How to remove text from icons in Windows (i.e. use shortcuts without names) [Guide]

As you’ve probably spotted, there’s text under the Windows desktop shortcut icons. Whilst you can rename the shortcut icons, Windows doesn’t include an option that removes shortcut text. However, you can still remove text from the Windows desktop shortcut icons with this trick.

Right-click a shortcut icon on the desktop, select the Rename option and delete the title. Now you should press and hold the Alt key. Enter 255 (whilst holding the Alt key) on the right numeric keypad, but not the ones across the top. Those with laptops should turn Numlock on and enter 255 with the little number keys next to the regular letters.

Once you’ve entered 255 press Return, and the desktop shortcut icon should then have no text under it like the one in the shot below. You can also remove the text from almost all the desktop shortcut icons, but for the second icon on the desktop you should enter Alt + 255 twice. For the third icon from the top of the desktop, enter Alt + 255 three times and so on.

desktop shortcut1

The Alt + 255 character is blank, and you cannot have two shortcut filenames with exactly the same titles. Thus, you must increase the number of times you enter Alt + 255 for each of the desktop shortcut titles. If you enter just Alt + 255 for more than one of the shortcut icons, a Rename File window will appear that tells you, “There is already a file with the same name in this location.

desktop shortcut3

Admittedly, I’m not sure how much use this trick is. However, it still gives you another Windows desktop customization option. With it you can remove shortcut icon text on the Windows XP, Vista, 7 and 8 desktops.

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10 comments

  1. jinjuju

    MATHEW, MATHEW, MATHEW,
    I have some camouflaged icons that blend in with my desktop wallpaper but, when you have to give them even a one letter name it makes it hard to conceal them. This is something I’ve been wanting for awhile. Thank you.
    Now I need a link to the book or list of the one million and one tips and tricks that m/s doesn’t make readily available.

    ujujnij

  2. Blue Cheer

    [@Mardel] Renaming ‘My Computer’ or ‘This PC’ is almost certainly NOT a good idea because some installers look for this name and get cranky when they cannot find it.

    What you *can* do is tell Windows to remove that icon from the desktop — under the Personalize right-click desktop menu for Win h8 (I think it’s called something else in Win 7 but it’s still the last item in that menu) — then drag that icon from the start menu onto the desktop.

    What you’ve done is to create a regular shortcut which can then be renamed without nuking the original object name

  3. marcW

    Hey! This is a very nice guide How To…
    But I see in the pictures above that something that i would like to remove is already gone! The arrow in the icon is removed…can you tell/teach/explain HowTo do that?
    Thank you very much.
    (sorry for ‘spelling’ mistakes …)

  4. Mardel

    Thought I would also mention that I used your method to remove the name “Computer” from its icon on my desktop. I figured the picture alone tells me this. Just now when saving a Word file and doing a “save as” the word “computer” is not located next to the icon in the popup window. Only the icon! So this trick must also remove the name from the usual pop up window for saving things. Still like it though. Thanks again.

  5. Mardel

    It is amazing how many people do not have common sense any more. I used your above information and got rid of some names of “Common” icons. Thank you for the help on this!

  6. CJ Cotter

    Are you insane? Once the text is gone, are you actually suggesting that I remember what all of my desktop icons DO? I’m lucky that I remember how to get dressed in the morning!