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Date: 16 July 2007

Author: Howard Kaikow <>

Subject: Compare Drives Using FileAttributes program

Download the latest version of the Compare Drives Using FileAttributes program

Also, see the Compare Drives Using File Content ("Content") program


The Compare Drives Using File Attributes ("Attributes") program will create a list of the differences between logical drives. Let us call these the First drive and the Second drive. The program will enumerate the following:

Originally, the program was intended to determine which files were included in an incremental/differential backup. This is accomplished by asking a backup program to mount virtual drives that are included in the backup at one point in time, and mounting the corresponding virtual drives from a backup that was done at another point in time.

The program can be used to determine the differences between various pairs of logical drives. The process will take anywhere from less than one second to several/many minutes per drive, depending on the speed of the computer, and the number of files on each drive.


The program outputs a text file for each pair of drives compared. The file will be created in the directory in which you have placed the executable file. The file will be named Attributes-First-Second.txt, where the selected drive letters are used instead of First and Second.

The program also outputs a text file named CompareDrivesAttributesLog.txt. If the file does not exist, the file will be created by the program. If the file exists, the program will append to the end of the file.


The program was compiled using Microsoft Visual Basic 6 (with SP 6).

In order to run this program, you will need to have the following installed:


I developed the program using Microsoft Windows 2000, but expect that the program will work in other Microsoft Windows operating systems. I am aware of only the following restrictions:

Running the program

There is no installation necessary, just directly run the program by double-clicking on the CompareDrivesUsingFileAttributes.exe file, or by using a shortcut to that file. When you run the program, a Visual Basic 6 Form will be displayed that looks something like the Form below. The Form was designed using a screen resolution of 1280 x 1024. The Form includes the following controls.

Control Purpose

CheckBoxes and SpinControls

Select the drives you wish to have analyzed.
Clear All Clears all checkboxes and drive selections.
Select All Selects all the checkboxes for which a pair of drives has been selected.
Update Drive List If logical drives are added, or removed, while the program is running, you must tell the program to update the drive list.
Exit Exit the program.
Compare Drives Causes the program to analyze each pair of drives for which a checkbox has been selected.


The only attributes compared are the file size, creation time, and modification time. If all three attributes are the same for two files, then the Attributes program considers the files to be identical in content.

This is a useful assumption for comparing a logical volume with a very recent backup of the logical volume. However, in the general case, we could have the following:

The Content program may be used to compare drives based on file content.