Much like batch resizing images, which is cumbersome, and therefore, calls for easier ways to resize multiple images at once, renaming images (or other files) is another tedious process on Windows that demands time and patience. Since, unlike the Automator app on macOS that enables you to automate trivial tasks like resizing images, renaming images, etc., Microsoft, sadly, does not offer such a utility on its Windows operating system. And therefore, you have to resort to using third-party software.

batch rename files (on windows)

Although you do have a native way to batch rename files in Windows, the functionality is limiting and does not offer enough control like some of the third-party ones. And therefore, for those who need more control over your renaming operations, the only way around is to use third-party tools.

So, if you are wondering what tools (and methods) to use to bulk rename images (or any other files) on your Windows computer, here’s a guide to help you with the same.

Method I – Native way (works on Windows 10 only)

If you are a Windows 10 user, you have a much easier method to bulk rename files (or images) on your computer — one that does not require you to download third-party software. The method requires File Explorer and involves just a few steps. It is ideal for those who do want to perform quick renaming and do not need advanced features.

Steps to rename multiple files using File Explorer

i. Open File Explorer and head to the folder that contains the files to rename.

ii. Here, select the images to rename and click on the Rename button.

batch rename files (file explorer)

iii. Finally, give a name to the file and hit Enter.

Once that’s done, the selected files will be renamed to the file name you provided, followed by a count number to give them a unique identity. For instance, if you used ‘Trek-2020’ as the default name for all your images, it will be followed up with a number, like ‘(1)’ ‘(2)’, and so on. And if you have extensions enabled, the filename will also be appended with a file extension.

Method II – Using third-party software

The native method makes renaming multiple files at once quick and easy, and it can come in handy when you need to get done with basic renaming. But for times when you need more control over the renaming process, using third-party software is a more suitable approach.

1. PowerToys

Another bulk renaming method that works on Windows 10 involves using PowerToys. For the uninitiated, PowerToys is a freeware from Microsoft with a host of system utilities to help you customize certain aspects of the system and maximize your productivity. To get started, download PowerToys. Once done, open the software, select PowerRename from the left pane, and toggle the button next to Enable PowerRename.

Steps to rename multiple files using PowerToys

i. Go to the folder with the files you want to rename.

ii. Here, select the files to rename, right-click on a file, and choose PowerRename from the list.

batch rename files (powerrename)

iii. You will now get the PowerRename window where you can enter the criteria to rename the selected files. [So, if there are files that contain ‘screenshot’ in the name, for instance, you can add it in the Search for window and feed in the replacement name in the Replace with text box.]

batch rename files (powerrename)

iv. Once you add the criteria, click on the Rename button to rename your files.

Now, if basic renaming is what you need to perform, you have been covered with the above steps. However, since the core objective of using a third-party renaming software is to have more control over renaming, there are a few additional options with PowerRename that deliver on this front. You can find these options in the PowerRename window and can tick the checkbox next to any of the options to enable them. For instance, you can use options like regular expressions (RegEx): to add complexity to filename search; exclude folders: to only apply rename changes to files; exclude files: to only apply rename changes to folders; item name only: to apply (renaming) modification to filename only, etc.

2. Bulk Rename Utility

PowerToys are, as the name suggests, intended to serve power users who have a solid understanding of the system and want to get more out of their computers. However, that said, even though it offers a bunch of different options like RegEx support, case selection, etc., it still lacks the granular control that some of the power users would need. And that is where Bulk Rename Utility comes into play, with a plethora of options to customize the renaming process to suit your requirements. To get started, download and install Bulk Rename Utility on your computer.

Steps to rename multiple files using Bulk Rename Utility

i. Open the Bulk Rename Utility software.

ii. From here, you can either click on the file icon on the far right of the search box to add the files you want to rename, or you can locate them using the file browser situated on the left, right below the search box.

batch rename files (bulk rename utility)

iii. With the files selected, you can now use the options shown below to create a renaming system for yourself.

iv. Once the conditions are supplied, hit the Rename button at the bottom right to initiate file renaming.

batch rename files (bulk rename utility)

Talking about other available options, you can add prefixes & suffixes to your filename, modify the date settings, add custom numbering (with options for base types), set the extension, replace & remove text from filenames, and use RegEx to replace filenames, among other operations. Furthermore, the tool also offers a few special features such as the option to change file attributes, change file timestamps, character, translations, and javascript renaming.

3. IrfanView

IrfanView is a popular image viewer for Windows that offers a host of advanced features. One of the highlights of the software is batch operations, which allow you to bulk resize images or bulk rename images at once efficiently. So, if you want a method to batch rename images, you can use IrfanView and get access to all the advanced options it offers. Download IrfanView to get started.

Steps to rename multiple files using IrfanView

i. Open IrfanView and go to File > Batch Conversion/Rename. [Alternatively, you can hit the b button.]

batch rename files (irfanview)

ii. In the new dialog box, select Batch rename.

iii. Now, from the browser window on the right, navigate to the folder with the files to rename. Once selected, hit the Add button.

iv. Click on the Options button under Batch conversion settings and specify a renaming pattern. When done, click OK.

batch rename files (irfanview)

v. Next, on IrfanView’s home window, choose your output directory.

vi. Finally, hit the Start Batch button to rename all files.

To give you an idea of the options available on IrfanView, when you specify a renaming pattern, you have the option to give patterns for the name, customize the counter number, replace the existing part in a filename, choose if you want to create duplicates, etc. When compared to other third-party software, IrfanView sits right in between PowerToys and Bulk Rename Utility.

Those are some of the methods that can help you batch rename files (or images) on your Windows computer efficiently. So if you have been renaming all your files manually till now, you can now save your time and effort with the help of these methods. Needless to say, you can choose any of the renaming methods based on your requirements.

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