How to Fix Folders Reverting to Read-Only on Windows 10

Find out how you can fix your folders reverting to read-only

Windows has a read-only option that a user can set or is set automatically by the system to protect file integrity. Many users have complained that they can’t remove the read-only attribute because the files and folders revert to read-only. It’s been argued that this problem first appeared after a Windows 10 update. Fortunately, you don’t have to wait until Microsoft fixes the read-only bug because you can fix it using the methods we have provided below.

What is read-only? It’s an attribute that only lets you read the file but prevents you from modifying anything in its content. Unchecking the read-only checkbox allows you to modify the file.

The read-only attribute for files and folders only allows a specific user group to edit files. So, if a file/folder has a set read-only attribute and you don’t have the necessary permissions, then you can’t make changes to the file. Under normal circumstances, the administrator, meaning the user, can toggle the read-only attribute on and off at will. However, due to a Windows update, you may disable the read-only option, but the next time you access the file properties, you will find read-only enabled again.

Folder keeps reverting to read only in Windows 10 Fix

So what are the reasons for files and folders reverting back to read-only shortly after it’s been disabled? Well, there are several explanations.

The first reason why your files/folder may revert to read-only is if you upgraded to Windows 10 from Windows 8.1 or Windows 7. During the upgrade, your account permissions may have been altered, which prevents you from disabling the read-only attribute. You may also experience the read-only bug after updating your Windows 10 operating system.

The second reason is account permissions alone. If your account permissions were somehow changed, unchecking the read-only attribute will cause it to revert back to read-only. If that’s the case, you have to change your account’s permissions to those that grant you administrator privileges.

The third reason may have something to do with your third-party antivirus software. If a third-party antivirus program detects a file as a threat, it may set the read-only attribute. A third-party antivirus program may also set the read-only attribute for your folders and files without reason. If that’s the case, then you should try to disable the antivirus software and try removing the read-only attribute.

The problem is that you won’t be able to edit or modify the files in any way if read-only is enabled. Therefore, disabling it is necessary to get control over your files. We have compiled a list of possible fixes to this bug, which you can find below.

Before you try fixing the read-only issue using the methods provided below, we recommend restarting your computer. Restarting your PC removes corrupt temporary data, which might be the cause of the issue.

Table of Contents:

Method 1. Run DISM (Deployment Image Servicing and Management) and SFC (System File Checker) scans

By far, the easiest fix for the read-only bug is to run DISM and System File Checker commands in the Command prompt. These commands will check your computer for corrupted files and will attempt to repair them.

1. Simultaneously hold down Windows+R keys to open Run.

Type in CMD in Run

2. In the Run dialog box, type in CMD and hold down Shift+Ctrl+Enter keys to open the elevated Command prompt.

Run DISM and SFC scans

3. In the command prompt, enter the following commands.

• DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Scanhealth
• DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth
• DISM.exe /online /cleanup-image /startcomponentcleanup
• SFC /ScanNow

4. Restart your PC.

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Method 2. Disable Controlled folder access

If you’re struggling with the read-only bug, then the first and easiest thing to do is to disable Controlled folder access. However, we want to stress that disabling it might not be enough, so we recommend using this method along with other methods found below.

Right-click Start and click Settings

1. Right-click the Start Menu button and select Settings.

Select Update & Security

2. Once in the Settings window, select Update & Security.

Select Windows Security from the left pane

3. On the left pane, select Windows Security.

Select Update & Security

4. Then, click Virus & threat protection.

Select manage Settings

5. Click Manage settings.

Select Manage controlled folder access

6. Under Controlled folder access, click Manage Controlled folder access.

Turn off Controlled folder access

7. Toggle the slider off to disable Controlled folder access.

8. Restart your PC.

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Method 3. Modify the attribute of the folder

If you’re logged in as an administrator but still can’t edit or modify the files, then you can try changing the attribute of the problematic file using the Command prompt. The solution is to change the file attribute to System using the Attrib command in the Command prompt. To do that, follow the steps below.

1. Simultaneously hold down Windows+R keys to open Run.

Type in CMD in the Run dialog box

2. In the Run dialog box, type in CMD and hold down Shift+Ctrl+Enter keys to open the elevated Command prompt.

Type in the command to set the System attribute for a folder

3. In the Command prompt, type in attrib -r +s "drive:\{path}\{foldername}" (indicating the correct drive, full path, and folder name), and hit the Enter key.

Type in the command to remove the System attribute from a folder

Running this command will remove the read-only attribute of the file, changing it to a system attribute. However, be warned that some files and folders may not work properly in the system attribute.

4. To remove the system attribute, type in attrib -r -s "drive:\{path}\{foldername}" in the command prompt and hit the Enter key.

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Method 4. Change the permissions of the Drive

If the read-only bug started to occur after updating Windows, then you should try changing the permissions of the Drive. Getting the appropriate permissions for your computer’s Drive may fix the issue. Here is how you can change the permissions:

Open the Start menu and type in This PC

1. Open the Start Menu, type in This PC,  and click the result.

Right-click the primary drive and click Properties

2. Right-click the Drive where the files/folders affected by the read-only bug are located and click Properties.

Navigate to the Security tab and click Advanced

3. Select the Security tab and click Advanced.

Click Change permissions

4. In the Advanced Security Settings window, select Change permissions.

Select your user and click the Edit button

5. Select your user and click Edit.

Select This folder, subfolders, and files in the drop-down menu

6. From the drop-down list, click This folder, subfolders and files.

Mark the Full control checkbox and click OK

7. Under the Basic Permissions section, tick the Full Control checkbox.

8. Click OK to save the new settings.

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Video guide on how to fix folders reverting to read-only on Windows 10

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About the author:

Tomas Meskauskas

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an editor for pcrisk.com since 2010. Follow me on Twitter to stay informed about the latest tech news or online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

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