Get file created/creation time?

  • Possible Duplicate:
    How do I do a ls and then sort the results by date created?

    Is there a command in Linux which displays when the file was created ? I see that ls -l gives the last modified time, but can I get the created time/date?

    Even while "OT" as this is asking for a tool to display this information, I think it's a valuable thing for programmers to know when dealing with more UNIX-y filesystems.

    The command is `sudo debugfs -R 'stat /path/to/file' /dev/sdaX` (replace `sdaX` with the device name of the filesystem on which the file resides). The creation time is the value of `crtime`. You can add `| grep .[^ca]time` to list just `mtime` (the modification time) and `crtime` (the creation time).

  • The stat command may output this - (dash). I guess it depends on the filesystem you are using. stat calls it the "Birth time". On my ext4 fs it is empty, though.

    %w Time of file birth, human-readable; - if unknown

    %W Time of file birth, seconds since Epoch; 0 if unknown

    stat foo.txt
      File: `foo.txt'
      Size: 239             Blocks: 8          IO Block: 4096   regular file
    Device: 900h/2304d      Inode: 121037111   Links: 1
    Access: (0644/-rw-r--r--)  Uid: ( 1000/  adrian)   Gid: (  100/   users)
    Access: 2011-10-26 13:57:15.000000000 -0600
    Modify: 2011-10-26 13:57:15.000000000 -0600
    Change: 2011-10-26 13:57:15.000000000 -0600
     Birth: -

    What if we do not have the `stat` command installed and I cannot add the `stat` command to this environment? `bash: stat: command not found`

    While you mention %w you don't say how to use it. I'd suggest modifying this answer to show an example command to get the creation date if it's not included by default. For example "stat -c %w file"

    I'm sorry but is simply not the right answer. I'm looking at a file that I created days ago and it's showing me the birth time was some hours ago.

  • Linux offers three timestamps for files: time of last access of contents (atime), time of last modification of contents (mtime), and time of last modification of the inode (metadata, ctime). So, no, you cannot. The directory's mtime corresponds to the last file creation or deletion that happened, though.

    The file creation time is actually stored in Ext4, but not directly accessible. See

    There's a natural confusion between Linux OS, and the various filesystems that can be used with Linux. You can't just make general statements about Linux in regard to things specific to the filesystems.

  • No, there is no such a command. In Unix creation time is not stored (only: access, modification and change).

    Not true in general. Some common filesystems used in Linux don't store creation time, but others do: see

    Some files may have metadata (such as exif) which record the creation date/time. If all of your files happen to be digital photos, you most likely have this data. Here is an example using perl's Image::ExifTool.

    It depends mainly on the filesystem, for example the `ext4` filesystem is storing the file creation date.

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