Discrepancy in timestamp of two files

Stephen Kairys
Stephen Kairys used Ask the Experts™
on
Win10:

Hello,
I discovered a timestamp discrepancy when I look at a directory in Windows Explorer vs. Command Prompt. (Filenames scrubbed.)

Here's how it looks in windows explorer. The first file pair is in the PROJECTS folder, the second pair in a subfolder, to which I copied the files via the GUI  (not command prompt):
In windows explorer
And here's how they look in the command prompt:
Directory of P:\Projects

12/17/2018  04:53 PM            22,465 xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxDomains_AfterUploading.PNG
02/22/2019  04:54 PM            23,726 xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxKeywords_AfterUploading.PNG
           
Directory of P:\Projects\TimestampDiscrepancy

12/17/2018  04:53 PM            22,465 xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxDomains_AfterUploading.PNG
02/22/2019  04:54 PM            23,726 xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxKeywords_AfterUploading.PNG

In the main PROJECTS folder, you'll note that the timestamps for the first two files differ between the WIndows Explorer view and the Command prompt view. (4:51p and 4:53p vs 4:53p and 4:54p)

However, after copying the files (the second two files you see in each example), the timestamps match. The COPY command apparently reset/refreshed the timestamp.

Does Win10 store more than one timestamp for files? (They are all PNG files.)

(Interestingly the time of day of the 2nd file in the Windows Explorer view of the top-level folder ( 4:53 PM) matches the time of day of the 1st file in the WIndows Explorer view of the subfolder.)

Thanks,
Steve

PS-On Friday, I thought I had seen the files not appearing in alphabetical order, but that's not happening now.
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Principal Software Engineer
Commented:
Yes, Windows stores multiple timestamps for files.  8 of them, to be exact.

https://superuser.com/questions/973547/how-can-i-display-all-8-ntfs-timestamps

"NTFS MACE (Modified, Accessed, Created and MFT Entry modified ) values . NTFS comes with 8 time-stamp values 4 of which resides in $Standard_Information attribute (SI) and the other 4 in $FILE_NAME (FN) attribute of MFT entry."

Windows Explorer can be configured to show which of these you want to see.

Windows file timestamps
Stephen KairysTechnical Writer - Consultant

Author

Commented:
Thank you, Dr Klahn. Turning in for the night; will review in detail in the morning.
Qlemo"Batchelor", Developer and EE Topic Advisor
Top Expert 2015

Commented:
To add to the confusion, Explorer can display dates stored inside the file, in particular for multi media files ...
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Stephen KairysTechnical Writer - Consultant

Author

Commented:
@Qlemo - by multi-media files, does that include PNG files created with the snipping tool,and possibly modified by MS PAINT? Thanks.
Qlemo"Batchelor", Developer and EE Topic Advisor
Top Expert 2015

Commented:
Open the properties of an arbitrary file in Explorer, and you'll see if there are additional informations in Details. For PNG, this is true, there is a recording date there. The software creating/modifying the file needs to manage that info, otherwise it is empty or unchanged.
Bill PrewIT / Software Engineering Consultant
Top Expert 2016

Commented:
In a test here, neither Snipping Tool, or MS Paint wrote to the date/time metadata tags in a PNG file.  Paint.Net did write to a number of them, but not the date/time ones.


»bp
Bill PrewIT / Software Engineering Consultant
Top Expert 2016

Commented:
And the newer Snip & Sketch tool in Windows populated some of the other metadata, but not the date/time stuff.


»bp
Stephen KairysTechnical Writer - Consultant

Author

Commented:
@Bill - are you saying that if my PNG file is dated 2/21/19, 4:49 PM and I update it PAINT today, it will remain with visibiel date of 2/21/19, 4:49 PM? I've seen that behavior rather consistently.

Thanks.
Bill PrewIT / Software Engineering Consultant
Top Expert 2016

Commented:
No, I was referring to any date/time info stored in the meta data content of the file itself, not the basic operating system attributes associated with all files.  Those will follow normal activities and be updated by Windows.


»bp
Bill PrewIT / Software Engineering Consultant
Top Expert 2016

Commented:
Also, the date you are viewing could be the created date, which won't change.  Typically the last accessed, and last modified will though if you read and then update the file...


»bp
Stephen KairysTechnical Writer - Consultant

Author

Commented:
Thanks everyone. I'll need a few days to look over.
Stephen KairysTechnical Writer - Consultant

Author

Commented:
Thanks, everyone! I did not have a chance to review anyone's instructions, but Dr. Klahn's explanation satisfied what I needed to know.

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