Due to an FTP-related oversight in creating a system backup and following a recovery operation, all of the modified dates (per the system, Windows 7) of the files were reset to the date of the backup, rather than the original date modified. For many of these files, I need to know when they were created or last edited.

I've been able to restore the modified date of image files using ExifTool by applying the EXIF "Date taken" to the Windows "Date modified". However, I still have several thousand files of various types which all have the date of the backup as the "Date modified".

Many of these files are Office documents (Excel and Word, primarily) or PDFs and I know the metadata for these files contains a date that, while not necessarily the previous modified date, is a reasonable substitute.

Complicating this situation is the fact that I haven't found a consistent date field between various files. For many, the Office metadata field "Date last saved" is correct, however I'm finding files for which the "Date last saved" is actually the (incorrect) date of the backup. Further, while I'm able to view the relevant date of Office documents by right-clicking on the file and selecting Properties>Details, for PDF files, I have to actually open the file and click on File>Properties>Description to see the metadata dates.

Ideally what I'd like to do is the following:

  1. Reset the Windows "Date created" to the Office "Content created" or Acrobat "Created" date as per the file's metadata

  2. Reset the Windows "Date modified" to the Office "Date last saved" or Acrobat "Modified" date as per the file's metadata

  3. However, if the Office "Date last saved" is the date of the backup (say, 12/31/2013), I'd like the Windows "Date modified" to reset to the Office "Date last printed" or, if that doesn't exist, ultimately the Office "Content created" date (in the last case, the Windows "Date created" and "Date modified" would be identical).

Does an application or a script exist that will do the above? I've tried searching the Internet for a solution, but I've not been able to uncover anything particularly useful.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.


The technique is to do something like this:

exiftool "-filemodifydate<TAG1" "-filemodifydate<TAG2"  "-filemodifydate<TAG3" ...

where TAG1, TAG2, TAG3 are all of the date/time tags you are interested in, in reverse order of precedence (since the last one that exists will override earlier ones in the command). You can do the same thing (in the same command) for the Windows FileCreateDate (provided you have ExifTool 9.07 or later).

  • Phil
  • Phil, thank you very much. I wasn't aware that Exiftool could read into Office documents and PDFs. I'll give this a try and report back. – MPW Mar 1 '14 at 19:01

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