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Issue metadata

Status: Assigned
EstimatedDays: ----
NextAction: ----
OS: All
Pri: 3
Type: Feature

issue 68359

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Feature request: preserve timestamps on downloaded files

Reported by, Nov 19 2008

Issue description

Chrome Version       : <REPLACE this with your version. Ex:>
URLs (if applicable) :
Other browsers tested:
Add OK or FAIL after other browsers where you have tested this issue:
     Safari 3: FAIL
    Firefox 3: OK (with DownThemAll)
         IE 7: FAIL
FDM, Orbit, FlashGet and other popular download managers: OK

What steps will reproduce the problem?
1. Download a file.
2. Check modification date in file properties

What is the expected result?
Last modified date is the same as reported by server.

What happens instead?
Last modified date is the date file was downloaded.

Please provide any additional information below. Attach a screenshot if 
In my opinion, file modification date should reflect exactly that - when 
the file was last _modified_. Downloading in that regard should be no 
different than copying a file from one drive to another. Preserving 
timestamps makes sense for, e.g., comparing different versions of the same 
file, or checking if the file has been changed since last time it was 
If that goes against other people's preferences of organizing their 
downloads, I'd be happy if that feature is optional or even hidden in the 
configuration file.
Labels: -Type-Bug -Pri-2 -Area-Misc Type-Feature Pri-3 Area-BrowserUI Mstone-X
Status: Untriaged
Setting the download to the current time matches the behavior of IE, Firefox, and 
Sarafi (that is to say Chrome is not acting abnormally).  My sense is that there 
probably is not going to be a lot of acceptance of the team of adding a configuration 
option (in general the team errors on the side of simplicity), but it doesn't hurt to 
ask... marking as untriaged and changing to a feature request.
Status: Available

Comment 3 by, Jun 21 2009

If the behaviour of IE or any other was anything to go by, there would be no point in 
developing Chromium, in the first place - the reason it exists is because its 
developers thought they could do better, right?
As for someone wanting to know when they got some file or whatever, there's always the 
creation date stamp - that's what it's there for.
C4l0sMC, creation date does not exist on every platform, and for the platforms where
it does exist (i.e. Windows), it seems counterintuitive to have a creation time newer
than the last modification time.

I'd really love this feature, but seems it could result in confusion for some.
Firefox has this on one of its wiki pages:
<> (grep for
"preserve"). Couldn't find a bug for it, though

Comment 5 by, Jul 4 2009

It took me a while to figure it out, but coming from where it's coming, nothing should 
surprise you. Naming it more logically (filing date/edition date should do it) should 
be dead easy, though. Still, that goes beyond us, mere mortals :(

Glad to see Firefox agrees :)

In any case, as usual, setting it as an option should leave everyone happy.

Comment 6 by, Dec 18 2009

Labels: -Area-BrowserUI Area-UI-Features
Area-UI-Features label replaces Area-BrowserUI label

Labels: -Area-UI-Features Area-UI

Comment 8 by, Apr 13 2010

Safari on Mac OS X handles this fine. It's really helpful so that you can see if file has changed since the last time 
you downloaded it. (e.g. with course documents on a university website)
Please, we fought a hard and long battle with Firefox developers to fix this bug.

The fix will appear in firefox in the next release. Take a look here:

Chrome should join Firefox and fix this bug also, please!!!

Comment 10 by, Jun 3 2010

This is how CVS (but not SVN) checks out files from a repository.
If the OS allows file creation time to be newer than file modification
time (a counterintuitive state), I tend to support this change.

Comment 11 by, Nov 15 2010

Labels: Feature-Downloads
@filamento (#9)

Later in August this functionality was removed and feature request was closed as WONTFIX:

Comment 12 by, Nov 27 2010

Internet Explorer and Safari use the Last-Modified HTTP header to set the file timestamp.

Independent of whether the behavior is deemed to be correct, there should be an option or setting to control the behavior.

“Internet Explorer and Safari use the Last-Modified HTTP header to set the file timestamp.”

On Mac OS X, yes, but not on Windows.

A file whose creation time is newer than its last-modified time may seem counter-intuitive, but it is still a common occurrence because the file system’s creation time field is the time the file was created /in this volume/, not when the file was originally created in its original volume.

Changing the last-modified time of a copied file when the file /has not been modified/ is not only more counter-intuitive, it is completely illogical.  File system support for creation time is irrelevant because chrome://downloads/ already records the time each file was downloaded.  Chrome should preserve the last-modified time of downloaded files because it is the only logical choice:  users who, for illogical reasons, want the last-modified time of downloaded files to be the time the file was downloaded instead of when it was actually last modified can use touch(1) or another means to update the file’s last modified time;  users who prefer logic and consequently want the last-modified time of downloaded files to actually be the last-modified time cannot use Chrome to download files because Chrome cannot preserve the last modified time of downloaded files.

This issue should be changed from a low(er) priority feature/enhancement request to a top priority bug because last-modification time preservation is fundamental functionality expected from all programs capable of copying files.

The top of this page defines Chromium as “An open-source browser project to help move the web forward.”.  Until Chromium’s download (file copy) implementation is fixed, this claim is a marketing fantasy.  Opera Software also claims to deliver “simply the best Internet experience”, which is simply false because they are ignoring at least 2 basic requests from users, including myself, on their forums:  to preserve last-modified time of downloaded files and use “Page x of y” instead of “Page x” on print (paged) media.  The best Internet experience can never be delivered until Opera Software prioritises fixing such basic issues.  Of course, Opera Software’s issue tracker is private too so I cannot see how many other user requests they are ignoring.

Internet Explorer for Windows is such a joke it still reports itself as compatible with Mozilla/4.0 from 1997.  Microsoft did not even implement Print Preview until Internet Explorer 5.5 in 2000.  Google appears to be attempting to outdo Microsoft by being so late to add Print Preview to Chrome, but such lateness is probably more excusable now than in the 1990s due to the popularity of printing to PDF files with virtual printers.

Anyway, Firefox is still my primary Web browser because I need full support for .

Comment 15 Deleted

Comment 16 by Deleted ...@, Mar 9 2011

When I download a file, I want *exact* copy of the file provided by the server. That includes the modification time. The reason is the same as with "-p" option of "cp" - you *can* and sometimes *want* to preserve file metadata on copy, for further reuse. If it was impossible by file system design, I would agree with the current interpretation/behaviour. But that's possible and exploited everywhere: you *can* preserve metadata (including modification date) on file transfer. For instance, I use it for sorting manually downloaded system updates by the *original* file date. Chrome simply does not allow such a scenario at the moment. That's sad.
ELinks and wget set the downloaded file's modification time to the server-reported Last-Modified time, too. So does Curl if you use the --remote-time option. I love this because it allows me to refresh my local copy of a file only if the server actually has a newer version using wget's --timestamping option or curl's --time-cond option. It would be nice if Chromium could elevate itself to the functionality of tools that have been around for decades. ;)
Blocking: -68359 chromium:68359 chromium:68359
Project Member

Comment 19 by, Mar 10 2013

Blocking: -chromium:68359
Labels: -Area-UI -Feature-Downloads Cr-UI-Browser-Downloads Cr-UI

Comment 21 by Deleted ...@, Jun 2 2013

Can chrome provide a download option like wget -N?

I don't want to get a renamed file from server.

Comment 22 by, Aug 7 2013

Please provide a way for Chrome to reserve the date/time of downloaded files,
even if that is not the default.  This would be invaluable, for example, when
updating the thousands of files that come with LaTeX, a few of which are
occasionally changed. I expect this kind of behavior as found e.g. in WSFTP.
I use Firefox with DownThemAll extension for downloading files in order to get this behavior (downloaded file modification timestamp matches timestamp on server). This allows me to easily monitor when a file has changed. I wish Chrome could do this as well.

Comment 24 by, Feb 5 2015

It looks like this isn't a hidden option either. Would appreciate if this was added as an option also, so I don't have to use Firefox on the same download.
Some third-party download managers have trouble with Chrome integration on some websites and the download goes to the built-in download manager, so in those cases the present workaround is to use another browser.
Not sure about Windows, but on Mac OS X, HFS+ supports 5 standard timestamps: created, last accessed, contents last modified, attributes last modified, last backed up []

In addition, arbitrary metadata can be added via xattrs, including the  "" key, which Safari uses to record the download timestamp (with, as has been previously mentioned, FS modification date set to value from Last-Modified HTTP header)

So you have six standard timestamps the Finder can display/sort by. If Chrome is to integrate better with the host OS, a variety of timestamps should be supported, which may differ by OS.

Comment 26 by, Apr 28 2015


Comment 27 by, May 11 2015

See also  issue 486620 .
Project Member

Comment 28 by, Jun 30 2016

Labels: Hotlist-Recharge-Cold
Status: Untriaged (was: Available)
This issue has been available for more than 365 days, and should be re-evaluated. Hotlist-Recharge-Cold label is added for tracking. Please re-triage this issue.

For more details visit - Your friendly Sheriffbot
 Issue 486620  has been merged into this issue.
Labels: Hotlist-GoodFirstBug
Status: Available (was: Untriaged)

Comment 31 by, Jul 4 2016

Just a quick info. The first post is now wrong as of july 2016. Firefox has now blocked DownThemAll from being able to preserve timestamps.

Currently there's no browser that I know of capable of preserving timestamps. It's sad indeed :(
Let's make Chrome the only one that can do it!

Comment 33 by, Jul 12 2016

Safari uses the Last-Modified HTTP header to set the file timestamp.

Comment 34 by, Jul 13 2016

The only other option I know of for preserving the last modified timestamp is to use drag and drop of files from web pages to file managers in Ubuntu MATE.  Why is this so hard to implement? 

Comment 35 by, Jul 13 2016

btw, it is not unusual to find a file with a creation date newer than the modified date.  The creation date notes when the file was created on that particular system.  The last modified time notes, if passed on correctly, when the contents of the files were last modified.

Please, do make Chrome the browser to set the standard for others by implementing this feature correctly.
Project Member

Comment 36 by, Jul 14 2017

Status: Untriaged (was: Available)
This issue has been Available for over a year. If it's no longer important or seems unlikely to be fixed, please consider closing it out. If it is important, please re-triage the issue.

Sorry for the inconvenience if the bug really should have been left as Available. If you change it back, also remove the "Hotlist-Recharge-Cold" label.

For more details visit - Your friendly Sheriffbot

Comment 37 by, Jul 14 2017

Since there doesn't seem to be any agreement that retaining the last modified time of a file from the downloading server is of any import and since I've found that the Firefox Downthemall addon is doing this task correctly again, I'll be sticking with Firefox for most of my browsing.  It's a shame, really, how an addon can do the task that one would have expected from a browser itself.

Comment 38 by, Jul 14 2017

btw, if the Firefox addon Downthemall was unable to keep the last modified time at some point in the last year, they seem to have fixed it.  I just tried it again on a machine with a newer version of Ubuntu, Firefox and Downthemall, than I normally use, because of issues like this, and it's working properly, to my way of thinking, again.  This means I'll likely do that long overdue upgrade of my main workstation computer to Ubuntu 16.04.2 LTS with the latest Firefox and Downthemall.

Take care.

Now, how do we close this since no one really could do anything about it?
Status: Assigned (was: Untriaged)
Assigning to xingliu@ just to take a look and review the history here. xinglu, feel free to kick back to triage if you think we should change.
Keeping my fingers crossed, thinking of developers of *nix culture for whom preserving timestamps and relying on accurate timestamps for scripts is useful, convenient, and as natural as breathing. Good luck to us, and let's raise a glass to cp -p sourcefile targetfile.

Comment 41 by, Jul 21 2017

Interesting that this should get some new traction after all this time.  Given the prevalence that Chrome is gaining over Firefox and whatever Microsoft is foisting on users these days it would be a real boon to have this feature working correctly on Chrome.   Cancel my idea of dropping this issue.  More than developers like to keep track of old timestamps.

Comment 42 by, Sep 26 2017

With regard to DownThemAll - the author has discontinued development so it is very likely it will stop working sometime soon (if it hasn't already). That is literally the only thing I use FireFox for - to use DTA to download files while preserving the date/timestamp. I never understood why browsers didn't do this natively, and as mentioned earlier, it would be great if Chromium lead that charge. If it costs nothing extra other than to implement the feature (and make it an advanced option if you are so inclined) - then why not do it? Not doing it because no one else does it is a terrible reason.
I for one go out of my way to bring the modified timestamp with the file.  When working through corporate networks, I don't always have a choice what tool to use, so rely on Chrome.  Would dearly appreciate having the option to preserve the modified date/timestamp in Chrome.

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