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Fix Highlight and Checkmarks on Desktop Shortcuts in Windows XP

Monday, February 4th, 2013 by | Filed Under: Desktop Enhancement

Mary from Lake City, Fl writes:

I have a Windows XP and I right-clicked on the desk top so I could go to MS Office word to save a recipe and I accidentally clicked something else. Now all my icons on the desktop are highlighted and they have a check mark on them and I can’t figure out how to change them back, I know you will have an answer for this, thanks. ~ Mary Andrew

By default Windows uses ‘drop shadows for icon labels on the desktop’ so that the desktop icon text looks transparent. If you have unintentionally highlighted all your desktop icons and you are using desktop wallpaper, you will see a border around your icon texts in the color you have as your solid background. To make the icon texts look like they did before on your wallpaper, here is the fix:


 Use Drop Shadows

  1. Right click on My Computer icon on desktop and click on Properties.
  2. Go to Advance tab and click Settings in the Performance section.
  3. Check the Use drop shadows for icon labels on the desktop and then click OK.


lock desktop items

  1. Right click on any blank space on desktop then go to Properties.
  2. Click on Desktop tab and then click on Customize Desktop button.
  3. Click on Web tab and then uncheck the check box Lock desktop Items.
  4. Click Ok.

Also, by default Windows shows an arrow associated with every shortcut file which is a pointer to another file or folder. To change or remove the shortcut arrow you need to edit the registry a bit. Here is how.

  1. Click Start, Run and then type Regedit.exe
  2. Go to the following key:    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Explorer \ Shell Icons.
  3. Create a new String value named 29 in the right pane.
  4. Double click 29 and set its Value data as: C:\Windows\System32\shell32.dll,50
  5. Close Registry Editor and restart computer.

NOTE: Windows Registry is a tricky place, so take caution before you do this.

Tweak UI

If you are not comfortable doing the above method you can use a third party application named Tweak UI to do the job. There are extra options for better customization such as to set the shortcut arrows to Light Arrow style. All you have to do open Tweak UI click Explorer and then click Shortcut. Choose Light Arrow or None according to your requirement. I believe this will solve the issue you are facing.


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One Response to “Fix Highlight and Checkmarks on Desktop Shortcuts in Windows XP”

  1. Richard Petersen says:

    Wouldnt system restore simply fix this?

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