How to batch rename files in Windows 10 with the PowerToys PowerRename tool

Learn how to use the PowerToys PowerRename tool to rename multiple files in one shot.


Image: Microsoft

Renaming multiple files in Windows in a single step has always been a challenge since the built-in options are limited. Several third-party batch file renaming tools are available, both free and paid. But now with the latest iteration of Microsoft’s PowerToys, you can tap into a free batch rename utility. 

Known as PowerRename, this feature lets you search for specific filenames and replace them with new names of your choosing. You can change the filename, the extension, or both.You can also apply expressions and variables to add some oomph to your renames.

Designed way back when for Windows 95, PowerToys was an attempt by Microsoft to fill in some of the gaps with Windows through a collection of cool and handy utilities. Missing for many years following its debut, PowerToys was repurposed for Windows 10 in September 2019. In partnership with development company Janea Systems, Microsoft has slowly been adding more tools to PowerToys for Windows 10, starting with FancyZones and the Windows Key Shortcut Guide and most recently PowerRename. 

SEE: 20 pro tips to make Windows 10 work the way you want (free PDF) (TechRepublic) 

To get started with PowerRename, go to Microsoft’s GitHub page for PowerToys. Download and install the PowerToysSetup.msi file for the latest version. After launching PowerToys, right-click on its icon in the Windows System Tray and select Settings. Make sure the switch is turned on for PowerRename. You can also enable or disable the switch to Start At Login, which you should do for PowerRename if you intend to use it regularly. Click Save if you make any changes (Figure A).

Figure A


Now, open File Explorer and navigate to a batch of files that you want to rename. Files of photos you’ve shot with a mobile phone…