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Word files suddenly become read only

by 1Chris / September 30, 2008 8:27 AM PDT

What could cause my Word files to suddenly become read-only?

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Can you tell more?
by Kees Bakker / September 30, 2008 4:58 PM PDT

In Word you save a file as .doc and it gets a read-only attribute in the properties in Windows Explorer?
Or something else?

What version of Word?
No problems in Excel?
What OS?


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Word files suddenly become read-only
by 1Chris / October 1, 2008 1:38 PM PDT
In reply to: Can you tell more?

I'm using Office 97 in Vista. I know, many really weird quirks, but at least it's been functioning normally for what I'm using it right now.
I've had files for weeks, months, and sometimes years that I occassionally add to and resave with the same name. Normally no problem at all. Sometimes I open one and it's read-only; how did that happen?

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Have any of these files
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / October 1, 2008 9:45 PM PDT

been stored on a CD/DVD recently, and then copied back over to the hard drive?

If so, copying them to CD/DVD makes them Read only, and copying them back will keep that attribute.


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You didn't answer ...
by Kees Bakker / October 1, 2008 9:51 PM PDT

my question about the read-only attribute in the properties of the file (in My Computer or Windows Explorer). So Mark had to guess that that's the problem.
That's why I asked.


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Just so you know.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / October 1, 2008 10:19 PM PDT

The read only issue popped up on Windows XP running Word 97. What some discovered was Word was opening the file twice and the second time you get the read only notification. For Windows XP the fix was easy. Don't open documents from Explorer but from Word.

Remember that no permanent fix was every offered to this and the other anomalies. But why should this be an issue since almost everything you can do in Word 97 can be done in Open Office and you can keep your files in Word 97 format.

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Read only word files
by rc_curry / April 15, 2009 11:24 AM PDT

What could cause my Word files to suddenly become read-only?

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(NT) Are you running Word 97?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 15, 2009 12:26 PM PDT
In reply to: Read only word files
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Word documents suddenly become "read only" while revising
by bikerslady / May 7, 2009 6:39 AM PDT
In reply to: Read only word files

I am using Word 2003 with XP Home operating system. Over the past week Word has decided to make files that I am currently working on "read only" and I have to create a new file. The original document is not a read only file when opened, it happens a few minutes into revising the document. Any ideas why this is happening and how to stop it?

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This problem is still occuring
by planetrock333 / January 25, 2010 2:41 AM PST

I recently upgraded to Windows 7 with Office 2007 Professional. I hoped the problem would stop, but it still continues.

My files are not on a network, they are on my laptop under My Documents. None of them are marked as "Read Only", and I can open them and make updates and save them.

However, often after saving them a few times, the file will suddenly become read only. At that point the only thing I can do it save it with another name, or undo the changes, trying to remember what they were, reopen the file, and redo the changes.

This is silly that Microsoft has left this bug in for so long. It's not hard to recreate. I get it several times a week. If it has something to do with automatic updates, then that should give them a clue as to where to start looking to solve the problem.

For what I paid for this software, I really thought these issues would have been addressed.

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Next question.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 25, 2010 3:33 AM PST

Did you report the bug?

MSFT has a boatload of HOTFIXes you only gain access to if you call such bugs in. I make no apology that such bug fixes are more secret than the Russian Moon Base. They seem to be that secretive.

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Re: recreate
by Kees_B Forum moderator / January 26, 2011 10:40 PM PST

It's very difficult to recreate, because it happens with practically nobody. With you, and with asr693 below, and maybe a few others who don't post here, but it doesn't happen with the overwhelming majority of Word users.
So something must be different with you. Now the big question: what is that?


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Still Happening
by kenhickling63 / April 26, 2016 1:57 AM PDT
In reply to: Re: recreate

Here we are in 2016 and I am using Office 2013 nd it is still happening - and I am part of the nobody else...

I made a template. Works just fine, but I wanted to change the formatting. Couldn't just save it. Had to do Save As. Now, this isn't the end of the world or anything, but multiple versions are not what I want. So why am I forced down this path?

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This big thread is hard to work but
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 26, 2016 8:40 AM PDT
In reply to: Still Happening

I found this happens a lot on W8 and W10 when folk use the email login system. There might be other causes but here, using a local login I'm not able to replicate the issue.

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I am having the same issue with XP and Office Word 2007
by RosemaryH2 / June 17, 2011 1:39 AM PDT

When this happens, Save As... with the same name in a different directory - I usually just go one level up - then exit Word and move the file back into the original directory, overwriting the original file.

This is also a good technique to use on Word or PowerPoint files containing pictures, as it often reduces the file size considerably.

I am trying opening the file from within Word rather than from Windows Explorer. So far, so good.

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Don't try and save while the file is still updating
by RosemaryH2 / June 20, 2011 1:07 PM PDT

I experienced the problem when I was working with a document into which I was pasting screenshots from a course I was taking. When I hit Ctrl-V, although the picture appeared immediately, it took Word a few seconds to update the file - I could see the little 'write' icon moving at the bottom of my screen. As long as I waited for that to finish before hitting the Save button, the problem did not happen. I also made sure that Word was not auto-saving the file at the same time as I was saving it.

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or undo the changes, trying to remember what they were
by what_ever-2 / May 24, 2012 8:47 PM PDT

What I do, when this annoying thing happens to me on Microsoft XP, is I simply copy the document using edit / select all / copy, then paste it on to a new document, close the one that's gone 'read only' (which is nerve racking but has to be done) then save the new document in the old name.

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Word doc suddenly becomes read-only
by DJuneS / January 7, 2014 3:36 AM PST

This started yesterday, on documents I created and never shared. Last week all my word documents were opening in review-mode. Now read-only mode. It's been a long time since Word has been an efficient word processing program.
I'm using Word 2010
OS Win 7 Professional
Jan 7, 2014

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Word files suddenly become read only on a read/write dvd
by recyling / February 1, 2010 5:27 AM PST

why would dvd word file suddenly become read only on a read/write dvd?

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That's the way it's designed.
by Kees Bakker / February 1, 2010 10:33 PM PST

Not only for Word-files, by the way. For all files.


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by knowledgenotebook / June 20, 2011 6:03 AM PDT

Could it be that you were using an eval copy of Word by any chance? fyi, I'm using Open Office now, not bad.

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Besides the eval period being up.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / June 20, 2011 6:08 AM PDT

I found out years ago to not leave my sole copy on read/write dvd or even to attempt to edit files on such media.

While the software that makes this happen does it best to "wear level" and more, one glitch and the contents do very odd things or just vanish. This is why I would edit my content on the normal HDD then copy it to my DVDRW at the end of the day for safety.

"We only lose what we didn't backup." (CNET Moderators)

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Happens all the time
by Scapergal / February 13, 2013 4:47 AM PST

This happens all the time to me and it's incredibly frustrating.
I am constantly having to resave a file with a different name.
When you're writing a book it's incredibly annoying having to resave every time you add a few paragraphs or chapters.
I'm using Windows XP and MS Word 2003
The suggested online fix is to uncheck the "Read Only" box in properties but many times it's not checked and it also involves going out of the document to do that which means you either have to save as a new version or lose your changes

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I share your pain ...
by PhilipCohen2 / February 13, 2013 7:19 AM PST
In reply to: Happens all the time

Interesting, I still use Office 2003 and when I was using XP I had no trouble (only very rarely with an open Excel file that I was constantly saving); only when I upgraded to Win 7 did the sky start falling on my Word file "saves" (Excel files seem OK now!!!) ...

Wouldn't it be nice if Microsoft would at least acknowledge that there is a problem ...

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Same issue
by asj693 / January 25, 2011 3:39 AM PST

I'm having the same issues. I open a file made in Word2010 and saved as docx file. I work in it and use ctrl S it saves a few times then it suddenly (doesn't appear to be a pattern) converts to read-only and I have to rename the file.

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This happens to me also
by whmscl / July 18, 2011 9:30 AM PDT
In reply to: Same issue

It is completely frustrating. It is not an eval version of Word, it is not a networked file (it is my own file on my laptop), it is opened using Word, it has nothing to do with a CD/DVD (it was created using Word on my laptop) and none of the other possible reasons people have posted about on here. I am running Windows 7 and Word 2010 but have had this problem with earlier operating systems and software versions. After the document has been edited and saved a few times Word simply decides to make the document read-only. I don't WANT to have to re-name it, save it somewhere else, then move it later. Why should I have to do this? There must be some way to fix this problem.

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You don't say?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 20, 2011 7:04 AM PDT

If the file is on the CD, it matters but you didn't write if there was or was not a CD in play.

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Help! me too
by emted / July 27, 2011 5:50 AM PDT

This is happening to me, were you able to fix it??

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No problem here.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 27, 2011 10:01 AM PDT
In reply to: Help! me too

Just uncheck the readonly box in properties or Explorer.

The cause is somewhat of a mystery but the clue is the use of the CD.

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That's not it
by POWERlessUSER / January 22, 2012 4:43 AM PST
In reply to: No problem here.

This started happening to me today. Some facts:

1. There is no CD. I created two files from scratch within Word (Office 2007 SP2, fully licensed). I saved them under the names I wanted. I occasionally used the "Save" icon to save my changes. At different times, both files suddenly refused to save and gave the (Read only) tag in the title bar.
2. The properties box still shows "Read only" as UNCHECKED. The properties are not editable.
3. It has now happened twice for one of the files; I'm on the third different file name.

I had never seen this problem before in years of use.

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Please start a new discussion.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 22, 2012 4:48 AM PST
In reply to: That's not it

The usual ideas are already covered. Including the folder permissions, inheritance and more.

I have seen this problem many times and unless I get on the machine to figure out what's different we have to work the usual angles. In other words, GUESS.

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