Is it possible to take away a file's "system" file attribute without using command prompt? Basically, I want to do this:

attrib "folder" -s
attrib "file" -s

without using command prompt, or a batch file. Windows explorer properties menu lets you do this for the hidden and read-only attributes, is there a way to do it with the system attribute?

  • Without using the command prompt? Not natively in Windows Explorer as far as I'm aware, but there should be plenty of other GUI programs and possibly even Explorer shell extensions that do it. What exactly do you want? A GUI program or something within Explorer? – Bob Apr 19 '12 at 2:50
  • yeah, i want a way to do this faster than executing a batch file, or CMD each time – Oztaco - Reinstate Monica C. Apr 19 '12 at 2:52
  • @leaf68: is GUI faster than command line!! I'm afraid, most people won't agree to that!! :D – Vineet Menon Apr 19 '12 at 4:34
  • @VineetMenon lol its not just speed, but a little bit laziness too :P – Oztaco - Reinstate Monica C. Apr 19 '12 at 5:12
  • @leaf68: yeah... that I agree... :P – Vineet Menon Apr 19 '12 at 5:21

If you want something you can do from the context menu, here's one way that might save you some time if you're trying to do this a lot:

Create a batch file RemoveSysAttrib.bat

@echo off
attrib -s "%1%"

Then follow this guide for adding a custom app to the context menu: How to Add Any Application to the Windows Desktop Right-Click Menu

You could then have a menu item called "Remove system attribute" which does just that, using your batch file. This way, you could also create a script to add the attribute back. Might be a bit fiddly getting it to work for multiple file selections, but with a bit of luck it will launch your file once for each selected item. You'll want to test this with:

@echo off
echo %1%

If it supplies the file names as attribute 1, 2, 3, etc you'll have to loop over all parameters. If more than one parameter is supplied, you could invoke your script recursively like this:

if NOT "%2%"=="" (
    for %%A in (%*) do (
        RemoveSysAttrib.bat "%%A"
) else (
    attrib -s "%1%"

Hope that helps =)

In response to Synetech's comments:

When you use attrib, it won’t change the H or S settings if the other is set (it will say not resetting XXXX file). You would need to strip (or set) both, then change the one that you did not want to modify back to what it was before.

I extended the script to check the 'H' attribute reported by Windows 7's attrib command. To make it more generic, you would need to check more substring positions, as I have a hunch that it's different in other versions. I don't have other versions of Windows handy right now, so I can't check.

@echo off
setlocal enabledelayedexpansion

:: Check if file is hidden - works on Windows 7
set hidden=0
for /f "delims=" %%A in ('attrib "%1%"') do (
    set attr=%%A
    if "!attr:~4,1!"=="H" set hidden=1

:: If file is hidden, remove both attributes, then hide again.
if %hidden%==1 (
    attrib -S -H "%1%"
    attrib +H "%1%"
) else (
    attrib -S "%1%"

  • Err, sorry for giving you a batch file solution, which you explicitly stated you don't want, but I think you meant that you just don't want to have to manually type stuff in. Using the context menu avoids this. =) – paddy Apr 19 '12 at 4:30
  • ah thanks, i've been trying to find that exact article because i recently formatted my PC, and used that before :) ...yeah i just didnt want to retype it each time – Oztaco - Reinstate Monica C. Apr 19 '12 at 5:07
  • 1
    Aside from the console window showing, your idea won’t work at all if the file has the hidden attribute set. When you use attrib, it won’t change the H or S settings if the other is set (it will say not resetting XXXX file). You would need to strip (or set) both, then change the one that you did not want to modify back to what it was before. This means using environment settings and/or temporary files. – Synetech Aug 19 '13 at 14:25
  • Thanks @Synetech I have offered an extension to handle this. Perhaps to address the aesthetic issue of the command window briefly showing, you could use a shortcut with the "Run minimized" setting. – paddy Aug 19 '13 at 22:27
  • Nice. (Isn’t it annoying how sometimes even slightly increasing a program can drastically complicate it? You can’t even use find for this since it prints the filename.) – Synetech Aug 20 '13 at 0:09

Install this: http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/bulkfilechanger.zip

or visit http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/bulk_file_changer.html to download the version file of your choice.

  • 3
    Welcome to Super User! Whilst this may theoretically answer the question, it would be preferable to include the essential parts of the answer here, and provide the link for reference. – slm Aug 19 '13 at 15:22

I found two more programs:

Attribute Changer - http://attribute-changer.software.informer.com/

File Attribute Stripper 1.0 - http://www.softpedia.com/get/System/File-Management/File-Attribute-Stripper.shtml

some time ago I was using "RemoveR PRO" from - http://www.bigwig.net/softwaredesign/free.htm (dead link now), maybe you can find it in some archives


You can use the AttrMenu shell-extension that creates a context-menu entry for files and folders:

Screenshot of AttrMenu context-menu

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.