See when a file was created in Windows 7 (Files / folders creation date)
Along with other information, Windows 7 keeps track of the creation date of files and folders on your computer; and this is something you can find out quite easily. In this tutorial, we will show you how to determine when a folder or file was created, how reliable this information is (and when to look for confirmation elsewhere), and how you can sort files by "date created" in Windows Explorer. Note that while this tutorial focuses on Windows 7, these tips are also applicable to Windows Vista, Windows XP, and older versions of Microsoft's operating system.
Determine the "Created Date" of files and folders
Follow these steps to get the date when a file was created:
- First, navigate to the folder that contains the file in question (or minimize all program windows if this file happens to be on the desktop). Unlike some other file operations, finding out the creation date of a file implies selecting only one file at a time.
- Now, right-click on the file or folder, and choose "Properties" from the context menu.
- Windows 7 will open the "File Properties" / "Folder Properties" dialog; about midway through the "General" tab (selected by default), you will find a date and time listed under "Created":
- This is the information you were looking for. Let's now talk about its reliability.
How reliable is a file's "Created" date / time?
There are several factors that affect the timestamp Windows 7 displays as created date for files and folders. One of them is the current computer time - if you travel, and change time zone on your PC, some files may appear as having been created to far in the past or appear as having been created in the future! (depending on whether you were traveling eastwards or westwards). The same remark applies to the apparent creation date of a file if your computer date and time settings were just wrong.
Another setting that affects the visible created date and time timestamp of a file or folder is if it was transferred from the network, or imported from another computer - in that case, you may see the date and time on which the file or folder was created on your hard drive - in other words, the date and time at which you copied this file or folder on your computer.
Sort files and folders by Created Date in Windows Explorer
Here's how to sort the content of a folder by creation date: (newest files first, or oldest files first)
- Navigate to the folder that contains the files you're interested in, inside Windows Explorer.
- Then, check if the "Date created" header is already displayed above the listing of files and folders. If it is not, right-click on any of the other headers, and pick "Date created" from the context menu, as shown on the screenshot below:
- Once the "Date created" column is visible in Windows Explorer, click on it once to sort one way, and click on it once more to reverse the file sort order (depending on if you want to see newest files at the top, or oldest files first). An arrow confirms that you are sorting by creation date: