You cannot view or change the Read-only or the System attributes of folders in Windows Server 2003, in Windows XP, in Windows Vista or in Windows 7
This article is intended for advanced computer users.
Symptoms of the problem
- You cannot view or change the Read-only or System attributes of a folder by using the Properties dialog box for the folder. For example, you may experience the following symptoms:
- When you view the General tab of a folder's Properties dialog box, the Read-only check box is not available, and there is no check box to change the System attribute.
- You click to clear or click to select the Read-only check box on the General tab of a folder's Properties dialog box. When you click OK or Apply, you receive the following message:Confirm Attribute ChangesIf you click Apply changes to this folder only, the Read-only attribute is changed for all the files in the folder. However, the Read-only attribute is not changed for the folder, its subfolders, or any files in its subfolders. If you click Apply changes to this folder, subfolders, and files, the Read-only attribute is changed for all files in the folder and all files in the subfolders. However, the Read-only attribute is not changed for the folder or its subfolders.
You have chosen to make the following attribute changes:
Do you want to apply this change to this folder only, or do you want to apply it to all subfolders and files as well?
- Some programs may display error messages when you try to save files to a folder that uses the Read-only or System attribute. As a result, these programs may not be able to save files to the folder.
The Read-only and System attributes is only used by Windows Explorer to determine whether the folder is a special folder, such as a system folder that has its view customized by Windows (for example, My Documents, Favorites, Fonts, Downloaded Program Files), or a folder that you customized by using the Customize tab of the folder's Properties dialog box. As a result, Windows Explorer does not allow you to view or change the Read-only or System attributes of folders. When a folder has the Read-Only attribute set it causes Explorer to request the Desktop.ini of that folder to see if any special folder settings need to be set. It has been seen where if a network share that has a large amount of folders set to Read-only, it can cause Explorer to take longer then what is expected to render the contents of that share while it waits on the retrieval of the Desktop.ini files. The slower the network connectivity to the share the longer this process can take to the point where Explorer may timeout waiting for the data and render nothing or appear to hang.
Note In some previous versions of Windows, you can change the Read-only attribute for folders by using the Properties dialog box for the folder, but no versions of Windows permit you to change the System attribute by using Windows Explorer.
Steps to work around this problem
To view or to remove the Read-only or the System attributes of foldersWarning If you remove the Read-only or System attribute from a folder, it may appear as a ordinary folder and some customizations may be lost. For example, Windows customizes the Fonts folder and provides a special folder view that permits you to hide variations, such as bold and italic. It also permits you to change the folder's view settings in ways that are specific to fonts. If you remove the Read-only and System attributes of the Fonts folder, these customized view settings are not available. For folders that you have customized by using the Customize tab of the folder's Properties dialog box, the folder icon and other other customizations may be lost when you remove the Read-only attribute.
If a program cannot save files to a folder with the Read-only attribute, such as My Documents, change the Read-only attribute to System by using the Attrib command at a command prompt.
Note If the Run command is not listed on the Start menu, do the following: Click Start, click All Programs, click Accessories, and then click Run.
To remove the Read-only attribute and to set the System attribute, use the following command:
Article ID: 326549 - Last Review: 05/31/2012 09:13:00 - Revision: 9.0
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