The Best Tool For Tweaking Files' Dates And Attributes

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Bulk File ChangerI'm quite meticulous about taking regular backups. I have an external hard disk which I regularly connect to my PC, copy all the files which have changed since last time, then disconnect the drive.

I don't use a dedicated backup utility to do this. Being rather old-school, I use a batch file and the built-in ROBOCOPY command. It copes just fine with my 250 GB of files, and the regular backup takes just a couple of minutes. Copying everything, rather than just the changed files, takes an entire day so I don't do that very often.

Recently, however, I noticed a problem with my backup procedure. Certain files were always being backed up, because they were always being regarded by ROBOCOPY as having changed since last time. Even through they hadn't. Most of them were photos and videos, including from my wedding 8 years ago. There's no way that these should have been changing.

Like all backup utilities, Robocopy works by comparing the date and time on each version of the file. If the source is newer than the destination, it needs copying. So I clearly needed to examine the troublesome files. Which is when I discovered that they were dated 19th January 2038. No wonder Windows regarded them as being newer than the ones created in 2009!

Clearly these video files were copied from a camera or memory card that didn't handle dates properly. So I needed to adjust the dates on the files in order to speed up my backup process. Which is where a very handy program called Bulk File Changer came in. It's from Nir Sofer on his excellent Nirsoft site, at http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/bulk_file_changer.html and is a tiny download of less than 0.1 MB. It's portable too, runs on Windows 7 to 10, and is malware-free according to VirusTotal. The site is also rated as reputable by Web of Trust.

Bulk File Changer lets you change the attributes on one or more files with ease. It also lets you change any or all of the dates that a file was created, modified, or last accessed. Once I'd done this to my future-dated files, my backups continued working perfectly.

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Comments

Thanks Rob. Great program
In this day and age, all simple utilities should be like this
That is - portable, doesn't affect the Registry, and doesnt rely on dependencies such as NET Framework
I was able to select a number of different files from different locations, and change the attributes of all these files
There is also an option to make the selected files 'hidden' or 'read only'

Very helpful program

Thanks,
Will check it out.
Could anyone help me with this problem/need (that perhaps could be solved using Date attribute changes).
A friend has a folder with lots of files (Doc, JPG, xls, msg(outlook), etc), and they wish to be able to Filter them by category.
I investigated using the Metadata, but it appears that was reliable for files in XP, but not in more recent Windows versions.
The user will need approx 12 Tags.
They Tag each file, and I provide a Filter to only list the desired Tagged files.
Could I come up with some numeric equivalent for each Tag and modify the date on that file ?
Which Date (Creation, Modified, Accessed) should I use ?
I am guessing that I could play with the Creation Date, and sleep peacefully knowing that the Creation Date would not be messed with, by other processes (at least whilst the file remains in that original folder)

Does that sound like a plan ?
Rob