Practical Technology

for practical people.

Fixing the Windows 7 Read-Only Folder Blues


Recently, a friend reported that since the April 13th Windows security patch, her copy of 64-bit Windows 7 is marking all folders as “read only” and she couldn’t find an easy way to fix it. She’s not alone. But this isn’t a problem that’s unique to either 64-bit Windows 7 or this particular set of patches. Instead, it seems to be an endemic problem with Windows 7 and Windows Vista.

It seems that several things can cause this problem. Among the causes: patching the system, upgrading from one version of Windows to another, and saving files to the top-level directory (C:\). Microsoft knows this is an issue, but for some reason the company doesn’t call it a bug.

According to Microsoft Support’s most relevant support document, “You cannot view or change the Read-only or the System attributes of folders in Windows Server 2003, in Windows XP, in Windows Vista or in Windows 7,” that’s probably because:

“The Read-only attribute for a folder is typically ignored (!) by Windows,”

More >