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 back up the file.
- System - System file.
- Hidden - File is not 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
- How to view and change the file attributes in Windows.
- To adjust the attributes of a file in MS-DOS or the Windows command line, use the attrib command.
- In Linux, Linux variants, and Unix to adjust the file attributes use the chmod command.