After installing Windows 10, you may notice that some of your files and folders show up with double blue arrows icon at the top. This double blue arrows overlay icon is seen if the files and folders are compressed (NTFS compression), and there is nothing to worry about.
This post tells you how to hide or remove the double blue arrow icons on folders or files in Windows 10.
When you enable NTFS compression for a file or folder, the blue double arrows icon overlay appears on the top right corner of the file or folder. This is to indicate the user that the folder or file is compressed.
Windows 10 may have compressed your files and folders
It’s also possible that Windows 10 has compressed the folders in your user profile folder to free up enough disk space to install important updates. This is especially the case if you have a low capacity hard drive, your system partition size is small or the hard drive is low on disk space.
For example, the Windows 10 reliability update does that.
To help free up disk space, this update may compress files in your user profile directory so that Windows Update can install important updates. When files or folders are compressed, they appear as having two blue arrows overlaid on the icon. Depending on your File Explorer settings, you may see icons that look larger or smaller.
So, that’s the reason why your desktop shortcuts (eg., Microsoft Office application shortcuts) are compressed but the corresponding executables in Program Files aren’t compressed.
Additionally, Window 10 also compresses certain files and folders in your Windows directory. For example. the
Windows\Panther folders are compressed.
Removing the Two Blue Arrow Icon Overlay for Folders & Files
If you want to remove the 2 blue arrows icon, you have two options:
- Option 1: Disable compression for that folder or file
- Option 2: Remove the blue double arrows overlay via registry, without disabling compression.
Option 1: Remove blue arrows by disabling compression for the file or folder
To remove the blue arrows icon on a file or folder, disable compression via the file or folder’s properties dialog.
- Right-click on the file or folder for which you have to disable the compression, and click Properties.
- On the General tab, click the Advanced button.
- In Advanced Attributes, deselect Compress contents to save disk space
- Click OK.
- Click Apply or OK on the Properties window. The file or folder will be now uncompressed, and the two blue arrow icon overlay will be removed.
Option 2: Remove the double blue arrow icon overlay without disabling compression
Disabling NTFS compression is not really a solution especially if you have limited hard disk space. In that case, you may use the following registry edit (cosmetic) to simply hide the annoying double blue arrow icon for compressed files and folders.
(The registry edit below overrides the compressed files overlay shell icon
#179, similar to the shortcut (.lnk) files overlay registry edit.)
- Download blank_icon.zip and extract
blank.icoto a folder of your choice. In this example, we use
C:\Windows\blank.icoas the path to the icon file you downloaded.
- Click Start, type regedit.exe and press ENTER
- Navigate to the following registry key:
- Create a subkey named
Shell Icons(if the key doesn’t already exist)
- In the right pane of the
Shell Iconskey, create a new String value (REG_SZ) named 179
179and set its data as
C:\Windows\blank.icoNote: At this step, don’t use the
shell32.dll,50blank icon as many websites suggest for hiding the blue double arrow overlay. Doing so would cause your desktop shortcuts to be covered with black boxes. See Desktop Icons Covered with Black Squares or Generic White Overlay in Windows. Use the
- Exit the Registry Editor
- Logoff and login again. Or Restart the Explorer shell for the change take effect.
That’s it! The two blue arrows that showed up for some files and folders are now removed or hidden.
If you don’t want Windows to compress your files automatically in future, increase the size of your system partition, or invest in higher capacity hard disk drive. And, you can free up large amounts of disk space using Disk Cleanup or Storage Sense.
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About the author
Ramesh Srinivasan founded Winhelponline.com back in 2005. He is passionate about Microsoft technologies and he has been a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) for 10 consecutive years from 2003 to 2012.