This article deals with the occurrence of the situation when a user of Windows Server 2003, Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7 cannot view or change the read-only or the system attributes of folders.


One of the following is a problem you may face if you are a user of any of the above mentioned operating systems
· You cannot view or change the Read-only or System attributes of any folder by using the Properties option for that particular folder.
· A few programs may display error messages when you attempt to save files to a folder that uses the Read-only or System attribute. Consequently, these programs may not be able to save those files to the folder.


The Read-only attribute for a folder is different from that of a file. The difference is that for a folder, it is typically ignored by Windows, Windows components and accessories. When a folder has the Read-Only attribute set, it causes Windows Explorer to request the Desktop.ini of that folder to check if there are any special folder settings need to be set. If a network share has a large number of folders set to Read-only, it can cause Windows Explorer to take longer than expected to display the contents of that share while it waits on the retrieval of the Desktop.ini files. Slower the network connectivity to the share, longer is this process, which may be up to the point where Explorer may timeout waiting for the data and display nothing or look as if the system has hung.


The solution of this problem involves the use of the Attrib command in Command Prompt to view or to remove the Read-only or the System attributes of folders.
1. Click Start, click Run, type cmd (to run Command Prompt), and then press ENTER.
2. To view the syntax for the Attrib command, type attrib /? in the command prompt.
Please note that if you remove the Read-only or System attribute from a folder, it may appear as an ordinary folder and some customizations may be lost.

To remove the Read-only attribute and to set the System attribute, use the following command
attrib -r +s drive:\<path>\<foldername>

For example, to remove the Read-only attribute and to set the System attribute for the C:\Sample folder, use the following command
attrib -r +s c:\sample

Be wary that some programs may not operate correctly with folders for which the System attribute and the Read-only attribute are set.
Therefore, use the following command to remove these attributes
attrib -r -s drive:\<path>\<foldername>

For example, to remove both the Read-only and the System attributes from the C:\Sample folder, use the following command:
attrib -r -s c:\sample

Windows stores file and folder attributes in the file system with name, extension, date and time, and other information. The Read-only box for folders isn’t available as it does not apply to the folder. You can use this check box to set the Read-only attribute for files in the folder. On the other hand, you cannot use Windows Explorer to determine whether a folder has the Read-only and System attributes set.