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I want to rename multiple folders and keep all files and subdirectories in tact.
Windows batch commands like xcopy and move can't handle every case*.

I set up two columns with old paths and new paths.

OLD PATH            NEW PATH
C:\dir1\dir3\dir7   C:\a1\a2\a3      
C:\dir1\dir4\dir8   C:\b1\b2\b3      
C:\dir2\dir5\dir9   C:\c1\c2\c3      
C:\dir2\dir6\dir0   C:\d1\d2\d3      

Difficulties: More than one folder per line needs to be renamed; last listed folders like dir7 can have multiple subdirectories; file time stamps shouldn't be modified

* xcopy can't move, it only copies. That's a problem if you haven't enough space to copy and delete big data.
The move command doesn't move subdirectories, only files

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Was this a real question? Did you come up with your own answer within a minute? Or is it your personal "howto"? –  Rik Nov 20 '13 at 21:39
superuser.com/help/self-answer –  nixda Nov 20 '13 at 22:17
Okay. My bad. Didn't know that. –  Rik Nov 20 '13 at 22:22

2 Answers 2

up vote 1 down vote accepted

The most simple (straightforward) batchfile version would be like this:

call :robo "C:\dir1\dir3\dir7"   "C:\a1\a2\a3"
call :robo "C:\dir1\dir4\dir8"   "C:\b1\b2\b3"
call :robo "C:\dir2\dir5\dir9"   "C:\c1\c2\c3"
echo etc...
call :robo "C:\dir2\dir6\dir0"   "C:\d1\d2\d3"

robocopy %1 %2 /MOVE /E

You would need to quote the directories in case they have spaces.

For reading the directories out of a file you would do this:



No need for quotes and separate them with a comma. Then in the batchfile:

FOR /F "tokens=1-2* delims=," %%A IN (directories.txt) DO (
  robocopy "%%A" "%%B" /MOVE /E

Also here... if you would like to see what robocopy does first use the /L.

If you have a file like this (with spaces to align the first and second column) you would need to add some code to strip the leading and trailing spaces from the directories:

Again the directories.txt:

C:\dir1\dir3\dir7\sada\asda ,  C:\a1\a2\a3
C:\dir1\dir4\dir8           ,  C:\b1\b2\b3
C:\dir2\dir5\dir9           ,  C:\c1\c2\c3
C:\dir2\dir6\dir0           , C:\d1\d2\d3

And this as batchfile:

@echo off
setlocal enabledelayedexpansion
FOR /F "tokens=1-2* delims=," %%A IN (directories.txt) DO (
  call :trim dir1 %%A
  call :trim dir2 %%B
  robocopy "!dir1!" "!dir2!" /MOVE /E

set trimmed=%2
for /f "tokens=* delims= " %%c in ("%trimmed%") do set trimmed=%%c
for /l %%c in (1,1,100) do if "!trimmed:~-1!"==" " set trimmed=!trimmed:~0,-1!
set "%~1=%trimmed%"

Note: No error checking is done to see if the directories really exists or if only one column is filled... etc...
(but of course that could be added).

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I like the second approach, I will try this –  nixda Nov 21 '13 at 8:58

The solution I came up with, was very simple. You just need Excel and Robocopy. The latter one is pre-installed since Vista. Windows XP users can get it via Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit

Prepare an Excel file where your old paths are saved in column A and new ones right to it in column B. Open the VBA editor and paste this macro.

Sub MoveFolders()
  For i = 1 To ActiveSheet.UsedRange.Rows.Count
    Shell ("CMD /C robocopy " & Cells(i, 1) & " " & Cells(i, 2) & " /MOVE /E")
  Next i
End Sub

It steps through all used cells of column A and calls Robocopy via command line and the following syntax: CMD> robocopy source destination /MOVE /E

If you're unsure use this line for testing purposes instead. It will list all files without actually moving them:

Shell ("CMD /K robocopy " & Cells(i, 1) & " " & Cells(i, 2) & " /MOVE /E /L")

There are many more usefull robocopy switches to play around with.

share|improve this answer
Any special reason you would do this with Excel and not with a batchfile? –  Rik Nov 20 '13 at 22:31
@Rik No special reason. I would love to see a command line only solution that can handle 2 lists with old and new path strings –  nixda Nov 20 '13 at 22:37

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