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Thread: Date of burning

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    Date of burning

    Because my SuperDisk drive is kaput, I paid someone to transfer the files from my backup superdisks to CD-R. Now when I explore the CD-R the files' true date-and-time modified is replaced by the date of burning. This makes it hard to know which of the backups is the newest, unless file size is a reliable clue. File properties likewise show the dates of burning.
    Why did this happen, and is there a way to explore that displays the original dates modified? (Win98 SE 4.10.2222A)
    All help gratefully received!

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    Re: Date of burning

    I don't believe so -- the dates show the date the specific files were created on that disk -- which is the date of burning.

    You could try to open the files in a Binary Editor and see if there is any information near the end of the files. But I doubt it would help... Sorry.

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    Re: Date of burning

    This is caused by your CD burning software. The attached screenshot from Nero shows an option to preserve the original file dates or replace them with the current date and time.

    Why not go back to the person who created the CD and ask them to do it the way you want.

    StuartR

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    Re: Date of burning

    Stuart shows an option which you need to use in Nero.

    Roxio's Easy CD Creator doesn't even give you the option of changing the dates/times of files. Like all other software (as far as I am aware) a file date (the Date Modified timestamp, that is) does NOT get changed on a copy from one location to another. That's as it should be, otherwise the whole idea of file timestamps need to be put in the rubbish bin. (Directory/folder dates are a different matter, because once you change/add/delete a file in a folder/directory on hard disk, the timestamp is changed to the current time).

    I am very surprised that whatever file-burning software was used would have (presumably) defaulted to the "change the timestamp to the current date and time" option.

    If there is no date/time information built into each file (why should there be, since the directory entry holds it?) I agree that it's a trip back to get the CD burnt again with the correct option. If that is an option you have...
    <font face="Script MT Bold"><font color=blue><big><big>John</big></big></font color=blue></font face=script>

    Ita, esto, quidcumque...

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    Re: Date of burning

    I just checked out the copying of a file. The Modified Date should stay the same, but the Created Date is changed. So, if the burning program changes the Modified Date (which is exactly what it sounds like it did), then this is a mistake.

    As for this statement:

    "If there is no date/time information built into each file (why should there be, since the directory entry holds it?)"

    I am not sure I know what that means. What is a "directory entry" and how does it hold data?? All of the "dates" a file has are stored as "meta-data" inside the file itself. You can easily manipulate that data with various programs.

    NOTE: I always thought a binary editor could do this -- but I was wrong! The binary editor can modify the "Properties Sheet data" -- but not the meta-data! You need to use a meta-data editor...

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    Re: Date of burning

    Just to show you that it can be done... Here is the same file -- and the dates are in the future!

    (No, clock not reset and image is not 'retouched'!) <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15>

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    Re: Date of burning

    > What is a "directory entry" and how does it hold data?? All of the "dates" a file has are
    > stored as "meta-data" inside the file itself.

    I might be able to believe this for complex OLE structures like a Word .DOC, but what about a one character .TXT file? Surely its "dates" are stored in a table by the OS. It reminds me of a problem we had with Windows/Mac interoperability back in 1998. Using Windows 95 and Word 97 for Windows with a MacOS file server, occasionally all of the file dates for an entire folder would change to the current date for no apparent reason, when working with 1 of the files in that folder.

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    Re: Date of burning

    Jeff, I don't believe that is true at all. In a table by the OS - where? What table? Can I access it and modify file dates?

    I find it hard to believe that you have never heard of meta data for a file! YES, even a .txt file has meta data -- no matter how small the file is! ALL files have meta data. Files are made up of data (which the user can access) and meta data (which the user is not supposed to access). Every file is made up of data and meta data.

    Common meta data fields includes File Type, File Size, Date Created, Date Last Modified, Created by, and Title. There are programs out there that let you see the meta data: Meta Data Reviewer, and there programs that let you modify it -- just like I DID above!

    Perhaps I need to speak to you in coding language! Here is an example of code that manipulates a file's meta data. Still think it is in a table? I am fairly certain you can use VB code to manipulate a file's meta data.

    Are file names, file size, and file types also stored in some table by the OS -- or do you think they might be held inside the file's meta data as well?? If the file did not store its own name, how does the OS know what file it is??

    What about file attributes -- system, read-only, hidden? Are they all in some table as well? That must be some HUGE table if every file's dates and attributes are stored in it.

    IF you can agree that a file MUST have meta data storage for its name, size, type, and attributes -- why is it difficult to believe the dates aren't stored there also?

    I would dig up more references, but it is Friday night!

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    Re: Date of burning

    Rick,

    Metadata for files on a disk are stored separately from the files themselves. The exact organization depends on the file system.

    See for example Understanding FAT and Notes on the structure of the VFAT file system for FAT, and NTFS Architecture and Structures for NTFS.

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    Re: Date of burning

    I have to run -- but where does a file store its name? Is the file's name kept separate from it?

    I guess I have been deluded all along... I was always under the impression that the meta data was part and parcel of the file. You are saying that the meta data is physically separate from the file and kept in the "File Allocation Table"??. I will look more into this later....

    Thanks!! <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15>

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    Re: Date of burning

    The operating system maintains a table containing info about files. It's a bit messy in the (V)FAT file system because originally a file name could only be 11 characters long (8 for the name, 3 for the extension). Starting with Windows 95, long file names were allowed, so they had to use a kludge for that.

    If you think about it, it is not so strange that metadata is kept in a separate table. If it was stored in the files themselves, how would the OS be able to find a file? Moreover, imagine the OS having to open each file in order to display a folder...

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    Re: Date of burning

    As I drove to the dinner party I became very esoteric about the whole concept. <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15>

    It all comes down to semantics -- what makes a file a file? A file cannot exist without its meta data.

    A file is made up of two pieces: its data and its meta data. It does not matter if there are physically separated on the hard disk -- they are inseparably intertwined. You cannot have one without the other. So the fact that the meta data is not physically sitting next to the data on the hard drive is not necessarily the issue. The meta data is part and parcel of the file -- no matter where exactly it is physically stored. We are talking about bits and bytes after all...

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    Re: Date of burning

    It's not quite that simple.

    The data of a file exists as a logical unit, it may be fragmented but it has a start and a size and consists of a stream of bytes that mean something to a program or user or whatever. The "meta-data" is much more diffuse.

    For example my file might be serversharefoldersubfolder1subfolder2filename.ext

    The SERVER name is stored in my head and needs to be translated to the IP (or possibly NETBeui) address of a server on a network. This translation is done by a complex inter-related set of components, none of which is directly related to my file.

    The SHARE name is part of the configuration of the server, and again has no direct relation to the file

    The top level folder names are stored in the file system of the server, but not in any way that directly relates to the file

    The file name does need to point at the file in some way, but some file systems will allow a file to have multiple independent names which are simply pointers to the files metadata. The "file" need not necessarily have any pointer back to any of its names.

    The file metadata also includes the OWNER. This is stored as a very long number in the file metadata, but depends on a local database, or possibly an Active Directory database to make it a meaningful name. Similarly the other permissions on the file need access to SAM or Directory information to mean anything.

    Have I added to the confusion in a helpful way?

    StuartR

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    Re: Date of burning

    Life was simpler when I didn't have to actually understand the truth. <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15>
    Once again I learn that ignorance is truly bliss.

    Thanks, Stuart.

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    Re: Date of burning

    I have a friend who says...

    "The truth will set you free. But first it will make you truly miserable."

    StuartR

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