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Definition: file attribute

A file access classification that determines how a file can be viewed or whether it can be edited. File attributes are maintained in the file system's directories, and typical attributes are Read-Only, Hidden, System and Archive. See extended file attributes.

Read-Only Attribute
A Read-Only file can be viewed, but not changed.

Hidden and System Attributes
Files marked Hidden and System do not normally display unless the file manager option to display them is selected. Any file can be marked as Hidden; however, operating system and other control program files are marked as System files as a means of identification.

Archive Attribute
The archive attribute is used for backup. When a file is created, the archive bit is turned on, and when a program copies the file, the archive bit is turned off. For example, the /m parameter in the Xcopy command in Windows turns off the archive attribute. When the file is edited and saved again, the attribute bit is turned on.