Why do my file properties sometimes show an Archive check box and sometimes an Advanced button?

Raymond Chen

When you view the properties of a file and go to the General page, there are some check boxes at the bottom for file attributes. There’s one for Read-only and one for Hidden, and then it gets weird. Sometimes you get Archive and sometimes you get an Advanced button. What controls which one you get?

It depends on whether there is anything interesting in the Advanced dialog.

If the volume supports either compression or encryption (or both), then you will get an Advanced dialog with check boxes for Archive, Compress and Encrypt. On the other hand, if the volume supports neither compression nor encryption, then you will just get an Archive check box, since it looks kind of silly having an Advanced button that shows you a dialog box with just one check box on it. (Note that these features can also be disabled by group policy, so it’s not purely a file system decision.)

In Windows, the most commonly encountered file system that does not support compression or encryption is probably FAT, and the most commonly encountered one that does is almost certainly NTFS, so in a rough sense, you can say that FAT gives you an Archive check box and NTFS gives you an Advanced button.


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