Top ways to rename files in Windows

Top ways to rename files in Windows

Throughout this article, you’ll get to learn the top ways to rename files in Windows. The primary motive behind any technological advancement is to be more efficient and less time-consuming.

With the rampant digitalization and rapid technological advancements around the world, Microsoft has also been evolving its operating systems.

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From fast processing speed to revamped interfaces, Microsoft Windows has been refurbished in all parameters to be a more efficient and less time-consumer operating system.

While we tend to enjoy many advanced features, there are still many gems that need to be extracted. In this article, we are unraveling one of these diamond features for you.

We all are familiar with the traditionalist and easiest method to rename a file in Windows but did you know that you can not only rename a file in multiple ways but also rename multiple files at once?

This feature to rename multiple files at once is termed as “batch rename files”. In this article, we are walking you through a few methods on how to rename a file and to batch rename files in Windows 7 and its successor versions.

Rename files in Windows Explorer

The easy way to rename files in bulk is to use built-in Windows File Explorer utility. However, this comfortable and fast rename file utility has some limitations and only allows you to rename multiple files sequentially.

To fast rename files in Windows with the Windows Explorer:

  • Select the files you want to change the name. To select multiple files, either press the Ctrl key or press Shift to select a sequential range of files. It is advised to locate your desired files in a single folder;
  • After selecting files, you can either use the shortcut for rename a file by pressing F2, or you can right-click chosen first file and select option “Rename” from the drop-down menu;
  • Type a new name ;
  • Press Enter;
  • All the files are renamed with the same name in chronological order with appended parentheses.

This method helps you to either rename a file singularly or to rename multiple files sequentially. Another quick way to rename multiple files with unique names:

  • Locate your desired files in a single folder or navigate to your desired files folder;
  • Select one file. You can either use the shortcut for rename file by pressing F2, or you can right-click first selected file and select option “Rename” from the drop-down menu;
  • Type a new name for your file;
  • Hit Tab key to automatically jump to the next file and rename it. In this manner, you will be able to rename multiple files at once with your desired names.

Bonus tip: You can even rename a folder in Windows Explorer by following the method mentioned above.

Rename File with CMD (Command Prompt)

To rename a file in CMD is a little more advanced and flexible method than the former one. The command prompt method not only allows you to rename a file but also liberates you to rename the file extension. You just don’t have a friendly graphic user interface.

To rename file from CMD:

  • Navigate to your desired file’s folder;
  • Go to File>Open> Command Prompt>Open Command Prompt;
  • You can also open the command prompt by using the search bar in the start menu. You can then navigate to your desired location by using the following command cd/d _____. You need to fill the blank with your desired file path;
  • Type ren filenameold.ext filenamenew.ext. To rename files with spaces in names, it is advised to use quotation marks in command, i.e. ren “file name old” “file name new”;
  • Press Enter.

You can use the command prompt to rename multiple file’s extensions at once. To rename file extension:

  • Locate your desired files in a single folder or navigate to your desired files folder;
  • Go to File>Open> Command Prompt>Open Command Prompt;
  • You can also open the Command Prompt by using the search bar in the start menu. You can then navigate to your desired location by using the following command cd/d _____. You need to fill the blank with your desired file path
  • Type ren *.____ *._____. Fill the first blank with your existing file extension and second the blank with your new file extension;
  • Press Enter;
  • All the files have new extensions now.

Bonus tip: You can even rename some folder in CMD by following the method above. The Command Prompt also offers you to rename file batch script by intertwining other commands and conditionals.

Rename File with PowerShell

As the name suggests, the most advanced and powerful built-in tool to perform bulk rename files activity is PowerShell. This built-in utility functions by passing output from one command to another command.

To rename file with PowerShell:

  • Locate your desired files in a single folder or navigate to your desired files folder;
  • Go to File>Open Windows PowerShell>Open Windows PowerShell;
  • Type rename-item filenameold.ext filenamenew.ext. To rename files with spaces in names, it is advised to use quotation marks in command, i.e. rename-item “file name old” “file name new”;
  • Press Enter;

To rename multiple files at once with PowerShell:

  • Type Dir | %{$x=0} {Rename-Item $_ -NewName “filenamenew.ext”; $x++ };
  • Dir command directs all files present in a directory to Rename-Item command to rename those files with the same name but allocating number in chronological order using $x;
  • Press Enter.

To rename file extension of all files in a directory:

  • Locate your desired files in a single folder or navigate to your desired files folder;
  • Go to File>Open Windows PowerShell>Open Windows PowerShell;
  • Type Get-ChildItem *.txt | Rename-Item -NewName { $_.Name -replace ‘\.ext’,’.ext’ } For example, if you want to change the file extension from “.txt” to “.docx”, then type Get-ChildItem *.txt | Rename-Item -NewName { $_.Name -replace ‘\.txt’,’.docx’ };
  • Get-ChildItem directs all files in a directory with “.txt” extension, and Rename-Item switches their extension from “.txt” to “.docx”;
  • Press Enter.

Rename File With Software

If none of the rename file command line methods work for you, you can always switch to a third-party software program. While the Internet has a large variety to offer you in the name of file rename utility, we are recommending you two favorites that we swear by.

Bulk Rename Utility

Bulk Rename Utility has a jumbled and daunting window interface but offers a wide range of settings in the form of panels to rename a file. The procedure to run and use software for any particular set of files or folders is the same as to use any built-in utility.

Advanced Renamer Utility

Advanced Renamer uses command line method but in a much user-friendly interface. This third-party software also allows you to save your set of actions for future uses. The procedure to run and use software for any particular set of files or folders is the same as to use any built-in utility.

Wrap Up

This article taught you the top ways to rename files in Windows, you just have to follow the given steps. But renaming files in Windows do not end here.

There are numerous other options, utilities and methods to rename multiple files in Windows 10 and former versions, ranging from rename file with python utility to rename file in git utility.

While these utilities offer you a wide variety of advanced tools and settings, these methods can still be a little intimidating for beginners. If you want to learn more about these advanced rename file utilities, please let us know in the comments section down below.