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When I revisit my files on a 5¼″ floppy using my 1541 drive with a C64 I mainly miss the date on files.

I know that a Real Time Clock was not implemented and that the first computer to integrate the RTC was the IBM PC/AT in 1984.

When did files start to be dated, on what computer or which version of which operating system?

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CTSS, a timesharing system for the IBM 7090, was putting dates on files as early as 1962. Timestamps is another story.

Wikipedia

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I know that a Real Time Clock was not implemented and that the first computer to integrate the RTC was the IBM PC/AT in 1984.

There where many more before that. All the way back in the 60s.

When did files start to be dated, on what computer or which version of which operating system?

Well, the earliest I know would be tape based storage on 729 tapes on IBM 709 systems in 1957, so even before disk storage was used. Its 1HDR standard header section contained a creation data on position 11 of the header record as two digit years and 3 digit day of year. That would be late 1950s. See as well this later (1963) IBM document about Standard Tape Label (page 3 lower right column).

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  • From what I recall, your average piece of printout from a cards-and-printer batch system had dates and maybe times shown. If timekeeping was already a thing, it seems unlikely that anyone would not then put the date and time on persistent magnetic media. – another-dave Feb 13 at 12:59
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    A line frequency clock, driven by the 60 hertz alternating current, 50 hertz in Europe, is very old going back to the 1950s maybe, certainly by the 1960s. Keeping time when the computer is powered off is much newer. – Walter Mitty Feb 14 at 1:40
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    @WalterMitty Real computers aren't powered off that often :)) – Raffzahn Feb 14 at 1:44
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    There were a whole lot of computers that got powered off during the great northeastern blackout of 1965 ;) – Walter Mitty Feb 14 at 2:55
  • Glad to live in the south ... – Raffzahn Feb 14 at 2:59
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Microcomputers got it slowly. An early real-time clock card for the Apple II was the ThunderClock; this was so popular that it basically set the standard and all later clock cards emulated it. (And Apple supported it in ProDOS.)

But the ThunderClock came out before ProDOS and came with a DOS 3.x patch that would store the time and date a file was created in its directory entry, so you could see it when you did a CATALOG. But... the date and time was actually stored as part of the file's name, so the patch also caused DOS to ignore that part of the filename; in essence, you had to use much shorter filenames because the date and time took up so much of the filename! And if you were trying to access the files using a DOS that didn't have that patch, you had to type in the date and time as part of the file name when loading it! It was a dumb idea. The things we put up with in those days...

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    Ohh, memories ... I remember spending weeks in trying to squeeze a driver for a different clock (Tri-Card) into the Thunder Clock space in ProDOS, as I wanted to avoid spending a whole block (256 Bytes) of memory for a loadable driver. – Raffzahn Feb 13 at 3:05

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