Are Windows file timestamps timezone aware?

When it comes to Windows file timestamps, one of the main questions that IT administrators have is whether or not they are timezone aware. This is an important question to consider as timezone differences can affect the accuracy of the timestamps, and therefore the accuracy of any data or analyses that are based on them.

In order to answer this question, it is necessary to understand how Windows stores and handles file timestamps. Windows file timestamps are stored in the NTFS file system as the number of 100-nanosecond intervals that have elapsed since January 1, 1601. This date is known as the “Universal Time Coordinated” (UTC) base date.

NTFS stores all file timestamps in UTC, regardless of the timezone settings of the computer. This means that, regardless of the timezone settings, all timestamps are stored in UTC and will be consistent across different timezones.

When a file is accessed, Windows will convert the timestamp from UTC to the current local timezone, so that it can be displayed in the correct format. For example, a file with a timestamp of 1:00 PM UTC would be displayed as 10:00 AM if the computer’s timezone was set to Pacific Standard Time.

However, the timestamps are still stored in UTC, which means that if the timezone settings are changed, the timestamps will remain the same. For example, a file with a timestamp of 1:00 PM UTC would still be displayed as 1:00 PM if the timezone was changed to Eastern Standard Time.

In summary, Windows file timestamps are timezone aware in the sense that they are stored in UTC and converted to the current local timezone when they are accessed. This ensures that the timestamps will remain consistent regardless of the timezone settings, and that they will be accurate across different timezones.

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