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Folders not updating date when files change

by Jymn / September 10, 2010 5:29 AM PDT

This began happening out the blue. In Details mode, folders do not update the date when files contained within are added or modified. It used to update fine. Any suggestions?

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This is one of those things.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / September 10, 2010 11:43 PM PDT

I've never found Windows (all versions) to be consistent about this. I can't find any specification that tells us that the folder date should change if a file changes in that folder.

In fact it would be a bad idea from a reliability standpoint to change that entry with each file change. And add to the overhead and reduce the speed of the file system.

Have you found a MSDN or Microsoft document that says it should do this?

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With XP and Vista, folders would update fine
by Jymn / September 11, 2010 4:06 AM PDT

Thanks for the reply. With Vista and XP, when I downloaded files to a specific folder, that folder's date would update to the time and date of the download completion. I use Details so I would just click on the Modified Date column of the folders and retrieve the downloaded files from the folders with the download date.

With 7, the folders do not change the date. This is a nuisance because now I have to keep track of every download folder destination or if I haven't, I have to go through all the folders or search to find the updated folder.

I have read no documentation on this, but my years of experience downloading files to different folders is evidence that the folder dates indeed updated previously whenever changes or additions occurred to the files in the folder.

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Observed versus documented behaviors. ALSO WHICH DATE?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / September 11, 2010 4:40 AM PDT

I have used Windows since 1.0 (or it used me?)

This area is not a documented behavior but one you observed. I'm not only a Windows programmer but write software for embedded systems and can see where such a directory update could slow the file system as well as be a way to corrupt the tables.

I don't see any setting to change this and if you called it in without some supporting documentation (looked at the MSDN docs!) you shouldn't get far.


Now WHICH DATE are you showing? We have CREATION DATE, MODIFIED DATE so which is it? See

Maybe that's it?

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Thanks for solving mystery for me
by Jymn / September 11, 2010 4:49 AM PDT

Thank you for your diligence. I'm an idiot. I've been using the Date column. Date modified still updates fine. Will not be using Date any longer. Thanks again.

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We don't use those words here.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / September 11, 2010 5:01 AM PDT

If you didn't ask, we would not have explored all the possible issues and display settings.

Even I had to think a moment to remember the THREE dates on files and folders. We have three dates where are last modified date, creation date, and last accessed date.

Glad it is fixed!

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