Holy cow, I wrote a book!
One of the file system features you may find yourself
surprised by is tunneling,
wherein the creation timestamp and short/long names of a file
are taken from a file that existed in the directory previously.
In other words,
if you delete some file "File with long name.txt"
and then create a new file with the same name,
that new file will have the same short name and the same
creation time as the original file.
read this KB article for details on what operations are
sensitive to tunnelling.
Why does tunneling exist at all?
When you use a program to edit an existing file, then save it,
you expect the original creation timestamp
to be preserved, since you're editing a file, not creating a new one.
But internally, many programs save a file by performing a
combination of save, delete, and rename operations
(such as the ones listed in the linked article),
and without tunneling, the creation time of the file
would seem to change even though from the end user's point of view,
no file got created.
As another example of the importance of tunneling,
consider that file "File with long name.txt",
whose short name is say "FILEWI~1.TXT".
You load this file into a program
that is not long-filename-aware and save it.
It deletes the old "FILEWI~1.TXT"
and creates a new one with the same name.
the associated long name of the file would be lost.
Instead of a friendly long name,
the file name got corrupted into this thing with squiggly marks.
But where did the name "tunneling" come from?
From quantum mechanics.
Consider the following analogy:
You have two holes in the ground, and a particle is in the
first hole (A) and doesn't have enough energy to get out.
It only has enough energy to get as high as the dotted line.
You get distracted for a little while,
the Super Bowl
and when you come back, the particle somehow is now
in hole B.
This is impossible in classical mechanics, but
thanks to the wacky world of quantum mechanics,
it is not only possible, but actually happens.
The phenomenon is known as
because it's as if the particle "dug a tunnel"
between the two holes, thereby allowing it to get from one hole
to another without ever going above the dotted line.
In the case of file system tunneling,
it is information that appears to violate the laws of classical
The information was destroyed (by deleting or renaming the file),
yet somehow managed to reconstruct
itself on the other side of a temporal barrier.
The developer who was responsible for implementing tunneling
on Windows 95 got kind of carried away with the quantum
The fragments of information about recently-deleted or recently-renamed
files are kept in data structures called "quarks".