What is the Two Blue Arrows Icon on Folders in Windows 10 and How to Remove it?

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\logs\CBS and 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.

  1. Right-click on the file or folder for which you have to disable the compression, and click Properties.
  2. On the General tab, click the Advanced button.
  3. In Advanced Attributes, deselect Compress contents to save disk space

    What is the Two Blue Arrows Icon on Folders in Windows 10 and How to Remove it?

  4. Click OK.
  5. 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.)

  1. Download blank_icon.zip and extract blank.ico to a folder of your choice. In this example, we use C:\Windows\blank.ico as the path to the icon file you downloaded.
  2. Click Start, type regedit.exe and press ENTER
  3. Navigate to the following registry key:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer
  4. Create a subkey named Shell Icons(if the key doesn’t already exist)
  5. In the right pane of the Shell Icons key, create a new String value (REG_SZ) named 179
  6. Double-click 179 and set its data as C:\Windows\blank.ico
    Note: At this step, don’t use the shell32.dll,50 blank 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 blank.ico file instead.
  7. Exit the Registry Editor
  8. 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.

Downloads

  1. blank_icon.zip
  2. w10-remove-compress-overlay.zip (to automate Steps 1-6)

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.

Related articles

  1. How to Remove or Modify the Shortcut Overlay in Windows
  2. Green Tick or Blue Arrows Icon Overlay Displayed for Files in Explorer
  3. Shortcut Icons Covered with White Icons or Black Boxes [Icon Overlay]

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.

6 thoughts on “What is the Two Blue Arrows Icon on Folders in Windows 10 and How to Remove it?”

  1. it just changed from the arrows to blank page icon in the corner of the icon, not sure, what’s the problem, I already used this technique and it worked, but now I updated my windows and the arrows reappeared, si I did it again

  2. Nevermind, I just made a mistake that I placed the blank.ico into a folder blank.ico so the register couldn’t find the way to it… At least it maybe helps someone 🙂

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