Is there a way to edit/alter a file but leave the 'time' stamp unchanged?

Discussion in 'Computer Security' started by, Oct 12, 2007.

  1. Guest

    Is there anyway to alter a file (i.e. powerpoint/word doc/excel
    spreadsheet) but make it appear that the file was altered on any given
    day (e.g. 1 Jan 2000).

    I want to know how to do this on a PC

    I am also curious to know if this is possible on a mac (i have a
    copied this to a mac group)


, Oct 12, 2007
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    nemo_outis Guest

    wrote in

    Yes, it is not only possible but easy. There are any number of programs
    that will let you change a file or folder's attributes, of which the
    date/time is one (or, on NTFS, three: Created, Modified, Last Accessed).
    Some of these are free but my personal favorite isn't: Attribute Magic
    Pro (there is also a scaled down free version).

    Even the free one can change FAT/NTFS timestamps, etc. but the Pro
    version can also change *internal* timestamps in Word, Excel, etc.

    If you are working with MS Office files there are a number of programs
    which manipulate/erase the metadata it stores *internally* which can be a
    real embarrassment in some circumstances (just ask Tony Blair!). As a
    minimum get the free "Remove Hidden Data" tool from Microsoft itself, but
    I recommend getting the non-free "Document Trace Remover" as well.


    PS Incidentally, one tool I love is Directory Opus which besides being
    the premier replacement for Explorer also lets you change file date/time
    attributes. One feature I especially LOVE about it is that if you copy
    an NTFS folder between drives it will automatically put the old
    directory's timestamp on the new one (and it lets you diddle with
    created, modified, last accessed, too). This is extremely convenient
    when moving whole directory trees (perhaps your music collection?) while
    preserving timestamps for sorting, etc..
    nemo_outis, Oct 12, 2007
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  3. <>

    Used it for a few years now and it is excellent.
    As far as I know nothing like TouchPro but it is worth looking at the
    Terminal touch command.


    The reply-to email address is a spam trap.
    Email steve 'at' shodgson 'dot' org 'dot' uk
    Steve Hodgson, Oct 13, 2007

    Unruh Guest

    This is operating system dependent, not cpu chip dependent. The answer is
    yes. Under linux do
    man touch
    Unruh, Oct 13, 2007
  5. What about just changing the date setting on the machine, modifying
    the file, and then changing the date back.
    On any machine with good old fashioned (MS)DOS there should be an
    "attrib" command - the syntax can vary.
    Dr Geoff Hone, Oct 13, 2007

    Jolly Roger Guest

    You hacker, you. ; )

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    Jolly Roger, Oct 13, 2007

    Sebastian G. Guest

    Changing the system time typically requires administrative privileges that
    he might not own. Yes, even on Unix-like systems the filestamps are derived
    from system time and not the per-user time.
    The "attrib" command changes file attributes, not file timestamps. What
    about using "touch" from GnuWin32 or UnxUtils instead? Heck, even in the
    Windows Resource Kit you'll find a tool "vfi.exe" which provides the "touch"
    Sebastian G., Oct 14, 2007

    Simon Slavin Guest

    Mac reply: Change the file, let the OS stamp the file, then restamp it
    yourself to whatever timestamp your want using the 'touch' command. 'man
    touch' for more information.

    Simon Slavin, Oct 14, 2007

    Steve Firth Guest

    You can, but then people like me get paid to find out that you have done
    it and to prepare notes for the prosecution. So I'd think very carefully
    about *why* you would want to do this.
    Steve Firth, Oct 14, 2007
  10. There are any number of file utilities that'll do the job the GUI way,

    But if I were you, I'd think about what Steve Firth had to say. For
    once, he's made a post that is worth paying very careful attention to.

    The OP is clearly wanting to perpetrate some sort of fraud - the way the
    question was asked shows that, I reckon. But just 'cos you can change
    the time stamp doesn't mean you won't be caught out.

    Best to be honest unless you're very clever and devious; or enjoy bad
    food seasoned with the bodily fluids of prison wardens.

    Rowland McDonnell, Oct 15, 2007

    nemo_outis Guest

    (Rowland McDonnell) wrote in

    Uhh, do you usually jump to conclusions on the basis of wild speculation
    and no evidence? The OP said NOTHING about *why* he wanted to change the
    timestamp, only that he wanted to know *how* to do it.

    nemo_outis, Oct 15, 2007
  12. If you'd read my post, you would understand that the manner in which the
    question was asked indicated what I remarked upon.

    That is, to my perception, there is indeed some evidence and no
    speculation (wild or otherwise) is involved. I'm surprised that you
    failed to understand this point from my post.

    Rowland McDonnell, Oct 15, 2007
  13. Er, what's that line about not feeding the trolls... ;o)

    Mentally Sub-Normal, Oct 15, 2007

    nemo_outis Guest

    (Rowland McDonnell) wrote in

    Oh dear, another fellow prepared the defend the indefensible.

    No, the OP said absolutely NOTHING about why he might want to change the
    date on a file, whether for good or ill. It was only your fertile
    imagination that supplied the surmise that it was to defraud someone.

    And then you went on to put towers and minarets on your castle in the air
    blithering on about him being found out, and even going to jail!

    And all this based on nothing more than his question about the mechanics
    of going about changing a timestamp.

    Hell, given your propensity for wild speculation, anyone who owns a copy
    of "touch" should be arrested forthwith!

    nemo_outis, Oct 15, 2007
  15. [snip lunacy]

    I must say that's quite an impressive pile of wild invention you've
    managed to create. I can't come up with any rational processes that
    could lead from my remarks to your bogus and absurd interpretation of
    about what I was on about - quite amazing.

    Is this how you get your entertainment, inventing this madness?

    Or is it the case that your ability to comprehend plain English really
    is that poor?

    (genuinely curious)

    P.S. The poster who wants to change the time stamp is up to no good, as
    anyone with any understanding of human nature can tell from reading the
    original post - why do you think Firth made his remarks about going to

    Obviously, you do not have any understanding of human nature. I don't
    suppose you'll ever learn, but what that chap's up to in broad terms is
    crystal clear to those of us who do understand people.

    If you change a time stamp to indicate that a file has been changed at a
    time when it's not been changed, and then present that to someone as
    evidence of when it was changed, that's misrepresentation and if you're
    doing for particular reasons (speak to a lawyer), it's fraud. You don't
    have to be ripping off de Beers for it to be fraud.
    Rowland McDonnell, Oct 15, 2007

    Guest Guest

    that's absurd. there is absolutely no evidence one way or the other
    about the original poster's motives. assuming he is up to no good is
    nothing but speculation, and in fact, can even be considered libel.

    there are plenty of reasons why one might want to change the time stamp
    that are totally legitimate.
    it is best to not assume everyone is a criminal.
    Guest, Oct 15, 2007
  17. [snip][
    Indeed - but you won't ask the way the OP asked if you are legit, as
    anyone who knows about human nature could tell you.
    You have no evidence to suggest that anyone in this thread assumes
    everyone in a criminal, so I'm puzzled as to why you would make such a

    I knocked over a parked motorcycle by accident the other day - that made
    me a criminal. I've got the crime recorded against me even though it
    was purely accidental, I contacted the owner and told him what I'd done,
    and have repaired the bike at my expense.

    Almost everyone in the UK /is/ a criminal - it's very hard to avoid
    being a criminal these days, what with all the malicious and unjust laws
    that Bliar's New Labour and the almost but not quite equally vile Tories
    before them gave us.

    Rowland McDonnell, Oct 15, 2007

    nemo_outis Guest

    It is not I who has gone beyond what the OP said in his one and only post
    in this thread. He said, verbatim and its entirety:

    Is there anyway to alter a file (i.e. powerpoint/word doc/excel
    spreadsheet) but make it appear that the file was altered on any given
    day (e.g. 1 Jan 2000).

    I want to know how to do this on a PC

    I am also curious to know if this is possible on a mac (i have a
    copied this to a mac group)



    No mention whatsoever why he might want to do this. No mention of any
    other person. No mention of fraud or any other purpose, good or bad.
    Nope, just a simple question about the mechanics of changing the

    From there it is you who has gone on to surmise, to speculate, to
    conjecture on his motives, to infer his intentions are mischievous, and
    to hector him about fraud and jail. All this on no evidence whatsoever.
    There's not a word from the OP on why he wants to know.
    Ah, a Hobbesian convinced that all mankind is inherently base. And who
    therefore attributes evil motives to the original poster despite the
    total absence of one word by him, one way or the other, as to why he
    might want to change the date on files.

    Either that or you're just another garden variety moron, who reads what
    isn't there.

    nemo_outis, Oct 15, 2007

    Tim Jackson Guest

    Honest is as honest does. Sometimes the operating system's default
    action is effectively dishonest.

    Example 1: I ran a disk recovery utility after my root directory got
    trashed by a hardware fault. I got all my files back, but the 'honest'
    utility set them all to the same date, the date of recovery. That really
    screwed up my photo library and my software change control records.
    Fortunately all the important stuff was also backed up by a 'dishonest'
    utility - PKZIP - that restores the directory entries too.

    Example 2: I designed a system that takes physical measurements for
    standards certification. The operator runs the measurement which takes
    a long time, and may fill in the rest of the certificate details (client
    name, client sample identification, etc), before, during or afterwards.
    However it is important that the time on the certificate file reflects
    the time of test completion so that it can be matched up against the
    instrument's own log for legal traceability. So the certificate print
    program has to set the 'wrong' time on the certificate file.

    Example 3: I had all my historical account files stored in MS Excel
    format. I decided I to change my system to OpenDocument format, and in
    order to be able to do annual returns, aged balances etc, had to convert
    some of the old files to the new format. Needless to say, changing the
    date on the files was the last thing I wanted. Sure the files have the
    right date *inside* but I can spend a long time opening a directory full
    of monthly files all called "sales" and all with the same date, to find
    the one for August 2005.

    So the OP can have perfectly reasonable and honest cause to want to
    override the modification date. Perhaps he even just wants to know how
    well he can trust this information, to decide whether this sort of fraud
    has been perpetrated on him.

    Tim Jackson
    Tim Jackson, Oct 15, 2007

    Rick Merrill Guest

    The reason *I* would want to do it is to put the date of a picture
    taking on a JPG file, instead of the date I 'cropped' the file. Is there
    a way to do that?
    Rick Merrill, Oct 16, 2007
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