Rename Command

'Rename' command examples, options, switches, and more

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The rename command is used to rename a single file or folder from the Command Prompt.

Rename and ren can be used interchangeably. They're the exact same command.

rename command example in Windows 11 command prompt

Rename Command Availability

The rename command is available from within Command Prompt in most versions of Windows, including Windows 11, Windows 10Windows 8Windows 7Windows VistaWindows XP, Windows Server operating systems, and some older versions of Windows, too.

The rename command is also available from within the Recovery Console in Windows 2000 and Windows XP. See our Recovery Console commands list for more.

Rename Command Syntax

rename [drive:][path] filename1 filename2

See How to Read Command Syntax if you're not sure how to read the rename command syntax explained above or in the table below.

Rename Command Options
Item Explanation
drive: This is the drive containing the file you want to rename.
path This is the folder or folder/subfolders located on the drive:, containing filename1 that you want to rename.
filename1 This is the name of the file you want to rename.
filename2 This is the name you want to rename filename1 to. You can not specify a new drive or path for the renamed file.

The rename command can only be used to rename files in the system folders of the current Windows installation, in removable media, in the root folder of any partition, or in the local installation source.

Rename Command Examples

Below are several examples showing how you can use the rename command.

Rename File in Specified Folder

rename c:\windows\win.ini win.old

In the above command, we're renaming win.ini, located in the C:\Windows folder, to win.old.

Rename File in the Same Folder

rename boot.ini

In this one, the rename command has no drive: or path information specified, so the file is renamed to boot.ini, all within the directory you typed the rename command from.

For example, if you type rename boot.ini from the C:\> prompt, the file located in C:\ will be renamed to boot.ini.

Rename File Extension and Name

ren file.bak regfile.reg

In this example, the rename command (shortened here to ren) is used not to rename the "normal" filename part but just the file extension, similar to the two example above. This isn't something you'll be doing often, but if you for some reason to do change the file extension, you can do so with the rename command.

We're renaming a backup with the bak file extension to a file with the REG file extension so that we can restore it to the Windows Registry (something you can only do if it ends in .reg).

However, we're also changing the name of the file to regfile, something we can do inside the same command so that we don't have to run two separate commands.

Changing the file extension doesn't actually change the file's format. Unlike a file converter tool which formats the actual file itself, the ren command can only adjust the suffix. In most situations, like in the example above, this results in Windows treating it differently (e.g., now it can open in Windows Registry).

Rename a Folder

ren pictures "vacation pics"

In this last sample, we're using the rename command to rename a folder instead of a file. The pictures folder will become vacation pics. Quotes are used around the folder name since it contains a space.

Rename Related Commands

This command is often used with the dir command so that you can see the list of filenames within Command Prompt before choosing which one to rename.

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