I am having trouble with a folder that needs to be read-write for iTunes to open. For a while it was read-write, but it seemingly inexplicably changed to read-only now. When I try to change it back from that, it says it does it, but as soon as I try to open iTunes or the properties for the folder it will be listed as read-only again.

If anyone knows how I can change the folder from read-only so that it will be permanently read-write it would be incredibly helpful. How can one change the properties of a file/folder from read-only to read-write in Windows XP?

2 Answers 2


It's possible some other process is watching that folder and changing that folder to read-only. You can use a tool like FileMon or Process Monitor to watch what process is changing it back to read-only after you remove that setting.

  • 1
    a virus scanner was messing with the files...thanks for all your help I have my music and 2 cool helpful new programs. I'm making a note here huge success. It's hard to overstate my satisfaction Aug 11, 2009 at 12:59
  • That's great -- happy to help!
    – JP Alioto
    Aug 11, 2009 at 16:13

The readonly attribute on a folder does not mean what it sounds like. The kernel does not enforce that attribute on folders. Explorer uses it to signal folders that have a desktop.ini file that should be processed to specify the folder's style, icons, background artwork, and general web-ish presentation behaviors.

The readonly attribute on a file does mean what it sounds like, but its role is probably better served in NTFS by a suitable ACL which can provide a much finer level of control.

Nearly all Windows software completely ignores the readonly attribute on folders.

Occasionally, you will stumble across something (usually ported from Unix) that has attempted to map the FAT file attributes into Unix file modes. Since the only FAT attribute that is close in meaning to any of the Unix mode bits is the readonly attribute, its presence is usually reflected as meaning the same as the absence of the w bits. However, that is only true of ordinary files. If the directory attribute is set, then the readonly bit should be ignored. Any program that believes that the readonly attribute on a folder means the folder can't be written simply has a bug and the issue should be taken up in the program's support channel.

Some KB Resources that might help:

And some thoughts from Raymond Chen of The Old New Thing:

  • Thank you for the incredibly informative post this information was helpful in decide not to worry about the folders setting and just the changed them on the file. I wish I could accept to answers but sadly I can only accept one but you still get an up vote +1 Aug 11, 2009 at 13:00

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