A Great Way To Easily Bulk Rename Files

Posted on Friday 19 October 2007

Serendipity always fascinates me. It is amazing how many times one thinks about something, only to have it appear out of no where when you least expect it! That’s what happened to me a couple of days ago when I went looking for a utility to normalize a bunch of MP3s!

A long time ago, in another universe by now, I had written myself a neat little program that allowed me to do a bulk rename or renumber of a list of files in a directory. It was a command line tool to help fix an ongoing problem that I had at the time. It was great. I could give it a prefix to replace. Give it a number to start at and a range to number with and it worked flawlessly. Unfortunately over the years, across computer crashes and replacements and hard-drive failures it disappeared.

I’ve often lamented my loss and thought many times of sitting down and building a new one, but there were always other priorities. Yesterday my wife received two separate discs of photos of an outing she and her friends took. She wanted them put on the computer, so she could use them in her screen-saver (and by default into the same folder). Unfortunately both sets of pictures used the same file naming scheme AND even the same file names. This required me to once again manually rename half of the pictures before copying them into the same directory and once again I lamented my loss of my utility…

So when I Googled for my MP3 normalizer I was literally stunned when amongst the list of hits, somehow mixed up with all the MP3 utilities, was a listing for a program called Bulk File Renamer by Bexonsoft! It too was freeware…

This program does everything that my old code did and more!

  • It can replace or delete characters or symbols
  • Add prefixes or suffixes
  • Replace names entirely and use a sequential count
  • Can make all names upper or lower case

It also allows you to preview the file name changes before you actually implement them. Which as I recall was a constant issue when I ran my code (requiring numerous backups of backups to be safe from losing data.)

According to Bexonsoft this program was specifically designed for the camera file issue that I had, as well as the issue of getting extraneous letters (like %&@) removed from downloaded file names. It is released as freeware, with their promise that there is no hidden spyware or adware embedded.

This program doesn’t even install on your computer. Just unzip it into a folder (it comes compressed in a zip file) and run it. If you don’t like it just delete it. How civilized! For those who have older operating systems (like Windows 95, 98 or NT) they recommend you install the Visual Basic 6.0 Service Patch 5 first.

A great program which fixes a long lamented issue – all for free! Man I like it when that happens!

End Article
  1. Bob Gray Said,

    Hi Rick, being an avid photographer it is not hard to rack up a couple of hundred photos on an afternoons outing. The problem lies after you have downloaded them to your computer and you have a long list of photos that start with ‘IMG’ or ‘PIC’ followed by a long list of numbers. I then use the Windows Navigator to rename and number them for me. The process is simple:
    – Highlight the list of files from top to bottom.
    – Right click on the bottom file in the list.
    – Select ‘Rename’ from the pop-up window.
    – Type in the name for the set you have highlighted.
    – Press ‘Return’

    All of the files in the list will be renamed to whatever you typed in and will automatically numbered one-up from top to bottom. That is with the exception of the very last file. It becomes what you you just told the system to rename the file to while all the others are numbered clones. You only have to rename this one file by adding the next number manually. Hope this helps.

  2. Rick Said,

    Thanks Bob

    Valid point about all those pictures. It’s great that Windows has that built in. Thanks for listing the procedure on how to do it.

    If all you want to do is rename or renumber your pictures in a series then it’s definitely easier than downloading a tool and doing it that way.

    What I really like this tool for though is the way I can take all the downloaded MP3’s for lets say “The Phantom”. Well the MP3’s usually have something like

    421003xxx_The_Phantom_ Episode_Number_000023_Dirks_Revenge.mp3′

    And Renaming it to


    Much easier to find on a DVD or CD/MP3 player that way and again this can be done in bulk. I’m not sure if windows can handle that or not .

    Thanks again for the feedback!


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