In a batch file I need to extract a month, day, year from the date command. So I used the following, which essentially parses the Date command to extract its sub strings into a variable:

set Day=%Date:~3,2%
set Mth=%Date:~0,2%
set Yr=%Date:~6,4%

This is all great, but if I deploy this batch file to a machine with a different regional/country settings, it fails because month, day and year are in different locations.

How can I extract month, day and year regardless of the date format?

  • 1
    Are you absolutely restricted to Batch? Such a thing is much simpler in VBScript/WSH and/or PowerShell ...
    – Adrien
    Jul 27, 2011 at 23:20
  • @Adrien, Yes limited to batch - it's part of the VS2008 post-build step. Jul 28, 2011 at 0:06
  • replacing %date% by %date:~6,4%-%date:~3,2%-%date:~0,2% worked
    – MagTun
    Nov 27, 2015 at 10:06

9 Answers 9


Source: http://ss64.com/nt/syntax-getdate.html

Method 2 (single cmd)


@Echo off
:: Check WMIC is available
WMIC.EXE Alias /? >NUL 2>&1 || GOTO s_error

:: Use WMIC to retrieve date and time
FOR /F "skip=1 tokens=1-6" %%G IN ('WMIC Path Win32_LocalTime Get Day^,Hour^,Minute^,Month^,Second^,Year /Format:table') DO (
   IF "%%~L"=="" goto s_done
      Set _yyyy=%%L
      Set _mm=00%%J
      Set _dd=00%%G
      Set _hour=00%%H
      SET _minute=00%%I

:: Pad digits with leading zeros
      Set _mm=%_mm:~-2%
      Set _dd=%_dd:~-2%
      Set _hour=%_hour:~-2%
      Set _minute=%_minute:~-2%

:: Display the date/time in ISO 8601 format:
Set _isodate=%_yyyy%-%_mm%-%_dd% %_hour%:%_minute%
Echo %_isodate%

enter image description here

Method 1 (cmd+vb)


@Echo off
For /f %%G in ('cscript /nologo getdate.vbs') do set _dtm=%%G
Set _yyyy=%_dtm:~0,4%
Set _mm=%_dtm:~4,2%
Set _dd=%_dtm:~6,2%
Set _hh=%_dtm:~8,2%
Set _nn=%_dtm:~10,2%
Echo %_yyyy%-%_mm%-%_dd%T%_hh%:%_nn%


Dim dt
'output format: yyyymmddHHnn
wscript.echo ((year(dt)*100 + month(dt))*100 + day(dt))*10000 + hour(dt)*100 + minute(dt)
  • 1
    Ah ha, very neat way of finding the locale's date ordering. ss64 does have a nifty community of cmd.exe users.
    – Nicholi
    Jul 28, 2011 at 22:06
  • I included both scripts from your source link. Hope its ok for you
    – nixda
    Aug 6, 2015 at 21:15
  • @nixda No problem, whatever the user helps.
    – Tex Hex
    Aug 7, 2015 at 6:54
  • 1
    If you need to retain the seconds in "Method 2" above, add Set _second=00%%K when extracting from wmic and pad with leading zeros like the others. Apr 6, 2018 at 20:21
  • I like this approach of using wmic very much. I found it could be "automated" more, using only FOR loops. I added an answer demonstrating that. Apr 8, 2020 at 11:33

Windows XP and later


@echo off
for /f "tokens=2 delims==" %%G in ('wmic os get localdatetime /value') do set datetime=%%G

set year=%datetime:~0,4%
set month=%datetime:~4,2%
set day=%datetime:~6,2%

echo %year%/%month%/%day%


enter image description here

  • 2
    +1 for the most concise answer. I'd also suggest ending with ECHO %year%-%month%-%day% which is ISO and filesystem compatible format (not to mention automatically sorts by year-month-day). :-). Apr 9, 2019 at 23:59
  • 1
    There's actually a known window's bug with this method where the daylight saving time is sometimes applied and sometimes not - see serverfault.com/a/1013531/296119. This doesn't seem to happen with the WMIC Path Win32_LocalTime... method. Oct 14, 2020 at 7:59

I know it's not exactly what you asked for, but I use the Windows port of the Linux date application from a command inside the batch file and then assign the result to a variable.

I have yet to find a way to get the date reliably using only batch commands.


Use this batch file for YYYY-MM-DD format. It uses the window instrumentation tool that should be present in all recent Windows versions to get a datetime string which is independent of regional settings.

Save to a batch file into the path (eg) c:\windows\rdate.bat then access with a CALL RDATE.BAT to set the variable(s). Alternately, copy the code into your batch file.

This date format is suitable for filenames and logging. It sorts correctly. The logtime variable adds a date+time variable as YYYY-MM-DD-HHMMSS suitable for use in logging batch file activity at second accuracy.

Adjust the date (and time) formats as you wish. REM the screen echos in production. The two numbers in each text selection are the zero-based start character index and the number of characters to copy, eg, %datetime:~0,4% takes a 4 character substring starting at position 0.

echo off
rem First, get the locality-invariant datetime
for /f "tokens=2 delims==" %%I in ('wmic os get localdatetime /format:list') do set datetime=%%I
rem echo %datetime%

rem Build the reverse date string YYYY-MM-DD
set rdate=%datetime:~0,4%-%datetime:~4,2%-%datetime:~6,2%
echo rdate=%rdate%

rem Built a datetime string YYYY-MM-DD-hhmmss
set logtime=%rdate%-%datetime:~8,6% 
echo logtime=%logtime%
  • 3
    Nearly the same as and31415's answer. Both scripts use wmic os get localdatetime
    – nixda
    Aug 6, 2015 at 21:27

While you are right that VS 2008 outputs a batchfile, you can run pretty much any program you want, including Powershell scripts and other programs.


Here are some similar questions:

https://stackoverflow.com/questions/1051845/visual-studio-2008-professional-build-process https://stackoverflow.com/questions/3049369/embed-application-compilation-time-stamp

Originally, I was gonna have this moved to SO. . .


I would like to offer a variation to the excellent GetDate.cmd answer of Tex Hex, and use the wmic parameter "/format:list" instead, to assign the values straight away to batch variables, as demonstrated below. To add the leading zeroes, I used another FOR loop, instead of dealing with each variable individually. It's not much shorter (in total bytes) nor faster, simply a different way of doing it:

REM Defines variables _Year (4 digits), _Month (01-12), _Day (01-31), _DayOfWeek (0=Sun, 1=Mon etc), _Hour (00-23), _Minute (00-59), _Second (00-59)

setlocal EnableDelayedExpansion
FOR /F %%I IN ('WMIC path win32_localtime get Year^,Month^,Day^,DayOfWeek^,Hour^,Minute^,Second /format:list^|FINDSTR "="') DO SET _%%I
FOR /F "tokens=1 delims==" %%I IN ('set _^|FINDSTR /R "^_[DHMS][aoie][^k]*$"') DO SET %%I=0!%%I!&SET %%I=!%%I:~-3!

:: Display the date/time and day of week
ECHO %_Year%-%_Month%-%_Day% %_Hour%:%_Minute%:%_Second% (day %_DayOfWeek%)

::if this script is called from another script, 'endlocal' will be assumed and our variables will be gone. So use a trick to retain them:
set _>%TEMP%\%~n0.tmp
endlocal&(FOR /F %%I IN (%TEMP%\%~n0.tmp) DO SET %%I)&del %TEMP%\%~n0.tmp

I included DayOfWeek, in case someone needs it too.

Note: If this script is called from another batch script, endlocal would be assumed at the end of this one, and our variables _Year etc. would be gone. Therefore we cannot ommit endlocal, and need to use a trick to keep the variables that we have defined. I thought it could be done easily, using endlocal& FOR /F %%I IN ('set _') DO SET %%I, but that does not work, says variable _ is not defined... For that reason I resorted to a temporary file instead.

Furthermore, since the calling script might also be using variable names starting with an underscore, I included a check that the variables whose values I am altering start with a certain capital followed by a certain lower case letter. (Batch variable names are not case sensitive, but FINDSTR by default is.) So if your script is using variable names starting with underscores, make sure they are all lower case (or all upper case) and everything will be fine.

  • I think you mean findstr arguments or parameters values are case sensitive and especially if you use the /R which with regular expressions and not the /I switch to indicate it to not be case sensitive otherwise when not using /R. Apr 8, 2020 at 11:42
  • @PimpJuice True. Note however that in other places /I and /R could safely be combined (especially as /R is the default and can be omitted, but I added it here to make it clear that I'm indeed using regular expressions). Apr 10, 2020 at 7:47
  • By the way, there is a little mystery in my code. See how I'm taking the last three characters of the variable, instead of the last two? Don't ask me why... If I write "2" instead of 3, it only returns the last character. If I write "3", it returns the last 2 characters. I was investigating this for at least 15 minutes but could not find any satisfactory explanation. It has nothing to do with trailing spaces after a SET or anything like that... Apr 10, 2020 at 8:01

Have you tried using NET TIME \\%ComputerName% instead of DATE? I think that NET TIME is supposed to provide the data in a consistent format regardless of locale.

  • Nope, it doesn't. Jul 28, 2011 at 0:06
  • Interesting, I just tried it, switching between AU and US formats, and net time always output in m/d/yyyy format. @AngryHacker, with what settings did it not work for you?
    – Hydaral
    Jul 28, 2011 at 1:15
  • 1
    I switched French(Belgian) and it gave me 2011-07-27. The US give 07/27/2011 Jul 28, 2011 at 1:30

Thanks to Shekhar's post this works as needed and zero padding of the time.

@Echo Off

for /f "tokens=1-5 delims=:" %%d in ("%time%") do set var=%date:~10,4%%date:~4,2%%date:~7,2%-%%d%%e

set datetimestr=%var: =0%

set logfile=LogFile-%datetimestr%.txt

echo %logfile%

Output: LogFile-20151113-0901.txt


This might be somewhat off topic but here is a .bat file that I wrote for my own scheduled backups and also call from postbuild actions in visual studio. I hope that some will find it useful.

Save the following into a .bat file

**:: The following is Copyright © 2012 ShopNetNuke Corp.  All rights reserved.
::  and released under the GNU General Public License (GPLv3)**

:: The following section retrieves the current date and time and formats it into the '%var%' variable
:: This format always ensures that the Date and Time are fixed length to avoid the situation of
:: having a value of '12/ 1/2012 rather than '12/01/2012'
echo off
for /f "tokens=1-5 delims=:" %%d in ("%time%") do set var=%date:~10,4%-%date:~4,2%-%date:~7,2%-%%d-%%e
set var=%var: =0%
echo Beginning my valuable Backup Set:  Backup--%var%

:: If you wanted to request the user input a filename prefix, 
:: then we would use something similar to this
:: set /p nameprefix= Enter the file name prefix?
:: Get the Current Date and Time
::for /f "tokens=1-5 delims=:" %%d in ("%time%") do set var=%date:~10,4%-%date:~4,2%-%date:~7,2%-%%d-%%e
:: set var=%var: =0%
:: echo Beginning my valuable Backup Set:  Backup--%var%_%nameprefix%


echo Starting SQL Server Database Backup Job...
:: The following line initiates the Backup job within SqlServer Agent.
:: Change 'MyBackupNameInSqlAgent' to the name of the job you want executed
:: Change the directory paths to those relevant to your current system installation directories
:: SqlAgent will not return a value if the backup action succeed, 
:: however, in the event an error is encountered, it will be echoed onto the screen
"C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\100\Tools\Binn\sqlcmd.exe" -S SQLSERVERNAME\INSTANCENAME -Q "execute msdb.dbo.sp_start_job @job_name = 'MyBackupNameInSqlAgent'"
:: An error will be returned if the Backup job is not found or has already been triggered by another process

echo Starting My Valuable Source Code Directory Backup...

echo ...backing up files and folders in "C:\Source\MyPreciousProjectDirectory\"...
:: The following line will execute the 7zip command to create a .7z file of the directory named in 'MyPreciousProjectDirectory'
:: and tells it to put the archive in the 'MyPreciousBackupDirectory'.  The compression level will be defined by the 7zip default settings
:: The -p flag tells 7zip to password protect the archive, in this case, I've used the Date/Time portion of the filename as the password
:: remove the '-p%var%' section to remove password protection from the archive
"C:\Program Files\7-Zip\7z.exe" a -t7z C:\MyPreciousBackupDirectory\%var%\MyPreciousProject--%var%.7z -p%var% -mhe C:\Source\MyPreciousProjectDirectory\* 

echo Source Code Directory Backups complete.

echo Archiving Database Backups now...
:: The following line will execute the 7zip command to archive the Database backup.
:: The '*' could be replaced by the actual backup name.
:: The '*' indicates all files of type '.bak'
:: The -p flag tells 7zip to password protect the archive, in this case, again, I've used the Date/Time portion of the filename as the password
:: remove the '-p%var%' section to remove password protection from the archive
"C:\Program Files\7-Zip\7z.exe" a -t7z  C:\MyPreciousBackupDirectory\%var%\MyPreciousProject-Database-%var%.7z -p%var% -mhe "C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL10.SQLDEV08\MSSQL\Backup\*.bak"

echo Database Backup Archival process complete.

:: If you wanted to place both the previous backups into one single combination archive,
:: you could do something like the following
"C:\Program Files\7-Zip\7z.exe" a -t7z C:\MyPreciousBackupDirectoryForSourceAndDatabase\%var%\MyPreciousProjectBackupSourceAndDatabase--%var%.7z -p%var% -mhe C:\Source\MyPreciousProjectDirectory\* 

echo Now attempting to copy archives to Network Server...
:: The following line will use xcopy to copy the arechives to the server backup directory and place them in a directory named by the DateTime variable %var%
xcopy /S /I /J /Y C:\MyPreciousBackupDirectory\%var% \\MyPreciousBackupServerName\SourceCode\MyPreciousServerBackupDirectory\%var%
:: Or if the combination above was used then copy that...
xcopy /S /I /J /Y C:\MyPreciousBackupDirectoryForSourceAndDatabase\%var% \\MyPreciousBackupServerName\SourceCode\MyPreciousServerBackupDirectory\%var%

echo 7z Archive files transferred to MyPreciousBackupServerName successfully
echo  ||
echo \||/
echo  \/
echo ---------------------------------------------------
echo ----- BACKUP SET "%var%" COMPLETE ------
echo ---------------------------------------------------
  • 2
    tl;dr , you might add an explanation of what the script does. because it does not come off as a solution right away. It might also be more useful, if you can remove the non pertinent bits of code
    – Shekhar
    Dec 20, 2012 at 22:09
  • 1
    The whole batch script relies on the %date% and %time% variables, which are locale-aware, and can't really be parsed in a predictable way as the OP asked.
    – and31415
    Feb 22, 2014 at 19:02

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