Windows: `Touch` Command – Equivalent

The touch command in Linux is used to change a file’s “Access“, “Modify” and “Change” timestamps to the current time and date, but if the file doesn’t exist, the touch command creates it.

If you simply want to create an empty file from the command-line prompt (CMD) or a Windows PowerShell – the type and copy commands can be considered as a Windows touch command equivalent.

The file timestamps in Windows can be changed using the built-in PowerShell commands.

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Windows `Touch` Command Equivalent

To create a new file, as a Windows touch equivalent, you can use one of these commands:

C:\> type nul >> "file.txt"
- or -
C:\> copy nul "file.txt"

To change a file timestamps to the current time and date, execute the following commands from the PowerShell:

PS C:\> (Get-Item "file.txt").CreationTime=$(Get-Date -format o)
PS C:\> (Get-Item "file.txt").LastWriteTime=$(Get-Date -format o)
PS C:\> (Get-Item "file.txt").LastAccessTime=$(Get-Date -format o)

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To set the specific timestamps, execute:

PS C:\> (Get-Item "file.txt").CreationTime=("01 March 2020 09:00:00")
PS C:\> (Get-Item "file.txt").LastWriteTime=("20 April 2020 17:00:00")
PS C:\> (Get-Item "file.txt").LastAccessTime=("20 April 2020 17:00:00")

The timestamps can be displayed using the following command:

PS C:\> Get-Item file.txt | Format-List CreationTime, LastAccessTime, LastWriteTime

2 Replies to “Windows: `Touch` Command – Equivalent”

  1. PowerShellNewbie says: Reply

    This is extremely helpful information – thanks for the post! My particular use-case is for a VeraCrypt (.vc) archive. By design, VeraCrypt does not automatically update the file write time when a “hidden” container inside a container file is modified. This is done for security purposes, but it prevents my RoboCopy and some differential backup scripts from duplicating the file. It also can cause issues with OneDrive and other drive sync software. Your PowerShell command updating the LastWriteTime avoids this issue, and it’s something I can add to my manual backup scripts.

  2. An alternative is that id windows subsystem for linuzx ( WSL ) is installed , you can launch a bash shell and run touch .

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