Modify file/folder timestamps (date created, modified and accessed) with Attribute Changer.

2009-03-19_230606Before I begin this post let me state that the developer of Attribute Changer specifically states “64-bit editions of MS Windows are NOT supported“. Therefore this post is not for 64-bit users; however if you are a 64-bit user and you want to try out this software, please be kind enough to post your results (if you were successful or not) below.

A couple of weeks ago I had an assignment to turn in. It was a homework assignment that I was supposed to do at home then print out and bring to class. Being the slacker that I am, I forgot about the assignment. Before class began (~15 minutes) one of my classmates informed me that we had this certain assignment due that day. First I was shocked. Then I panicked. Hurriedly I started typing up the assignment on my laptop. Thankfully I finished before class started. However, as I mentioned earlier, I was supposed to bring a hard copy of the assignment to class. Obviously since I had just did it, I did not have a chance to print it. Thus when class started this was my conversation with my professor:

Me: “I did not have a chance to print out the assignment. May I email it to you?”

[Technically speaking the above statement was true.]

Her: “Do you have it done?”

Me: “Yes.”

[Again, technically speaking, the above statement was true; ignore the fact I had just done the assignment.]

Her: “Okay do email it to me now.”

Me: “The network is down.”

Her: “Again? Okay email it to me when it is back up.”

Me: “Thanks.”

I got around to emailing the assignment to her about 2 hours later because I had another class right after the class mentioned above. Right as I was emailing it to her I was thinking to myself:

“It has been a while since the network is up. I was supposed to email it to her when it came back up. What if she thinks I spent all this time doing the assignment? Maybe I can tell her to check the ‘Date Modified’ timestamp on the file.”

At that point I looked at the “Date Modified” and noticed it said “1 minute ago”. This was not surprising because I had just saved the file one minute ago (I always open my files and save them right before I send them to someone regardless of if I changed anything or not). At that point I was thinking:

“Oh crap. I may be screwed if she does not accept the assignment. I wish I could change that ‘Date Modified’ to two hours back.”

Well Ashraf, you moron, there is a way to change the “Date Modified”. In fact there is a way to change the “Date Created” and “Date Accessed” too. How do it you ask? Using Attribute Changer of course.

Attribute Changer is a handy program that allows you change the attributes of a file or folder. While it can change more attributues then just the timestamps, the focus of this Tips ‘n Tricks article is on the timestamp changing ability of Attribute Changer.

When you install Attribute Changer it adds an entry in your explorer context menu (there will be no desktop icon). You can only run Attribute Changer via this context menu entry. When you want to change the “Date Created”, “Date Modified” or “Date Accessed” of a file or folder, you right click on that specific file or folder, click on “Change Attributes”, change the timestamps you desire to change, click “Apply” and then “OK”. Viola! Now you can trick anyone into thinking you did that assignment on time change the timestamps of any file or folder as you please =).

Here is an example of changing the timestamps of a file on my computer:

  • Before I use Attribute Changer:

2009-03-19_222905

  • Now I use Attribute Changer to change all the timestamps:

2009-03-19_222856

2009-03-19_223040

  • The result:

2009-03-19_223059

Isn’t it beautiful =D? You can download Attribute Changer from the following link:

Attribute Changer Download Link

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37 comments

  1. Jan-Philip Gehrcke

    You cannot convince your professor with your file modification date. He/she does not even ever see it when you send your file by mail. The timestamps you are seeing in your systems are stored as meta data in *your* file system. When you send the via mail what you send is only the payload data of the file, *not* the meta data. He/she then saves the payload as a *new* file into her/his own local file system — and likewise sees a modification time of *just now* anyway.

  2. RobCr

    [@Pat Travers]
    As David mentioned (post 33) Nirsoft is a great programmer, and would be very trustworthy, even if his programs scare the crap out of most antivirus programs.
    I did a quick Google, and came across two of his programs.
    Here is a link to one of them (and that web page has a link to the other one) –
    http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/filedatech.html

    Rob
    PS David,
    I visited Karens a few times. She used many more dependencies than I do, but she appeared to be on top of the Installer requirements (Mind You MS can ‘hose’ them, with their newer versions of Windows)
    Last time I checked, her family were maintaining her web site (for future downloaders), out of respect to her memory.

    PPS Maggi,
    Were you using Win 7 ?

  3. David Roper

    [@emers]
    Rob, Nir is the best hands down utilities programmer alive in the world today and I do not even know what country he lives in.

    It’s kind of like Karen’s program though she is dead now. Sad. Great VB programmer.

    Get all the NIR stuff you can get now while it’s available, you will love his portablity.

  4. Rob (Down Under)

    [@Maggi]
    Perchance are you using Win 7 ?
    There are a few things I hate about Win 7.
    One is the horrible ‘lucky dip’ start menu.
    Another is the bullshit ‘smoke and mirrors’ it does with our File Manger. They create(present you) with bullshit copies of the real folder, and ‘maintenance’ that you think you are doing may only be happening to your copy.
    I wonder if that is what is happening ?
    Are you using Win 7 ?

  5. Maggi

    I changed the modification and creation date on a file but when I emailed it the original creation date and the original modification date could be seen in the email. In my saved documents, the date is changed but it is not changed in the email. How do I fix it so the changed dates are still changed in the email (or so that the recipient of the email sees the changed dates rather than the original dates?)

  6. Romain Petges

    Dear Philippe,

    Changing the modified date of a folder only, without touching the files inside this folder is possible without problems (it’s a feature, available since version 2, published back in 2000).

    If you need help, please refer to the documentation or contact me directly.

    Best regards,
    Romain Petges

  7. Philippe Laurichesse

    It does NOT change the modified date of folders, only FILES. If one wants to change the modified date of a FOLDER without changing the dates of the files that are INSIDE the folder – contrary to what you say in your “article” – this is NOT POSSIBLE.

    Also, FYI, “viola” is a musical instrument.

  8. Romain Petges

    Hi all,

    My name is Romain Petges and I’m the developer of Attribute Changer and recently found this posting related to my freeware.

    Based on the feedback, I wanted to share the following information :

    – Attribute Changer is a shell extension for Windows Explorer, but many third-party file managers now also include the capability to use registered shell extensions. Just right-click on a file/folder in most file managers and the “Change attributes…” context menu should appear.

    You must run a 64-bit file manager if you want to use the 64-bit shell extension of Attribute Changer on Windows x64. Be aware that I can’t support third-party file manager integration issues.

    Feel free to contact me at http://www.petges.lu/support if you have questions or suggestions.

    Best regards,
    Romain

  9. Rob (Down Under)

    @People:
    If you do a google for –
    nirsoft “run as date”
    it will be the first hit.
    The author is very reputable, so there is no danger of virus, etc.
    I have mentioned/praised him in post 9 above.

    What it does is act as a shortcut front end, in which you have defined what date the program is to use when it runs. That will allow you to run a trial for a longer period.
    Some might say that ‘PEOPLE’ should not use it ?
    (How did they know you would want it ?)
    But it has been available for a long time.

  10. Rob (Down Under)

    @B@skelli:
    I’m with you on two fronts –

    Win 7 gives me the SH..s (runs). XP rules.
    Not enough people complained about the smarmy/arrogant changes that MS did in Win 7.
    So I hope they did not get more arrogant with changes in win 8

    – I use XYPlorerFree, which has Tabs (and other goodies).
    Much better than Windows Explorer.

  11. B@skelli

    @Chris: @Chris:

    When I downloaded and installed Version 7 BETA, everything went just fine. However, after reading your message I got curious about it, and so I decided to download and install version 6.20 as well – just to see what would happen.

    Regarding both versions I can tell you, that I haven’t perceived anything strange or unusual to them, neither by downloading nor by using them, and I didn’t see any message which was stating to Run/Don’t Run any “tracker.exe” at all – in other words: everything was/is just fine here!

    By the way, I am still using Win XP3 (Yes, I’m one of those die-hards!), and I was using “Comodo Dragon” – which is based on Google Chrome – when downloading.

    For both downloads I just clicked on the globe and the download was starting right away.

    Regarding Attribute Changer itself, I think I’ll stick with “Unreal Commander” when it comes to change attributes. Not because Attribute Changer is a bad program – no! –, it’s just because I’d rather do it “my way”, the way I am used to; and that is (generally speaking) using Unreal Commander for my file management instead of Windows Explorer – and, unfortunately, if you want to use Attribute Changer, you’ll have to use Windows Explorer, because Attribute Changer is just a shell integration of the latter and not a stand alone program. Besides, Attribute Changer doesn’t really provide me with anything more (which is important to me) than Unreal Commander does.

    Nevertheless, Attribute Changer is a useful tool!

  12. Tony77

    “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive”
    I doubt that this person never cheat or lie…I find the programs suggested by Asraf and others are very
    useful for me. Did not even know its existence until now, now I can change time stamp when I copy files/folders
    to their original date not the copied date. Great

  13. B@skelli

    Hi folks,

    until I read this article a couple of minutes ago, I never heard about Attribute Changer before; but as I became curious about it, I started to investigate a little bit.

    The original website for Attribute Changer is: www DOT petges DOT lu.

    As stated on the developer’s website, Attribute Changer includes 64-bit Support for Windows XP / Vista / 7.

    There you can download the latest stable Version (6.20); and if you like, Version 7 BETA is available for download as well.

    At the moment I’m using Unreal Commander to change the attributes (for those who might not now, Unreal Commander is a very good file manager like Total Commander but free of charge), and so far it served me very well. However, Attribute Changer seems to be more comprehensive and to offer more options to change, so I will definitely give it a try!

    Finally a word to Ashraf: Thank you very much for your valuable work, I really appreciate it! Keep it up.

    Thank you!

  14. Rob (Down Under)

    @emers:
    Even though his tools let you hack nearly everything, I trust him completely.
    if you type his web address –
    nirsoft DOT net
    into
    safeweb DOT norton DOT com
    you will get –
    Norton Rating
    OK safe

    Rob
    PS
    For others, it is not an application full of tools.
    It is just a folder of nearly all of his tools, none of which need installation.
    The parent program (again no installation), is just a convenient ‘browser’ breaking them into categories, and facilitating launching any of them.

  15. Dru

    I’ve used NinoTech’s Date Edit for years, served me well. This program is also nice, bringing in attribs as well as date/time stamps. It also runs independently of WinExplorer; that is, when I click on the Ninotech dialog WinExplorer takes focus, whereas AC behaves as a seperate window.

    Thx for mentioning AC, much appreciated.

  16. emers

    @Rob (Down Under):

    NirLauncher looks like quite an appealing package, but VirusTotal flags it at nearly 85% unclean. Is this because the package contains “hacking” tools, i.e. the more than thirty scanners that flagged NirLauncher are false positives, or is there something to fear in using NirLauncher?

  17. Rob (Down Under)

    @Thornton Stewart:
    I will see your BulkFileChanger, and I will raise it to NirLauncher.
    NirLauncher is written by NirSoft, and includes BulkFileChanger, and most of his other programs (except some older ones).
    The web site is –
    launcher DOT nirsoft DOT net
    It is a single download, which unzips into your chosen folder (or thumb drive), and creates a sub folder with ‘all’ of his programs.
    It is Free.
    It does not require installation.
    When you run the exe, there are Tabs(Buttons) for various categories of his programs.
    BulkFileChange is under the ‘System Utilities’ button.

  18. Mr.Dave

    I also recommend FileMenu Tools. It’s a collection of handy programs for working with files using the right-click (Context) menu. Easy to configure to show only the options you want. My setup, for example, adds these options to the right-click menu: Copy Name, Copy Path, Copy Content, Change Time, Advanced Renamer and Shred Files. The “Change Time” option does what Attribute Changer offers, but for me it’s simpler because once I set “Date Modified”, for example, I can click one button to copy that date and time to Date Created and Date Last Accessed. One more click I can update all the selected files, quickly. Other options let you add or subtract a “time span” such as so many days, hours, minutes or seconds. Very nice if you need reorganize files from another network, or want every file in a group to have the same time and date (makes it very easy to see which ones changed). And all the FileMenu tools show up in a single cascading submenu in your context menu, which lets you add power without cluttering your context menu. I like it! Available on Softpedia and probably many other places.

  19. Thornton Stewart

    Reviewed by: CNET staff on March 21, 2011

    Bulk File Changer from NirSoft is a little program with a lot to like. At just over 68KB, it’s a very small download, and it runs without installation, so it’s totally portable. It’s also free. You can use it to create lists of files, even spread out over multiple folders, and perform various functions on them en masse, such as changing the date and time they were created, modified, or last accessed; modifying file attributes such as Hidden or Read-Only; and cutting, copying, and pasting in Explorer.

    Bulk File Changer’s interface and controls are basic but efficient and extremely easy to comprehend. The main display is a list view displaying our selected files categorized by size, path, time, and so on. The interface displays all categories by default, though clicking Choose Columns on the View menu let us change the order and remove unwanted entries as well as add grid lines and select the Tool Tips feature. The only option on the Options menu is to display GMT instead of local time. We added some files to Bulk File Changer, which you can do by browsing, dragging and dropping, copying and pasting, or adding multiple files by specifying a file path in the wild card option. Clicking Actions/Change Time/Attributes called up a dialog that let us specify date ranges as well as change the file attributes of all our selected files simultaneously, and quickly, too. Selecting Execute Command On Selected Files in the Actions menu let us type in an executable and command-line parameters to run a program or process on multiple files at once, a very handy feature for processing large numbers of files automatically with third-party apps. It’s also very handy to be able to copy, cut, and paste files all at once in Explorer rather than directory by directory.

    Bulk File Changer is so compact that the app is the same size as the compiled Help file, 39KB. It obviously doesn’t need to be any bigger, and it makes us wonder why any comparable tool would need more code to do the same job this little tool does so well.

    Read more: BulkFileChanger – Free software downloads and software reviews – CNET Download.com http://download.cnet.com/BulkFileChanger/3000-2248_4-75182036.html?tag=rb_content;main#ixzz1MoBMx1aO

  20. Kane

    You could also try Properties Plus. It’s really old but I still find it easier to use than any other attribute changers I’ve tried. I think the website is non-existent anymore but it’s available on some freeware sites.

  21. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    Yea I also figure most don’t. However the above story was a nice lead-in to the program no? :P

    For anyone wondering…my professor accepted it np (I didn’t change the timestamp).

  22. davidroper

    Good find, Aashraf. I used to use a program like this to change the date modified to be the version of the program I was devoloping. I could tell in a Windows Explorer file listing what version I was testing just by looking at the time modified. For instance, 1:40 am meant ut ws version 1.4, always put the time into the AM. So a time of 1:40 PM was probably a real or legit time.

    Just another trick to make this utility a good find.