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Using TeraCopy, the file timestamps are preserved. However, if you copy a large nested directory, the modification date of some (but not all) of the directories are lost (replaced by the current time).

Are there any user-friendly file copy utilities that can preserve directory timestamps even for nested directories?

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Your "some (but not all)" makes me wonder if this is not just a bug in TeraCopy that you might want to report? –  Arjan Mar 10 '11 at 11:53
    
@Arjan: When I clicked their "bug tracker" link, it redirects to a third party site with the error "The user 'anonymous' does not exist." It doesn't look like I can report the bug there. So I gave up =) –  netvope Mar 10 '11 at 12:02
    
Odd, before posting my comment I browsed the bug tracker at codaset.com/codesector without any problems (but I did not find a matching issue report though). That aside: given the "some", maybe any other tool will run into the very same issue, if this is some Windows API oddity, or some erroneous data on your source disk. –  Arjan Mar 10 '11 at 12:06
    
I see... The "Support > Bug Tracker" link in the top menu works, but the "TeraCopy > Bug Tracker" link in the right sidebar is broken. –  netvope Mar 10 '11 at 12:11

4 Answers 4

Have you tried Robocopy? According to Wikipedia:

  • Ability to copy file data and attributes correctly, and to preserve original timestamps, as well as NTFS ACLs, owner information, and audit information using command line switches. (/COPYALL or /COPY:) Copying folder timestamps is also possible in later versions (/DCOPY:T).
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So does it preserve the timestamps? –  Arjan Mar 10 '11 at 11:47
    
According to the Wikipedia entry: Ability to copy file data and attributes correctly, and to preserve original timestamps, as well as NTFS ACLs, owner information, and audit information using command line switches. (/COPYALL or /COPY:) Copying folder timestamps is also possible in later versions (/DCOPY:T). -- NOTE: I honestly have never used it myself. –  pepoluan Mar 10 '11 at 11:50
    
And there is a GUI for Robocopy: technet.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/…. Not very user-friendly, though. –  netvope Mar 10 '11 at 12:05
    
i've had a situation where teracopy sees DirTimeStamp error, but robocopy just behaves oddly. robocopy leaves unanswered questions, like if two files have the same timestamps, when are they labelled as "same" and when are they just not listed. In my experience they're just not listed. teracopy when there is a timestamp issue, doesn't tell you which files. If a file is older at source, it looks like robocopy might copy it over at least by default. I prefer fastcopy to robocopy.. but it might not even say anything re problematic timestamps while teracopy does. –  barlop May 5 '13 at 0:30

If Robocopy does not work for some reason, I know that cwsync will preserve directory times.

rsync -av is are the options I would start off with.

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The command cp -pr in a Cygwin Terminal does preserve the directory timestamps. Unfortunately there is no user-friendly progress.

Double Commander also preserves directory timestamps. For large tree copy operations, it is recommended to enable the option "Skip file operations errors and write them to log window"

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RichCopy. Better than the command-line Robocopy and better than Robocopy with the GUI addon. RichCopy is a newer replacement generally accepted as the evolution of Microsoft copying tools. It's multi-threaded so it'll copy multiple files in parallel. Progress can be paused and resumed and it'll handle network interruptions. Furthermore, settings are very granular. You can select when to copy if the file already exists based on modification date, filesize, and other attributes. Give it a try and let us know if it preserves timestamps of nested directories. That link is a blog post introduction but the program is downloaded from a link at the top.

The author of RichCopy is Ken Tamaru and he posts occasional information and updates at his blog.

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Richcopy didn't preserve directory timestamp - just tested. Good prog but I agree with OP - directory timestamps should be preserved, as they are in linux. Best best is to use rsync for windows, which is ported from *nix. –  user124075 Mar 21 '12 at 12:02

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