Technology Tales

Adventures & experiences in contemporary technology

Command line setting of Windows file attributes

11th February 2012

Aside from permissions that can be set using the cacls command, Windows files have properties like read only, archive and hidden. Of course, these are not the same or as robust as access permissions but they may have a use in stopping accidental updates to files when you don’t have access to use of the cacls command. While you could set these attributes using the properties page of any file, executing the attrib command on the Windows command is more convenient. Here are some possible usage options:

Set the read only flag on a file:

attrib +r test.txt

Remove the read only flag from a file (found a use for this one recently):

attrib -r test.txt

Set the archive flag on a file:

attrib +a test.txt

Remove the archive flag from a file:

attrib -a test.txt

Set the hidden only flag on a file:

attrib +h test.txt

Remove the hidden flag from a file:

attrib -h test.txt

Using the /s option and wildcards processes a number of files at a time and /d applies the command to directories. They could come in handy when removing read only attributes (also called bits in places) from files copied from read only optical media such as CD’s and DVD’s.

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