Linux/Unix: How to manipulate or change the last modified/accessed time of a file using touch command?


Assume there’s a file @ /home/user/testmsg.txt

If you want to change the file timestamp to 09/20/2011 08:30 using touch command, here’s how you can do it:

# Only change the last accessed time
touch -t -a 20110920083000 /home/user/testmsg.txt

# Only change the last modified time
touch -t -m 20110920083000 /home/user/testmsg.txt

# Change both the times - modified and accessed times
touch -t 20110920083000 /home/user/testmsg.txt

From Wikipedia,

touch is a standard Unix program used to change a file‘s access and modification timestamps. It is also used to create a new empty file.

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One comment

  1. Thanks for this good summary. Is this not a security issue. How can I search the file system to see what files have changed if a hacker can modify the PHP files and simply touch the date back to the original value?

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