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Bryan
Bryan, Programming Tutor
Category: Programming
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Experience:  Delphi, c, c++, c# and even a bit of Assembler thrown in. I've been programming for over 25 years. What do you need to know
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I am unable to save my files in excel; somehow they have all

Customer Question

I am unable to save my files in excel; somehow they have all become "READ ONLY". I did not change any setting , but I am no longer able to save anything.I am able to copy the info into a new file but original still read only, I need to know why this happened and how to prevent it. Please call me at or email me atXXX@XXXXXX.XXX Thank you Dan

Optional Information:
Computer OS: Windows Vista
Browser: Chrome

Already Tried:
going into properties and changing Read only, which the box is in blue, not grey, not checked, but blue highlight

I want to know what caused this and how to fix it. I would like to find what command undoes this. I will be available after 4:00 pm est today to resolve this issue
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Programming
Expert:  Bryan replied 2 years ago.

JBryan42 :

Welcome to JustAnswer. My name is Bryan and I would like to help you with this problem.

JBryan42 :

If you check the properties of the file from Windows Explorer (WindowsKey+E, navigate to the folder where your Excel files are stored, right click any of the problem files, click "Properties") does it show as "Read-Only" there?

JBryan42 :

Are you logged in as the same user that created the file originally?

JBryan42 :

Have there been any recent changes to the computer (for example: new AntiVirus software, added users to the computer, anything else that might affect permissions)?

JBryan42 :

Which version of Excel are you running?

JBryan42 :

Have you recently run a "Disk Cleanup"? Sometimes temporary files in the internet cache can cause this error. To run the disk cleanup hit WindowsKey+R, type "cleanmgr.exe" and hit return, select your system drive (C: usually), when it's done scanning check all checkboxes, click "Clean up System Files", then you can exit.

JBryan42 :

Let me know your results.

JBryan42 :

Please note that JustAnswer.com does not pay the experts anything at all. We do not earn a salary. The only way we are paid is if you "Accept" my answer if you feel that I have helped you with this problem, whether you have a subscription or not. It has been a pleasure serving you. Contact JBryan42 anytime you need help. And remember, Tips and positive feedback are ALWAYS appreciated! :)

Customer :

bRYAN,

Customer :

Bryan, 1. No, and under properties / general all the boxes in the Attributes section are "grayed out"; 2. Yes; 3. No; 4. 2003; 5. No, but I tried and nothing happens - here is what I did - WindowsKey+R, then C: then hit ok, then a list of 19 items appear - mainly folders(11) but nothing happens. I then picked the folder (directory) "users", then the folder (directory) droling, then "Documents" -this is where I am have the "read only" problem, then I picked folder "Dan Personal", then folder "Investments", then selected an excel file - it opened, then i tried to save it but got the "read only" response, but in that response it said click okay and give it a new name to save I clicked Ok, gave it a new name and hit save, only to be told the file is "Read Only". I hit Ok, and get the same message. What do I do now?

JBryan42 :

Ok, well, if you still have that file opened and want to save it, try saving it to another directory. Otherwise, just cancel out and close Excel.

JBryan42 :

Next step is to check the ownership of the directory. So, open Explorer (WindowsKey+E), navigate to the "Users/YourLogin" folder, right click the folder name in the left panel and select "Properties", then click "Security" tab, "Advanced" button, "Owner" tab, "Edit" button, under "Change Owner To" click your user name, check the "Replace the owner on subcontainers and objects" checkbox, click "Apply", then "Ok"

JBryan42 :

Click "Ok" all the way back to the Explorer window. Once there, find the directory with your Excel files beneath that folder. When you have all of your Excel files showing in the right panel, select them all (click the first one, move to the end, shift-click the last one), then right click one of the selected files, go to properties, now you should be able to de-select "Read Only"

JBryan42 :

Got all that?

Customer :

I followed your instructions step by step and arrived at the same place as before - - It still says "Read Only" and I cannot save my files.

Customer :

If you want to call me, XXX-XXX-XXXX

JBryan42 :

Unfortunately we're not allowed to call customers. Sorry. Give me a minute and let me see if I can find any other possible causes.

Customer :

Okay, thanks

JBryan42 :

Can you right click one of your Excel files, go to properties and tell me if it is still set as "Read Only"?

JBryan42 :

Also, check the properties of the folder the Excel files are in, verify that it is not set to read only.

JBryan42 :

brb

JBryan42 :

How are we coming along?

JBryan42 :

Looks like you may have stepped away from the computer. Please let me know (by typing into this chat window) when you return.

Customer :

I am back and will do

Customer :

No and it never has been; what it was was a "blue highlight" in the box, not a check for read only. I clicked it a few times and it went from "blue" to a check to nothing. Then i would hit ok.

JBryan42 :

Ok, is that for the files and folder? Or just the folder? Can you re-verify that none of them is marked as "read only" now? The full box means that some of the selections are read only, and some are not.

JBryan42 :

Unfortunately, I have to leave for awhile. I will be back in about 2 1/2 hours. Please let me know the results after you check the read only status.

Customer :

I opened a new folder with a number of excel files, under attributes the "Read-only" box was blue, I clicked on it and it went white, clicked again and I got a check mark, clicked again and it went blue, clicked again and it went white. I then clicked OK, and then OK again, and as usual I got another box that said "you will need to provide administrator permission to change these attributes. Click Continue to complete this operation." I clicked continue; new box "Windows needs your permission to continue" I clicked "Continue" New box that then applied the settings and took me back to my folder. I reopened the excel file, hit save and still get the "read only" notice and cannot save it, even with a new name.

Customer :

I need to step a way, will check for your response when you return.

Customer :

Please send me an email when you return, I have to shut down for a bit, but will check back in an hour.

JBryan42 :

Ok. So then it looks to me like it didn't "Take Ownership" of the files, otherwise it wouldn't be asking you to confirm with Admin privs. So run through these steps again, and make sure that there are no errors. Here are the steps again so you don't have to scrolll up.

JBryan42 :

So, open Explorer (WindowsKey+E), navigate to the "Users/YourLogin" folder, right click the folder name in the left panel and select "Properties", then click "Security" tab, "Advanced" button, "Owner" tab, "Edit" button, under "Change Owner To" click your user name, check the "Replace the owner on subcontainers and objects" checkbox, click "Apply", then "Ok"

4:22 PM

Click "Ok" all the way back to the Explorer window. Once there, find the directory with your Excel files beneath that folder. When you have all of your Excel files showing in the right panel, select them all (click the first one, move to the end, shift-click the last one), then right click one of the selected files, go to properties, now you should be able to de-select "Read Only"

Customer :

I did exactly as you suggested, but got the same results, I cannot save anything in that directory

Customer :

I will type out each command and what I see to make sure I am doing it the way you want:

Customer :

First WindowsKey+E - I get my Computershowing hard disk drives / devices / network locations

Customer :

I click on Local Disck (D):

Customer :

Correction Local Disk (C):

Customer :

Then I get a list of directories - I click on Users; then I click on the directory where I am having all the problems - droling - is this correct so far?

JBryan42 :

Yep. So far it's good.

Customer :

Now I right click on droling and then click on properties; now I click on Security tab and "Advanced" there is a list of four under Permission entries: The "Type" is "allow" on all four; Name 1- System; 2-Dan R ;3-account unknown; 4-Administrators; Permissions 1- Modify; 2-Read & Excute; 3-full control; 4-Full control am I still on track?

Customer :

I just clicked on "Owner" tab and it says under "Current Owner: Dan R; I now clicked on the "Edit" button and hit return and got a grayed out screen , a new box saying "User Account Control" Windows needs your permission to continue --- iS THIS WHAT YOU ARE EXPECTING AND SHOULD I CLICK "CONTINUE" OR "CANCEL"??

JBryan42 :

While you're typing let me ask a couple questions. You can answer when done with your current entry. First, how do you normally open an Excel file? Is it from within Excel using File - Open, or is it by double clicking a spreadsheet either in Explorer or a shortcut? Second, If you click on an Excel spreadsheet in Explorer, does you get a preview of it in Explorer? Third, if you have a spreadsheet open in Excel, do File - Save As - Tools - General Options, verify that "Read only recommended" is NOT checked.

JBryan42 :

Yes, that is what is expected, continue.

Customer :

I never open a file in Explorer, always through Excel or from my documents

JBryan42 :

Ok, opening from My Documents is the same as from a Shortcut. Just FYI.

Customer :

Okay I hit Continue and next box is "Advance Security Settings for droling" under "Name" there are two 1 Administrators and 2 Dan R I clicked Dan R and then check the box for "Replace owner on subcontainers and objects and then hit Ok It is now scrolling though a number of files new box "Window Security" says I will haVE TO CLOSE AND REOPEN THIS OBJECT'S PROPERTIES BEFORE i CAN VIEW OR CHANGE PERMISSIONS

Customer :

I clicked Ok and it took me to "Advanced Security Setting for droling - Owner tab now what?

JBryan42 :

That's fine.

JBryan42 :

Ok, once that is done, you'll need to "Ok" all the way out. Then you should reboot the computer and we'll continue with the properties of the folder and files.

JBryan42 :

But before you reboot, how about Questions two and three?

Customer :

I will then click Ok and now at droling Properties and I click Ok and I am back at original list of directories I now closed out of everything and told the computer to "Restart" I am waiting

JBryan42 :

Ok

Customer :

Sorry already hit restart

JBryan42 :

No problem .. I was thinking that you were typing to me on the same computer so it's no big deal.

Customer :

I now have a choice to sign on as me or administrator, which would you like me to do?

JBryan42 :

Sign on as you

Customer :

DONE

JBryan42 :

Here are the other 2 questions again so you don't have to scroll up:

JBryan42 :

Second, If you click on an Excel spreadsheet in Explorer, does you get a preview of it in Explorer? Third, if you have a spreadsheet open in Excel, do File - Save As - Tools - General Options, verify that "Read only recommended" is NOT checked.

JBryan42 :

does = do

Customer :

What do you mean by Open excel in explorer? How do I do that?

JBryan42 :

In other words, if you have Excel running, and you have a spreadsheet opened,

JBryan42 :

So start Excel, open a spreadsheet, the do the file - save as - etc...

JBryan42 :

This is a link to .reg file that will turn off the preview panel. The preview panel can cause this problem as well. http://www.sevenforums.com/attachments/tutorials/56367d1267042264-preview-pane-turn-off-turn_preview_pane_off.reg

JBryan42 :

Once the reg file is downloaded, double click it to merge into your registry.

Customer :

Got it, it is what I refer to as from documents; I will open in excel; DONE went to Save As - Tools - General Options and "Read onlyrecommended" is not checked

JBryan42 :

Ok. Let's first disable the preview panel with the reg file, then we'll finish up setting the properties on the folders.

JBryan42 :

and documents

Customer :

I have never used the preview panel

JBryan42 :

That's ok. This reg file will just disable it so that there are no locks on the file when they are opened.

Customer :

So I want to "run" it not "save" it?

Customer :

Done

JBryan42 :

Right

Customer :

Okay, did that and then opened the excel file and I still cannot save it; it is still read only

JBryan42 :

Ok, good. Now, open Windows Explorer, navigate to users\droling, sort by FileType, select all Excel files, then right click on them and select properties. Make sure that "Read Only" is not checked.

JBryan42 :

After you change all of the Excel files, be sure that you "Apply" the changes, then click "Ok"

JBryan42 :

Now, instead of opening a spreadsheet by opening My Documents, click the start button, find Microsoft Excel, and open it from there. Then use File - Open to browse to c:\users\droling and select an excel file from there.

Customer :

I need help here, I am in Documents, but how do I sort to get only excel files?

JBryan42 :

Where it says "Type", click that label.

Customer :

Also, I am having the same issue with Word docs too.

JBryan42 :

That will sort it by type

JBryan42 :

Ok, then forget the sort part.

JBryan42 :

Lets select all of the files and all of the folder in the Documents folder.

Customer :

To get to Type I have to go past Dcouments into two more directories

Customer :

Under Type it says File Folder

JBryan42 :

Don't worry about the sorting. We're going to apply this to all documents. So, just click on the first file (or folder) listed in the Documents folder, on the right panel, then use the scroll bar to scroll to the bottom, then shift+click on the last file (or folder). That should select all of them.

Customer :

The when I click on Documents it get 159 more file folders under Type

JBryan42 :

Don't worry about Type ... just select everything in the documents folder.

Customer :

Done

Customer :

now what?

JBryan42 :

Ok, and all of the "Read only" attributes have been reset as well?

Customer :

Read only is not checked and I hit ok

Customer :

Should I now open a file and see?

JBryan42 :

It was not checked for any of the files or folders?

JBryan42 :

Not yet ... one more thing.

JBryan42 :

Click start, type "cmd" into the search box, right click "cmd" in the menu and run as admin.

JBryan42 :

Tell me when you've got the cmd window open

Customer :

cmd window is open, but I never say admin

Customer :

never saw admin

JBryan42 :

That won't work then ... type exit

Customer :

done

JBryan42 :

Are you right-clicking "cmd" from the menu or where you typed it?

Customer :

found it and did what you asked, new box stating Windows needs your permission to contineu, i should click continue?

JBryan42 :

Yes

Customer :

ok I am in cmd window

JBryan42 :

Ok, now type "cd\users\dloring" enter

Customer :

did you mis spell droling or was that on purpose?

JBryan42 :

oops ... misspelling .. sorry

Customer :

done

JBryan42 :

ok, and now type "cd documents" enter

Customer :

done

JBryan42 :

Now type "attrib -r *.* /s /d" enter

JBryan42 :

Do you see any "Access denied" on any of your documents?

Customer :

is there a space between the b and the-?

JBryan42 :

Yes

Customer :

done and response was Invalid switch - -r*.*/s/d

JBryan42 :

Ok, it is "attrib space -r space *.* space /s space /d"

Customer :

Wow, got a lot of quick responses basically say Not resetting hidden file -

JBryan42 :

That's no problem. We don't need the hidden files. Ok, now type "exit" enter

Customer :

done

JBryan42 :

Then click Start, find Microsoft Excel in the program list, and click it to start excel.

JBryan42 :

Once Excel is open, let me know.

Customer :

open

JBryan42 :

Ok, now do File - Open - Browse to Users/droling/Documents and select one of your Excel files.

Customer :

Done

JBryan42 :

Ok, now is it still in read only mode?

Customer :

When I go to file - properties the attributes area is all grayed out and I cannot modify it, but the read only box is not checked, but it never has been, if I try to save it , I can't because it is Read only

JBryan42 :

Close that file, but remember which file it was that you had open. Then close Excel.

Customer :

done

JBryan42 :

Open Explorer, navigate to users/droling/documents and find that file. Right click on it and select properties.

Customer :

done

JBryan42 :

Tell me if it says it is read only.

Customer :

no

JBryan42 :

Click on Document statistics, and tell me the Author

JBryan42 :

Or, forget that ... not important.

JBryan42 :

Click the "Security" tab, click on your user name under "Group or user names"

JBryan42 :

Are all permissions checked Allow?

Customer :

NO

JBryan42 :

What is not checked "Allow"?

Customer :

Full Control; Modify; Write; Special permissions

JBryan42 :

Ok, close the properties box.

JBryan42 :

Select all files and folders again. Right-click and select properties.

JBryan42 :

Go to Security, Advanced, Owner, is the "Current Owner" you?

Customer :

when I select all folders and files and right click I do not get that box.

JBryan42 :

What do you get? There's no "Properties" option?

Customer :

Sorry I get the properties box, but just for the folder my cursor is on , and that only has two tabs - General and Customize

Customer :

Under general there is a line Type: Multiple Types and under Attributes the Read only box is not checked

JBryan42 :

hmmm .. you're right. Sorry, I missed that before. Ok, just select all files then, no folders.

Customer :

done

Customer :

same result when more than one type of file this case pdf, excel, word

JBryan42 :

ok ... let me check something out. Give me a second.

Customer :

Okay, but I am at a stopping point, I have an early day tomorrow. So I am signing off, if you have another idea I will try it tomorrow. Thanks for the help.....

JBryan42 :

Ok. I'll type in the command line when I get it finished.

JBryan42 :

Have a good night.

Customer :

tks

JBryan42 :

Ok, Step 1: Find your workroup or domain name. Click Start, right-click "Computer", select "Properties". Take note of the "Workgroup" name. I will refer to it as "workgroup" in further steps, but you should type in your actual workgroup name.

JBryan42 :

Step 2: Open the cmd window in admin mode again. Click Start, type "cmd", right click "cmd" in the menu, select "Run as Administrator", allow it to run.

JBryan42 :

Step 3: Type "cd\users\droling\documents" enter

JBryan42 :

Step 4: This is where we set all the permissions. We need to be very accurate in this command line so I'll spell out all spaces. Type "icacls space *.* space /grant:r space workgroup\dloring:(OI) space (CI)F" (in parentheses, those are (oi) and (ci)) enter

JBryan42 :

Sorry! Ignore that Step 4. It is wrong. Here is the correction:

JBryan42 :

Step 4: Type "icacls space *.* space /grant:r space dloring:(F) space /T" enter

JBryan42 :

Step 5: type "exit" enter

JBryan42 :

Step 6: Open Microsoft Excel from the Start menu. Click Start, find Microsoft Excel, click it.

JBryan42 :

Step 7: Open an Excel file using the file - open. Click "File", "Open", browse to "c:\users\droling\documents" and select an Excel file.

JBryan42 :

Step 8: Try to save it ... let me know what happens.

JBryan42 :

Yeah, I just realized I misspelled your name again in step 4. Sorry about that.

JBryan42 :

I was wondering if this was working for you or not. I haven't heard anything back from you.

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