Preserving Date time stamps on Directories When Copying in XP

29 June 08

I recently upgraded my computer and I had to transfer data from my old harddrives. The problem was, as you can guess from the title, is that XP would not preserve the modified date on directories (although I believe the Create time is preserved).

I was hoping for a program that would integrate into my explorer context menu, etc. I tried some other ones that had their own gui (and the ones that did integrate), and none of them would preserve the modified timestamps.

I tried xcopy but couldn’t figure out how to preserve the modified date.

Anyway, I’m back to using rsync in my cygwin shell:

cd c:newdir
rsync -a -v --progress /cygdrive/e/Data .

or a simple ‘cp’:

cd c:newdir
cp -a /cygdrive/e/Data .

I like rsync since I can run it over and over again and it will only copy changes (although it will still traverse the directory tree to compare files). Especially handy when you get errors that it can’t read certain directory etc. In my case, I had issues with it reading a directory that had url link with foreign characters in the filename.

And this method is probably little too high level for most home users. Cygwin can be problematic and seems complex to install. Also I think you may have to manually select rsync during install.

I’ll keep a look out for other programs, and will update this post if I do find it.

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