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Rename file from command line [CMD]

We can use the command rename to rename files from windows command prompt(CMD). Find below syntax of the command with examples.

Syntax of rename command:

rename  file_path  new_name


rename  d:\data\file1.doc file2.doc

After executing the above command we’ll have file2.doc in the folder d:\data

Ren is alias for rename, so both refer to the same command.


  1. If the files is being used by a program, then rename command fails with below error.
    C:\>rename data.xlsx newdata.xlsx
    The process cannot access the file because it is being used by
    another process.
  2. You also need to have sufficient privileges to rename the file.
    c:\>rename c:\windows\csc test
    Access is denied.
  3. Rename changes just the file name, it does not convert a file from one type to another. For example, if you rename a file from mp4 to mp3 extension, it does not change the file format. Renaming a doc file 'mydocument.docx' to 'mydocument.pdf' does not make the file readable in Acrobat Reader.

More Reading

Rename file extensions in batch from command prompt

13 comments… add one
  • Aaron Brinkley

    Does the command have to be executed in the root directory, or can it be done in a subdirectory that is in the root directory? Also, can a directory be renamed (EXAMPLE: renaming Dell.dir to Newname.dir)?

  • ritz

    this command gives repeating of filename when there are more then 40 files in the folders ?
    any solution for renaming 100s of file ???

  • harsha

    i have
    4299999940_M_harsha.png these type of files in several sub folders, with similar name structure(42 as first part of name, 40_M_harsha as last part of name.. in between 6digits(which may contain 42 and 40 also.in this example it has 999999))
    i have to rename it as 99999..i.e, remove first and last part of file name which is common for all files in the subfolder
    another examples:
    4292345640_M_harsha.png -> 923456
    4291424040_M_harsha.png -> 914240
    could u please help

  • cameron

    how do I rename a file by keeping the last 20 characters. I have random file names however the last 20 characters are what I want to keep. They are dates and a document ID.

  • rivera cook

    filename too long cannot rename Please now setup new rename

  • jonathan

    I use, Batch Rename Files Tool. You can easily found hier BatchRenameFiles.org that allows you to quickly rename all the files in a specified directory.

  • Edward Lye

    Simple stuff. Been there and done that but I have a mess of files that contain a “%20” or several in the filename. I need help to sort this out. My REXX program has produced a batch file containing lines like these:

    ren “CORN%2~1.JPG” corn_escaLator.jpg
    ren “CHOCO%~1.JPG” choco_Lady.jpg
    ren “CAT%20~4.JPG” cat_wet_getting_bathed.jpg
    ren “CAT%20~3.JPG” cat_burrito.jpg
    ren “CAT%20~2.JPG” cat_bra.jpg
    ren “CAT%20~1.JPG” cat_bite_nose.jpg
    ren “BOOTY%~1.JPG” booty_cake.jpg
    ren “BIRD%2~2.JPG” bird_watersLide.jpg
    ren “BIRD%2~1.JPG” bird_mouth_dog.jpg
    ren “BIG%20~1.JPG” big_mac.jpg
    ren “BANK%2~1.JPG” bank_cake.jpg
    ren “ANGEL%~1.JPG” angeL_of_war.jpg

    Suffice to say it isn’t working as intended. I get tons of
    “The system cannot find the file specified.” messages.

    I prefer not to use the powershell whether I have it or not in case I need to run this in a more primitive Windows. I have tried rename instead of ren and without double quotes. I have administrator privileges.

    I am running Windows7 32-bit.



  • A.Nonny.Mouse

    I use windows 10, and I did the steps, even in the location but it ‘couldn’t find the file specified.’ Please help.

  • Zoe Warwick

    I have a lot of files with the same date stamp in which I wish to eliminate.
    Can I use * to find and replace this using the replace command?

    An example is 172794 (2021_10_09 09_36_16 UTC).xls

    • Srini

      Yes, * would work for this case. If you need to delete such files in the current directory

      del “*2021_10_09 09_36_16 UTC.xls”

  • Annie

    Thanks for explanation
    I did this to multiple file by setting the command in excel file first, then I copied all to the CMD.
    But though all the files names were changed – I couldn’t open them!
    Just after renaming them again manually they were opened.
    Do you know why it happened, please? (excel files)

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