Windows 7 Annoyance: File Properties

   March 7th, 2010

For the most part Windows 7 is great.  There are a fewthingsabout it that annoy me, and I have found another.  This “feature” has popped up a couple times and is very frustrating when it does.

For files created/modified in the last 24 hours, Windows 7 does not display the file time in the File Properties dialog.  It just gives a very unspecific “X hours ago”.  What the fuck is this shit?

So if I wanted to know the EXACT time this file was created, I can’t see that.  Fan-fucking-tastic idea Microsoft.  Where do you idiots come up with this shit?  Seriously, who ever thought this was a good idea should be punched square in the balls.  What good does “5 hours ago” do.  Ok, so it was created some time 5 hours ago, giving an hour of buffer time in there.  That really doesn’t help me.

And the kick-to-your-face part of it is that if the file was created/modified/whatever more then 24 hours ago, it actually shows the time:

Why on Earth can’t it show that for ALL files?!  Why does 7 think it necessary to change this USEFUL format to a USELESS format for files changed in the last 24 hours?  I know that most people don’t care, and that is probably why they changed it, but how is this helping anyone?  It’s not!  It’s only hurting those of us who need exact file times.

Fucking mind-boggling!  I’m not alone either, there are others out there who are annoyed by the same “feature”.  You see, this is the kind of shit that is fine to implement, IF YOU GIVE THE USERS A CHOICE TO CHANGE IT SOME PLACE.  I’d be fine even with a reg edit, but from what I have seen, there is no way to change this back.

17 Responses to “Windows 7 Annoyance: File Properties”

  1. Brandon  Says:

    Operating Systems that annoy you….

    Clearly, they copied that “x hours ago” from Facebook.


    – B

  2. Nick - Author Comment:

    haha, apparently!
    When was your birthday? Oh, it was 9,855 days ago.

  3. Jonathon  Says:

    I had to buy a 7 equipped laptop 2 months ago, because my XP one died 🙁
    With all the bagging of Vista, I had expected that they had developed 7 off the back of XP. But no, it is shit – your gripe here is just one of many things I absolutely hate about my new computer. All of them Windows based. And no drivers are available to roll the machine back to XP – arrrgh!

  4. Eric Singer  Says:

    I did find a way to change it. Really strange though..

    Go to Control Panel >> Region and Language >> Additional Settings >> Date
    Change the “Long date” format to “ddd, MMMM dd, yyyy” (remove one of the ‘d’). This will change it from the “Long Day” format to the “Abbreviated date” format (i.e., “Thursday” become “Thu”).

    Apparently the “Long date” (my terminology) also understands something about “Today”, but the “Abbreviated date” (again, my terminology) doesn’t, so instead of “Today” it says “Thu”. Because it doesn’t know it is “Today”, it lists the full time.

    Stupid change from MS, but here is a workaround if you think it is stupid too and want your time back.

  5. Nick - Author Comment:

    BRILLIANT! That changed it to show the proper file times now! Over a year later and Eric comes through with an answer. Thanks a ton man!

  6. Aaron  Says:

    Changing the long date format to leave out the day of the week entirely (ex: “MMMM dd, yyyy”; it’s in the pulldown) also works.

  7. Andrew  Says:

    Eric Singer is my hero! 🙂

  8. Bob Bobson  Says:

    Has anyone ever actually found the -ago format useful and been glad for it? I think it’s safe to assume that most of the time that someone actually wants to examine the timestamp of a file, they will probably want either the entire date and none of the time, or the date and time down to the second.

    I just had to determine the time (down to the second) that I created a file this morning so that I could enter it into a date field of a web page, but thanks to Microsoft, that was incredibly hard. I couldn’t use Explorer to do it because it only showed the minutes, and the Properties dialog box showed none of the time at all. Even the command-prompt won’t show the bloody seconds.

    How does something like this pass quality-control at Microsoft? How can they think that holding back information from users is a good thing? ◔_◔

  9. Windows 8 victim  Says:

    Figured out that this trick from Eric Singer works also with Windows 8. Thanks a million! Previously i have to wait until after midnight to be able to get the exact creation date of my new files – incredibly stupid user interface!!!

  10. Alexa Kindler  Says:

    Works also with Windows 8.1.

    It would have been nice to be able to switch back and forth, or even put the time as a popup when hovering over it BUT be able to select it and copy it.
    Oh, well … it is a brilliant accident to find out that MS matches the day of the week to decide whether to display a relative or an absolute time. Eric Singer, you’re DA MAN!!!
    BTW, anyone knows how to do the same in Google? It has the same “feature”

  11. Julie  Says:

    I’ve been hating this (and a lot of other things) about Win7 for a long time, but only today did I bother googling it. Nicholas, thank you for griping about it; and Eric, thank you for figuring this out.

    And yeah, I hate Win8 even more. But I’m trying to pace myself. Gotta save some for Windows 9.

  12. Eckart  Says:

    Nicholas, Eric, thank you so much! I’ve been googling for that several times over the last years, but only today I managed to enter the right key words :-))

  13. dbMark  Says:

    Fantastic workaround. Why in the world would Microsoft assume that if the file was created, modified or accessed “Today” then I wouldn’t want/need to see the the precise time? I too agree that “5 hours” ago is NOT what I wanted to see!

    Now I’m emboldened to search for my other pet peeve, Windows Explorer listing all files in KB. That should be customizable, after all, ” KB” is almost the same width as “,000”. So far the solutions are using PowerShell or other programs.

  14. noreply  Says:

    more simple:
    Change the “Long date” format to “yyyy-MM-dd”

  15. Michael Silver  Says:

    What a huge timesaver. Worked like a champ. Thanks for keeping this post up.

  16. Roscoe Bailey  Says:

    WOW, made my day! I can’t remember a rant so eloquently stated: expressing my continuous frustration with MS developers constantly mucking with what works and skipping over what doesn’t. Not to mention the Fantastic Workaround!

  17. William Lambton  Says:

    The dddd change to ddd also works in Windows 10 Pro. Thanks Eric! In Region/Formats use Additional Settings to edit dddd to ddd manually. The old and new settings are saved in the Long Date drop-down. The imposition of “friendly” timestamps all over the internet is a curious feature of machines which work to the nearest 10th of a microsecond or better: 2018-08-18T01:20:15.157713100Z – a typical Event Viewer timestamp, the last two zeroes possibly dummies, the “Z” Zulu time or GMT/UTC. Crazy world. That is, “about an hour ago” it was, until I found this thread (at 23/08/2018 23:41:06GMT, as it happens).

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