Fix: Cannot remove Drop Shadows for Icon Labels on Windows 8.1 desktop

We have earlier, talked about tweaking Visual Effects, disabling Show content while dragging objects and disabling Font Smoothing in order to enhance the performance of Windows 8. In Windows 8.1, we came around an issue, where some users were facing problems trying to disable drop shadows for desktop icon labels.

In this screenshot, you can clearly see how the Windows drops a shadow for icon labels:

Unable To Remove Desktop Icon Label Drop Shadow In Windows 8.1 Fix: Cannot remove Drop Shadows for Icon Labels on Windows 8.1 desktop

Enabling and disabling drop shadows for icon labels is very easy. You need to open the Performance OptionsVisual Effects settings and make your choice there. But it did not seem to be working for some. If you are facing this problem, then you can tweak the registry to achieve the results. We tried it, and it worked like the charm. This is how you can go about it:

Cannot remove Drop Shadows for Icon Labels

1. Press Windows Key + R combination, type put Regedt32.exe in Run dialog box and hit Enter to open the Registry Editor.

REGEDIT Fix: Cannot remove Drop Shadows for Icon Labels on Windows 8.1 desktop

2. Navigate to the following location:


Unable To Remove Desktop Icon Label Drop Shadow In Windows 8.1 1 Fix: Cannot remove Drop Shadows for Icon Labels on Windows 8.1 desktop3. In the right pane of this location, you’ll see the ListviewShadow named DWORD (REG_DWORD) having the Value data as 1. Double click on the same DWORD to modify its Value data, you’ll get this:

Unable To Remove Desktop Icon Label Drop Shadow In Windows 8.1 2 Fix: Cannot remove Drop Shadows for Icon Labels on Windows 8.1 desktop

4. In the shown box, put the Value data as 0 and click OK.

You may now close the Registry Editor and reboot the machine. After reboot, you’ll find that there are no drop shadows for Desktop icon labels, as expected.

We hope this helps you resolve your problem.

Posted by on , in Category Windows with Tags
An Electrical Engineer by profession, Kapil is a Microsoft MVP in Windows - Consumer and a Microsoft Content Creator. He recommends that you create a system restore point first before tweaking the registry.
  • NJ

    Sadly I have tried this already and to no avail. The registry value was already zero – and I have the shadows. Arg! If you or anyone else comes up with a fix, I’d be grateful to hear about it. Thanks.

  • Kapil Arya

    ^^ Both registry and manual method showing same results?

  • Jim Boyd

    Yet another of an seemingly endless list of “Fixes” for Windows 8. Reminds me of another HUGE MS flop…Windows ME.

  • Don Bartenstein

    Yup. I have the same negative results with both the registry and manual methods…… :(

  • Thomas Beling

    No success!

    First I don’t have a check-box in my VISUAL-SETTINGS-MENU to change drop-shadows.

    Second “ListviewShadow named DWORD (REG_DWORD)” having the Value data changed to 0 and restarted the device but nothing changed.

  • Kapil Arya
  • Don Bartenstein

    Not for me.

  • Graham

    If you select “show my desktop background on Start”, Win 8.1 ignores the drop shadow instruction.

    So untick “show my desktop background on Start” in taskbar, properties, navigation

  • Thomas Beling

    Your answer is completely correct. Thanks a lot.

  • Nebulous

    How can I change the font color of desktop icon text?

    I just upgraded to Windows 8 (pre-installed on a new PC) and then 8.1. I hate those drop shadows like I see so many others do.

    I’ve tried the articles’ solution under “Performance Options.” I didn’t change the registry, though. I could, but I’m concerned — I like a nice white, crisp background. The font for icon text appears as white. So when I remove the shadows, won’t my text be invisible? That would be undesirable.

    Can I change font color in the same place in the registry that I remove the shadow?

    BTW, currently the last discussion thread here is Graham suggesting “select ‘show my desktop background on Start’” and Thomas Beling confirming that this works?

    Where is that? It doesn’t appear in my list of Performance Options checkboxes, nor does it appear in the checkboxes in this article’s screenshot.

    Thanks in advance for any help you can provide! I can’t wait to tell my grandchildren stories of the glory days when we had Windows XP!

  • intuitive challenged

    I spent many hours looking for a solution to getting rid of the drop shadows. I had to go way down the list of Google links before I got to one that gave me a hint about how to find the “performance options” window. I’m sure there must be others like me who are unable to intuit the search terms required to find usable information in Microsoft “help” files or their web page. If those of you who know their way around Microsoft’s gawdawful operating system want to help the rest of us, please give a step-by-step; don’t start in the middle.

  • I M

    After having it not work for me for a while i decided to look through the registry editor and I have found a solution! (Works in windows 7)
    Go to Start and type in regedit (or the windows8 equivalent) and hit enter.
    In windows 7 it’s located in HKEY_CURRENT_USER > Software > Microsoft > Windows > Explorer > VisualEffects > ListviewShadow and then on the right set the DefaultApplied value to 0.
    You need to restart or log off for the effects to take place!

  • I M

    Check my above answer! It might work for you too.

  • Kapil Arya

    ^^ Worth trying :) Thanks for inputs. By the way, the registry location in Windows 8.1 is as follows:


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