How to make read-only files writable again?

Ahmet Ekrem SABAN
Ahmet Ekrem SABAN used Ask the Experts™

The title may surprise you, but there really exists a problem with file writability, if you access on a file modified on a PC over Windows Phone 8.1! Actually, the problem first arose under Windows Phone 7.4, but I later switched to a then new smartphone under Windows Phone 8.0, which I later upgraded to Windows Phone 8.1 (it is a NOKIA Lumia 930).

I am using mobile devices to take notes for more than 15 years now. At the beginning, I used Windows CE and later the Windows Mobile 6. With the years passing by, the capabilities of the mobile devices increased, making it possible to enter directly the data into a Microsoft Office document (like Excel) without first making text notices in a TXT file and copying it in another "real" Excel file on the PC later on. But with the above error I am dealing with, I go "back to the old times" and have to copy and paste at home all the notices, if they are meant to be part of an Excel sheet that all-of-a-sudden became read-only.

Actually, I never make the files read-only intentionally. All happens when sometimes adding a column or a new tab when editing the documents over OneDrive in the browser, using Microsoft Excel at home or at business.

I once asked on a site about this problem. One guy – an Excel specialist – told me that the file I attached for scrutiny was including some code that cannot be edited by Windows Phone. So far, so good.

My question is:
  • Is it possible to *cleanse* an Excel file from any code that makes it read-only under Windows Phone 8.1 (and perhaps even with Windows 10 for mobile)?
  • If not, is it possible to create a copy by using macros etc. such that a new Excel file is being created with a similar name, but the same content (information, field colouring, column width, row height, formulas, tabs etc.)?
Watch Question

Do more with

Expert Office
EXPERT OFFICE® is a registered trademark of EXPERTS EXCHANGE®
Colleen Kayter4D Assets

I'm not sure I understand all of your explanation - particularly about text and notices - but nonetheless, I do understand you're using a 930 (which is on the list of phones that can be upgraded to Win10 Mobile) and that you're using Excel Online through the browser.

What happens if you edit your files using the built-in Excel app on your phone?

BTW, Microsoft just announced they are no longer supporting 8.1 with security updates and bug fixes. They recommend all users who are able to upgrade to Win 10 Mobile should do so.
Ahmet Ekrem SABANSenior IT consultant


Thank you for your reply, Colleen!

That's good news! When Windows 10 came on the market, NOKIA Lumia 930 was one of the products that could not be upgraded. Where is the information that explains how to upgrade a phone without losing the information already saved on the phone?

When I use the Excel app on the phone, everything is fine. But the commands in the Excel app are only a subset of all the commands Excel knows. So, there is the need to use the Excel in the browser or the Excel app installed on the PC/notebook.
4D Assets
This from the Microsoft site:

"Phones and devices that can upgrade to Windows 10:
Lumia Icon, 1520, 930, 640, 640XL, 730, 735, 830, 532, 535, 540, 635 1GB, 636 1GB, 638 1GB, 430, 435, BLU Win HD w510u, BLU Win HD LTE x150q, MCJ Madosma Q501"

There are also instructions on that page about getting the Upgrade Advisor app from the store, but the 930 is not on the list for the Creator's Update (latest release version).


1. Go to and search the forums for Windows 10 Lumia 930. You'll find a ton of war stories and advice about doing this. You might be able/better off installing Windows Developer Preview app and allowing Microsoft to keep your phone updated with the latest SLOW RING version. Dev Preview makes you a beta tester. FAST RING users are the real risk takers. FAST RING participants are the first to get every release, bugs and all. SLOW RING participants get it later, but a much more stable version. Microsoft will periodically prompt you for feedback, but you'll have a much better version than the pre-Creator's Update.

2. Check Phone Update to make sure you have the latest available version of 8.1. If you live in the US, Verizon dragged their feet when it came to updates, so it is what it is.

3. Check Backup on your phone and make sure it's absolutely current before you make any changes. BACK UP EVERYTHING. If you're having trouble getting it to back up, on your PC,
Go to OneDrive > Settings Menu (gear in upper right corner) > Options. Select Device Backups from left column. Delete the device backup for your phone.

Now run backup again from your phone.

4. Download the Windows Developer Preview app OR the Windows Upgrade Advisor and follow the instructions. Be sure your phone is plugged in and be prepared to wait awhile (possibly an hour or more). It will go through several install cycles.

Absolute worst case scenario? You can fall back to Windows 8.1 by doing a factory reset. Your backup will restore most of your content, but you'll have to allow apps to reinstall. Bit of warning: some app devs have pulled their apps from the store but have allowed the apps to continue working. If the apps aren't in the store, they won't reinstall. If the upgrade works without a hitch, most apps will continue to work.
Ahmet Ekrem SABANSenior IT consultant


My NOKIA Lumia 930 (without "Icon") is three years old now. I already made an update from Windows Phone 8.0 to 8.1. It would be great news for me if I could upgrade to Windows 10! I'll ask there if it is possible. But the "Handyupdate" in the German version replies that my smartphone is up-to-date. Perhaps, it means it for Windows Phone 8.1 & does not inform me about a possible upgrade. (But this was the case when the upgrade to Windows Phone 8.1 was ready to download.) Yes, I found another site that announces the possibility of upgrade for my smartphone
Ahmet Ekrem SABANSenior IT consultant


Thanks for your support! The latest version of Windows Phone 8.1 has solved the"read-only problem".

Do more with

Expert Office
Submit tech questions to Ask the Experts™ at any time to receive solutions, advice, and new ideas from leading industry professionals.

Start 7-Day Free Trial