Windows 10 operating system adds overlays on icons to indicate many things. For example, a single arrow overlay on icons indicates that they are file/folder/program shortcuts. Likewise, blue and yellow shield overlay on program icons indicates that programs require administrative rights to run.
If two blue arrow icons are (pointing to each other) appearing on folders and files, it’s because these folders and files are compressed.
Most PC users are not aware of the built-in NTFS file compression feature present in Windows 10 (and earlier versions) that helps you regain some serious disk space by compressing files, folders, and drives. When a file or folder is compressed, Windows displays two blue arrows (pointing to each other) on file or folder to indicate that the file or folder is compressed. In addition to this, all files and folders in a drive might display blue arrow icons on them, signaling that the entire drive is compressed.
There are two ways to remove blue arrows from icons. The first method is to disable the compression. The second method is to configure Windows 10 not to show two blue arrows on compressed files, which you probably not want to do.
Turning off the compression in Windows 10
Turning off the compression is a straight-forward job in Windows 10. You need to open the file/folder/drive properties to access the compression option. Here is how to do that.
Step 1: Right-click on the file/folder/drive whose compression you want to turn off and then click the Properties option to open the same.
Step 2: If you want to uncompress a drive, deselect the Compress this drive to save disk space checkbox and ignore the steps given below. Click the Apply button.
If you are looking to uncompress a file or folder (or both), under the General tab, click on the Advanced button. Clicking the Advanced button will open the Advanced Attributes dialog.
Step 3: Here, in the Compress or Encrypt attributes section, uncheck Compress contents to save disk space checkbox. Click on the OK button. Click the Apply button.
Step 4: When you get the following dialog (only when you are uncompressing folder(s) with files and folders in it), select Apply changes to this folder, subfolders, and files radio button. Click the OK button.
Depending on the size of the file/folder/drive, Windows 10 might take a few seconds to hours to complete uncompressing.
The uncompressed or standard file should not display two blue arrows overlay icon after restraint your computer (you can skip restarting your PC by restarting Windows Explorer via Task Manager).
If you are still getting the two blue arrows, please try clearing the icon cache once.
Hide the two blue arrows icon
In this method, we are replacing the default overlay icon used to display on compressed files with a blank one.
Step 1: Open the Registry Editor by typing Regedit.exe in the Start/taskbar search field and pressing the Enter key.
When you get the User Account Control prompt, click on the Yes button.
Step 2: In the Registry Editor window, navigate to the following key:
Tip: Copy and paste the path into the Registry Editor address bar, and press Enter to navigate to the key quickly.
Step 3: Next, expand the Explorer key to see the Shell Icons. If not present, right-click on the Explorer key, click New, click Key and name it as Shell Icons.
Step 4: In the left-pane, select the newly created Shell Icons folder. On the right-side, right-click on an empty spot, click New, click String Value, and then name it as 179.
Step 5: Finally, double-click on the 179 String Value and paste the following path:
In the above path, replace “C” with the drive letter of the Windows 10 installed drive.
Click the OK button.
NOTE: If you want a different icon instead of a blank one, download one from the internet and put its path in the Value Data box.
Reboot your computer once to apply the new icon. If required, clear the icon cache once.