How to copy files while not modifying the file creation times at all? Just like the cut and paste works: it doesn't modify the file creation times at all.

Where to get such a program? I don't want to lose the info when my files were created, and I don't want to cut/paste the files on my new HDD since I want to leave a backup on this old disk in case the new one will fail.

Also this program should not stop the copying if there occurs some error like "are you sure you want to copy a read-only file?" or something like that.


Robocopy preserves timestamps by default. You can get it for XP in the Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit.


robocopy C:\ E:\ /E

If you aren't comfortable with the command line, Robocopy GUI makes it even easier.

Another copy utility which can preserve timestamps is XXCOPY:

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  • could you tell me why does this beep once in a while when i use "robocopy C:\foo C:\bar /COPYALL /E /R:0" command? it occurs once in 10mins or something. – user28380 Feb 16 '10 at 11:53
  • Not sure, robocopy has never beeped for me. Are the files being copied properly though? – John T Feb 16 '10 at 15:08
  • Dunno, the size of the copied data is few megabytes smaller. Ive gotta write some file checker program so i can see which files were not copied... – user28380 Feb 17 '10 at 10:22

Zip the files. Then extract the .zip to the destination. Seriously.

Windows Explorer doesn't offer any "Paste Special" menu option, so you only have the normal paste behavior.

I'd like to think there may be a shell extension written by someone somewhere, which could add a "Paste with creation times" menu option, but I've not found one.

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    omg zip 600gigs? srsly... that will take 3 weeks – user28380 Feb 16 '10 at 10:26
  • Okay, okay. That's not an option with many large files. – njd Feb 16 '10 at 11:57
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    Well if you zip using store only it won't compress and is very fast. – John T Feb 16 '10 at 15:09
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    and how im supposed to unzip it, i would need double the space i have. – user28380 Feb 17 '10 at 10:22

I've been happily using FreeFileSync to back up selected folders without realizing its usefulness in preserving the date information during a copy. The first test was to move the memory card from my Canon camera to my laptop PC and perform a Synchronize with the Mirror setting. The second test was with the memory card in the camera. Both tests resulted in files copied with the original datestamp. Correction: Copying from the camera does not work properly. Caution: I tried to update FreeFileSync and was blocked by my malware detection program Malwarebytes. Tried again but this time clicked Download FreeFileSync 10.4 Windows Setup. I don't know what I clicked before but this time FreeFileSync downloaded and installed without messages or blocks from Malwarebytes.

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FreeFileSync (https://www.freefilesync.org) use the Mirror setting. It preserves creation timestamps and won't hang on an error. Does a lot more but should solve this problem.

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    Please exercise caution when recommending software. As written, your answer may be seen as spam. Your answer should include a description of the software and how it addresses the question. More information: How do I recommend software in my answers? – bwDraco Jul 31 '15 at 0:27
  • it's open source – JinSnow Feb 6 '18 at 8:03

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