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I want to retag all my music collection (MP3, OGG, etc) with replaygain info, but I don't want them to lose their original file timestamp as sometimes I want to know when I added a file to my collection as it helps me find them by sorting them in my favorite file manager by date.

So here is my question: Is there a tool (or a commmand that I can use in a batch file) that I can use to batch-backup only the timestamps of all the files, before I do the retagging and then to be able later to restore their file timestamps back? If it can be done recursively to all folders beneath, it will be extra nice!

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on what operating system? – John T Nov 27 '09 at 9:57
Sorry about that, Windows 7 x64. – Saxtus Nov 27 '09 at 16:15
couldn't you just change the date/time column to show create time, not last modified time? in winXP you can right-click on the column name in the standard file manager and select the "Date Created" column to get that data. more featureful file managers probably include this capability as well. – quack quixote Dec 2 '09 at 12:45
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Assuming you use Windows, you could do it with TakeCommand Console LE.

To backup the timestamps, use the following command:

pdir /(fpn"|"dy/m/d"|"th:m:s) /s /a:-d * >c:\flist.txt

This will create a file (here c:\flist.txt) containing the file names (including paths) and their date (in y/m/d format) and time (in h:m:s format). The /s makes it recursive, so it will pick up files in sub-directories.

To avoid problems with space in directories and names, this version of the command uses the "|" sign as delimiter for the fields.

Sample file produced by the command above:

[C:\Test]type c:\flist.txt
C:\Downloaded Files\JPSoft\TCCLE10\English.dll|2009/08/29|13:11:36
C:\Downloaded Files\JPSoft\TCCLE10\French.dll|2009/08/29|13:11:38
C:\Downloaded Files\JPSoft\TCCLE10\German.dll|2009/08/29|13:11:38
C:\Downloaded Files\JPSoft\TCCLE10\license.txt|2009/01/25|20:09:04

To restore, use the command:

for /f "tokens=1,2,3 delims=|" %a in (@c:\flist.txt) do touch /d%b /t%c "%a"

This command will parse the file stored above and run several touch commands, setting back the saved dates and times to the files. The "|" sign is indicated as being the delimiter for the fields.

share|improve this answer
During restore I get multiple errors like the following and nothing gets restored: "I:\Media\Audio\MP3\EAGLES~1.MP3" TCC: (Sys) The system cannot find the file specified. although in the flist.txt file the record of the file exists as: I:\Media\Audio\MP3\EAGLES~1.MP3 1998/06/07 21:51:20 What am I doing wrong? Pre-thanx. – Saxtus Dec 2 '09 at 10:30
Difficult to say. It worked fine for me. Maybe it's linked to the use of short filenames (with the ~1) to avoid problems with spaces in the directories and filenames. I changed both commands so they can cope with long filenames, including spaces, by using "@" as a delimiter (instead of spaces by default). – Snark Dec 2 '09 at 11:16
It worked when I used "|" instead of "@" as delimiter (as some of my filenames already had "@" in them -- it is an allowed character anyway, unlike "|"). You may want to update your answer with the new delimiter, so I can set it as accepted answer. Thank you! – Saxtus Dec 3 '09 at 0:36
Changed! Thanks. – Snark Dec 3 '09 at 6:38

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