Do all your files and folders open in Read-only mode on Windows 11/10? Some Windows users have reported that all their files and folders are marked as Read-only. Whenever they open a file or folder, it is opened as Read-only, and they can’t make any changes to the file or folder. Some users have also reported that even after removing the Read-only attribute from files and folders, they keep reverting to Read-only.
Why is my file a Read-only file?
The Read-only mode lets you only view or print a file. If a file is Read-only it means that its properties and attributes are set to Read-only and you are not allowed to modify the file. This restriction could be imposed by the system administrator or the file owner. It is done to add security to files in order to protect them from unauthorized access. In some cases, your antivirus might be opening potentially unsafe files as Read-only.
Now, if all your files and folders are Read-only on Windows PC or they keep reverting to the Read-only mode, there can be different reasons behind this issue. Here are some potential causes:
- It could be because your system administrator has imposed restrictions on files and folders and you are not granted the required permission to modify them.
- The issue might also be caused if you are using a folder lock application.
- The files and folder permissions might be changed due to a virus infection.
- In some cases, enabled Controlled folder access in Windows Security can be a reason for this issue.
- A recently installed program might be modifying folder permissions.
- Malware or Ransomware can create such problems.
Before using the below fixes, we recommend you make sure that your hard drive is not corrupted. And also, run a virus scan and remove any detected viruses or malware from your computer. You might to also use a standalone on-demand antivirus scanner to be double sure that your PC s not infected,
All my Files and Folders are Read Only on Windows PC
If all your files and folders are Read-only or keep reverting to Read-only mode on your Windows 11/10 PC, you can use the below solutions to fix this issue:
- Check if the issue occurs with specific files and folders.
- Sign in with an administrator account.
- Make sure you are not using folder lock software.
- Change permissions for the target drive.
- Modify folder attribute using Command Prompt.
- Turn off Controlled folder access.
- Remove the recently added program.
1] Check if the issue occurs with specific files and folders
The first thing you should check is whether the issue occurs with all or only a few files and folders. If only specific files and folders are Read-only, you can manually change the file or folder properties from its right-click menu. To do that, you can use the below steps:
- Firstly, open File Explorer using Win+E and navigate to the location where the problematic file/folder is stored.
- Now, right-click on the file/folder and choose the Properties option from the appeared context menu.
- Next, from the General tab, make sure to untick the Read-only checkbox present next to the Attributes option.
- Finally, press the Apply > OK button to save changes.
If you are experiencing this issue with all or most of your files and folders or your files and folders keep reverting to Read-only, use some other fix from this post.
TIP: How to remove Read only from an Excel document?
2] Sign in with an administrator account
The issue might be caused if you are logged in with a regular or guest user account with restricted permissions. You won’t be able to edit a file or folder which is created using an administrator account. Or, if your administrator has imposed restrictions on hard drive and its content, you will only be able to read the files or folder. So, you must log in to your computer with an administrator account and then try accessing your files and folders. You can also request access permissions from your administrator for the same.
3] Make sure you are not using folder lock software
If you use folder lock software to lock your files and folders, it might be causing the issue. So, if the scenario is applicable, you just need to disable folder protection to resolve the issue. However, if the scenario is not applicable to you, use the next fix.
4] Change permissions for the target drive
The file and folder permissions might be changed and set to Read-only after a recent Windows update or changes made to your system. Hence, in that case, you can try changing the drive permissions manually to remove the Read-only restriction from your files and folders. Here’s how to do that:
First, open File Explorer using Win+E and locate the drive that contains your files and folders with which you are experiencing this issue. Now, right-click on the drive and select the Properties option from the appeared context menu.
In the newly opened window, move to the Security tab and press the Advanced button located at the botton of the window.
Next, click on the Change permissions button, then highlight your user and press the Edit button.
After that, click on the Applies to: drop-menu button and select the This folder, subfolders and files option. And then, tick the Full control checkbox present under Basic permissions and tap on the OK button. Hopefully, you won’t face the same issue now.
If there are multiple users on your system, you can follow the below steps to change your drive permissions:
Firstly, move to the system drive and double-click on the Users folder to open it. You will see a folder with your username; just right-click on that folder and click on the Properties option from the right-click context menu.
Inside the Properties window, navigate to the Security tab and press the Advanced button. After that, press the Enable inheritance button and click on the Apply > OK button to save changes.
Read: CHKDSK cannot continue in read-only mode.
5] Modify folder attribute using Command Prompt
You can also try changing the folder attribute using Command Prompt. This is applicable if you can’t access files and folders even when logged in with an administrator account. You can remove the read-only attribute from folders using Command Prompt using the below instructions:
First, open Command Prompt as an administrator; open the Search box, enter cmd, hover the mouse over the Command Prompt app, and choose Run as administrator.
Now, enter the below command to remove the Read-only attribute and apply system attributes:
attrib -r +s <full path of the target folder>
attrib -r +s "C:\TWC"
However, some folders might not work properly with system attributes, so you can use the following command in that case:
attrib -r -s <full path of the target folder>
attrib -r -s "C:\TWC"
Once the command is executed, check if the issue is resolved. If this doesn’t help, you can use the next fix to resolve it.
Read: Fix Error 0xC00D3E8E, The property is read only on Windows.
6] Turn off Controlled folder access
If the “folders reverting to the Read-only mode” problem remains the same even after trying the above solutions, you can disable the Controlled folder access on your computer. The issue might be caused because of enabled Ransomware protection imposed to protect your files and folders from unauthorized access. Hence, you can turn it off to fix the issue.
Here’s how you can do that:
- First, open the Windows Security app using Windows Search.
- Now, navigate to the Virus & threat protection tab.
- Next, click on the Manage settings option present under the Virus & threat protection settings section.
- After that, scroll down to the Controlled folder access section and press the Manage Controlled folder access option.
- Then, disable Controlled folder access by setting it to Off.
- Finally, reboot your computer and see if the problem is resolved.
If you still experience the same problem, there are a few more solutions that you can use; so move to the next fix.
See: Allow OneDrive to disable permission inheritance in Read-only folders.
7] Remove the recently added program
If you have started experiencing this issue after installing a third-party application on your PC, it might be that case that the permissions are altered by that program. So, you can try uninstalling any recently added software and then see if the issue is fixed. For that, open Settings using Win+I, go to the Apps tab, and select the Installed apps option. After that, select the software, click on the three-dot menu button, choose Uninstall, and follow prompted instructions. Once done, reboot your computer and check whether the problem is fixed.
If none of the above solutions worked for you, you could try restoring the healthy state of your PC using System Restore.
Read: Remove Media is Write Protected message in Windows.
How do I turn off Read-only for all files?
To disable the Read-only attribute for all your files, move to the folder containing the source files. After that, press right-click on the folder and select the Properties option from the context menu. Now, untick the Read-only checkbox associated with the Attributes option present in the General tab. Next, click on the Apply button, and in the next prompt, choose the Apply changes to this folder, subfolders and files option and press the OK button.
How do I fix Folder keeps reverting to read only?
If your Folder keeps reverting to read-only, check the Properties for that folder and ensure that it is not Read-only, check the settings in any folder lock software you may be using, disable the Ransomware protection in Windows Security, or use any of the solutions mentioned in this post.
Now read: Microsoft Word opens files in Read-only mode in Windows.