ATTRIB.exe – Windows CMD Command

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Display or change file attributes. Find Filenames.

The numeric values can be used when changing attributes with VBS/WSH
If no attribute is specified attrib will return the current attribute settings. Used with just the /S option ATTRIB will quickly search for a particular filename.

Hidden and System attributes take priority.

If a file has both the Hidden and System attributes set, you can clear both attributes only with a single ATTRIB command.

For example, to clear the Hidden and System attributes for the RECORD.TXT file, type:

if a file has the System or Hidden attribute set, you must clear that attribute before you can change any other attributes.


You can use wildcards (? and *) with the pathname parameter to display or change the attributes for a group of files.

Directory Attributes

You can display or change some attributes for a directory/folder.

The Read-only attribute (R) does not apply to a folder. This is because unlike a file, a folder object does not contain any content that can be edited. The Name of a folder can be changed but that is a rename operation not an edit of the contents.

On Windows Vista and greater, the Read-only attribute of a folder can be set or cleared in Windows Explorer as a fast method of setting/clearing the Read-only attribute of all files within the folder. It does not actually set the attribute on the folder itself.

To use ATTRIB with a directory, you must explicitly specify the directory name; you cannot use wildcards to work with directories.

e.g. The following command would affect only files, not directories: ATTRIB +H C:*.*

To hide the directory C:\SECRET, type the following:


The System attribute is used by Windows to determine that a folder is a special folder, such as My Documents, Favorites, Fonts, etc.

View Archive attribute

The Archive attribute (A) is used to mark files that have changed since they were previously backed up.
The (A) flag is automatically updated by Windows as the file is saved.
If the (A) flag is present – the file is new or has been changed since the last backup.

The MSBACKUP, RESTORE, and XCOPY commands use these Archive attributes, as do most 3rd party backup solutions.

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