Is it possible to detect if files on a drive were changed without scanning the drive?

Claudio Grondi claudio.grondi at
Mon Sep 12 19:17:29 CEST 2005

It is maybe not a pure Python question, but I think
it is the right newsgroup to ask for help, anyway.

After connecting a drive to the system (via USB
or IDE) I would like to be able to see within seconds
if there were changes in the file system of that drive
since last check (250 GB drive with about four million
files on it).

How to accomplish this? (best if providing
directly a Python receipe for it :-)
Do available file systems have something like
archive attribute assigned to the root directory
of the drive?
I suppose not. Am I right?

I ask this question having Microsoft Windows 2000
and Windows proprietary NTFS file system in mind,
but I am also interested to know it about Linux or
Unix file systems.

I know, that looking for the archive attribute of the
top directories doesn't help when the change
happened to files somewhere deeper in the
hierarchy of directories.

Any hints are welcome.


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