How to Batch Shift the Date and Time of Photos on Windows

Have you ever taken a bunch of photos with your digital camera, only to realize afterwards that the time set on your camera is incorrect? This is common if you forget to adjust the camera’s time to account for Daylight Savings Time or if you travel to different time zones.

This happened to me before and while I could edit the timestamps of the photos one by one, I had hundreds of them to edit and doing so one by one would be tedious and time consuming. Simply batch editing the properties of the images wouldn’t work since that would make all the timestamps identical.

Fortunately, it turns out Microsoft’s own Windows Live Photo Gallery provides a feature to batch edit the date and time of photos by shifting the time a certain amount. The instructions written here are for Windows Live Photo Gallery 15.4.

Simply select all the photos you wish to batch edit the timestamps of. In the top ribbon, head to Edit > Adjust time.

Windows Live Photo Time

Click Adjust time in the ribbon

In the window that appears, simply adjust the time shown. The date and time shown is that of the first photo selected, but the remaining photos will be adjusted relative to the time indicated. So if you adjust the time from 6:00 PM to 5:00 PM, all the selected photos will have their times adjusted backwards one hour.

Windows Live Change Time

Change Time Taken

You will notice that the timestamps have all properly shifted. However, Windows Live Photo Gallery doesn’t actually update the metadata of the photo, so if you move the file to a different system or use a different program, the timestamp would still be incorrect.

To force it to update, apply an effect to the photos. You can choose any effect at all. After all the changes have been applied and saved, click Revert to Original and allow changes to save again. Reverting does not revert the timestamp, but does force Photo Gallery to save the photos.

WLPG Original

Apply any effect and revert to apply timestamp changes

Have another method to batch edit the date and time of photos or another tip to share? Share with us in the comments.

Updated on August 21, 2012: Thanks commenter Frank for pointing out that WLPG doesn’t update the file itself.

By
Brian is the co-founder of TechAirlines. He is a web developer and manages most of the site’s operations. He is currently a freshman at Stony Brook University, majoring in Computer Science.

  • http://watchdogmi.com Jessica

    Thanks so much for the information, I couldn’t figure out the time stamp to save my life!! Now I have it down! :)

  • Claudia

    Thank you for taking care to publish this seemingly banal piece of information, Brian.

    I had forgotten to adjust my camera to daylight savings time before a very special trip and was completely unaware of the capabilities of the Live Photo Gallery.

    …I would have needed to adjust 600+ time-stamps manually – Windows Live did it in an instant as described ; )

    • http://www.techairlines.com Brian Yang

      Glad I could help! :)

    • http://www.facebook.com/newstu Stuart Occupy Newman

      nice that it worked ok for you & you didn’t get stuck with a bunch of sepia images instead of beautiful full color photos.

  • Frank

    The time shift works great if the photos are viewed in MLPG. Changes are stored locally and all are lost if exporting or viewed on another computer of program.

    • http://www.techairlines.com/ Brian Yang

      Thanks for reporting that issue. I have added a bit to the article with instructions on how to permanently save the date shift.

      WLPG fails to actually update the file when you change the time. However, when you add any effect to the photo, then the changes are saved. Afterwards, simply revert to original, and it will save again. Reverting does not change the timestamp.