How To Identify Desktop Shortcut Icons

Lamar has questions about shortcut icons on the desktop.  “Regarding the upward pointing arrows on most desktop icons…I have the instructions for eliminating these arrows but is there a good reason why they are there and should therefore be left there?”

Desktop shortcut icons are there for your convenience. Many programs that you install on your PC are best installed somewhere other than your desktop, so the shortcut saves you digging through your hard drive to find the file or folder that it links to. Some people have no qualms about keeping the arrows you see on these icons. However, many like the cleaner look you get when you remove them.


Removing the shortcut arrow is purely an aesthetic choice. So if you do decide to get rid of them, it will not affect the stability or smooth running of the program or folder that it links to. However, what it will do, is make it harder to tell which desktop icons are shortcuts, and which ones are not. If you, or someone else who uses your computer, decides to clean up your desktop one day, it is possible that you may accidentally remove a program or folder that you thought was really just a shortcut.

Essentially, this is the only real reason why you might want to keep the shortcut arrow on desktop icons. If you want to remove the desktop arrows, but are concerned about deleting the wrong thing, all you need to do is right-click on the desktop icon, and select Properties. The window that opens will tell you if this is a shortcut or not. See below:

folder properties

So, now that you know how to tell the difference between a shortcut icon and a regular icon, you are free to remove the shortcut arrows if you want to.

~ Jonathan

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