Link to home
Start Free TrialLog in
Avatar of Stephen Kairys
Stephen KairysFlag for United States of America

asked on

Discrepancy in timestamp of two files


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):
User generated image
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.)


PS-On Friday, I thought I had seen the files not appearing in alphabetical order, but that's not happening now.
Avatar of Dr. Klahn
Dr. Klahn

Link to home
This solution is only available to members.
To access this solution, you must be a member of Experts Exchange.
Start Free Trial
Avatar of Stephen Kairys


Thank you, Dr Klahn. Turning in for the night; will review in detail in the morning.
To add to the confusion, Explorer can display dates stored inside the file, in particular for multi media files ...
@Qlemo - by multi-media files, does that include PNG files created with the snipping tool,and possibly modified by MS PAINT? Thanks.
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.
Avatar of Bill Prew
Bill Prew

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.

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

@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.

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.

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...

Thanks everyone. I'll need a few days to look over.
Thanks, everyone! I did not have a chance to review anyone's instructions, but Dr. Klahn's explanation satisfied what I needed to know.