Tutorials


Windows: Removing READ-ONLY Status from a File

Every so often, a reader who's downloaded one of my spreadsheets will email me with a problem: He can't save his changes to the spreadsheet, as Windows tells him it's a "read-only" file.

This can be caused by two things:

  1. The file came in a ZIP file that was never extracted; or
  2. Windows automatically assigned a READ-ONLY status to a file when it was first downloaded.

So first, if the spreadsheet(s) you're using came inside a ZIP file, make sure you actually "extracted" the file(s). Read my "Extracting a ZIP File" tutorial for a detailed walk-thru of this procedure.

Removing READ-ONLY Status From a File

When Windows assigns a file "READ-ONLY" status (why it does this, I don't know), you'll need to manually change the file's PROPERTIES in order to be able to save your changes to it.

Don't worry — it's easy!

Step 1: Find the file you need to modify.

Locate the file you need to modify. If you're like me, you download most files right to your desktop. In my "example" case, I need to change the file properties of a spreadsheet file named "Register.xls":

Windows XP File Icon

Your file's name will be different, of course.

Step 2: Right-click the file and select "Properties."

Now right-click the chosen file. In the drop-down menu which appears, select PROPERTIES. Like so:

Drop-down menu -- Select PROPERTIES
Step 3: Find and uncheck the READ-ONLY box.

A new window now appears. Look at the bottom, in the "Attributes" section. The READ-ONLY box is probably checked:

Uncheck the READ-ONLY box

Uncheck that box, and then click the APPLY button. Then click the OK button.

That should do it! Your file is no longer "read-only," and you can save changes to your heart's content. See? Not tough at all!


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