The Adventures of Systems Boy!

Confessions of a Mac SysAdmin...

File Creation Dates Hosed Copying from Mac to Windows

I just wanted to draw some attention to a potentially fairly nasty Finder/Mac OSX bug that hasn't gotten the attention it probably should. A few days ago I posted on the latest Tiger release, what it fixes, what it doesn't. And in the comments section of that article, two people wrote in about a problem wherein the Finder loses the creation dates of files saved to MS-DOS formatted disks. That is, any file saved to a Windows formatted disk (and I don't know if this only applies to fat-32 disks or all Windows formats, but I would suspect the latter) will lose its creation date, which will be set to nothing. It will simply be blank, from my understanding of the problem. And please be aware, I have not experienced this problem myself. But a number of people have. We don't hear about it much in the Mac community, because much of the Mac community tends to work only on Macs. To be affected by this bug, you'd have to be both working from Mac to Windows, and have a serious need for file creation dates. This is not everyone, but it is a serious problem nonetheless, and Apple should hear about it. Though I have not personally suffered from this problem (yet), I sincerely sympathize with folks who need to get things to work cross-platform. I have the need myself, and it can be a real bitch. But when basic functionality like the preservation of file creation dates begins to fail when working cross-platform, it's way more than a bitch. It's a fucking nightmare. A lot of people turn to Apple for cross-platform compatibility, because -- let's face it -- no one else is doing half as good a job as Apple in this arena. But sometimes it seems like it's the cross-platform arena that gets the short-shrift when it comes to Apple's priority list. This is understandable, I suppose. We're the minority. Still, when basic things go wrong, Apple should hear about it, no matter how small the affected group may be. And they should fix it. Promptly.

So, if anyone out there in Mac-Land is having a problem with this, I say go vent. If you want to do it here in the comments section, by all means, be my guest. But you may want to take a moment and let Apple know about your problem as well (and trust me, they don't read this blog). There are a few good places to do this:
  1. Apple's Mac OS X Feedback Page
    Here is the best, and most appropriate, place to lodge a complaint or report a bug. Keep it business-like and polite, but specific and thorough. Vent someplace else.
  2. Apple's Discussion Forums
    Here you might actually find some help for your problem (though I think this particular problem is up to the Apple Developers at this point). Help notwithstanding, enough complaints on the discussion forum are likely to escalate the problem in the queue of stuff-needs-doin'. So it's worth a shot.
  3. Call AppleCare (1-800-275-2273)
    Again, a good place to get heard. It might be a pain. You might get put on hold. A lot. But if you've got the time -- and, of course, your machine is still under warranty -- this could escalate your cause up through the ranks of the Apple engineers. As always, be polite but firm. You may need to explain your problem to -- and humor -- a number of lower-tier help-desk types before you get someone knowlegeable. But it might pay off. Don't do this, though, unless you've got some time and patience. Trust me.
  4. Finally, spread the word
    That's what I'm trying to do with this post. Start writing to forums and blogs of some prominence. MacOSXHints is a good one to post on. There's also The Unofficial Apple Weblog. Hell, there are a ton, and they're all more prominent than this one. Start hitting them up. No one likes bad press. Least of all Apple. The more noise people make, the more likely they'll be heard.
So, anyway, hopefully this does somthing to draw a tiny bit of attention to an easily-overlooked, but non-trivial problem. I'm pushing for you kids. If anyone hears of a solution, please post it here in the comments. I'll do the same.

Now go start pestering.

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10:40 PM

I like your blog! I've been a Windows geek/Jr. Sysadmin for a long time and I've had your blog bookmarked for some time now. Now days, I'm making the transition to a more Graphics oriented job, in turn, I'm also making the transition to Mac. I love Macs already.

I've done a few hundred Windows XP / 9x installs, and everyone was so painful in it's own unique way. I bought an old Powermac G4 a few months ago. Installing OS X was painless, I was disappointed in the total lack of a challenge. No hassle finding drivers or the usual BS, nope, it was just smoooth.

Since then I even upgraded the hell out of my old 400 MHz sawtooth G4, up to a 1.6 Ghz monster! Next purchase is a powerbook, & good bye VAIO laptop.

Keep on bloggin! Down with Windows! Down with iPod Flaunters, I like the iPod, I just hate the "iPod Flaunters". I think the intel switch for Apple will bring good things... I hope.    

1:08 PM

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.    

1:09 PM

Hey, thanks for the comments/compliments. Much appreciated. Yeah, Mac is great, especially, I think, for graphics work. But, of course, it's not without its problems, especially in a multi-platform, networked environment. Still, most of the problems I have here in the lab come from Windows. Lab admins all want to get rid of Win, for just the reasons you site, but the users keep asking for more Windows machines. I don't get it. Maybe if they had to set up and maintain the machines, they'd feel differently.

Good luck in the graphics world.


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