bulkRename v1.1

A while back (in 2008), I wrote a simple system utility with VB.NET which leverages the power of regular expressions to rename files in bulk according to a pattern. I’ve had to use it several times recently after placing it on a metaphorical shelf to gather dust, and it got me thinking: Maybe other people can benefit from this utility. That’s what software is supposed to be all about, right?

The syntax is simple: You specify the root folder to traverse, the current naming convention, and the re-naming convention. There’s even a flag for testing your expressions with a “dry run”, which won’t actually rename anything, but instead just shows you what would happen. (The flag is “-t“.)

bulkRename.exe <root folder> -c <current convention> -r <renaming convention>

NOTE: If you wish to avoid the use of regular expressions, keep in mind that you should “escape” any reserved characters (such as the “dot”) by preceding them with a backslash. For the same reason, literal backslashes must also be preceded by a backslash.

Download a copy of bulkRename v1.1 for yourself.

To show my support for open source software, I am also releasing the code for this nifty little tool. See below.

VB.NET code:

' Title:        bulkRename
' Author:       Todd Boyd
' Version:      1.1
' Date:         9/17/2008
' Description:  Rename files in bulk given a root folder, a regex to compare
'               against for filename matches, and a new naming convention which
'               can use group references from the filename regex.

Imports System.Text.RegularExpressions

Module bulkRename
    Sub Main()
        Console.WriteLine("bulkRename.exe v1.1 by Todd Boyd - 9/17/08")

        ' boolean for test mode - no actual file renaming takes place
        Dim testOnly As Boolean = False
        If Regex.Match(Command, "(^| )-t($| )").Success Then
            testOnly = True
            Console.WriteLine("*** TEST ONLY, WILL NOT RENAME ***")
        End If

        ' root folder
        Dim root As String = Regex.Match(LTrim(Command), "^[^ ]+").Value
        ' regex for current file naming convention
        Dim curRgx As String = Regex.Match(Command, "-c ([^ ]+)").Groups(1). _
        ' format for new file naming convention
        Dim renFmt As String = Regex.Match(Command, "-r ([^ ]+)").Groups(1). _

        ' validate parameters
        If root = "" Or curRgx = "" Or renFmt = "" Then
            Console.WriteLine("bulkRename.exe [<folder>] -c <regex pattern>" & _
                " -r <rename pattern>")
            Exit Sub
        End If

        ' test regex for flaws
            Regex.Match("", curRgx)
        Catch ex As Exception
            Console.WriteLine("Error: " & ex.Message)
            Exit Sub
        End Try

        ' trim root if it has a trailing backslash
        If Right(root, 1) = "\" Then root = Left(root, root.Length - 1)

        ' load files in root folder
        Dim files = Nothing

            files = My.Computer.FileSystem.GetFiles(root)
        Catch ex As Exception
            Console.WriteLine("Error: " & ex.Message)
            Exit Sub
        End Try

        Dim counter As Integer = 0
        Console.WriteLine("* Root Folder: " & root)

        ' iterate through file list and check for matches
        For Each fileName As String In files
            ' file matches regex for current convention
            If Regex.Match(fileName, curRgx).Success Then
                counter += 1
                ' build new file name and output renaming action
                Dim newFileName As String = Regex.Replace(fileName, curRgx, _
                newFileName = Right(newFileName, _
                    newFileName.Length - root.Length - 1)
                Dim displayName As String = Right(fileName, _
                    fileName.Length - root.Length - 1)
                Console.WriteLine(displayName & " ==> " & newFileName)

                ' actually rename if not in test mode
                If Not testOnly Then
                        My.Computer.FileSystem.RenameFile(fileName, newFileName)
                    Catch ex As Exception
                        Console.WriteLine("Error: " & ex.Message)
                    End Try
                End If
            End If

        Console.WriteLine("* Files renamed: " & counter)
    End Sub
End Module