I don’t want the “last modified” attribute to be changed to the current date when copying files to a mounted Samba folder. How can I do this?

This behavior occurs with (K)Ubuntu 12.04 and Ubuntu 15.10. It can be reproduced using GUI browsers (tested with nautilus 3.4.2 and dolphin 2.0) and using cp -p in terminal.

The Samba folder was mounted to the local file system either with:

  • sudo mount -t smbfs //mynas/folder /mnt/nas/ -o user=username


  • sudo mount -t cifs //mynas/folder /home/mnt/nas/ -o user=username.


  • When connecting to the same Samba folder (either with nautilus or dolphin) using a URL like smb://username@mynas/folder/, then I can copy files to it without having the “modified time” replaced with the current time!
  • But mounting a Samba folder is more convenient, also not all tools support the smb protocol. This is why using the URI smb:// is not a workaround for me.
  • Is your share mounted with the uid option set to your user? Without this, ownership and timestamp preservation wont work!
    – marc
    May 6, 2016 at 11:14
  • No it was not as everyone can see in the problem description. But appending the mount command to "sudo mount -t cifs //mynas/folder /home/mnt/nas/ -o user=username -o gid=1000,uid=1000" solves the problem. Many thanks for your answer :). Wouldn't you like to write a official answer, so I could mark it at the correct answer?
    – Fango
    May 6, 2016 at 16:28

2 Answers 2


There are several other utilities that can be used to copy files without modifying their timestamps. rsync (especially, using the '-t' flag) and cpio (using the '-m' flag) can both be used in this case. Check out the manual pages for each to see what other options might be useful.

  • It's not the fault of the tools I'm using to copying files that the time stamp is changed, it happens with all tools I tested. It has to be a layer below the application layer that causes this undesirable behavior.
    – Fango
    May 6, 2016 at 15:09
  • Just tested on an smbfs mount on OSX. Using cp -p timestamps were not preserved when transferring to the smbfs mount. Using rsync -avzt timestamps were preserved correctly. So I'm leaning towards it being the tools.
    – Thomas N
    May 6, 2016 at 15:28

The command cp -P doesn't apply to your needs. You are using uppercase argument letter -P which is used to never follow symbolic links.

What you want to use is lowercase to preserve timestamps: cp -p

As described in the comment section of the question, using the correct gid and uid solved the problem:

sudo mount -t cifs //mynas/folder /home/mnt/nas/ -o user=username -o gid=1000,uid=1000
  • That's true, but still with "cp -p" the "last modified" attribute changes.
    – Fango
    May 6, 2016 at 11:04

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