Windows files and folders can be set to have different file attributes. You can change attributes, but only if you have the necessary user rights. Right click on the file or folder and select Properties. You can set the attributes by selecting or unselecting those that are listed. Normally these are:

  • Read Only: The file or folder can be read, but it can’t be changed or deleted. Windows will give you a warning message first before you can change or delete read only files.
  • Hidden: Hidden files and folders will not be visible in a folder or directory listing unless you set your system to show all files.
  • System: System files can also be hidden using the Hide protected operating system files option in Windows ME/2000/XP and Vista. Windows will give you a warning message first before you can change or delete system files.
  • Archive: Setting a file attribute to archive marks the file so that it can be easily backed up using tools like Microsoft backup.

You can also use a Command line and the ATTRIB command to change file attributes. Attrib Displays, sets, or removes the read-only, archive, system, and hidden attributes assigned to files or directories. Used without parameters, attrib displays attributes of all files in the current directory e.g.

attrib *.*
Syntax: attrib [{+r|-r}] [{+a|-a}] [{+s|-s}] [{+h|-h}] [[Drive:][Path] FileName] [/s[/d]]
Parameters: +r Sets the read-only file attribute. -r Clears the read-only file attribute. +a Sets the archive file attribute. -a Clears the archive file attribute. +s Sets the system file attribute. -s Clears the system file attribute. +h Sets the hidden file attribute. -h Clears the hidden file attribute.
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