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When removing shortcut arrows using the regedit value

%windir%\System32\shell32.dll,-50

in Shell Icons 29, black boxes cover up my desktop icons where the shortcut arrows used to be.

How do I fix it?

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  • Which OS is this happening to?
    – Moab
    Aug 28, 2016 at 14:21

2 Answers 2

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The following value in regedit

%windir%\System32\shell32.dll,-50

is a transparent icon in shell32.dll (in this case value -50). Using any of these values to remove shortcut arrows in shell32.dll will corrupt the IconCache.db file located in C:\Users\UserName\AppData\Local. This can temporarily be fixed by deleting IconCache.db and restarting or logging off and on your computer. However, the black boxes will come back because Windows continues to corrupt IconCache.db each time it tries to overwrite it with value -50 in shell32.dll.

To permanently fix the problem without using 3rd party software, do this...

Download this blank.ico and save it somewhere on your C: drive.

For example,

C:\Users\UserName\Pictures\Desktop Icons.

Then use this value instead of %windir%\System32\shell32.dll,-50 in Shell Icons value 29 in regedit (HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer) like this:

C:\Users\UserName\Pictures\Desktop Icons\blank.ico

This will use the blank.ico file on your C: drive instead of accessing the transparent icon files on shell32.dll and your IconCache.db will no longer be corrupted, removing the black boxes and the shortcut arrows forever.

For those who want steps on how to do this in regedit, reading material can be found here on How-To Geek.

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  • BTW. I've done this technique and it seems to work for a while. But the black boxes will come back. If you leave the field totally empty you wont have the black box problem. But every once in a while all your icons will dissapear for no reason.
    – 8vtwo
    Oct 30, 2021 at 2:29
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Create key "Shell Icons", Add String Value and name it "29", add this text to the string value: %windir%\System32\shell32.dll,-50 and reboot.

If the shortcut arrow box is black then delete the text in the string value named 29 and then reboot. The arrow and the black box will be gone.

Ron

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  • shell32.dll-50 causes the problem of black boxes appearing over the icons. You'll need to use a transparent .ico file instead. Shortcut Icons Covered with White Icons or Black Boxes Overlay
    – w32sh
    May 6, 2019 at 13:18
  • It doesn't solve the problem. It's a temporary fix. Making the entire 29 string field empty will last longer. But every once in a while your icons will all disappear and you won't know why. That's why. Change that back or delete 29 and it will fix the Icon Vanishing problem.
    – 8vtwo
    Oct 30, 2021 at 2:41

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