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Best way to identify old files for backup-archive

Posted on 2009-05-15
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Last Modified: 2012-05-07
I'm hitting a road block on a tasking.  
Ojective - to identify and then archive all files on a server that have not been accessed in the last two years.  Sounds simple, right?  Not so much...

Normally, we would just want to key off of the Last Accessed Date, but it looks like its horribly unreliable and seems to change based on how hard the wind is blowing.  Really strange behavior.  
The modified date is good, but not what my director wants us to use.  

How do you handle archiving of old data?  Is there another windows option that you use?  Is there a 3rd party app that does this for you?  Im not finding anything really definitive in my searches.  Were just trying to find our way through yet another strange and challenging obstacle course of requirements.
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Question by:mltets
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by:speshalyst
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check this out.. might be handy.. it a shareware..
http://www.sharewareplaza.com/Remove-Old-Files-download_37430.html
 
 
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by:mltets
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This is like most of the ones that I've seen.  The problem is that the Last Accessed Date isn't reliable.  In its current form I can't use it...  Unless there's something out there screwing it up.
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by:speshalyst
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you should decide on the attribute you would be using.. like  modified date.. but if that is not allowed by ur management.. then we need to find out something that would suit them
 
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by:rindi
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The problem is that Antivirus scanners will touch those files when scanning the system. So I don't think there is a way to do that.
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by:mltets
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It's one of those "I will do everything to defy you" problems.  I asked our parent company (huge) and they said "We just add more disk."   Har!
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by:rindi
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That's an IT persons highest wish! unlimited budget for hardware to play with!
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by:speshalyst
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so are we gonna be archiving these old files now?
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by:mltets
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Not without a better way of identifying them.  The functionality that's "supposed" to be provided by the Last Accessed Date is what we really need, but It looks like it just ain't there.  Unless somebody knows of some other solution....
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by:harrytrey
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FolderSizes is the best tool this type of analysis.  It does have the challenges associated with the file system, but also has some other ways to go at the problem.

- Duplicate file detection - you will be amazed by this.
- Sizes by type - you can find temp files etc.

Free trial, and cheap.  Also has command line interface, so you could script/schedule it to run if you wanted to trend.
www.foldersizes.com
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by:OriNetworks
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What writing some kind of script that combines creation date, last accessed, and last modified. Like if creation date is more than 3 years ago, last modified is more than 2 years, and last accessed is more than 1 year??  Very easy to do in powershell.
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by:mltets
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The only problem is that the last accessed date is unreliable.  Virtually useless, so making any determination based on it is kind of pointless.  I don't know if there is a solution for this problem at all, but wanted to ask.  Basically, Microsoft messed up when they coded it and I can't seem to find a good alternative.
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by:rindi
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I think for once M$ is relatively free of guilt here, because as any tool like an AV software can "open" a file, and that would change the last accessed date. Probably those other tools would require some sort of function that prevents any such date changes.
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by:mltets
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FYI - we've opened a case with Microsoft about how best to track unused files.  The best they've been able to come up with so far is just turning the last accessed date off.  
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mltets earned 0 total points
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It looks like there's no way around the inherant Microsoft way of keeping dates...   Thanks for all your help everyone..   <sigh>
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