Get Rid of the Icons—and Do Lots More


 »  Key to Instructions  
To help readers follow the instructions in this article, we used two different typefaces: Boldface type is used to identify the names of icons, agendas and URLs. Sans serif type shows the names of files and the names of commands and instructions that users should type into the computer.


Those little arrows that appear on desktop icons really bug me. Is there some way to get rid of them

There is, but in answering your question I have the opportunity to introduce a very handy Windows tool, Tweak UI. If you haven’t heard of Tweak, you’re missing out on one of Microsoft’s hidden gifts. And it really is a gift—it’s free.

Tweak gives you access to Windows system settings that you can’t otherwise access, including adjusting the functions that control, among other things, your mouse, Windows Explorer and the taskbar. The list of Windows adjustments you can make with Tweak is so long it would take up the whole column.

Rather than publishing the long URL and having you type the whole thing, you can get to the Tweak site by doing an Internet search for Tweak UI . When you get there, you’ll discover that Tweak is part of Microsoft’s PowerToy collection—a toolbox of even more really neat and useful functions; they, too, are all free. They include a tool that sharpens the images on your screen (ClearType Tuner), a slide-show generator (HTML Slide Show Wizard) and one of my favorites, an Alt-Tab Replacement that, in addition to displaying the icon of the application window you are switching to, also shows you a preview of the page—a great help when you’re working on multiple sessions of an application (see screenshot below).

There are Tweak versions even for old editions of Windows. However, Microsoft has yet to issue a Tweak UI for Vista, although if you do an Internet search for Tweak UI for Vista , you’ll see that several vendors are offering versions they’ve created—for a fee.

Oh, yes, you wanted to get rid of those little arrows.

Before After

After you download and install Tweak, click on the + sign next to Explorer to open more categories, and then click on Shortcut and make your selection under Shortcut overlay (see screenshot below):

Have fun examining Tweak’s many options.





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