Finding the file creation date/time on Linux

Posted on 18 Dec, 2020

1. Find inode number of file.

$ ls -i

2. Find name of your root partition

$ df -h
Filesystem      Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
udev            924M     0  924M   0% /dev
tmpfs           191M  1.4M  190M   1% /run
/dev/sda1       146G   38G  101G  28% /
tmpfs           954M  121M  833M  13% /dev/shm

3. Use the inode no in stat & debugfs

sudo debugfs -R 'stat <9344160>' /dev/sda1

Look for crtime, that is our file creation date/time

Here is a one liner if your filesystem is ext4

sudo debugfs -R "stat <$(ls -i | awk '{ print $1}')>" /dev/sda1 | grep 'crtime'
  • debugfs is a ext2, ext3, ext4 file system debugger. The -R flag causes debugfs to execute a single command. In our case that command is stat which is used to check file status. We need to run debugfs where our filesystem is mounted, i.e /dev/sda1.

Note: this will not work on older file systems. Although this has changed with modern file systems such as ext4 & Btrfs which has been designed to store file creation time.

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