How can I view a document without changing the "Last Accessed Date"?

Posted on 2004-12-01
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-06-21
I am using WordView to view MS Word 2003 files from my folder list.  Whenever I view a document (not opening it in Word), when I look at the Properties of the document it shows the "Last Accessed Date" as being the date I viewed the document.  Is there any way to view documents without changing the "Last Accessed Date" on the file?
Question by:lpevear

Expert Comment

ID: 12716071
See http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/library/en-us/win9x/lfn_5mg5.asp

The implication is that Windows itself will update the Last Accessed Date whenever the file is accessed unless the application itself intervenes to prevent it.

I'm using WinXP, and just looking at the properties of a file in Windows Explorer appears to reset the Last Accessed Date.  At least, the first time you do it on a given day, anyway.  I'm not really sure how that works.

So, no, I think you cannot do what you want.

Expert Comment

ID: 12716118
If you know the last accessed date before opening, change the system date back to that date before opening. System time is access by double-clicking the clock in the absolute lower right-hand corner of the screen.
LVL 11

Expert Comment

ID: 12718795
No, but it takes about 20 seconds on the WWW to find software which will let you change these dates, so you can't rely on them being genuine if someone wishes to cover their tracks.
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Expert Comment

ID: 12719141
Well, guys, I admit you can find ways to fiddle with the system, but you can't legitimately do what lpevear wants.

Actually, I'm not sure how useful the Windows "Last Accessed Date" is, if Windows resets it when you try to look at it...  I know on my PC (WinXP), it appears to do so whenever I open the Properties dialog, apparently if I have waited long enough (maybe a few hours?) -- I wonder exactly how it works, now that I've seen it.

Author Comment

ID: 12725229
Thanks to all who replied to my question about "Last Access Date" changing when you view the Properties of a document from within Windows.

I found the solution to my problem:  If I look for the document in DOS, I can find what I want to find and it does not change the date, either in DOS nor back in Windows - so I'll just use DOS commands from now on to scroll through documents in this situation - thanks to all again.

Accepted Solution

vknowles earned 750 total points
ID: 12725957
Glad you found something that works.

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