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Protect files with Read Only file attribute

One of the lesser-used DOS utilities that can be very useful is the ATTRIB command. Every file on any PC has one or more attributes, as follows:

R -- Read-only file.

A -- Archive file.

S -- System file.

H -- Hidden file.

Most files are given an A or archive attribute, which is used to mark files that have changed since they were previously backed up. A file that has an attribute of S or System file is one that DOS itself needs. There are none of these on the Palmtop. Hidden files are occasionally created by programs you install on your system. Some files are so vital to the operation of a program, that accidental deletion of the file could cause major problems with the program. When the program is installed on your computer, these files are hidden to protect it from accidental deletion.


The last type of file attribute is R for Read-only. A file with this attribute can be loaded or run, but it cannot be modified or deleted. Some programs create this type of files during regular operation or installation. The file may be very important to the operation of the program and the developers decided to protect it from accidental deletion by giving it the R file attribute. The following Palmtop files are Read-only to prevent accidental deletion: C:\ _DAT\CCMAIL.ENV and C:\ _DAT\SETUP.ENV. There may be others.


Files are created as Read-only to prevent you from accidentally deleting them. But you may have reason to delete or modify one of these files. For example, let's say you installed a software program on your Palmtop in a specific directory and later decide to delete it to free up disk space. You use the DEL command from DOS or the built-in Filer to delete all the files in that directory and are able to erase all the regular files (i.e., the ones with the Archive attribute or no attributes). But DOS will flash the access denied message when you try to remove files with the Read-only attribute. You try to go to Filer and remove the file. Filer will also give you an Error message (Cannot delete read-only file: filename'). The way to delete a Read-only file is to change its file attribute.

Let's say you had a Read-only file named REPORT.TXT you wanted to remove. Go to the DOS prompt, change to the directory the file is in, type attrib -r report.txt and press (ENTER). The file is no longer Read-only and can be deleted or modified. You can also make the REPORT.TXT file Read-only by typing attrib +r report .txt.

Many people create templates for Lotus worksheets or Memo documents. Once they get the template the way they want it, they can make it Read-only. They can load it, modify it and save it under a different name. They can't accidentally change the template itself.

The Palmtop's C:\_DAT\ SETUP.ENV file mentioned above keeps configuration settings for SetUp the application. Once you've set your Palmtop up the way you want it, create a back up of that file. If the original SETUP.ENV file corrupts or you make changes to it you don't like, you can restore the backup file to C:\_DAT\SETUP.ENV. But first, you must turn off C:\_DAT\ SETUP.ENV's Read-only attribute so the file can be modified.

Tom Gibson

Technical Editor,

HP Palmtop Paper E:-mail: tom_gibson@thaddeus.com

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