I'm trying to figure out how to delete all files in a folder that are older then two days. The last modified date doesn't help. I need to go by the date in the file name. The file will name will be something like: AD-YYMMDD-B7D or BB-YYMMDD-A6C or RE-YYMMDD-A13T. This is difficult because the file name isn't always the same length. This script I found looks like it would help, but I can't figure out how to change the variables and how to set the path.

ECHO Delete By Date Pattern
ECHO Written by: Jason Faulkner
ECHO SysadminGeek.com

REM Delete/Select files based on a date which utilizes MM and/or DD for file naming patterns.
REM Usage:
REM DeleteByDatePattern {/M | /D} NumberToKeep Path PatternPrefix PatternPostfix [/L | /DEL]
REM     /M     Specifies the pattern being used is based on months.
REM     /D     Specifies the pattern being used is based on days.
REM     NumberToKeep
REM            The number of months (/M) or days (/D) to keep, including the current.
REM            For example, entering 1 keeps only the current month/day and 6 would keep the current minus 5.
REM     Path   The root location to search. Subdirectories will be searched.
REM     PatternPrefix
REM            The file search pattern placed before of the month/day when building the search string.
REM     PatternPostfix
REM            The file search pattern placed after of the month/day when building the search string.
REM     /L     (optional) Lists all files matching the pattern, but does not delete them.
REM     /DEL   (optional) Deletes all files matching the pattern.
REM Examples:
REM     DeleteByDatePattern /M 3 "%WinDir%\system32\LogFiles" ex?? ??.log /DEL
REM         Deletes all IIS log files (Windows Server 2003) except for the current and previous two months.
REM     DeleteByDatePattern /D 7 "D:\Backup" *-????-??- .zip /DEL
REM         Deletes all zip files from the D:\Backup folder except for the current week.
REM         The file name pattern assumed above is "*-YYYY-MM-DD.zip"
REM     DeleteByDatePattern /M 0 "C:\" *( )* /L
REM         Prints a list of all files on the C drive matching the pattern: "*-MM-*" (where MM is replaced with 01-12)
REM     DeleteByDatePattern /D 14 "C:\Logs" Log-???? .txt
REM         Prints a list of all patterns which would be processed by the script.

SETLOCAL EnableExtensions EnableDelayedExpansion

REM Assumes your Windows Date/Time settings are set to 'DayOfWeek M/D/YYYY' format.
REM If your format is different, you will need to alter the variables below so they align.
FOR /F "tokens=1,2,3,4 delims=/ " %%A IN ('DATE /T') DO (
    SET Month=%%B
    SET Day=%%C
    SET Year=%%D

IF /I {%1}=={/M} (
    SET Keep=%Month%
    SET Max=12
IF /I {%1}=={/D} (
    SET Keep=%Day%
    SET Max=31
    REM Working off of the previous month's max days.
    SET /A PrevMonth=%Month%-1
    IF !PrevMonth! EQU 2 (
        SET Max=28
        REM Leap years... add more as needed.
        IF /I %Year% EQU 2012 SET Max=29
        IF /I %Year% EQU 2016 SET Max=29
    IF /I !PrevMonth! EQU 4 SET Max=30
    IF /I !PrevMonth! EQU 6 SET Max=30
    IF /I !PrevMonth! EQU 9 SET Max=30
    IF /I !PrevMonth! EQU 11 SET Max=30
SET Current=%Keep%
SET /A Keep=%Keep%-%2+1

REM Determine the range to be removed.
SET /A RemoveHighStart=%Current%+1
IF /I %Keep% LSS 1 (
    SET RemoveLow=0
    SET /A RemoveHighEnd=%Keep%+%Max%-1
) ELSE (
    SET /A RemoveLow=%Keep%-1
    SET RemoveHighEnd=%Max%

REM Process all less than the low range.
FOR /L %%Z IN (1,1,%RemoveLow%) DO CALL :Process %%Z %3 %4 %5 %6
REM Process all greater than the high range.
FOR /L %%Z IN (%RemoveHighStart%,1,%RemoveHighEnd%) DO CALL :Process %%Z %3 %4 %5 %6


SET Key=0%1
SET Key=%Key:~-2%
SET Target="%~2\%~3%Key%%~4"
ECHO Target Pattern: %Target%

IF /I {%5}=={/L} DIR %Target% /B /S
IF /I {%5}=={/DEL} DEL /F /S /Q %Target%

  • Last modified date wouldn't help - what about Creation date? You can use 'dir /t:c' to get that. – lessthanideal Nov 5 '12 at 17:30

The Batch file below assume that:

  • All files have the date in the name in format: XX-YYMMDD-XX.ext
  • The year is a 2-digit 2000-based number (ie, 12 for year 2012)
  • Your locale date format is MM/DD/YYYY
  • The number of days to delete older files is given in first parameter (default=2)


@echo off
setlocal EnableDelayedExpansion
rem First parameter indicate number of days (default=2)
set days=2
if "%1" neq "" set days=%1

rem Get Julian Day Number from todays date
for /F "tokens=1-3 delims=/" %%a in ("%date%") do (
   set /A m=1%%a %% 100, d=1%%b %% 100, set y=%%c
set /A A=(m-14)/12, todayJDN = (1461*(y+4800+A))/4 + (367*(m-2-12*A))/12 - (3*((y+4900+A)/100))/4 + d - 32075

rem Process all files
for %%a in (*.*) do (
   rem Get date from file name (second token separated by hypen)
   for /F "tokens=2 delims=-" %%b in ("%%a") do set fileDate=%%b
   rem Get Julian Day Number from file date
   set y=20!fileDate:~0,2!
   set m=1!fileDate:~2,2! %% 100
   set d=1!fileDate:~4,2! %% 100
   set /A A=(m-14)/12, fileJDN = (1461*(y+4800+A))/4 + (367*(m-2-12*A))/12 - (3*((y+4900+A)/100))/4 + d - 32075
   rem Remove files older than given days
   set /A daysOlder=todayJDN - fileJDN
   if !daysOlder! gtr %days% ECHO rem "%%a"

Test first the program and check the results, then remove the ECHO command in last line to really delete the files.

Julian Day Number is described here: http://www.hermetic.ch/cal_stud/jdn.htm


I'm not entirely sure what environment you are working with, but how often does this need to be done? Is it something that is done once, or every day? Just to help me answer your question, can you rename the files before attacking this problem?

  • Renaming the files isn't possible because a lot of the files in the folder still haven't been uploaded and they wont be until the date in the file name. The script will run every two days an hour before the upload occurs (so old files aren't uploaded). From the script a posted it looks like this would work DeleteByDatePattern /D 7 "D:\Backup" *-????-??- .zip /DEL. But I don't know how to tell the script that the letters before and after the dashes don't matter. – user1800738 Nov 5 '12 at 17:18
  • Not exactly knowing the process, it looks like you might need two asterisks instead of one. – CCRaiff Nov 5 '12 at 17:28
  • Yea, that could work. The only problem is ????-??- .pdf (-YYYY-MM-DD.pdf) doesn't work because the year in my file name only has two numbers and there are no dashes separating the date in my file name: BB-121031-A6C.pdf – user1800738 Nov 5 '12 at 17:37

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