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

Tom Anderson twic at
Mon Sep 12 18:00:21 CEST 2005

On Mon, 12 Sep 2005, Claudio Grondi wrote:

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

You might try or, or a 
newsgroup specific to the operating system you're working on.

> 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?

I don't think there's a portable way to do this. I also don't think 
there's a way to do this at all on most disks. I think there might be a 
way to do this using journalled filesystems, but i'm not certain, it would 
definitely involve fiddling with low-level filesystem APIs (or even 
on-disk structures), and, UIVMM, these are a minority of disks anyway.

Sorry i couldn't be more helpful!


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