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I've got a bunch of files named with a the pattern 99 - DescriptiveName.txt and I'd like to remove the number from the front so I just have DescriptiveName.txt.

How can I do this? Can I do it from the command line or is there a utility that can do this?

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Do you really mean dos, or the windows command prompt? – therefromhere Jul 30 '09 at 20:52

22 Answers 22

up vote 72 down vote accepted

I know in your title you say "in dos" but I get the impression you are just looking for a way to do this and are wondering if that is the best way.

The absolute best tool I have found for this is Bulk Rename Utility.

Bulk Rename Utility

It isn't a command line tool, but they do have a command line version if you really want to use it that way.

I've used the GUI version a lot, and it is very powerful, very fast and extremely easy to use.

Oh, and it is FREE (Latest update includes non-intrusive ads and an option to pay and remove them.)

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Wow, that's some interface. Looks like it'd be happy in one of the Worst GUI threads. – Pauk Jul 30 '09 at 22:22
I concur, that is one of the worst UI's I've ever seen. – JohnFx Jul 31 '09 at 18:46
I saw that GUI and immediately thought "That would be much more user friendly as a console app" – Grant Aug 7 '09 at 17:42
I figured this is the UI equivalent of a regular expression. It looks terrible, but it gets the job done. – Jim McKeeth Aug 9 '09 at 2:50
Better a GUI that shows you all your options than a console app that makes you memorize all those options and requires you to read a manual before you can use it. – endolith Jan 12 '12 at 6:04

A small PowerShell script:

$args | Rename-Item -NewName { $_.Name.ToLower() -replace '\d+ - ' }

Combined with more complex regular expressions, this might become something like:

ls | Rename-Item -NewName {$_ -replace '(\d+) - (.*).mp3', '$2 - $1.mp3' }

Which turns things like '01 - Beginning.mp3' into 'Beginning - 01.mp3'.

Use the -WhatIf parameter on Rename-Item to check renames before you issue them.

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@sysrqb, please research a little more. – Joey Jan 14 '14 at 9:51

If you really want to use the windows command line (if you don't want to download something), you could do it like this:

dir /B > fileList.txt
for /f "tokens=1,2,3" %i in (fileList.txt) DO ren "%i %j %l" %l

The first line outputs the list of files into a file called fileList.txt. The second line separates each of the names in the list into 3 parts, the #, the "-" and the rest of the name. For each of those it does the rename command.

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Remove the first line to simplify it and do: for /f "tokens=1,2,3" %i in ('dir /B') DO ren "%i %j %l" %l – user387876 Jan 7 '15 at 18:38

AntRenamer does a pretty good job (with a GUI).

I like that it's quite easy to define a pattern of renaming; there are plenty of ones already prepared (and it gives a preview of the actions):


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old school:

You can do a DIR and redirect the output to a file, as in DIR *.TXT >TEMP.BAT

Then use an editor to take out what you don't need and modify the parts you do need. Add an "@echo off" as the top line, save it and run it.

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+1 If you don't need to do this on a regular basis, this is cool. I didn't even think of that! – EvilChookie Jul 30 '09 at 21:54

Another option: Massive File Renamer

It allows to easily rename multiple files and file extensions. It's very fast and simple!

For advanced users and developers, it is possible to use regular expressions.

See it in action:

enter image description here

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This is genius. – Pacerier Nov 11 '15 at 20:00
@Pacerier I think the Java file chooser does not allow that. I had the idea of allow selecting a folder and recursive search can be included. I will note that and add it in a future release! – IvanRF Nov 11 '15 at 20:34

I use Total Commander's multi-rename tool (ctrl+M) for things like this. Their useful tool, one of too many to count, is easy to use, and can also employ regular expressions and templates if necessary. Oh, and it obviously gives you a preview before making any changes.

This is the third or fourth question I've answered recommending Total Commander... I should be getting a commission from them ;-)

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The tool that I've been satisfied with is ReNamer. It supports also the saving of renaming rules, which has been useful to me, as I many times do the same renamings.

Below is an example of how to delete text before the first dash, but there are loads of other rules you can define.

enter image description here

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I've used Free Commander Portable (freeware) for this to good effect:

  1. Select or Navigate to the files or directories to rename
  2. Press [Ctrl-M] (or File > Multi-rename)
  3. fill out the fields as makes sense for your circumstance
  4. verify the preview shows what you expect
  5. Go!
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The easiest way would be to use Rename Master.

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Here's a command-line solution --- a Java program I wrote specifically to make it easy to work with "patterns" in filenames. It's free and open source, so feel free to modify it:


Some relevant usage examples:

Drop everything before the "-" in the filename:

java -jar RenameWand.jar  "<a> - <b>"  "<b>"

Prepend a 3-digit number to the filename, sorting by last-modified time:

java -jar RenameWand.jar  "<a>"  "<3|#FT> <a>"

Rearrange parts of the filename, and change case:

java -jar RenameWand.jar  "<album> - <artist> - <song>.<ext>" 
                          "<artist.upper> <album.title> - <song>.<ext.lower>"
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I discovered RenPhoric about a month ago. Superb. And it's free.

No complicated interface and I was quickly able to rename exactly as I wanted. Regular Expression capable. Haven't used anything else since.

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For advanced users and developers, I would suggest RegexRenamer.

RegexRenamer screenshot


  • Very simple UI;
  • Regular expressions that the developers familiar with;
  • GPLv2;


  • It's not a command line! :)
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I like Cylog’s WildRename. It is powerful, yet easy to use, and has a lot of features:

  1. fast
  2. string manipulation
  3. counters
  4. wildcards
  5. regular expressions
  6. substitution
  7. case-conversion
  8. logging
  9. simulation (show the results without actually applying them)

enter image description here

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Like @zdan above, I did this by command line (using "cmd.exe" in Windows). It took some tinkering for my particular case, but a little research solved it.

Like zdan, I output the list to a TXT file, then used tokens and delims to rename the files accordingly. In my case, I started out with a list of files named like so:


I wanted the file date portion to be in y/m/d order, with the "name" part at the end so it would read like this:


To do this en-masse, I used the following code. Note that when doing it this way, ALL parts of the filename are considered, including the extension of ".csv". That goofed me up the first time around.

dir /B > fileList.txt
for /f "tokens=1,2,3,4,5 delims=-." %i in (fileList.txt) DO ren "%i-%j-%k-%l.%m" %l-%j-%k-%i.%m

The tokens are the "parts" of the filename, the delims are the separators. Note that in my case, I had 2 delimiters (a dash and a dot).

I personally don't care for the "Bulk Rename" app. As others have mentioned, the GUI is atrocious and not very intuitive. With a little research and simple coding, these things can be done much mroe efficiently and quickly.

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Multi rename script is a open source alternative to Total Commanders Multi Rename tool which you could drive via script. It can use TC plugins for metadata information.

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@echo off
setlocal enabledelayedexpansion
set X=5
for %%f in (*) do if %%f neq %~nx0 (
    set "filename=%%~nf"
    set "filename=!filename:~%X%!"
    ren "%%f" "!filename!%%~xf"

save this in a batch file and run

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I use Blackboard to administer courses in a University. When I download an assignment in mass (in Blackboard, click top of grading column, then "assignment file download" Blackboard adds a bunch of extra stuff to the file name -often making the file name too long to be valid on Windows.

Here's what they look like:


And this is what I wanted


So I used the approach that @zdan and @gtr1971 advised, by opening a command window on the folder with the files inside (CMD.EXE). Then run this command to put all file names in a document.

dir /b >filelist.txt

Edit the document and remove folder names, etc.

Use this command to replace the Blackboard added filename stuff with just the username and file extension.

for /f "tokens=1,2,3,4,5,6 delims=_." %i in (filelist.txt) do ren "%i _%j_%k_%l_%m.%n" %j.%n

Hope this helps someone else as well.

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Funny name and command line tool very powerful, very fast and extremely easy to use. "Find And Replace Text" FART WORKS GREAT! can rename words in txt files too.


Usage: FART [options] [--] <wildcard>[,...] [find_string] [replace_string]

 -h --help          Show this help message (ignores other options)
 -q --quiet         Suppress output to stdio / stderr
 -V --verbose       Show more information
 -r --recursive     Process sub-folders recursively
 -c --count         Only show filenames, match counts and totals
 -i --ignore-case   Case insensitive text comparison
 -v --invert        Print lines NOT containing the find string
 -n --line-number   Print line number before each line (1-based)
 -w --word          Match whole word (uses C syntax, like grep)
 -f --filename      Find (and replace) filename instead of contents
 -B --binary        Also search (and replace) in binary files (CAUTION)
 -C --c-style       Allow C-style extended characters (\xFF\0\t\n\r\\ etc.)
    --cvs           Skip cvs dirs; execute "cvs edit" before changing files
 -a --adapt         Adapt the case of replace_string to found string
 -b --backup        Make a backup of each changed file
 -p --preview       Do not change the files but print the changes
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Here's another simple program called File Attribute Changer that you can use to rename files. It's a portable program, so you can carry it on a USB drive.

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I have developed a hybrid JScript/batch command line utility called JREN.BAT that can rename files or folders by performing a regular expression search and replace on the names. It is pure script that will run natively on any Windows machine from XP forward. Full documentation is embedded within the script.

Assuming JREN.BAT is in your current directory, or better yet, somewhere within your path, then your rename task becomes trivial.

jren "^\d+[ -]+(.+)\.txt$" "$1" /i


jren "^\d+[ -]+(?=.+\.)" "" /fm "*.txt"

There are many options, including the /S option that recursively performs the rename on sub-directories.

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If you need serious power and are willing to shell out the money... PowerGrep is one of the most powerful and versatile tools on the market... you can rename almost anything with PowerGrep... even binary search and replace... it's created by RegEx Guru, Jan Goyvaerts.

enter image description here

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