Move files and folders without losing time and date data

File copy option

Here’s how to move files and folders from one drive to another without losing date and time information. Use Robocopy.

QUESTION I have a large collection of photos on my Windows 8.1 PC, which has grown to the point where the drive is almost full. The pictures are organized into several folders, I want to sort by date. To cope with the growing collection, I bought a larger drive and copied all the pictures. This seems to work fine, but when I take a closer look, I notice that all the files have the same date and time. This means I can no longer sort my collection by date. Can you help me?

ANSWER HELP If you still have the original drive and can copy the files over, you can use the Windows built-in command ‘Robocopy’ to copy your files. Short for ‘Powerful File Copy’, Robocopy offers many advanced bulk copying options including the ability to maintain original timestamps on your files and folders. To use it, open a command prompt by right clicking on the Windows 8.1 start button and selecting ‘Command Prompt (Admin)’. Next, type the following command:

ROBOCOPY “C: photo” “D: photo” / E / COPYALL / DCOPY: BILLION

Substitute “C:photos” and “D:photos” for your source and destination folders respectively.





options ensure that your original ‘date modified’ properties are preserved during copying.

The /E option ensures that subdirectories are copied as well, including any empty directories you may have in the original location. Robocopy has a lot of additional functions and options that you can explore by typing robocopy /? at the command prompt.

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If you don’t want to use the Windows Command Prompt, you can download a utility called RichCopy, written by Microsoft’s Ken Tamaru. It provides a graphical interface to set up functions similar to that of Robocopy.

To access the options needed to manage your file properties, select ‘Advanced’ from the View menu. Next, select your source and destination paths by clicking the source and destination buttons in the main window. Click the Options button and select ‘File Properties, Error Handling’ from the left pane. In the right hand pane, make sure that the Timestamp box is ticked, select any other options you want and click OK. Select Start from the Actions menu to begin your copy.

If you don’t have the original disc and lost the time stamp, all is not lost. Your image files will likely contain EXIF ​​data, storing internally the time and date when the photo was originally taken, so you can sort them by this if you want.

Open a File Explorer window in the folder where your images are located, then click the Sort By button in the ribbon at the top and select ‘Date Captured’.

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