What's the difference between LastWriteTime and ChangeTime in FILE_BASIC_INFO?

Raymond Chen

Raymond

The FILE_BASIC_INFO structure contains a number of fields which record the last time a particular action occurred. Two of the fields seem to describe the same thing.

Last­Write­Time
The time the file was last written to.

Change­Time

The time the file was changed.

What’s the difference between writing to a file and changing it? I’m told that the difference is metadata. The Last­Write­Time covers writes to the file’s data stream (which you accomplish via the Write­File function). On the other hand, the Change­Time also includes changes to the file metadata, such as changing its file attributes (hidden, read-only, etc.) or renaming the file.

(And don’t forget that Last­Access­Time updates are off by default now.)

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