I have a large collection of jpeg photographs that i'm trying to organise and then archive on a linux based file server. The vast majority copy over to the file server with no problem but for a few files (possibly all taken with the same camera) windows prompts me when copying with a window that says: Are you sure you want to copy this file without its properties? The file IMG0xxx.jpg has properties that can't be copied to the new location.

I want to know what properties it's talking about but i haven't been able to find any information searching for this dialog in google. I tried copying the file and accepting the property loss, then comparing the properties tab side by side with one i had not yet copied but I could see no difference.

Does anyone know how to work out what properties it's talking about?



The problem, I think, is caused by a transfer between file systems. Your photos must currently be on NTFS, and being transferred to UFS?

The metadata that is being discarded is created by windows in the first place, so is not important.

To check, try copying the file and viewing all of the properties in an EXIF viewer. As long as you have the date, camera, exposure, etc. all matching then I think that'd be enough information.

I'd guess that the information being discarded relates to the user who created and modified the file, and some cache info.

  • i figured it was due to the change of filesystem, thanks for confirming – m3z Jul 11 '12 at 21:11

I have found that files stored in the Dropbox storage synchronized folder in Windows have an alternate stream com.dropbox.attributes in the stored file, which contains information used by Dropbox storage system.

I used a small command line utility from SysInternals - Streams - to look at a simple jpg picture in my Dropbox storage. The utility displays alternate streams (think of alternate streams as stealth information stored alongside the original content when under NTFS). This is what I get:

c:\Temp>streams "C:\Store\Dropbox\Camera Uploads\2015-02-10 20.12.14.jpg"
Streams v1.56 - Enumerate alternate NTFS data streams

Copyright (C) 1999-2007 Mark Russinovich Sysinternals - www.sysinternals.com

C:\Store\Dropbox\Camera Uploads\2015-02-10 20.12.14.jpg:

:com.dropbox.attributes:$DATA        507

Hence it seems to me that ONLY Dropbox storage relevant information is lost when transferring the file to a nonNTFS store. In conclusion I would not have a problem transfering the files as such. Hope it helps. Cris

  • Thanks for the info; I had this come up while copying a freshly-created ZIP archive from my Dropbox folder to an exFAT flash drive and was surprised there'd be EXIF data present. – apraetor May 15 '17 at 18:04

Well, you have received a lot of partially correct or just flat out bad information from people guessing about the answer. In fact, the NTFS file system used first in Windows NT and eventually adopted by all new Microsoft operating systems supports a system called ADS (Alternate Data Streams). Any file that uses one or more properties of ADS and is copied to a file system that doesn't support ADS, that data will be lost. That data could be inconsequential to you or very important. Fort example, if you are using any Microsoft tools that uses ADS for something like captioning photos, leaving notes about a spreadsheet or any other feature, then it will no longer be there. However, don't confuse ADS with other applications proprietary formats, for example, you could leave a note on a spreadsheet file about it's purpose using ADS, and that would be lost, but, if you were actually in a program like Excel and used the information feature to leave yourself that exact same note, it would not be lost because the application doesn't use the ADS feature. You can more about it on a Microsoft Forum here: http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_7-files/are-you-sure-you-want-to-copy-this-file-without/fa810b7e-f228-4661-9789-2090175dd7de?auth=1 You can also learn how to use it here: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/105763

  • 1
    Well, you haven't actually answered the question - which was "which properties have been lost". – DavidPostill Jun 18 '16 at 17:53
  • And it logically follows from this answer that it is impossible to answer that question without further information on exactly which properties have been stored, by what program. The possibilities are wide-open. – kreemoweet Oct 11 '20 at 5:44

It removes geo tagging and all other tags including date taken on many files. Date taken defaults to the date created on the computer or last modified. It really messes things up if you have spent a lot of time adding locations, captions, people tags, and more. Since most photo viewing apps are sorting by location and or date it just ruins the whole experience.

  • Actually this isn't the case here. The Metadata (which is the information you're talking about) is carried as part of the file. @Diamond is correct above - it is information specific to the file-system that is lost. If you've lost your metadata in the past it might be worth checking if the metadata is actually saved into the image or in a separate database which some photo organisation software does. If it is saved to a separate database then the metadata is likely to be lost (or misplaced) as soon as you move the file. – m3z Jul 10 '14 at 8:15

The date the image was created and modified will be lost. The date will be the date you transferred the file--so it will be the date you "created" it in the new location. So if you want the date to be the actual date the picture was taken, you will no longer have that information.

  • Right click on the file and pull down to Properties. You will see the information in the properties file to see what will be lost. – Kit Kat Jun 22 '16 at 13:25

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