How to Make a Read Only File Writable

By David Weedmark

Updated August 23, 2018

Encountering read-only files is a common occurrence in business today, especially if you collaborate on projects with other people. If you want to make changes to a file on your computer that is locked as read-only, you can make the file writable yourself. If the file is on someone else's computer or a shared drive that you don't have administrative access to, you need to ask that person to change the file permissions or copy the file to your own computer so you can make the change.

Changing File Permissions in Windows

Ensure that you are logged in to your computer with an administrator account. If someone else has administrator privileges on the computer you are using, that person has to log in to the computer.

Locate the file you want to change in File Explorer. To launch File Explorer, go to the Windows desktop and click the "File Explorer" icon in the bottom left of the screen.

Right-click the file and select "Properties" from the drop-down menu.

Click the "Security" tab. You can review user permissions here, if desired. The top pane in this window lists users and user groups for the computer. The second pane lists the permissions for the selected user or group.

Click the "Edit" button. Click a username or group in the top pane. You may select your username to change permissions just for you. If your name isn't visible, select "Administrator." If you want a group of users to have the same permissions, click that group name, such as "Administrators" or "Everyone."

Click the "Allow" check box beside Write to enable write access for the file. Click "Apply" and then click "Ok." Click "Ok" one last time to return to the File Explorer window.

Changing File Ownership

Open the Properties window for the file you want to change, just as you would to change file permissions. Click the "Security" tab, then the "Advanced" button.

Click the "Change" link next to the Owner's name near the top of the Advanced Security Settings window. Click the "Advanced" button and then click the "Find Now" button.

Select your username or "Administrator" from the list of search results. Click "Ok," then click "Ok" again to return to the Advanced Security Settings window. The Owner name is changed.


You should change file permissions only if you know the purpose of a file.

Information in this article applies to Windows 8. It may vary slightly or significantly with other versions or products.