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How to Change the Read-Only Attribute on Files and Folders

Read-only is a file attribute, or a characteristic that the operating system assigns to a file. In this case, read-only means that the file can be only opened or read; you cannot delete, change, or rename any file that’s been flagged read-only.

To change the read-only attribute, follow these steps:

  1. Right-click the file or folder icon.

  2. Remove the check mark by the Read Only item in the file’s Properties dialog box.

    The attributes are found at the bottom of the General tab.

  3. Click OK.

Likewise, you can set the read-only attribute by placing a check mark in the box. This ensures that the file cannot be changed or deleted. Well, it can’t be changed or deleted until someone removes the read-only attribute again.

  • Files and folders you copy from an optical disc may inherit the read-only status. That’s because a CD-ROM or DVD-ROM is Read-Only (RO) media. After a file is copied from the optical disc, however, you can change its read-only status as described in the steps.

  • The solid Read-Only check box in Windows 7 and Windows Vista refers to the file’s or folder’s permissions. The box may indicate that read-only permissions are set for other users on the same computer.

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