Best Free File Rename Utility



In these days of MP3 libraries and vast collections of digital images, many of us have faced the necessity of renaming our files for organizational purposes. If you've come here looking for a solution we have some good news. There are great and free programs to suit your needs.

There are many different methods to achieve the desired result, from laboriously renaming files one at a time using Windows Explorer, to bulk renaming utilities that can pull out metadata or execute powerful Perl based regular expressions. Some programs focus on simplicity and others are designed for power users. Most of the renamers support a basic set of features such as crop, insert, remove, replace, case changes, and auto number. And some renamers have more powerful features than others.

My rough guess is that about 95% of readers are mainly interested in bulk renaming MP3 files and pictures. While the remaining 5% (probably power users) rename thousands of files every day and have got their own favourite already. That's why the following reviews are focused on common users that are looking for an application to help with their music files and pictures.


Rated Products

File Renamer Basic  

A solid utility to rename multiple files, images and photos with regular expressions

Our Rating: 
License: Free (Limited features)
Well designed interface, solid renamer
Undo, subfolder, and logging features removed from free version.
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Bulk Rename Utility  

A file renaming software that is easy to use, powerful and highly functional

Our Rating: 
License: Free (Private/Educational use)
Very powerful, lots of features, overall a very good renamer.
Cluttered interface, no ID3 v2 support.
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Advanced Renamer  

It has an attractive interface and renames multiple files and folders with renaming methods

Our Rating: 
License: Free
Easy to use, mostly menu driven.
Supports only a handful of EXIF and ID3 tags.
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Loaded with features and covers most renaming aspects for technically minded users

Our Rating: 
License: Free
Most powerful renamer tested, lots of features supported.
Harder to use than other renamers, not good for casual users.
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Other Renamers

Siren is one of the most powerful renamers I have tested. For a power user with many and varied tasks to complete Siren will make your life a lot easier. On the negative side, Siren has a steep learning curve compared to other renamers. With what is in essence a library of predefined tags the simplest rename will require a little studying of the help file. Siren is no longer developed. No installation required.

Lupas Rename has a fairly intuitive interface and once you know your way around it, changing complex file names with this powerful utility is easy. I was unable to get the regular expressions to work on Vista or XP. Metadata tags are manually entered instead of choosing from a menu. Unfortunately, it appears Lupas Rename is no longer actively developed. No instalation is required.

ReNamer has a clean interface, supports a few different metatags and offers powerful PascalScript option for power users. Help files could do with improvement. I have not linked to this renamer as Norton reports the website as malicious. This could well be due solely to the nature of the products being offered, but we would advise caution when deciding to enter this site. No installation is required.

Metamorphose 2 Beta is more complicated to use than other renamers. I found myself reading help files more than actually doing any renaming.

Rename Master supports EXIF and ID3 tags, regular expressions and scripts. No installation is required.

Wild Rename is a very basic renamer that can perform tasks with support of regular expressions. It does not support EXIF or ID3 tags. No installation is required.

Flexible Renamer v8.2 supports invalid character mapping, file attribute modification, metadata tags for documents, imaging, and audio. Also supports VB scripts, Javascript, and regular expressions. Learning curve is too steep for what you get out of it.

CKRename v1.08 has a simple design and you can change file names, extensions, case, auto number, and use sting substitution but it doesn't have many advanced features.

Rename-It! v3.05 is a very simple program with just a few features. It has an intuitive interface and you can do simple cropping, case changes. It supports regular expressions and a few ID3 tags, both v1 and v2. Seems to work well for what it does but has less functionality than other renamers.

Ant Renamer v2.10 supports regular expressions, EXIF tags, and ID3 v1 tags. You can also change names from an imported file list. File change preview is limited to a single file and you cannot simultaneously view the commands and the file listing. No ID3 v2 support. Irritating bugs, for example, just open "Options", change anything and the language also changes.

A.F.5 Rename v1.1 is a simple renamer for basic day-to-day use. Actually it is too simple for my liking with no ID3 or EXIF support and no recursive file structure.

Multi File Renamer is another basic renamer on our list. It does not support ID3 or EXIF tags, extensions or recursive file structure. Suitable for basic tasks.


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I use Bulk Rename Utility to clean dozens (even hundreds) of filenames full of needless numbers, date, characters... Despite the messed UI, it is quite powerful once you learn how to use it. I remember when I had to rename them manually, sad and boring days.

The latest release of Advanced Renamer largely addresses the reservations given in the Discussion section above:

- It now incorporates ExifTool, allowing access to all (afaik) EXIF data.
- There is now a folder panel that makes selecting files very easy.
- Files can now be deselected, without being removed from the list.

It also has many extremely useful features, such as the option to append sequential numbers to file names when "collisions" (ie. duplicate names) are generated.

I was able to configure a renaming routine using EXIF data that I was unable to configure in any other renamer.

Advanced Renamer is now the best free renaming utility for my needs.

I used to use "File Renamer Basic". It certainly is a powerful program and has a clean, easy to use interface. But I ended up switching to "Renamer". Renamer's interface is almost as easy. Renamer is just as powerful, at least for me. And, more importantly, Renamer has an "undo" function which File Renamer Basic does not have unless you buy the pro version. In my opinion, "Undo" is a basic and critical feature of a file renaming utility.

I just downloaded the Bulk Rename Utility and tried it on a set of a few hundred files which I wanted to organize by date code in the file name. They were already named that way "sort of" but with several inconsistencies. I found it pretty quick to figure out the interface, and it worked like a charm. The "undo" feature also came in very handy during the 10 minute "learning curve". A good utility. Thanks for the tips !

There's one very old program (which still works just fine for me in Win7) that you didn't mention at all here, and from checking out the programs you've mentioned I think it might actually better than the whole lot of them! It has rather an odd name, "1-4a-Rename", but check it out, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised (note that it has both a basic and advanced mode, both of which are included in this freeware proggie)...

I would advise caution as 1-4a Rename has not been updated for 8 years. MC - Site Manager.

Thanks for the review

Advanced Renamer has just been updated (March 26 2014).
It has also changed its URL to
The old URL (which is included in the review) automatically redirects to the new site.

Best regards

Thanks a lot. Now updated.

Under "Other Renamers", you mention Siren. I agree that "Siren is one of the most powerful renamers". It does have a steep learning curve compared to other renamers but I am used to it now, having used it for years.

I can't agree with the statement "Siren is no longer developed"; the latest version, 3.14, was released on 27 December 2013.

You may want to review these programs again. Just looking at Advanced Renamer, it states that at the time of your review (Updated 4. July 2013) that it was "Last release: December 06. 2012" and it had actually had three releases in that time frame. It is now at version 3.60 as of Sept. 08, 2013 with a fair amount of changes since the Dec. 2012 release.

The "site.editor" designation means no one is currently assigned to this category. The review will be updated as soon as someone volunteers to take it over. MC - Site Manager.

Does any of these renamers add context menu entries to conveniently rename files. I'd like one which adds a context menu entries to prepend files names with 5-6 different words, like Statistics, Marketing, Simulations, and Accounts.

I'd thank you a lot, and even send in a donation if possible, if you could point me to a software that does this...