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Windows Explorer: Doesn't Protect Read-Only Files RRS feed

  • General discussion

  • Although I have set the read-only attribute to a number of files in one of my directories, Windows Explorer allows me to overwrite them without even asking me for confirmation.

    The only dialog I have to respond to is the common dialog asking me if I really want to overwrite an existing file.

    I'd expect Windows Explorer do deny any attempt to overwrite read-only files. What else could the use of setting this attribute possibly be?

    Axel Dahmen
    Sunday, March 7, 2010 2:39 AM

All replies

  • This is not a new issue with Windows 7, it's identical to Vista.  Even XP did it, though it gave you a little more info.

    The Read-only attribute is a throwback to the glory days of DOS and the command line.  Command line tools will still balk at overwriting files with the R attribute.

    I guess they figure in Explorer that if you've okayed the operation then it should proceed.

    However, it would sure be nice if Windows would at least change the "Do you wish to overwrite" prompt wording when it's a Read Only file like XP did...  XP told you that the file was read-only in the process of prompting you to overwrite it.  Windows 7 / Vista do no such thing.

    This is from XP:



    This is what Windows 7 shows:



    Looks like more information at first glance, but is really less useful yet takes up more space.  Note, for example, that the newer dialog doesn't bother to show the seconds in the file time or spell out the month.

    -Noel
    Sunday, March 7, 2010 7:27 AM
  • Yes, I fully agree.

    There should be a strong visual (aural) cue informing the user that they are about to overwrite a write protected version of a file.

    Use case:

    I have two versions of one of my JavaScript libraries on my disk: One showing a bug in IE (enabling guys at MS to reproduce the problem) and another circumventing the problem. Both reside in sibling directories.

    If I copy my latest version to one of these "deployment" directories I want to be sure to have hit the correct destination directory!

    The TreeView in Windows Explorer is has become a nuisance . It's hopping and jumping around. So you never can be sure that when releasing the mouse that you are still hovering over the correct directory.
    Monday, March 8, 2010 12:13 PM
  • I have heard from Ivo that ClassicShell will be modified to provide the enhanced prompt.  Apparently it also will provide a different prompt if the file is a system file.

    MICROSOFT:  This is a bona fide problem.  You may be trying to obsolete the Read-Only attribute, but until you do is it proper to support it in some places and completely ignore it in others?

    -Noel
    Monday, March 8, 2010 2:33 PM