Cannot remove Drop Shadows for Icon Labels on Windows desktop

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An Electrical Engineer by profession, Kapil is a Microsoft MVP and a Microsoft Content Creator. Please read the entire post & the comments first & create a system restore point before making any changes to your system.

51 Comments

  1. 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.

  2. ^^ Both registry and manual method showing same results?

  3. Jim Boyd

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

  4. Don Bartenstein

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

  5. 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.

  6. Don Bartenstein

    Not for me.

  7. 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

  8. Thomas Beling

    Your answer is completely correct. Thanks a lot.

  9. 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!

  10. 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.

  11. 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!

  12. I M

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

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

    HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionExplorerVisualEffectsListviewShadow

  14. Peter Meinl

    Removing the drop shadows seems not to work when “Show my desktop background on Start” is selected under Taskbar and Navigation properties.

  15. Artjöm Alexandsson

    Please! Help, where can I find “Show my desktop background on Start”! I mean, I should remove it? Can you step-by-step? ‘Cause I’m on russian Win8. Thx in further.

  16. Peter Meinl

    Right-click on desktop taskbar
    Select properties
    Select tab navigation

  17. Artjöm Alexandsson

    You mean, ‘taskbar’ on desctop? I see no “Show my desktop background on Start”((

    http://s1.bild.me/bilder/260513/69039672014-05-25_204815.jpg

    On my Win 8…(
    Like here:
    http://s1.bild.me/bilder/260513/61975142013-07-03_18-07-18.png

    But I haven’t all this item….oh… sorry.. I’m on 8… not on 8.1..

    But how can I did it with borders in this case?

    (With arrows i made it
    http://s1.bild.me/bilder/260513/56278242014-05-25_205451.jpg
    with help of tweaker (’cause regedit and manual method didn’t help!(((

    But… this border around BGE as you can see..

    (BUT! I know about changing to Medium or Small icons method! But I need as big as a small original icons for old things…)

    Again, thanX U in further.))

  18. Jeff

    I had this same issue but my drop shadows where turned off completely, looking at the registry I could see the value change when I turned on and off drop shadows un “Visual Effects” but changing that setting had no effect even after a reboot. It was driving me crazy because I had to not use a background image, I had to go with a black background only to see my icon text. The only way I fond to fix this issue was to use a system restore point. I have my system set to make restore points so I had one only a couple days old and used that, but that fixed my issue right way.

  19. fb

    I know you HOPE THIS HELPS but it does not.

  20. Caleb

    Ungrateful turd! At least he tried to help!

  21. thosewomens

    This is all the typical idiocy of TOO MUCH CHOICE for NEEDLESS FEATURES…. and PROGRAMMERS making changes to tried and true features and terms on websites of major corporations. (Banks are a prime example.)

    All this extra modification to what has been long accepted as standard common nomenclature/actions/terms causes a waste of time and reduction of productivity for both the user trying to navigate to pay a bill on line (as an example), and the website owner.

    It’s as if all sites are managed by and for 18 year-olds, who need fancy but useless modifications because it looks KOOL, and not that those modifications enhance speed and ease of use. It’s a very sad state of affairs.

  22. Rafael Salguero Iturríos

    I had the same problem, disabled manually and on the regedit, (on windows 8, not 8.1) disable multiple desktop pictures, set only one, and it worked for me

  23. henry=root

    Ni it doe not work with 8.1. It removes the text and the shadow. Not good ;-(

  24. shimanskybiz

    This worked!

  25. Fred the R

    Here’s what I did to kill the drop shadow on Win 8.1 – follow the directions above and also set KEY_CURRENT_USER > Software > Microsoft > Windows > Explorer > VisualEffects >DropShadow to 0

  26. Mike in British Columbia

    or me…

  27. Disqus

    Win 10 here that was Win 7 before upgrade. I have the same issue. None of the fixes worked except for ending explorer.exe and then restarting it or of course rebooting. After I fix it, it reappears when I click on the Task View button. I am using an AMD HD Radeon 6700 graphics card. I have the latest driver dated 7/28/2015. I suspect the problem is with my card. Do any of you that have this issue also use an AMD Radeon card?

  28. Jörg Starkmuth

    My Windows 10 (updated from 7) makes the desktop text shadows appear on a random basis. They are gone again after I reboot, but then re-appear without an apparent reason after some time of working. The manual setting described here is no longer available in Win10, and the registry value is already 0. Does anyone know a permanent solution for this?

  29. Ken

    Same here Jorg. W10 upgrade from W7. Have searched registry for all references to DropShadow and changed value but, it reappears randomly or if I use Task View.

  30. Jörg Starkmuth

    Thanks for the Task View hint. This explains why the problem appeared only recently in my case. Task View is automatically entered when you attach an app window to a screen edge, and this is what I did recently with some Word documents. I tried to google this obvious bug, but can’t find anything about it …

  31. Jörg Starkmuth

    No, I have a laptop with an on-board Intel Graphics chip (Core i5), and I have the same problem. So it does not seem to be related to the graphics driver. These shadows are a Windows feature that should work with any card, and due to an obvious bug, it is enabled whenever you use the Task View …

  32. Jörg Starkmuth

    I just posted the problem on the Microsoft Community site. Let’s hope they read it and fix the bug soon.

  33. TechByter

    Didn’t work for me, either. I tried both options. For me, it’s not a big deal because I don’t put much on the desktop, but it’s making a friend slightly crazy.

  34. Kathy Tran

    I just upgraded from Win 8.1 -> 10 and the shadow under the desktop font is back! Unchecking the drop shadow option didn’t work 🙁

  35. Kee Kang

    I resolved the shadow>>Cause>>your Monitior>>adjust Horizontal & Verticle(to left and right – top and botom) And bring all to center and wait about 30 second; you see the no blurry or shadow.

  36. guest

    what worked for me:
    uncheck the box in Performance Options as described above,
    restart computer into safe mode;
    then restart in normal mode.
    fixed, no more drop shadows.

  37. Same issue with Task View button. Shadow reappears.. I have NVIDIA GeForce 920M (Updated)

  38. Have you had any response from the Microsoft Community?
    (A year later).

  39. Jörg Starkmuth

    No – except one response by someone who has the same problem (posted in September 2016 and confirming that the problem is still not solved). I simply don’t understand why Microsoft is ignoring this, even though it would probably be possible to fix it with a single line of code.

  40. Jörg Starkmuth

    I just found a simple workaround in the Microsoft community: Go to Settings > System > Multitasking and disable “When I snap a window, show what I can snap next to it”. This obviously prevents the task view functionality from being used when a window is snapped to an edge. I also removed the task view icon from the task bar to prevent the function from being used (I don’t need the task view anyway). Now the shadows no longer return when I snap a window.

  41. Jörg Starkmuth

    For those who have the problem of shadows returning in Windows 10 after using the Task View or snapping a window to an edge of the screen, I just found a simple workaround in the Microsoft community: After disabling the shadows in the registry as described above, go to Settings > System > Multitasking and disable “When I snap a window, show what I can snap next to it”. This obviously prevents the Task View functionality from being used when a window is snapped to an edge. I also removed the Task View icon from the task bar to prevent the function from being used at all. Now the shadows no longer return when I snap a window.

  42. I noticed too that return the shadows, and when you move the window to the edge and automatically adapted one window with the other.
    Thank you for this idea.
    Hopefully that will be interested the experts, and create an update soon.

  43. Jörg Starkmuth

    Sorry, I can’t find it any more. But the thread there had no other information than we have here now.

  44. None of this things works. I only work when you start your pc and log in… but as soon as you move a windows to the left or right (docking the window), the shadows comes again. I’ve searched to disbale shadows since long ago… but its impossible to permanent disable them.

  45. Jörg Starkmuth

    Are you using Windows 10? Then Settings > System > Multitasking and disabling “When I snap a window, show what I can snap next to it” should solve the problem. At least it did for me. But I don’t know whether it also works on Windows 8.

  46. Yea, you’re totally right about that (i’ve tried it before), but I need to use snap for my daily work… So, I cannot disable it 🙁 – The returning shadow is a bug, unfortunally.

  47. Jörg Starkmuth

    The solution I mentioned does not disable snap. It only disables the option “When I snap a window, show what I can snap next to it”, which shows you a selection of other windows whenever you use snap. It is a useless option anyway for most people I assume. Snap still works perfectly after disabling it.

  48. Oh!!! Yea! You’ve found the solution! 🙂 I’ve disabled the option “When I snap a window, show what I can snap next to it”, the shadow does not return! Thanks so much for this tip! Now, I can use light (yellow, soft) backgrounds on my desktop!

    Seems that with your suggestion, the shadow doesn’t reappear anymore! (at least in Windows 10)

    And FYI, you can press CTRL + ALT + 7 (not F7), and change the layout of icons on desktop, so it will look really well.

  49. Oh! But when I use task view, they reappears again 🙁 They need to fix this “bug”. I will try not to use Task view… (I almost dont use it)… But, in the Surface, when I’m in tablet mode, there’s no other way, and I have to use TaskView… Oh! It’s a pitty Microsoft doesn’t fix this!

  50. Thomas Beling

    I had a long time playing around with this on version 1709 today. I’m able to remove the shadow via the given steps, but the font itself is now black. How can I change that to white?

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