Windows Read Only Folder Attribute

  • Ever looked at a folder in Windows and noticed that "Read-only (Only applies to files in folder)" is always set, and clearly does nothing? This isn't by mistake, it's actually totally wrong by design! The button is mislabeled intentionally, cannot be modified by the GUI, and doesn't have anything to do with what it is labeled to be. Microsoft insanity? Clever trickery? Buffoonery within the design team? No idea why MS thinks this obvious error should be maintained. But it is, and it has been for a long time.

    So just one of those "Windows-isms" that you have to "just know". One of the places where the GUI actively acts against you.

    Screenshot from 2019-02-07 18-38-32.png

    Note Unlike the Read-only attribute for a file, the Read-only attribute for a folder is typically ignored by Windows, Windows components and accessories, and other programs. For example, you can delete, rename, and change a folder with the Read-only attribute by using Windows Explorer.

    The Read-only and System attributes is only used by Windows Explorer to determine whether the folder is a special folder, such as a system folder that has its view customized by Windows (for example, My Documents, Favorites, Fonts, Downloaded Program Files), or a folder that you customized by using the Customize tab of the folder's Properties dialog box. As a result, Windows Explorer does not allow you to view or change the Read-only or System attributes of folders. When a folder has the Read-Only attribute set it causes Explorer to request the Desktop.ini of that folder to see if any special folder settings need to be set. It has been seen where if a network share that has a large amount of folders set to Read-only, it can cause Explorer to take longer then what is expected to render the contents of that share while it waits on the retrieval of the Desktop.ini files. The slower the network connectivity to the share the longer this process can take to the point where Explorer may timeout waiting for the data and render nothing or appear to hang.

    Note In some previous versions of Windows, you can change the Read-only attribute for folders by using the Properties dialog box for the folder, but no versions of Windows permit you to change the System attribute by using Windows Explorer.

    RE: Microsoft on why the read only folder attribute does not work.

  • It's not checked. However, some properties within are. But not all of it. It's telling you it's conditional. Still pointless though IMO.

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