Rally 'Round the Tri-Mode Flag
Here's a minor Windows annoyance that Microsoft should send back to development.
- By Bill Boswell
- January 01, 2004
We have a Windows 2003 server. When I
try to remove the Read-only attribute from folders, Windows goes through
the motions and appears to remove the attribute. However, when I check
again, the Read-only attribute is back.
This only applies to folders, not to the files in the folders. We have
an NT 4.0 domain.
If I view the same folder from our Windows 2000 server, there is no read-only
attribute. It is most certainly a local setting.
I have tried taking ownership, changing rights, etc. There is no obvious
local security policy. I've tried all operations as local administrator
and domain administrator.
We are running a database with users telnetting to the server. The read-only
access is preventing anyone other than administrators logging into the
Help from Bill
Got a Windows or Exchange question or need troubleshooting
help? Or maybe you want a better explanation than provided
in the manuals? Describe your dilemma in an e-mail
to Bill at mailto:email@example.com;
the best questions get answered in this column.
When you send your questions, please include your
full first and last name, location, certifications (if
any) with your message. (If you prefer to remain anonymous,
specify this in your message but submit the requested
information for verification purposes.)
Adrian: You just happened to find one of my pet peeves
with Windows Server 2003 (and Windows XP, for that matter).
That read-only checkbox you see on the folder? (See figure below.) If
you look closely, you'll see that there's a little fleck of gray behind
Microsoft calls this a tri-mode flag. When it has gray in the background,
it indicates that some file or folder anywhere under that particular folder
has been set to Read-only.
This checkmark does not actually control the Read-only attribute on the
child files and folder, as you discovered. It just displays their status.
During the Windows XP beta, many testers posted comments complaining
about how confusing those tri-mode flags can be. I guess they didn't confuse
the developers, though, because they left them in the product.
|Properties for a folder containing vim, a vi-based
text editor that has a graphical interface. Don't be fooled by the
Read-only check box; the gray background and check mark indicates
that this is a tri-mode flag and it can't be changed.
Hope this helps.
Contributing Editor Bill Boswell, MCSE, is the principal of Bill Boswell Consulting, Inc. He's the author of Inside Windows Server 2003 and Learning Exchange Server 2003 both from Addison Wesley. Bill is also Redmond magazine's "Windows Insider" columnist and a speaker at MCP Magazine's TechMentor Conferences.