How to Rename a File in Windows: Step-by-Step Guide

Most of us have faced the issue of having our computer files named improperly or the need to rename a file for a more identifiable name. Renaming files can be a tedious task without the proper guidance. Luckily, with Windows, renaming files is a breeze. In this article, we will be sharing 12 easy steps on how to rename a file in Windows, so you can organize your files with ease.

Steps for Renaming File in Windows

Step 1: Highlighting the file

Begin by highlighting the file you wish to rename by clicking it once.

It is important to remember that before renaming a file in Windows, you should ensure the file is closed. Double-check to make sure any programs or applications that may be connected to the file are closed, to avoid any issues.

Step 2: Right-clicking the file

Once you have selected the file, right-click on it.

A drop-down menu with various options will appear, look for the option that says “Rename.”

Step 3: Selecting “Rename”

Clicking on the “Rename” option in the drop-down menu will allow you to change the name of the file.

The file name will be highlighted in blue, allowing you to type your new desired name for the file.

Step 4: Editing the name

Type the new name you desire the file to have, making sure to remove any unwanted characters or spaces.

The name must also be unique in the folder or location, prevent repetition of names for easy identification.

Step 5: Confirmation of the new name

After typing the new file name, hit the enter key.

The file will now have your new desired name and be ready for use.

Step 6: Renaming files in batches

If you have multiple files you require to rename with a similar name, you can rename them together by highlighting all the files.

Repeat steps 2 to 5 for all the files, this allows you to rename files in batches and not individually.

Step 7: Keyboard shortcuts

Renaming files can also be done through the use of keyboard shortcuts. Highlight the file, press F2, which will get you to the rename function.

You can now proceed with renaming the file following steps 4-5, then press enter to finalize the new name.

Step 8: Using the command prompt

The command prompt can also be used to rename files in Windows.

Start by opening the command prompt, navigate to the folder path where the file is located, and type “ren FileToRename NewFileName.”

Replace “FileToRename” with the original file name and “NewFileName” with the new name you wish to give to the file. Hit enter to finalize the process.

Step 9: Renaming file extensions

You can also change the file extension to complement the new file name.

To rename the file extension, right-click on the file, click on “Rename,” and replace the file extension with the new desired extension.

Input the new file name, select enter and the file will be renamed with the new extension.

Step 10: Restoring a file name

If you wish to revert to the original name, highlight the file, press F2 or right-click and “Rename.”

Highlight the new name, delete it, and type the old name, then hit enter.

The file will be reverted to its original name.

Step 11: Renaming special characters

You may encounter issues when trying to rename files with special characters such as “/,” “*,” or “?” in their names.

To avoid any issues, replace such characters with characters that do not interfere with Windows naming conventions.

You can also use the command prompt to bypass the standard restrictions on characters when renaming files.

Step 12: Saving the renamed file

After renaming the file, make sure to save the file to ensure that the new name is recorded in the file system.

You can further organize your files into folders for easy accessibility, or use a third-party program to aid in the organization.

Tips and Tricks

Tip 1: Avoid duplicating file names

To avoid confusion, ensure that file names are unique. It is best not to have multiple files with the same name in the same folder.

Tip 2: Be descriptive

When renaming a file, use a descriptive name so that the file can be easily identified from other files.

Tip 3: Use hyphens and underscores for spaces

When using spaces in file names, ensure that you either use hyphens or underscores instead of leaving a space to avoid the confusion that can arise.

Tip 4: Avoid special characters

Avoid using special characters in file names to prevent any software conflicts and to ensure easy identification and retrieval of files.

Tip 5: Batch rename files

To save time, rename multiple files using the batch rename feature.

Tip 6: Preview files before renaming them

Preview files before renaming them to avoid any mishaps and to ensure that the right file is being renames with a distinct name.

Tip 7: Don’t delete filenames from the beginning or end of the name.

File type information is located at the end of the file name, ensure it is left unaltered during renaming.

Tip 8: Use the Tab key to navigate between files

Depending on the file name lengths, navigating between files can be done by tabbing between files, making for quicker renaming batches of files.

Tip 9: Back up files before renaming

When renaming batches of files, it is essential to make copies and save them as backups to avoid the loss of valuable data due to accidental deletion or changes to files.

Tip 10: Avoid renaming system files

To avoid any damage to your computer system, avoid renaming any system files or folders in your Windows operating system.

In conclusion, Renaming Files may seem somewhat dull, but it can make your work life easier when done right. Understanding how to Change a File’s name in Windows and making use of the tips above is crucial if you wish to avoid disorganization and loss of valuable data.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Renaming a File in Windows


1. Better Organization: Renaming a file can make it easier for you to identify and find it within your computer file system, leading to better organization and productivity.

2. Personalization: Renaming a file allows you to personalize it by giving it a unique name that reflects its content or purpose.

3. Easy to Share: Renaming a file can make it easier to share with others, as the new name can be more informative and descriptive.

4. Avoiding Confusion: Renaming a file can help you avoid confusion caused by multiple files with similar or identical names.

5. Simple Process: Renaming a file in Windows is a relatively simple process that does not require any special software or technical expertise.

6. No Impact on the Content: Renaming a file does not affect its content or data, so you can feel confident about changing the name without losing any information.

7. Prevent Mistakes: Renaming a file can prevent errors that may occur due to incorrect file names or file misidentification.

8. Customization: Renaming a file allows you to customize the file name to your preferences, such as adding date or time stamps or changing capitalization.

9. Improved Clarity: Renaming a file can lead to clarity by using a name that fully describes the content or purpose of the file.

10. Ease of Access: Renaming a file can make it easy to remember the name, and this makes it easier to access the file whenever you need it.


1. Broken Links: If you rename a file without updating links to it, it may create broken links that may cause issues when trying to access the file.

2. Time-Consuming: Renaming a large number of files can be a time-consuming process that takes a lot of effort and patience.

3. Chance of Lost Data: There is a chance of accidental deletion of data or loss of the file when renaming it if you’re not careful enough.

4. Confusion for Others: Renaming a file may cause confusion for others who are trying to access the same file, especially when sharing files with different people.

5. Incompatibility: Renaming a file may cause incompatibility issues with some applications or software that may require the file to have a specific name or naming convention.

6. Dependability: Renaming a file may cause dependability issues when other applications or software depend on the file name to function correctly.

7. Loss of Information: Renaming a file may create the loss of information that may have been crucial to the operation of some critical applications or software.

8. Naming Convention Issues: Renaming a file may cause naming conventions issues, which can lead to incompatibility problems when using different computers and software.

9. Difficulty in Finding the File: Renaming a file with the wrong name can make it difficult for you or anyone else to locate the file when needed.

10. Human Errors: Renaming a file is a manual process, which means that it’s susceptible to human errors such as spelling mistakes, misidentification, or duplicate names.


1. How do I rename a file in Windows?

To rename a file in Windows, right-click on the file and select “Rename”. Type in the new name and press enter.

2. Can I rename multiple files at once?

Yes, you can select multiple files and rename them at once. Highlight all files you want to rename, right-click and select “Rename” . Type in the new name and press enter. All selected files will be renamed with the same name and a number (#) will be added automatically for each file.

3. What if I want to change the file extension?

If you want to change a file extension, you can select “Rename” or simply click on the file and press F2. Change the name and file extension at the same time, but make sure the new extension is compatible with the file type. For example, changing a .doc file to a .mp3 will cause the file to become unusable.

4. Can I undo a file name change?

Yes, if you accidentally rename a file, you can undo the action by pressing “Ctrl + Z” or by right-clicking the file and selecting “Undo”.

5. How do I rename a file using keyboard shortcuts?

To rename a file using keyboard shortcuts, select the file and press F2. Type in the new name and press enter.

6. Can I rename a file in File Explorer’s preview pane?

Yes, by enabling the preview pane in File Explorer, you can rename a file by clicking on the file name in the preview pane and typing in the new name.

7. How do I rename a shortcut in Windows?

To rename a shortcut in Windows, right-click on the shortcut and select “Rename”. Type in the new name and press enter.

8. How do I rename a file using Command Prompt?

To rename a file using Command Prompt, navigate to the file’s directory using the “cd” command and then type “ren oldname newname”. Press enter to execute the command.

9. Can I rename a file without changing its modified date and time?

No, when you rename a file, its modified date and time will change to the current date and time.

10. How do I rename a file on a network drive?

To rename a file on a network drive, you need to have permission to do so. Right-click on the file and select “Rename”. Type in the new name and press enter.

11. Can I rename a file without changing its location?

Yes, when you rename a file, its location will remain the same.

12. How do I rename a file using Windows PowerShell?

To rename a file using Windows PowerShell, navigate to the file’s directory using the “cd” command and then type “Rename-Item oldname newname”. Press enter to execute the command.

13. Can I rename a folder using the same methods?

Yes, you can use the same methods to rename a folder in Windows.

How to Rename a File in Windows

Renaming a file in Windows is a simple and straightforward process that can be done in just a few steps. Whether you want to rename a single file or multiple files at once, the process remains the same. In this article, we will guide you through the steps to rename a file in Windows.

Conclusion and Closing

Renaming a file on your Windows computer should be easy and we hope this guide has helped you with the process. By following the steps outlined in this article, you should be able to rename your file without any problems. Remember to choose a name that is descriptive and makes sense to you so that you can easily find and access the file in the future. If you encountered any issues while trying to rename a file, you can always refer back to this guide for assistance.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. We hope it has been helpful in simplifying the process of renaming a file for you. If you have any further questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below. Until next time, happy computing!