The Method to Set and Remove the Read-only Property of a File

You open a document and then modify the content of it. When you are going to save it, you find it cannot be saved, but an interface pops up with the notice of “Save As”.

Read-only file

Nature: document
Property: read only
Abbreviation: read-only file


1. Example

Why does the file can only be read? This is because the opened document is in “read-only” status, and it cannot be modified. Then, what is “read-only” document?

2. Overview

The so-called “Read-Only” means that the document can only be opened to view, but cannot be modified or saved. Some important files are set in read-only status in case that the content are get modified by mistake. These documents cannot be modified unless the read-only status is removed. Just like a sealed and transparent glass bottle, if you don't open the lid, you can only view the content but cannot take things out or put in new things.

3. Solutions

How to set the document in read-only status or how to remove the read-only status?

Right click on the document, and select “Properties” on the pop-up menu. Then tick “Read-only” in the “Properties” dialog and click “OK”. If you want to remove read-only status, you can conduct a reverse operation according to the above procedures.

In addition, you can also set and remove read-only status by the command line: click “Start” – click “Run” – type “cmd.exe” – click “Enter” (to open the Command Prompt window) – type “attrib + r file full path” or “attrib – r file full path” (without the quotation marks). You can set or remove the documents' read-only status respectively.

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4. Applications

Read-only file has two application cases:
One case is the function provided by Windows system. You can view and modify it by click property from right-click menu. Setting the document in read-only status can protect the document from being modified or overwritten unexpectedly. For example, boot.ini, Windows XP boot configuration file, is generally set in read-only status to prevent virus or human from tampering to cause system boot failure.

The other case is that the function is provided by specific software. The document can be set in rea-only with an additional password to prevent the document from being modified. For example, documents like Excel have such a function.

Of course, except for read-only file, files can be classified as System file (System), Archive file (Archive) and Hidden file (Hidden). A document can have more than one such label. The basic reason is that these labels belong to file properties. You can add or remove the labels arbitrarily.

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