If you have ever checked the properties of files and folders, you may have noticed that the attributes section sometimes displays an advanced button, but at other times it displays an archive checkbox. Why does it switch back and forth like that? Today’s SuperUser Q&A post has the answer to a curious reader’s question.

Today’s Question & Answer session comes to us courtesy of SuperUser—a subdivision of Stack Exchange, a community-driven grouping of Q&A web sites.

The Question

SuperUser reader Steven Vascellaro wants to know why the advanced attributes button is sometimes replaced by an archive checkbox:

Sometimes, when viewing a file or folder’s properties, I see an Advanced Button displayed under Attributes.

At other times, the Advanced Button is replaced by an Archive Checkbox.

Why do file attributes sometimes display an Archive Checkbox instead of the Advanced Options Button?

Why is the advanced attributes button sometimes replaced by an archive checkbox?

The Answer

SuperUser contributor Steven Vascellaro has the answer for us:

The Advanced Dialog is shown only if the file or folder is stored on a drive that supports compression and/or encryption.

If the volume does not support either compression or encryption, then the Archive Checkbox will be shown instead.

FAT file systems do not support compression or encryption, meaning that the files will display the Archive Checkbox. NTFS file systems do support compression and encryption, meaning that the files will display the Advanced Button.

Source: Why do my file properties sometimes show an Archive check box and sometimes an Advanced button? [Microsoft Developer Blog]

Have something to add to the explanation? Sound off in the comments. Want to read more answers from other tech-savvy Stack Exchange users? Check out the full discussion thread here.

Akemi Iwaya
Akemi Iwaya has been part of the How-To Geek/LifeSavvy Media team since 2009. She has previously written under the pen name "Asian Angel" and was a Lifehacker intern before joining How-To Geek/LifeSavvy Media. She has been quoted as an authoritative source by ZDNet Worldwide.
Read Full Bio »