File attributes

Updated: 11/10/2017 by Computer Hope

File attributes are settings associated with computer files that grant or deny certain rights to how a user or the operating system can access that file. For example, IBM compatible computers running MS-DOS or Microsoft Windows have capabilities of having read, archive, system, and hidden attributes.

  • Read-only - Allows a file to be read, but nothing can be written to the file or changed.
  • Archive - Tells Windows Backup to backup the file.
  • System - System file.
  • Hidden - File will not be shown when doing a regular dir from DOS.

In operating systems like Linux, there are three main file attributes: read (r), write (w), execute (x).

  • Read - Designated as an "r"; allows a file to be read, but nothing can be written to or changed in the file.
  • Write - Designated as a "w"; allows a file to be written to and changed.
  • Execute - Designated as an "x"; allows a file to be executed by users or the operating system.

How to adjust the file attributes

Attribute, Operating system terms