Every file you create or modify in Windows 10 has file attributes attached that tell you (or anyone else) when the file was created, modified, opened, and possibly more. It doesn’t matter if you’re late with a mission or just trying to cover up your tracks – the information will always be there if you don’t change it.
If you want to change such file attributes, you have several options. You can use the new Windows PowerShell to change or delete this data, or you can do it using Windows Explorer or another third-party application like Attribute Changer Here’s how to change file attributes in Windows 10 using these methods.
Remove file attributes using Windows File Explorer
If you want to change the last modified date or other attributes of a file in Windows 10, you might want to do so first using the Properties menu for the file in Windows Explorer.
Unfortunately this is not possible. You can view and change certain attributes of files in Explorer, but you cannot change the dates of the last view, edit, or modification. However, it will delete other personal information such as the author’s name of the documents, ratings for media files, and set the file to read-only or hide.
To change other attributes of a file, such as last modified date, creation date, and other important information about the file, you need to use one of the methods listed later in this article, specifically using the Attribute Changer app.
- To remove certain personal attributes of a file, open Windows Explorer and locate the file. Right-click the file and select Properties.
- In the Properties field, click the Details tab, then click the Remove Properties and Personal Information link.
- As we mentioned, you cannot delete or change the file creation date or other important file attributes here. If your file has other personal information attached to it, you can create a copy of the file with the information removed by clicking the Create Copy With All Possible Properties Removed button, and then click OK to save and proceed. A copy of your file will appear in the same folder as the original file, with the attributes you selected removed.
- To remove this information from an existing file, select the Remove the following properties from this file option instead, and then select the properties you want to remove. Click OK to save and remove this information from the file.
- You can also use Explorer to change or set other file attributes, such as whether your files are hidden or read-only. In the Properties box, go to the General tab, then select the Hidden or Read Only checkboxes to enable or disable these options, then click OK to save.
To change the last modified date and other attributes, you will need another method as shown below.
Change file attributes with PowerShell
The attrib command from Windows PowerShell allows you to view and change file attributes for Windows 10 files. It comes as standard so no additional software is required to use it.
This is a fairly complex method, but also very limited. If you need an easier way to change file attributes, use the Attribute Changer app below.
- First, open a PowerShell window – preferably with administrator rights. To do this, right-click the Windows Start menu and click PowerShell (Admin) to launch a new PowerShell window with administrator rights enabled.
- Use the cd and ls commands to move folders and view the contents of files. Once in the correct folder, you can list all the relevant attributes for your file by typing Get-ItemProperty -Path file | Format-list -Property * -Force, replacing the file with the file path.
- You can use the Set-ItemProperty command to change file attributes such as read-only access. To do this, enter Set-ItemProperty -Path file -Name IsReadOnly -Value True, replacing the file with your file name. For a complete list of possible variables for this command, see the complete Microsoft PowerShell documentation
A successful change will cause PowerShell to return no response, but you can test if it was successful by typing Get-ItemProperty -Path file | Format-list -Property * -Force again or by browsing the file properties using explorer.
As we mentioned, this is not the easiest way to change file attributes. There are third party apps like Attribute Changer to make this much easier and also allow you to change the last modified date and more.
Use the theme changer to change the attributes of Windows 10 files
Attribute Changer offers the best way to change file attributes in Windows. Along with the typical hidden and read-only attributes, Attribute Changer allows you to change the file access and file creation dates and other options.
- First you need to download and install Attribute Changer After installation, open Windows Explorer and locate the file, then right-click and select the Edit Attributes option.
- This will open an additional properties window for your file â€” this is the Attribute Changer in action. Check (or uncheck) the box to enable or disable various system attributes, such as hidden file or read-only access, at the top of the File Properties tab.
- If you want to change the last modified date or change the file creation data, click to select the Change date and time check box. This will allow you to change the creation, modification and access time stamps – change them using the provided options.
- After making changes, click OK or Apply. Attribute Changer will ask you to confirm the changes, so click the additional OK button in the processing confirmation window that appears.
Attribute Changer will switch to the Reporting tab and, assuming no problem, will display the progress of the changes and apply the changes you requested. You can double check this by right-clicking the file, clicking Properties, and looking at the file’s attributes in the General and Details tabs.
Windows File Manager
As the above methods show, there are many ways to change file attributes in Windows 10, which will hopefully help you manage your files better in Windows. You can start by switching to a replacement for Windows Explorer to make sorting and managing your files easier.
If you’re worried about losing your files, don’t worry – you can also prevent Windows from deleting files. Let us know your tips for managing files in the comments section below.