In Windows 8.0, copying a file from C: to D: changes its Created and Accessed time stamps. But the Modified stamp is left untouched.

Moving the file from C: to D: instead changes the Accessed stamp, but leaves Created and Modified stamps untouched. Both C: and D: are partitions on the same drive. It's the same behavior when moving the file from C: to F: which is an external disk drive.

If I am not mistaken, on Windows 7 and older versions, when you moved a file to another disk (another partition or another drive) it also changed the modified stamp. Also, when you copy files to a DVD and then copy them back to a hard drive they get new Created, Accessed and Modified stamps.

Why is it behaving like this? What's the purpose of all of this? Why can't at least the Modified and Created stamps be left alone? Why can't you carry this information with you as you move (or copy) the file around?


Well the answer is in your question itself. its Copy & Move

Copy: It creates a new copy of original file, i.e, basically a new File. So the file is created as new. However, the contents of the file was modified in original file by some one on a different time, so its untouched.

Move: You are physically moving the original file to some place else, just like keeping the flower vase in next room, which means, you have not created anything new- but just moved it to another place. So only access stamps needs change, created and modified remains same.


Comment 1: Modified Date is always referring to the content, a kind of version for the content. So Modified date always refers, whether a change was made to the file content or name. So in Copy, the content is not new but the file is new.

Comment 2: Neither is right, I meant of moving a vase of flowers from one room to another, does not change the nature and age of flowers or vase. All it does is change the location on a particular time (access time)

  • I think I can buy the copy argument, although if a completely new file is created from the original, why is the modified date not new? I mean what's the purpose of that?
    – Samir
    Feb 19 '14 at 10:00
  • I'm not sure I understand your flower analogy for the move command. Don't you carry the vase with you if you are moving it from one room to another? Which one is the file, the vase or the flower? :)
    – Samir
    Feb 19 '14 at 10:02
  • I think I understand now what you mean. Then how do you explain the fact that when you copy the contents of a CD-ROM, CD-R, CD-RW or DVD-R to a local hard disk drive, the new files on the hard drive get new Created, Modified and Accessed stamps? Obviously you can't "move" files from a CD-ROM or a CD-R to a HDD, you can only copy them. (An exception is specially formatted CD-RW/DVD-RW discs.) So copying between CD/DVD and HDD doesn't seem to work the same way as copying files inside a HDD or between two HDDs and its partitions. Any idea why?
    – Samir
    Feb 19 '14 at 11:27
  • Well, Cant explain a lot on that, but I think, since those devices are read-only it behaves in that way. A satisfactory answer could be given by some OS guys :-)
    – Mr.K
    Feb 21 '14 at 4:42
  • Hmm. Yeah, that's low level stuff I guess, I can't say I understand NTFS data structures either. But I'm learning. I just wish that CD/DVD to HDD copy would work the same way, for easier understanding.
    – Samir
    Feb 21 '14 at 7:44

It does not happen with exFAT partitions. Those maintain date intact, and the only thing lost with exFAT is that %&)&#%$/ properties. So it is win-win - you get rid of 2 annoyances with a single blow. I'm about to add a disk for backup purposes, and it is going to be exFAT. NTFS sucks in that department. I hate when I can't trust search by date function. And I hate NTFS playing God with privileges on otherwise backup disks.

  • Please read the question again carefully. Your answer does not answer the original question.
    – DavidPostill
    Feb 25 '17 at 13:14
  • he asked "why it changes", not "what is changed". Anyway exFAT is also a bad choice for backup since it doesn't have the journal like NTFS, making it more prone to error
    – phuclv
    Feb 25 '17 at 14:23

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