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xp/2003 read only question

Posted on 2004-04-02
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2009-07-08
I just noticed something pretty odd in xp/2003 and i cant figure out whats going on exaclty... on any xp/2003 machine,, every folder is marked with a greyed out read only box if you check the properties of the folder.. even if no files below it are read only.  Even though it is greyed out, you can uncheck the read only attribute and it will go away,, but if you go back and check it the greyed out read only attribute will still be there.  I was thinking that it is greyed out b/c it is inherited, but if this was the case why can i remove it? Also,,, even folders in the root of C are behaving this way,, and since i dont see a way to mark C as read only,, how could something in the root of C be inheriting?  Another funny thing is that even though a folder is marked with this greyed out read only attribute you can still write files to it.  None of my 2000 machines are doing this,, they are acting the way one would expect,, if you remove the read only attribute,, it stays away.  Can anyone explain why xp/2003 is doing this and let me know if this is by design for some reason?

Question by:mikeleebrla
  • 3
LVL 57

Accepted Solution

Pete Long earned 500 total points
ID: 10741553
The square (or greyed out check mark) for a folder means NOTHING, NO CHANGE, WAITING
FOR YOU TO USE ME.  This is because the read-only box in a folder's properties is
only used to apply or remove the read-only setting from all of the folder's files
at once. If you clear the box and click Apply, then the files in the folder will
be cleared of any read-only attributes they have. Like wise for checking the box
to apply the attribute to all files.  The square reappears the next time because,
once again, you haven't used it.

FOLDERS do NOT have a functional read-only attribute in Windows.  The read-only attribute
is only for files.  The read-only check-box for folder properties is a bad and confusing
design.  If you want to avoid read-only confusion, check individual files, ignore

Windows file systems actually use the read-only attribute for a folder to make it
customizeable, but the checkbox in a folder's properties has nothing to do with that.
 You cannot prevent a folder's contents from being changed using the read-only attribute.
 You can read more about that here:    

LVL 57

Expert Comment

by:Pete Long
ID: 10741562
LVL 25

Author Comment

ID: 10741687
Thanks Pete,, this is a pretty crappy design,,,, greyed out usually means inherited,, not what it means here.
LVL 57

Expert Comment

by:Pete Long
ID: 10741696
I agree, I remeber looking for the same answer once before thats why it stuck in my memory :)

Expert Comment

ID: 10807997
I verified on my server with the command line suggestions in the knowlege base, but my users still get a read only message when opening a word document. Has anyone come across this part of it, and been able to fix it? I feel it has something to do with how the people before me moved data off the old server.

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