Reader jack Carmena wrote me with a question:
I am now caught up.
The 3/11/07 issue has a very good article on file sharing that I think a lot of dummies like me will appreciate and learn something from.
Question: Why do files default to “read only”?
When I am moving, copying files, etc., I always run into that and never knew why.
You can get read-only files in several ways, but the most common way is to copy files to your computer from a CDROM.
Whether you copied files to the CDROM for backup and then copied some of them back to your hard drive, or whether someone else prepared the CDROM, the problem is the same.
Since CDROM means “CD Read Only Memory,” as part of reading the CDROM, Windows knows that it can not edit the file again on the CDROM. Therefore, it reads the file in “read-only” mode.
Unfortunately, Windows continues to mishandle files when they’re being copied to a hard drive — it carries that “read-only” attribute and labels the new file on the hard drive as read-only.
Other ways you might run into read-only files include:
- While you’re in a program like Word or Excel, if you already have a file opened, Word or Excel will let you open it again in Read-only mode.
- You, or anyone else with access to your computer, can label any file as Read-only. You can also set the “Archive” bit (meaning that the file has been changed and should be backed up — this information is used by backup programs like Acronis True Image.
- One other type comes to mind, filenames starting with a period “.” have a special meaning. These can automatically change into read-only status when you copy them. However, you can change them back to normal. Note also that many Windows programs, including Explorer, will not allow you to name a file with a name starting with a period.