ren / rename
Developer(s)Various open-source and commercial developers
Operating systemOpenVOS, RT-11, OS/8, RSX-11, ISIS-II, iRMX 86, TOPS-20, Z80-RIO, FLEX, CDOS, OS-9, FlexOS, PC-MOS, 4690 OS, MPE/iX, THEOS/OASIS, OpenVMS, CP/M, MP/M, TRIPOS, AmigaDOS, DOS, MSX-DOS, SISNE plus, OS/2, Windows, ReactOS, SymbOS, DexOS

In computing, ren (or rename) is a command in various command-line interpreters (shells) such as COMMAND.COM, cmd.exe, 4DOS, 4NT and Windows PowerShell. It is used to rename computer files and in some implementations (such as AmigaDOS[1]) also directories. It is analogous to the Unix mv command. However, unlike mv, ren cannot be used to move files, as a new directory for the destination file may not be used. Alternatively, move may be used if available. On versions of MS-DOS that do not support the move command (older than 6.00), the user would simply copy the file to a new destination, and then delete the original file. A notable exception to this rule is DOSBox, in which ren may be used to move a file, since move is not supported.


Description of the RENAME command of RT-11SJ displayed on a VT100.

The command is available in the operating systems Digital Research CP/M,[2] MP/M,[3][4] Cromemco CDOS,[5] MetaComCo TRIPOS,[6] DOS, IBM OS/2,[7] Microsoft Windows,[8] ReactOS,[9] SymbOS, and DexOS.

Multics includes a rename command to rename a directory entry. It can be contracted to rn.[10]

Stratus OpenVOS,[11] DEC RT-11,[12] OS/8,[13] RSX-11,[14] Intel ISIS-II,[15] iRMX 86,[16] TOPS-20,[17] Zilog Z80-RIO,[18] TSC FLEX,[19] Microware OS-9,[20] DR FlexOS,[21] IBM/Toshiba 4690 OS,[22] HP MPE/iX,[23] THEOS/OASIS,[24] and OpenVMS[25] also provide the rename command which in some cases can be contracted to ren.

The rename command is supported by Tim Paterson's SCP 86-DOS.[26] On MS-DOS, the command is available in versions 1 and later.[27] DR DOS 6.0 also includes an implementation of the ren and rename commands.[28]

In Windows PowerShell, ren is a predefined command alias for the Rename-Item Cmdlet which basically serves the same purpose.[29]

TSL PC-MOS includes an implementation of rename.[30] Like the rest of the operating system, it is licensed under the GPL v3.[31]

It is also available in the open source MS-DOS emulator DOSBox.


>ren filename newname
>ren *.htm *.html

Another example. This will rename a default video found in Windows 7 with a new name:

>rename "C:\Users\Public\Videos\Sample Videos\Wildlife.wmv" "Wildlife2.wmv"

The first parameter may contain a drive and a path, but the second parameter must contain only the new filename.

To remove certain characters of a file name in Microsoft Windows command prompt (XP & Higher) :

>rename "abcd*.txt" "////*.txt"

This will remove abcd from the file name.


  1. Same number of / as the number of initial characters to remove.
  2. Double quotes for both arguments.
  3. It doesn't remove . from file name

See also


  1. ^ Rügheimer, Hannes; Spanik, Christian (September 19, 1988). AmigaDOS quick reference. Grand Rapids, Mi : Abacus. ISBN 9781557550491 – via Internet Archive.
  2. ^ "Manual" (PDF). Retrieved 2020-09-19.
  3. ^ Digital Research (July 1981) [1979]. MP/M - Multi-Programming Monitor Control Program - User's Guide (PDF) (4 ed.). Pacific Grove, CA, USA: Digital Research. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2017-01-04. Retrieved 2017-01-04.
  4. ^ Digital Research (1981-09-25). MP/M-86 Operating System - User's Guide (PDF) (1 ed.). Pacific Grove, CA, USA: Digital Research. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2017-01-04. Retrieved 2017-01-04.
  6. ^ "Manual" (PDF). Retrieved 2020-09-19.
  7. ^ "JaTomes Help - OS/2 Commands". Archived from the original on 2019-04-14. Retrieved 2019-07-06.
  8. ^ "Microsoft TechNet Rename (ren) article". 11 September 2009.
  9. ^ "reactos/reactos". GitHub. 3 January 2022.
  10. ^ "Multics Commands".
  11. ^ "Manual" (PDF). Retrieved 2020-09-19.
  12. ^ "RT-11 HELP FILE". Archived from the original on 2018-07-17. Retrieved 2018-07-16.
  13. ^ "Concise Command Language" (CCL)."OS/8 Handbook" (PDF). April 1974. Retrieved 28 November 2017.
  14. ^ John F. Pieper (1987). RSX A Guide for Users (PDF). Digital Equipment Corporation. ISBN 0-932376-90-8. Retrieved 2020-09-19.
  15. ^ ISIS II Users Guide
  17. ^ "TOPS-20 Command manual" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2020-08-09. Retrieved 2018-07-18.
  19. ^ "FLEX 2.0 User's Manual" (PDF).
  20. ^ Paul S. Dayan (1992). The OS-9 Guru - 1 : The Facts. Galactic Industrial Limited. ISBN 0-9519228-0-7.
  21. ^ "FlexOS User's Guide" (PDF). 1986. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-08-08. Retrieved 2020-09-19.
  22. ^ "Users guide" (PDF). Retrieved 2020-09-19.
  23. ^ "MPE/iX Command Reference Manual" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2018-10-21. Retrieved 2018-10-21.
  24. ^ THEOS/OASIS User's Handbook
  25. ^ OpenVMS User's Manual[permanent dead link]
  26. ^ 86-DOS - Disk Operating System for the 8086 - User's Manual (PDF). Version 0.3 (Preliminary ed.). Seattle, Washington, USA: Seattle Computer Products, Inc. 1980. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2019-07-14. Retrieved 2019-07-14. (59 pages)
  27. ^ Wolverton, Van (2003). Running MS-DOS Version 6.22 (20th Anniversary Edition), 6th Revised edition. Microsoft Press. ISBN 0-7356-1812-7.
  28. ^ DR DOS 6.0 User Guide Optimisation and Configuration Tips
  29. ^ "Microsoft TechNet PowerShell Rename-Item (ren) article". 22 October 2009.
  30. ^ PC-MOS User Guide
  31. ^ Jansen, Roeland (8 February 2018). "pcmos386v501: PC-MOS/386 v5.01 final release including cdrom driver sources" – via GitHub.

Further reading