4 Replies Latest reply: Aug 23, 2010 7:35 AM by infobleep
infobleep Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
Hi there

I tried researching the following problem on-line but couldn't find anything helpful so was hoping someone else might know something helpful.

Historically I have always used PCs so until last year I didn't own a Mac, although I use them at work. This means I have a huge amount of files and data stored on external hard drives. I now run Snow Leopard but also run Windows 7 in inside VirtualBox because not all software I own is available for the Mac.

The problem I have is that Snow Leopard and Windows handle file creation and modification dates differently. So if I save a file on my Mac HFS+ disk in Snow Lepoard, Windows cannot read the dates correctly.

I have MacFuse running in Snow Lepoard in order to access my NTFS+ disks but saving files on there still doesn't resolve the issue. Recently I created network drive shares to my NTFS disks in Windows 7 so I could access them. However when I copy files from my Digital Camera on to them, it changes the creation date whilst keeping the modification date unchanged. I use the creation dates to title my MPEG4 AVI videos so I cannot afford the dates to change. If those contained metadata, similar to EXIF data, it wouldn't be such a problem but they don't.

Does anyone know a way of safely transferring files or a program which converts files between Mac and PC. I know of MacDisk but would allow resolve the date issue or simply place files on a HFS+ disk with the windows creation date format. Thus rendering the dates wrong when used in the Mac. I just need a conversion tool between the two. I can't use FAT32 because I also work with digital video from time to time.

Kind regards


MacBook, Mac OS X (10.6.4), Also running Windows 7 via VirtualBox
  • infobleep Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    Hi there

    I've since installed a trail version MacDrive to see if that might help but it hasn't made any difference to the creation dates of previously moved files from my Digital Camera to my Mac, when viewed in Windows 7. I have e-mailed MacDrive to see if they can tell me whether their software would help and if so what I might need to do, in order to resolve the issue. I'm happy to purchase a copy of MacDrive but only if it does what I require. Same goes for any other software, which may help with the date issues.

    Kind regards

  • The hatter Level 9 Level 9 (60,275 points)
    I ran into the same type of problems and gave up

    Paragon-Software has a commercial NTFS driver for OS X and HFS+ (beta) driver

    Personally I don't like Mac OS writing to NTFS. I don't want Spotlight and those ".DS_" type of files littering my drives. Also, HFS+ supports filenames that Windows won't accept and can totally hang or kill Windows Explorer if it encounters any file with special characters.

    Also, unrelated, but Windows 7's Backup function wouldn't run with AppleHFS present, so that was another reason I renamed in order to disable AppleHFS.
  • macalias007 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    So to understand your issue.

    You have lots of old drives running with the NTFS file system.
    Now that you have a MAC you want to keep using these drives in the same way.
    The issue is that the MAC is writing the day you copied the content onto the hard drive in NTFS external drives as the creation date?
    Is this correct?

    If so, I believe that you are trying to do a Windows thing in a MAC world....

    I am using Parallels and VM ware. I cannot see any problem with VMware and the file creation dates in either MAC or XP. I have created new files in each, crossed over to the other operating system and modified the files. Both files are correctly displaying the content the way they need to be with the correct modified and created dates. The VMware and MAC OS use the mac file system as a base.

    I would try to save the digital photos to the external drives while in windows. If you need to use the MAC when doing this I personally would copy off all the old PC files onto my mac and then reformat the external drive as a MAC file system drive. Then copy the files back to the external drive from the MAC. If you are using VMware this drive can be useable by windows as a "shared folder".

    If you acknowledge the external USB drive as a USB device in WMware it will of course be in MAC file system format so the new formatted drive will only be viewable in the Computer Management application (WinXP ) And it will not show up as a drive.

    To get around this I created a new shared folder in the VMware (Settings -> System Settings -> Sharing) and just simply chose the entire portable drive as a shared folder. Works like a charm. Now WinXP can use the VMware Tools app and properly translate the file content over the the MAC drive. I just created a few files and don't see any issue with the file creation dates.

    MAC doesn't use NTFS for its file system and since NTFS is a windows technology, probably cannot? If anything the software that is allowing you to write to the NTFS drive is probably emulating something and that piece of software is at fault. I have an old NTFS drive and don't remember being able to write to it natively from the MAC OS.... In fact my new 1TB drive was purchased to allow me to transfer all my old data off the legacy drive so that I can update it to the new MAC world

    Though even more then this... I personally never rely on something so fallible as a computer maintained "created on" or "modified on" concept as these are subjective. As of the new millennium file names have been basically unbound. I would instead append the date and time to my file name as follows.

    201007310300 Some Name of a File.jpg

    this way no matter what is done with the file you still have the all important creation date.

    An apple script should be able to be created to look at the creation dates on the files as they are stored on the mac and append the date to the file name. (basic shell scripting)

    And if this doesn't work for you, perhaps the Linux file system is a better option? I believe that MAC will play nicer with Linux. And I know that there are software drivers to read a linux drive on a PC. Again, though, creation dates can easily change and are no guarantee as to when a file was really created.

    So to conclude. All of my external drives are in MAC FS. If I need to copy files to a PC I can use my new 64GB flash drive. (I mean that is a HDD all in to itself!) If you are stuck in NTFS land, save the files via your Windows emulation.
  • infobleep Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    Thank you for all your comments. Macalias I had been naming the files based on the date and time but the problem I was having was that the dates and times were not displaying correctly, so I couldn't rename the videos.

    However I have now resolved the problem. The problem was caused by creating shared folders using VirtualBox shared folder interface.

    To get Mac dates to appear correctly in Windows, one can create a virtual bridged network in VirtualBox or a host only network. The later is more useful because it doesn't require one to be connected to a physical network, in order to transfer data between Windows 7 and Snow Leopard.

    If anyone would like more details on setting this up then reply to this thread and I will post more detailed information.


    As soon as I created a Bridged Network