helpful.

Note: If you want to restore this registry change to its original settings, just delete the 179 String value.


That’s all from our side about the two blue arrows on the icons. Hopefully, this guide has helped you understand what the two blue arrows are and why they are displayed.

Moreover, we would recommend you go for the first method to get rid of the blue arrows on your file icons if you wish to disable data compression. However, if you want to keep the data compression but get rid of the two blue arrows, go for the second method.