[Critical Bug] Mylio Overrides Creation Date of files stored on ExFat external drives

Hi all,

Discovered a scary bug when Mylio overrides “Creation Date” of files stored on external drive Vaults formatted with ExFAT.

I primarily use a Mac OS Device as a host for several external drives (4TB HDD) formatted with ExFAT for compatibility with Windows PCs.

As I’ve discovered with horror last night, is that when Mylio copies files to the ExFAT drives, it overrides the “Date Created” to the time of the copy, thus effectively changing the original. That is especially damaging for video files, as they don’t have original creation date in the metadata.
The “Date Created” is also changed if you make any changes to the folders structure in Mylio (e.g. reorganize folders).

“Date Modified” is remained intact.

When tested manually (by copying files to the disk with Finder), the Date Created is preserved. So this is definitely a Mylio bug.

When tested with NFS (Mac OS Journales) formatted disk, the Date Created is correctly preserved.

Hopefully I have a full copy of the files on my NAS device, that was synced from originals (and not from the ExFat vaults with bogus timestamps) and now doing a restoration using clean hard drives.

I’ve issued a critical support request to Mylio to fix that, as changing files metadata is not what I expect from a software that syncs data across devices.

For those who uses or plans to use ExFat drives - you’ve been warned.

In the meantime, if anyone has come across this and found a solution to clean up the mess - please share. If not, I’ll be working on a set of scripts to validate/correct the timestamps (thankfully I’m a software engineer, so can automate restoration).

As long as Mylio is not changing the image metadata (Date Taken) then isn’t this working as expected? In most operating systems, creating a new copy of a file changes its Date Created timestamp.

And I understand that video metadata sucks, but that’s a more general problem not specific to Mylio.

No, it’s not working as expected, as I mentioned in my post the manual copy on Mac OS preserves the creation date. Overriding the creation date are an issue on old Windows when using the explorer, hence the backup/sync tools like robocopy/safecopy exist to do that safely.

Given the purpose of Mylio of preserving originals and work across platforms, it needs to operate in a way that is compatible with all platforms. As of today, with ExFat partitions on Mac OS, it can cause a non-revertible loss of metadata.

My experience with originals in general is whenever I save changes to metadata, the created date is changed, but “date taken” stays in tact.

Many video files do contain metadata with the original capture date and time - I have some Python and Exif scripts that I use if you are interested.

Mylio has improved their understanding of video capture times imported from the camera or a card, but when they began to ignore video sidecar files there has been no way to edit the times except via the UI Change Date interface which makes automation impossible.

Have fun,

@katie180 I may be misunderstanding your use case, but if you are making changes to the metadata, shouldn’t we expect the “Date Modified” to be updated, with “Date Created” remaining the same? At the very least, that’s the behavior I can observe with pretty much any tool on Mac OS.

@Paul_Jensen If you could share the scripts - that would be much appreciated.

I think there is a way to automate things in a way Mylio would understand it, by updating the .xmp files, right? Or that wouldn’t work for some reason?

IMO the proper fix would still be the same - preserving the ‘Date Created’, so there is no issue in the first place. While in many cases one can do things with exif, the basic file timestamps are much more accessible and easy to use (basic use case is sorting in file explorer).

That’s my point - what you’re saying about date creating the same is what I would expect too. I think it changed both changed and modified. I think it’s maybe creating a new file rather than simply modifying it? I’m not sure.
Any program that could show Content Created got it right from how I set it in Mylio. I think Date Digitized is another name for it.

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I wish I could get the Mylio support people (who have bent over backward for me over the years) to describe how they currently determine the date and time videos were captured. It used to result in incredibly wrong dates, but now does seem to be determined mainly by the operating system file attributes when the video is imported (but once imported any changes are ignored). Hence the only way I know to change the video capture date and time once a file is imported is either to delete it, change the file’s time attributes, and re-import it or to use the UI which has a granularity of minutes). This makes automating batch changes impossible.

The file attributes are under control by the operating system. On the Mac, you can use the terminal command ‘touch’ to set them. The question is what should you set them to? You need to look at the file’s metadata to make a good guess.

Metadata - the Exif tags in the .XMP Mylio sidecar files for photos (possibly reflected by your action in the media file for jpeg, tiff, and dng photos) but contained only in the original file and the Mylio catalog for video files - deserves a book or two to cover well.

The ‘exiftool’ utility is a good way to manage all the metadata in either the .XMP files or the embedded metadata in files. It’s a bit of a learning curve but well worth it.

I am including shell scripts that you may find useful on top of exiftool to examine date related metadata. Do some inspecting with files and folders to get a better picture of what your files contain.

DateTimeOriginal, CreationDate (note that’s not CreateDate), MediaCreateDate and TrackCreateDate are typical for my video files and I normally choose the first existing one in that list, but your cameras are probably different.

But be warned that Mylio is trying to get rid of .XMP sidecars where they can. The first change last year was to ignore video sidecars making automation difficult if not impossible.

So expect Mylio’s approach to sidecar files to continue to change and possibly impact any scripts you write. When they ignored video sidecars I had to toss extensive Python scripts I used to automate setting the DateTimeOriginal tag which, back then, would correct the date and time accurately.

Have fun,

#!/bin/tcsh -f
exiftool -a -G0:1 -s $*:q

#!/bin/tcsh -f
~/bin/meta.sh -d ‘%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S’ -DateTimeOriginal -CreationDate -CreateDate -MediaCreateDate -TrackCreateDate -TrackModifyDate -FileModify -FileModifyDate -GPSDateTime $*:q

@Paul_Jensen Thanks a lot for the context and your scripts!

FYI I was in touch with mylio support as well and they said that would raise the priority of an existing bug where Mylio doesn’t use the date attributes from the file metadata, using OS file attributes itself.

It’s frustrating that the tool whose main strength is in photo sync, cataloging and organization makes paid customers spend hours of time finding workarounds to bugs in the system. It looks like you’ve spent a ton of time on it.