So I have a folder that has a lot of folders that have a lot of folders and so on.

I made a bunch of edits to some files that are in many of these folders, but I have no idea what files they were. Is there any program that will recursively go through the folder and show me all the files sorted by their last modified date? I am on Windows XP.

9 Answers 9


Did you try to use the built-in Windows Search (wildcard search on that folder, then sorting the result by modify date).

As alternative, there is a little freeware tool you could use: "Last Changed Files." Here is a description of the software.

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  • Use Windows Search! BUT OF COURSE. I feel like an idiot now. This did the trick, although I'm not on Vista. Jul 18, 2009 at 7:29

In Explorer, use kind:NOT folder in the Search box to return all files. Select Date Modified as the primary sort from the View Ribbon or by clicking on the column header in a Details view.

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In PowerShell, the simplest form would be:

Get-ChildItem -File -Recurse | Select-Object LastWriteTime, FullName |  Sort-Object LastWriteTime -Descending | out-GridView

Using aliases shortens this to:

gci -af -r | select LastWriteTime, FullName |  sort LastWriteTime -d | ogv

GridView is great for output that would be truncated or wrapped if output to the console.

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Use Total Commander. :) I'm serious.

Enter the main folder you want to see and Ctrl+B. That will list all files within the main folder and all of its subfolders. And then you know how to sort by date A-Z or Z-A. Someone explained that above.

Forget about Windows Explorer when it comes to file management. If you ask me, avoid Windows Explorer unless you really have to use it (e.g. when saving something from the internet to a specific place).

  • I can't find a better solution than this for almost 15 years.
    – Mike
    Nov 9, 2023 at 13:06

The dir command,

dir /od /S 

was something i used long back.

Since then, I have shifted to Cygwin.

find . -type f -exec ls -lsrt {} +

Note: The 'r' makes 'ls' reverse sort; latest files at the bottom.

  • This works, but it groups the files by folder. There are a LOT of folders, so I have to go through each one and see when the latest file was edited. Is there a version of this comment that will just group all the files together? Jul 18, 2009 at 7:13
  • yeah, I recollect. That is why the Cygwin reference. There may be some DOS/Windows trick, but I find peace in the Cygwin unix shell.
    – nik
    Jul 18, 2009 at 7:14
  • I was halfway through downloading Cygwin when the Windows search was suggested. Thank you, however, as I think I'll check it out anyways. Jul 18, 2009 at 7:31

The Windows search is probably better for this, just browse to the top directory you wish to start at, and leave the filename blank. It will list all files, then simply click "Date Modified" as shown here:

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  • This works, but it groups the files by folder. There are a LOT of folders, so I have to go through each one and see when the latest file was edited. Is there a version of this comment that will just group all the files together? Jul 18, 2009 at 7:12
  • add the /B switch
    – user1931
    Jul 18, 2009 at 7:13
  • I just did "dir /OD /S /B" but it doesn't have any data besides the file name and the sorting is definitely not right... Mmm. Jul 18, 2009 at 7:17
  • whoops! that just strips headers such as folder name it recursed into etc. Cygwin is probably the easiest for this to tell you the truth.
    – user1931
    Jul 18, 2009 at 7:21

I know it's late, but some people still have this problem! This is for Windows 10, but should work in other Win systems.

Go to the main folder you are interested in, and in the folder search bar type a dot "." and press enter. This will show literally all the files in every subfolder. Because all your files should have a dot in the name - for example "xyz.pdf", "abc.docx". If the extension doesn't show in your file names, in the file explorer, at the top, go to View/Show-hide/file name extension.

Then you can sort by the modification date or whatever else you wish. And on the side column you can also see from which subfolder the modified files come (View/Add columns/choose columns/"folder path"), in case you need it.


Depending on how the edits were made, it could be captured in your timeline.

Go to task view (keyboard shortcut WIN+TAB) and scroll down. You should see a chronological list of files you have interacted with.

Task view is the weird little button next to the search box on the task bar.

I use this often to go back to files I was recently working on.


1.Type anything in the search bar
2.it will show Search Tab
3.Select Date Modified filter as per your need
like 'This week' will show all modified files which are modified in last week.

enter image description here

For Sorting
Go to View Tab and select Detail Option and then you can sort by Date Modified
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Do you mean Solution Explorer. If you want to see all subfolders inside of folder, just go Visual Studio->View->Solution Explorer

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