Microsoft KB Archive/256614

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Unable to remove Read-Only attribute from folder

Article ID: 256614

Article Last Modified on 1/27/2007


  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Server
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional Edition
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 4.0 Developer Edition
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition
  • Microsoft Windows 98 Second Edition
  • Microsoft Windows 98 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Windows 95

This article was previously published under Q256614

For a Microsoft Microsoft Windows XP and Microsoft Windows Server 2003 version of this article, see 326549.

IMPORTANT: This article contains information about modifying the registry. Before you modify the registry, make sure to back it up and make sure that you understand how to restore the registry if a problem occurs. For information about how to back up, restore, and edit the registry, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

256986 Description of the Microsoft Windows Registry


You may be unable to remove the Read-Only attribute from a folder using Windows Explorer. In addition, some programs may display error messages when you try to save files to the folder.


This behavior occurs because the folder is customized. You can customize a folder by clicking Customize this folder on the View menu. Many programs also customize folders (for example, the Fonts folder comes with a customization as part of the standard system configuration).


This behavior is by design.


WARNING: If you use Registry Editor incorrectly, you may cause serious problems that may require you to reinstall your operating system. Microsoft cannot guarantee that you can solve problems that result from using Registry Editor incorrectly. Use Registry Editor at your own risk.

Windows Explorer uses the Read-Only attribute to determine whether or not the folder is customized. To work around this behavior, you can configure Windows Explorer to use the System flag instead of the Read-Only flag. To do this, use the following steps.

NOTE: Some programs do not operate correctly with folders that have the System attribute configured.

  1. Start Registry Editor (Regedit.exe).
  2. Locate the following registry key:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Current Version\Explorer

  3. On the Edit menu, point to New, click DWORD Value, and then type the following registry value name:


  4. Right-click the new value, and then click Modify.
  5. Type 1, and then click OK.
  6. Quit Registry Editor.
  7. After you make this change to the registry, you must change the Read-Only attribute for all affected folders by using the attrib command at a command prompt ( or Cmd.exe). Type attrib /? at the command prompt to view the syntax for the attrib command. For example, to change the Read-Only attribute to System for the C:\Test folder, use the following command:

    attrib -r +s c:\test

Additional query words: error write protected desktop update read-only attribute file and folder

Keywords: kbenv kbprb KB256614