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How to use the Windows 10 bulk rename utility for files & folders

Files that you create can be saved with a custom name. If you do not give files a custom name or you’re using a utility that saves files automatically without asking a user to set a name, these files save with generic names. Microsoft Word files, for example, all save with the name Document 1, Document 2, Document 3 etc, while screenshot utilities will save with a generic name like Screenshot with the date and time of capture appended to them. If you’d like to rename a large number of files, much on the same pattern, you can use the Windows 10 bulk rename utility.

Windows 10 bulk rename

Windows 10 bulk rename utility

Windows 10 comes with a bulk rename utility for files and folders. It isn’t as feature-rich as third-party file renaming tools but for basic file renaming, it will do the job. 

Rename multiple files & folders – File Explorer

To rename multiple files and folders, they must be in the same folder. If you haven’t already, move everything to the same folder.

  1. Select all the files and folders.
  2. Press the F2 key or click the Rename button on the Home tab on the ribbon.
  3. One of the file names or the folder names will become editable.
  4. Enter a new name.
  5. Tap Enter.
  6. The files and folders will all be renamed with a number added to end to prevent duplicate file names.

Rename multiple files & folders – Command Prompt

The Command Prompt can be used to rename files and folders in bulk as well. Again, you should have everything in one folder. It will make renaming the files much easier. 

  1. Open Command Prompt (normal user rights will do unless the folder you’re renaming can only be accessed by the admin user).
  2. Use this command to go to the folder with the files you want to rename: cd Path to folder
  3. In Command Prompt, use the following syntax to rename files;
ren *.FileExtension FileName.*
  1. Replace FileExtension with the extension of the files you want to rename.
  2. Replace FileName with the name you want to give all the files.

Command Prompt is a powerful renaming tool and you can use wildcards to modify the names that you give files. The following command will allow you to keep the first three characters of the original file name (one question mark represents one character from the start of the name.

ren *.FileExtension ???-FileName.*

You can also use a wildcard to modify only part of a file’s name but in bulk. For example, you can remove all mention of IMG from a bunch of screenshots and keep everything else.  The asterisks will dynamically know which part to keep and which to replace (that’s their job). Make sure you enter the correct name to remove and have something to add in its place

ren RemoveFileNamePart*.* NewFileNamePart*.*


Command Prompt is a powerful tool for renaming files and folders but it’s not user friendly. There is documentation available for how the different wildcards work. If you’re learning to use Command Prompt as a renaming tool, it’s a good idea to start with a small number of files (3-4) so that you can see the difference a command makes before you go on to renaming more files. If you do not like using a command line tool, there are third-party tools with a GUI for renaming files in bulk.

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