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If I copy some file from some place to another using cp, the timestamp on the copied file is set to the time of the copy.

Is there some way to avoid this?

I need to copy files without altering their timestamps.

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3 Answers

up vote 10 down vote accepted

cp -p does the trick.

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@Arjan van Bentem: thanks! –  Lazer Feb 27 '10 at 14:04
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cp -a is also nice to know, it implies not only -p, but also -R to copy entire directories and -d to preserve links. –  casualuser Feb 27 '10 at 20:53
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There are three times on a Unix filesystem, the access time (atime), the modification time (mtime), and the inode change time (ctime). You can change the access time and the modification time with the touch program, for example

cp orig copy
touch -r orig copy

However, you cannot change the inode change time.

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for inode change time, see also linux - Setting creation or change timestamps - Stack Overflow –  sdaau Oct 21 '13 at 11:08
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I recently needed to do something similar but using symlink instead. To create a symlink and preserve the orignal timestamp: cp -ps src_file dst_symlink

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