How To Change File Attributes

If you need to change certain properties to a file, we will show you how to change its attributes for Windows to handle it correctly.

This allows you to specify how the operating system is supposed to treat it.

File Attributes: How to Change It

In Explorer select Properties.
  1. Open Windows File Explorer and find your file.
  2. Move your mouse pointer to hover over it and press the right mouse button. A contextual menu will appear.
  3. Hover your mouse pointer over properties and press the left mouse button.
  4. The common attributes will be listed near the bottom of the properties panel.
How to change the file attributes.

You can, of course, change more attributes. By clicking on the Advanced button, you can select more in a new panel:

Selecting Advanced options.

Then simply change the attributes as you desire:

The Advanced Attributes options panel.

The different types of attributes

Here is a list of some of the common ones:

  • Archive (A) – When enabled, it shows if it has changed since the last backup.
  • Hidden (H) – Allows the user to hide it from being displayed in Explorer.
  • System (S) – This indicates whether or not it is critical to the operating system.
  • Read-only (R) – This sets the permission as to whether you can change it.
  • Compressed (C) – Windows can automatically compress the file when stored if enabled.
  • Encrypted (E) – You can set this to enable encryption to prevent unauthorized access.
  • Directory (D) – This will mark it as a subdirectory.
  • Offline (O) – Files will be moved to offline storage.
  • Temporary (T) – Indicated whether it is used for temporary storage.

Of course, there are more of them. You can read more about the various types on Wikipedia.

Using the command prompt

You can change any of them using the attrib command.

An example of the command (In this case, how to remove read-only):

attrib -R examplefile.txt

A more comprehensive list of attributes (as per the command line window help in Windows):

+    Sets an attribute.
-    Clears an attribute.
R    Read-only.
A    Archive.
S    System.
H    Hidden.
O    Offline attribute.
I    Not content indexed
X    No scrub.
V    Integrity.
P    Pinned.
U    Unpinned.
B    SMR Blob.

[drive:][path][filename] Specifies a file or files for attrib to process.

/S   Processes matching files in the current folder and all subfolders.
/D   Processes folders as well.
/L   Work on the attributes of the Symbolic Link versus the target of the Symbolic Link.

Attribute changer software

Although installing software to change attributes isn’t necessary, sometimes doing this helps make things a little easier and more organized for some users.

A free program called Attribute Changer is free for personal and commercial use but relies on donations to help keep them going.

Related tips

How to change file details

  1. Right-click on it in Windows File Explorer.
  2. Left-click on ‘Properties’ in the contextual menu.
  3. Left-click on the ‘Details’ tab.
  4. Left-click on the value you wish to change and edit it.
  5. Left-click on ‘Apply’ or ‘OK’ to finish.

How to change file author

  1. Open the file details explained in the previous question.
  2. Left-click on the ‘Author’ value and edit it to your desired name.
  3. Left-click on ‘Apply’ or ‘Save’ to finish.