The Advanced permissions dialog for an NTFS directory lists one of the permissions as "Traverse folder / execute file".

These seem like two separate and completely unrelated concepts to me.

Can anyone provide a rationale/explanation of why these two concepts have been combined into a single permission? Official documentation would be best of course, but I'll take educated guesses.

1 Answer 1


From filesystem standpoint, entering a directory is akin to executing, or activating, it.

It clearly is a convention (directory are not really "executed"), probably rooted to the shortage of classical filesytem flags/permissions on Unix (where the "x" flag stand both for "directory enter" and file execution).

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    Windows also uses a bitmask; a longer one than classical Unix, true, but still, no point in wasting bits. Nov 22, 2019 at 21:31

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