NT Syntax


Display or change file attributes.

      ATTRIB [ + attribute | - attribute ] [pathname] [/S] 

   +  : Turn an attribute ON
- : Clear an attribute OFF

pathname : Drive and/or filename e.g. C:\*.txt

/S : Search the pathname including all subfolders.

attributes: H Hidden S System R Read-only A Archive

If no attributes are specified attrib will return the current attribute settings

Combining the Hidden and System attributes.

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, you would type:

Using ATTRIB with groups of files

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

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

Changing the attributes for a directory

You can display or change the attributes for a directory. To use ATTRIB with a directory, you must explicitly specify the directory name; you cannot use wildcards to work with directories.

For example, to hide the directory C:\SECRET, you would type the following:


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

Viewing archive attributes

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 many (but not all) 3rd party backup solutions.

Related Commands:

CACLS - Change file permissions

Equivalent Linux BASH commands:

chmod - Change access permissions
chown - Change file owner and group

Simon Sheppard