What does the R (read only) attribute in DOS mean?

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Fractalogic

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Jul 4, 2010
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Hey guys!

You know those letters (R, A, S, H) that appear next to a file name or folder name in MS-DOS or CMD? What does it actually mean to have one of those letters next to a file or folder name? Or to be more specific, what does it mean to have the R next to a folder name?

I am using CMD in Windows Vista...

Thanks!
 

Squashman

Retired Trusted Advisor
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Apr 4, 2003
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19,786
Just like your subject says. Read Only. You won't be able to edit or save the file until you take the Read only attribute off of the file.
 

Fractalogic

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Jul 4, 2010
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Hmm... I understand that this is a way to write protect a file from accidental overwrites, but I'm not sure it answers the question of why you want to do the same with a folder. A folder is not a file... so you can't overwrite it.

I have 1 folder named KLF with the R attribute, and there are 6 files within that folder and they each have only the attribute A. I know that adding R attribute to a folder is a way of adding the R attribute to multiple files within that folder in one step, as an alternative way to adding it repeatedly to each file which is tedious and time consuming. But what's the point of having the R attribute applied only to the folder, and not the files within that folder?...
 
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Both files and folders can have attributes. Generally, if a folder is set to read-only, that attribute will be inherited by the files and subfolders under that directory.
 
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