GlobalSCAPE Knowledge Base

Conserve Local File Time Feature does not Work Properly when Connected to Serv-u FTP Server

Karla Marsh


  • CuteFTP Pro, Home, and Lite, v8.x and earlier


Conserve Local File Time feature does not work properly when connected to Serv-u FTP Server


Turn off this feature when connecting to Serv-U or other FTP servers that modify the time sent as part of the MDTM set sequence.


The MDTM command is designed to be used for retrieving a file's time from the server. However, CuteFTP and various other FTP clients use the MDTM command to change (set) an uploaded file's time stamp. The standard documenting the MDTM command ( makes no provisions for using the MDTM command to set the file time stamp, so various clients and servers have implemented the command differently.

The typical command syntax is MDTM YYYYMMDDHHMMSS FILENAME, where the HHMMSS is either the client's actual local time zone or, in the case of some FTP clients, GMT (Greenwich Mean Time), which mimics the retrieve behavior of MDTM as documented in section 2.3 of the standard.

Certain servers, such as Serv-u, have extended the MDTM command even further, adding a time zone parameter to the end of the MDTM command, as follows:


CuteFTP does not support this proprietary [+-TZ] parameter. Also, CuteFTP sends the local time for the HHMMSS portion of the MDTM command sequence, not the GMT time. Unfortunately, Serv-u (and potentially other FTP servers) expect the time to be sent in GMT and automatically adjust the time for the file, causing it to be different than what the client expected.


CuteFTP retrieves a listing. File time shows 8:55 AM:

-rw-rw-rw- 1 user group 20249 May 14 08:55 Reports.cfc

CuteFTP does an MDTM retrieve time to determine what the remote file's time is. Notice the server sends 12:55 PM, adding 4 hours due to the server's time difference and GMT:

COMMAND:> MDTM Reports.cfc

213 20040514125501

CuteFTP uploads the replacement file:

STOR Reports.cfc

CuteFTP issues an MDTM command to set the time according the actual date and LOCAL time of the file, 12:55 PM:

COMMAND:> MDTM 20040514125501 Reports.cfc

Subsequently, CuteFTP retrieves the list from the server, with the time of 8:55 AM.

-rw-rw-rw- 1 user group 20249 May 14 08:55 Reports.cfc

Notice that the server did not write the time stamp as 12:55, as requested. Instead, it assumed the time stamp was in GMT and subtracted 4 hours.

Last Modified: 7 Years Ago
Last Modified By: GlobalSCAPE 5
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