On the various ways of getting the current time and date in Win32
There are a number of functions in Win32
that obtain the current date and time.
Here’s how they fit together:
The starting point is
This returns the current time in UTC in the form of a
This also happens to be the time format used internally by the system,
so this value can be retrieved with a minimum of fuss.
You can also call
GetSystemTime which returns the current UTC time
in the form of a
To do this, the operating system takes the
FILETIME and then calls
the moral equivalent of
does a boatload of gnarly math
to decompose the
into year, month, day, hour, minute, second, and millisecond.
Meanwhile, you can also get the current local time by taking
FILETIME returned by
then passing it to
And finally, there’s
which does the same thing
but it starts with the local file time.
I happen to be a fan of commutative diagrams.
(Though since there are no closed loops, there is nothing to commute.)
To complete the commutative diagram,
there would be an arrow connecting the bottom two boxes called
but there is no such function.
Today’s article was inspired by some code I ran across which did this:
SYSTEMTIME stNow; FILETIME ftNow; GetSystemTime(&stNow); SystemTimeToFileTime(&stNow, &ftNow);
That code unwittingly takes an excursion from
then back through
just so that it can end up where it started,
but with a lot of extra math (and loss of resolution).
Exercise: How would you implement the