changedFiles {utils}R Documentation

Detect which Files Have Changed


fileSnapshot takes a snapshot of a selection of files, recording summary information about each. changedFiles compares two snapshots, or compares one snapshot to the current state of the file system. The snapshots need not be the same directory; this could be used to compare two directories.


fileSnapshot(path = ".", = TRUE, timestamp = NULL, 
	    md5sum = FALSE, digest = NULL, full.names = length(path) > 1,

changedFiles(before, after, path = before$path, timestamp = before$timestamp, = c("size", "isdir", "mode", "mtime"), 
	    md5sum = before$md5sum, digest = before$digest, 
	    full.names = before$full.names, ...)
## S3 method for class 'fileSnapshot'
print(x, verbose = FALSE, ...)

## S3 method for class 'changedFiles'
print(x, verbose = FALSE, ...) 



character vector; the path(s) to record.

logical; whether to record values for each file.


character string or NULL; the name of a file to write at the time the snapshot is taken. This gives a quick test for modification, but may be unreliable; see the Details.


logical; whether MD5 summaries of each file should be taken as part of the snapshot.


a function or NULL; a function with header function(filename) which will take a vector of filenames and produce a vector of values of the same length, or a matrix with that number of rows.


logical; whether full names (as in list.files) should be recorded. Must be TRUE if length(path) > 1.


additional parameters to pass to list.files to control the set of files in the snapshots.

before, after

objects produced by fileSnapshot; two snapshots to compare. If after is missing, a new snapshot of the current file system will be produced for comparison, using arguments recorded in before as defaults.

character vector; which columns from should be compared.


the object to print.


logical; whether to list all data when printing.


The fileSnapshot function uses list.files to obtain a list of files, and depending on the, md5sum, and digest arguments, records information about each file.

The changedFiles function compares two snapshots.

If the timestamp argument to fileSnapshot is length 1, a file with that name is created. If it is length 1 in changedFiles, the file_test function is used to compare the age of all files common to both before and after to it. This test may be unreliable: it compares the current modification time of the after files to the timestamp; that may not be the same as the modification time when the after snapshot was taken. It may also give incorrect results if the clock on the file system holding the timestamp differs from the one holding the snapshot files.

If the argument contains a non-empty character vector, the indicated columns from the result of a call to will be compared.

If md5sum is TRUE, fileSnapshot will call the tools::md5sum function to record the 32 byte MD5 checksum for each file, and changedFiles will compare the values. The digest argument allows users to provide their own digest function.


fileSnapshot returns an object of class "fileSnapshot". This is a list containing the fields


a data frame whose rownames are the filenames, and whose columns contain the requested snapshot data


the normalized path from the call

timestamp,, md5sum, digest, full.names

a record of the other arguments from the call


other arguments passed via ... to list.files.

changedFiles produces an object of class "changedFiles". This is a list containing

added, deleted, changed, unchanged

character vectors of filenames from the before and after snapshots, with obvious meanings


a logical matrix with a row for each common file, and a column for each comparison test. TRUE indicates a change in that test.

print methods are defined for each of these types. The print method for "fileSnapshot" objects displays the arguments used to produce them, while the one for "changedFiles" displays the added, deleted and changed fields if non-empty, and a submatrix of the changes matrix containing all of the TRUE values.


Duncan Murdoch, using suggestions from Karl Millar and others.

See Also, file_test, md5sum.


# Create some files in a temporary directory
dir <- tempfile()
writeBin(1L, file.path(dir, "file1"))
writeBin(2L, file.path(dir, "file2"))
dir.create(file.path(dir, "dir"))

# Take a snapshot
snapshot <- fileSnapshot(dir, timestamp = tempfile("timestamp"), md5sum=TRUE)
# Change one of the files.
writeBin(3L:4L, file.path(dir, "file2"))

# Display the detected changes.  We may or may not see mtime change...

[Package utils version 4.4.1 Index]