[xplorer˛] — With dates less is more
home » blog » 4 January 2009
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Perhaps the most useful piece of information stored with each file and folder is its modification date, the exact time and date it was last modified. When you save your school report or tax return spreadsheet, the file time is updated too, whatever the computer clock was at the time you saved it. Although this tells you only the last time you saved a document or picture, it is useful for detective work.

I always sort all folders by date so that files most recently changed show up first, using View > Arrange by > Date menu command. In large folders I can see at a glance which files I was working on recently (there's also the recent items folder).

The modified date column shows the exact date and time stamp of each file, down to the second. In fact NTFS keeps track of modified times with 100 nanosecond resolution, which is good if you are working for the FBI but less important for mere mortals. Wouldn't it better if the modified date column wouldn't overload your brain with millisecond accuracy for each file giving you instead an approximate reading like in MS Outlook? xplorer˛ has an advanced option for this very purpose called User friendly date column information. Goto Tools > Options, click on Advanced tab and you will find this checkbox. Once checked you will see file dates in user friendly concepts like Today, Yesterday, Last month and so on.

Every now and then you need the full modified date details, which are hidden if we switch to this friendly date format. Instead of switching back and forth this advanced date option, I use a little trick. xplorer˛ offers two date columns, one its "stock" and one from windows explorer. We could show the two columns side by side to have both friendly and exact dates, but that would defeat the purpose. Next best thing is to use the exact date only on an infobar (View > Toolbars > Info bars menu), a small status bar under each pane that shows information for the active item in the list. You can select columns for infobars by right clicking to show extended information beyond what is shown in detailed view columns. This way we show the friendly date for all files and the exact date for the file selected.

For step by step instructions have a look at today's demo video

ps Bye-bye 2008. I am not superstitious but what they say about leap years has a hint of truth. What a rubbish year this 2008 was, I'm glad to see the back of it. I wish you all a happy and lucky 2009.

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