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How to modify timestamp in a dll or exe?
Windows equivalent of the Linux command 'touch'?

How can I set the timestamp for a file via the command-line to a specific date?

My specific situation is Windows 7.

  • 1
    You should probably clarify your question and state that you want to choose the new timestamp. The two current answers assume you are looking for a Windows port of the Unix command touch that sets a files's timestamp to the current time. Jun 3, 2011 at 20:44
  • I've looked through Sysinternals, and I'm pretty sure they don't have a utility for this. You should try the programs linked to from superuser.com/questions/135901/… Jun 3, 2011 at 20:50
  • @William Jackson Changed, thanks for that. Also, if it truly was a port of the Unix command touch, I could specify the date. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Touch_(Unix). Something is wrong with the auto linking though, make sure you get both parentheses.
    – Joe Hansen
    Jun 3, 2011 at 20:50
  • 1
    I ... can't believe I never bothered to read man touch. You have taught me something new. Jun 3, 2011 at 20:56

5 Answers 5


Due to William Jackson's answer, I found a similar question on Stack Overflow.

The accepted answer states to use Powershell and these commands:

$(Get-Item ).creationtime=$(Get-Date "mm/dd/yyyy hh:mm am/pm")
$(Get-Item ).lastaccesstime=$(Get-Date "mm/dd/yyyy hh:mm am/pm")
$(Get-Item ).lastwritetime=$(Get-Date "mm/dd/yyyy hh:mm am/pm")


Two examples:

(This one is from the comments:) Set the last-access time for a file aaa.csv to the current time:

$(Get-Item aaa.csv).lastwritetime=$(Get-Date)

Set the creation time of a file foo.txt to November 24, 2015, at 6:00am:

$(Get-Item foo.txt).creationtime=$(Get-Date "11/24/2015 06:00 am")
  • 13
    A slight variation that is recursive and a little shorter, though less readable: "gci -rec | %{ $_.lastWriteTime = ($_.lastAccessTime = ($_.creationTime = (get-date "2011-09-14T07:10:00"))) }" Sep 14, 2011 at 6:36
  • 11
    For people that don't know much about Powershell, you have to put the filename after Get-Item. You can also omit the string after Get-Date to set the attribute to the current date/time like the default behavior of the touch command. Finally you can pass that code as an argument to the powershell command to have it just execute that from an existing batch file. Example: powershell $(Get-Item aaa.csv).lastwritetime=$(Get-Date)
    – sjbotha
    Sep 4, 2013 at 14:03
  • 3
    What if I want to do this for every file in a directory? Jul 26, 2016 at 1:25
  • 5
    The date and time format is not as per the command, but the system wide one (so, in my system, it was dd/mm/yyy). Dec 5, 2017 at 1:31
  • 3
    For every file in directory : Get-ChildItem -File | foreach { $_.CreationTime=$(Get-Date) } Dec 27, 2020 at 18:24

See the answers to this question.

Specifically, this can be done natively with:

copy /b filename.ext +,,

This will set the timestamp to the current time.

Documentation for the copy command is on TechNet.

The commas indicate the omission of the Destination parameter.

  • 4
    Can you explain how that is working? What is the +,,? How do I know what date it is being set to?
    – Joe Hansen
    Jun 3, 2011 at 20:05
  • 1
    @josmh Check the documentation link for details. The timestamp gets set to the current time when you run the command. Are you implying that you want to be able to change the timestamp to an arbritary time of your choosing? Jun 3, 2011 at 20:10
  • 10
    I'm not seeing how that helps me choose a new date for the file?
    – Joe Hansen
    Jun 3, 2011 at 20:42
  • 1
    Main problem with this is when the file is not in current directory... it will copy the file to current directory instead of "touching" it in place. Aug 9, 2017 at 19:12
  • 2
    @KaseySpeakman - this command relies on being in the current directory. Use pushd FILEDIR, before the comand and popd after
    – Tydaeus
    Jun 25, 2018 at 18:32

Nirsoft to the rescue: try the freeware tool nircmd. It's a bunch of useful tools in one small command line program. One of the commands allows you to specify either or both of created time and modified time, like this:

nircmd.exe setfiletime "c:\temp\myfile.txt" "24-06-2003 17:57:11" "22-11-2005 10:21:56"

  • 5
    Also if you want to transfer time from a file to another, clonefiletime filefrom fileto works best!
    – JasonXA
    Jun 26, 2015 at 19:42
  • Non-commandline, but more convenient for bulk editing: BulkFileChanger by Nirsoft
    – SaAtomic
    Dec 4, 2017 at 12:50

Using Cygwin, to set the timestamp of test.txt to January 31, 2000, at 00:01.00:

touch -t 200001310001.00 test.txt
  • This comes back with invalid date format error.
    – ziggy
    May 31, 2013 at 19:06
  • @ziggy make sure you get all the zeros...
    – Joe Hansen
    May 27, 2015 at 16:50
  • 3
    This worked perfectly for me touch -t 201608221400 filename to set it to 22.08.2016 14:00:00.
    – SebastianH
    Nov 24, 2016 at 9:55

Check out the following webpage: http://www.stevemiller.net/apps/

The Win32 Console Toolbox contains a utility called 'touch' that lets you modify the times on one or more files. I believe it only works with US format times, though.

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