The compilation, plus my own code that follows, took well over 12 hours of work in research, tests, & getting this together.

My Request? One or more of:
-> A general "find & replace"  to rename files in a folder: the MS-DOS code must replace a specified string in any part of  a name with another specified string (which may be null or other). You can use the info below to help out.  Anyone up for the  challenge?

-> Failing that, then points  to any rename routine that's uniquely functional and worthy of being added to this collection.  (& If solution also works in Win98, Joy! :))

-> Still nothing? Then points to whoever locates free internet documentation of the ":~4%" feature as used in a rename command. (see "Please let me know" under 'Remove a prefix' below) .

N o t e s :
- Some code I've condensed using the '&' sign (for NT/2k/XP) or the '|' sign (for 98) which often allow use of multiple commands on one line. See "Can you type more than one command at one command prompt?". (Some of what fails:  '|' after 'if' or 'call' statement; '&'  after 'if', '&' after 'set' as in:set x=y&if  %x%==y echo y; the set doesn't happen until AFTER a line break! Weird language...) Note: to echo the '&'  you must 'echo ^&'
-The code-author's EE id usually follows each code block.
-Some code  just 'echo's the rename commands to be run. Must remove the 'echo' from 'echo ren' to actually do the deed.

~~ Add a suffix (*_n): ~~
FOR %%f IN (*.*) DO ren %%f %%f_n

~~ Remove a suffix (Remove b in   a_b.c) ~~
@echo off&for %%f in (*_*.*) do call :ProcessFile %%f
goto :eof
for /F "delims=_. tokens=1,3" %%c in ("%1") do echo ren "%1" "%%c.%%d"

~~ Add a prefix (S1*): ~~
for %%i in (*.*) do move %%i s1%%i  
for /f "delims=" %i in ('dir/b') do ren "%i" "s1%i"

The DOS command shell, to include WinNT/2K/XP has always acted strangely when using wildcards in the middle of filenames. The truth is, that wildcards almost never work correctly when the wildcard is in the middle of the filename.
For example:
"REN *.TXT *-S1.TXT" will result in the file TEST1.TXT being renamed to TEST1.TXT-S1.TXT
"REN *.TXT S1-*.TXT" will result in the file TEST1.TXT being renamed to S1-T1.TXT

~~ Remove a prefix -- a fixed # of bytes. Replace with new prefix. (SFyymmddhhmm.csv->SISCR12mmddhhmm.csv ) ~~
*** ":~4%" crop feature: where is it documented? Please let me know... - callrs***
@echo off
for %%i in (SF03*.CSV) do (set fname=%%i) & call :rename
goto :eof
::Cuts off 1st 4 characters of fname, then appends prefix
ren %fname% SISCR12%fname:~4%
goto :eof

~~ Add a prefix to numbers-only file-name: ~~
for /f %%a in ('dir /b *.txt ^| findstr /I /X /R /C:^[0-9]*.txt') do ren %%a prefix%%a
::or for 8-digit files only:
for /f %%a in ('dir /b *.txt ^| findstr /I /X /R /C:^[0-9][0-9][0-9][0-9][0-9][0-9][0-9][0-9].txt') do ren %%a pyxbl%%a

~~ Rename to random number: ~~
@echo off&setlocal
set FileMask=*.bmp
for /f "tokens=*" %%a in ('dir /b /a:-d "%FileMask%"') do call :process "%%a"
goto :eof
set rnd=%Random%
if exist %rnd%%~x1 goto loop
ECHO ren %1 %rnd%%~x1
goto :eof

~~ ??? wildcards ~~
ren ???xxx??? ???zzz???

~~ Recurse through all sub-directories (excluding current), changing extension: ~~
@echo off
for /f "tokens=1 delims=" %%a in ('dir /s /b /ad') do if exist "%%a\*.asp" echo ren "%%a\*.asp" *.html >> rename.cmd

~~ Rename all jpg files in a folder tree (to cover.jpg): ~~
@for /R c:\ %%f in (*.jpg) do echo rename "%%~ff" cover.jpg

~~ Recurse thru sub-directories, renaming files ~~
FOR /r %1 IN (.) do MYRENAMEBAT.BAT %1
::RaviPal .   Where the bat file is:
@echo off&echo This will rename all files containing '_fixed'.
echo CHANGE THE FOLDER&cd %1&Pause
rename * *.xxx
rename *.zip *.zip.old
Rename *.xxx *.zip

~~ Suffix a date: ~~
ren c:\temp\abc.txt abc%date:~4,2%-%date:~7,2%-%date:~10%.txt
@echo off&if [%1]==[] goto :usage
set strFile=%1
set strExt=%strFile:~-4%
set strNew=%strFile:~0,-4%
ren strFile %strNew%%date:~6,4%%date:~0,2%%date:~3,2%.%strExt%
goto :eof
RenFile OriginalFilename

~~ Copy, adding system date: ~~
COPY /Y /B C:\TEMP\*.VCH C:\Upload\Combined.vch
REN C:\Upload\Combined.vch Combined-%TODAY%.vch

~~ Rename jpg files to their file-time-stamp: ~~
FOR %%V IN (*.jpg) DO FOR /F "tokens=1-5 delims=/: " %%J  IN ("%%~tV") DO IF EXIST %%L%%J%%K_%%M%%N%%~xV (ECHO Cannot rename %%V) ELSE (ECHO RENAME "%%V" %%L%%J%%K_%%M%%N%%~xV & RENAME "%%V" %%L%%J%%K_%%M%%N%%~xV)
::From PC-Mag

~~ Copy, appending current date: ~~ 
@echo off&setlocal
::Change these as necessary
set Source=d:\temp\&set Dest=d:\temp2\
if "%Source:~-1%" NEQ "\" set Source=%Source%\
if "%Dest:~-1%" NEQ "\" set Dest=%Dest%\
if not exist %Source% goto :Error
if not exist %Dest% goto :Error
set Today=%date:~0,2%%date:~3,2%%date:~6,4%
for %%z in (%Source%*.*) do call :ProcessFile "%%z"
goto :eof
set FilePath=%~1&set FileName=%~n1&set FileExt=%~x1
::Remove the echo from the next line to do the actual copy
echo copy "%FilePath%" "%Dest%%FileName%_%Today%%FileExt%"
goto :eof
echo Either the source or destination directory does not exist

~~ Date Image Files based on date taken etc. ~~
- Rename image files based on the value of EXIF and IPTC fields
- How to read EXIF Tags  (Similar to above)
- Powerbatch
- Photo Studio
-  -

~~ Rename all files to 3-digit Number (001, 002, ...): ~~
:: Change c:\temp\1\ with the folder your files are in. Don't put .bat files in that folder.
@echo off&setlocal&set count=0
for /f "usebackq delims=" %%x in (`dir /a:-d /b "C:\TEMP\*.*"`) DO CALL :NUMBER %%x
goto :EOF
set NAME=%~n1%
set EXT=00%count%
set EXT=%EXT:~-3%
echo ren "%1" "%NAME%.%EXT%"
set /a count+=1
goto :EOF
::MaartenG (-)
-->Below is MS-DOS 6 version, with c:\temp\1\ being path to files to rename.
--------------------- rename00.bat
ECHO OFF|set n1=0|set n2=0|set n3=0
for %%a in (c:\temp\1\*.*) do call renameit.bat %%a
set n1=|set n2=|set n3=|set nx=
--------------------- renameit.bat
rename %1 %n3%%n2%%n1%
set nx=%n1%| call incnx.bat
set n1=%nx%
if not %n1%==0 goto end
set nx=%n2%| call incnx.bat
set n2=%nx%
if not %n2%==0 goto end
set nx=%n3%| call incnx.bat
set n3=%nx%
---------------------------- incnx.bat
if %nx%==0 goto number0
if %nx%==9 SET nx=0
if %nx%==8 SET nx=9
if %nx%==7 SET nx=8
if %nx%==6 SET nx=7
if %nx%==5 SET nx=6
if %nx%==4 SET nx=5
if %nx%==3 SET nx=4
if %nx%==2 SET nx=3
if %nx%==1 SET nx=2
goto end
SET nx=1

~~ Rename all files to prefix + a number  (images_1.jpg, images_2.jpg ...) ~~
@echo off&set /a cnt=1
for %%a in (*.jpg) do call :PROCESS "%%a"
goto :EOF
echo rename %1 images_%cnt%.jpg
set /a cnt+=1

~~ Replace First Dot ~~
@echo off&setlocal&echo.&set Test=FALSE
if %1.==. goto Syntax
if %1==/? goto Syntax
if %1==-? goto Syntax
if %2.==. goto :begin
if /i not %2==/test goto Syntax
set Test=TRUE
for /f %%a in ('dir /b /a:-d %1') do (
  set FilePath=%%~dpa&set FileName=%%~na&set FileExt=%%~xa&call :process )
goto :eof
if %FileName%==%FileName:.=% goto :eof
for /f "tokens=1* delims=." %%a in ("%FileName%") do set NewFileName=%%a-%%b
echo %FilePath%%FileName%%FileExt% --^> %NewFileName%%FileExt%
if /i %Test%==TRUE goto :eof
ren "%FilePath%%FileName%%FileExt%" "%NewFileName%%FileExt%"
goto :eof
echo %~nx0&echo.
echo Replaces first ".", if any, of the file name with a "-", but not the extension&echo.
echo Syntax:  &echo repdot ^<File^> [/test]&echo.
echo ^<File^>: The specified directory/file is processed
echo /test:  No renaming is done, files that would be renamed are only displayed.

~~ Move tokens around ~~
@echo off&setlocal&set Folder=%1&set Pattern=samptest.txt.*
dir /b %Folder%%Pattern% 1>NUL 2>NUL
if errorlevel 1 goto Syntax
for /f %%a in ('dir /b %Folder%%Pattern%') do (
  set File=%%a&  call :process)
goto :eof
echo Processing %File% ...
for /f "tokens=1-3 delims=." %%a in ("%File%") do (
  set Name=%%a
  set Number=%%c)
set NewFile=%Name%%Number%.edi
:: *** Remove the "echo" in the next line to "arm" the script
echo ren %Folder%%File% %NewFile%
goto :eof
echo ediren.cmd&echo.
echo Renames files matching samptest.txt.^<Number^>
echo to samptest^<Number^>.edi&echo.&echo Syntax:
echo ediren [^<Target Directory^>]&echo.
echo If no target directory is specified, the current directory is used.
echo The directory must be specified including the trailing "\"!

~~ Other ~~
MoveFile - Rename an existing file or a directory
renaming files but exclude newest
Comparing,moving, and renaming files in a DOS atmosphere
A batch rename operation which cannot be done with dos, can someone do it in/with vbscript?

~~ General Renaming Utilities referenced in posts: * means freeware ~~ File Renaming Tools* Bulk Rename Utility* Opensource Rename-it* Rename Master* Rename4u (Kelly Software)* Lupas Rename 2000*  IrfanView* (File-->Batch Conversion/Rename...) Better File Rename (Not Free) File and MP3 Tag Renamer (Trial)

~~ Below is my own code from answer to "Rename Files Instantaneously": ~~
:: renlef+.bat
:: Prefix ADD utility for file names: Adds the specified prefix and delim (& optionally isolates delim by spaces) to all files that have specified extension
:: Doesn't perform the rename, but generates &  writes the commands to a bat file
:: If prefix+delim is already in the original name, then ignores the file unless doall=1
:: Arguments:
::   %1 - Prefix to add
::   %2 - Delimiter to add
::   %3 - Extension of file
::   %4 - Space - Set to 1 to add space to both sides of delim
::   %5 - Doall - See "If prefix+delim..." note above
:: v1.01  By Ravinder Singh ('wiz' on the quickmacros forum), May 26, 2006
:: if exists renlef+_.bat goto FILEEXISTS
@echo off
set outfile=renlef+_
if exist "%outfile%.bat" del "%outfile%.bat"
if %1.==. (set /a exitcode=98&goto USAGE)
if %2.==. (set /a exitcode=98&goto USAGE)
set adn=%1&set delm=%2&set ext=%3&set space=%4&set doall=%5&&set count=0
if %doall%.==1. goto SIMPLE

for %%a in (*.%ext%) do (
if %space%.==1. (
     echo %%a| find "%adn% %delm% "
     if errorlevel 1 (set /a count+=1&echo ren "%%a" "%adn% %delm% %%a"  >> "%outfile%.bat" ))
if NOT %space%.==1. (
      echo %%a | find "%adn%%delm%"
     if errorlevel 1 (set /a count+=1&echo ren "%%a" "%adn%%delm%%%a" >> "%outfile%.bat"     ))
goto :DONE
::  separated routine here 'cause wasn't able to integrate 'cause of weird behaviour in msdos on Win2K
:: e.g. if you SET XX=YY, then echo "%XX%" doesn't give us XX's value within a FOR loop, but only on exit from loop
for %%a in (*.%ext%) do (
     set /a count+=1
     if %space%.==1. echo ren "%%a" "%adn% %delm% %%a"  >> "renlef+_.bat"
     if NOT %space%.==1.      echo ren "%%a" "%adn%%delm%%%a" >> "renlef+_.bat")

if %count%==0 (
     echo No files found that match criteria.&echo.
     set /a exitcode=97
     goto usage
type renlef+_.bat
echo type: %outfile%         To rename the above %count% files files! Or edit %outfile%.bat
goto :EOF

exit /B %exitcode%

echo renall.bat exists. (Check ^& ) Delete file first.
exit /B 99
:: renlef-.bat
::  - Prefix REMOVAL utility for file names: Cuts the specified prefix that precedes a space and/or the specified delimiters in a file name
:: As a precaution:
:: -- All rename commands are generated & then displayed on screen
:: -- All rename commands are written to a file which can be run  (after any optional or required user's edits)
:: Arguments:
::    %1 - Word to remove
::    %2 - Optional delimiters, in addition to the default space, that separate %1 from the part you want to keep
::    %3 - Extension of file
:: E.g. to remove initial "PART" from all files that start with "PART # ":
::     renlef- PART #
:: v1.01 By Ravinder Singh ('wiz' on the quickmacros forum), May 26, 2006
@echo off
if %1.==. (set /a exitcode=98&goto usage)
set cut=%1&set delims=%2&set ext=%3&set outfile=renlef-_&set count=0
if exist "%outfile%.bat" del "%outfile%.bat"
::if not exist  "%outfile%.bat" set writeToFile=1
set writeToFile=1

:: Let user see and verify all rename commands before we execute them
for /f "usebackq delims=" %%i in (`dir /b %cut%*.%ext%`) do @call :TEST "%%i"

if %count%==0 (
     echo No files found that match criteria.&echo.
     set /a exitcode=97
     goto usage
echo type: %outfile%           To rename the above %count% files! Or edit %outfile%.bat
goto :EOF

set /a count+=1
set name=%1
FOR /f  "usebackq tokens=1,2,3 delims=%delims% " %%j IN (`echo %name%`) DO @set mycmd=ren %name% "%%k
echo %mycmd%
if %writeToFile%==1 echo %mycmd% >> %outfile%.bat
goto :EOF

echo usage: %~nx0   LEFT-TRIM-STRING   DELIMS    EXTENSION
exit /B %exitcode%

:: Other notes
:: original basic routine, with delimiters being "- "
::for /f "usebackq tokens=1,2,3  delims=- " %%i in (`dir /b %1*`) do echo ren "%%i - %%j" "%%j"
:: 1* -- Optional code, can use if you don't want to create %output%.bat
:: Now prompt whether or not to do the batch rename
set/p input=Enter y to execute the above commands, anything else to quit:  
if not %input%.==y. goto :EOF
for /f "usebackq delims=" %%i in (`dir /b %cut%*.%ext%`) do @call :RENAMEALL "%%i"
goto :EOF
set name=%1
FOR /f  "usebackq tokens=1,2,3 delims=%delims% " %%j IN (`echo %name%`) DO ren %name% "%%k
goto :EOF
LVL 30
Who is Participating?
Looking at the code you posted here, I assume that "using pure DOS" means avoiding the use of external utilities, and that a Windows 2000 / XP command prompt is fine.  The following  code will prompt for "search" and "replacement" text, and echo the rename command for files in the current directory:

@echo off

set /p Srch=Text in filename to find:
set /p Repl=Text to replace "%Srch%" with:
echo Searching for filenames containing "%Srch%" and replacing with "%Repl%" ...
for /f "tokens=*" %%a in ('dir /b *%Srch%*') do call :Replace "%%a"      
goto :EOF

set x=%1
call set x=%%x:%Srch%=%Repl%%%
echo ren %1 %x%

As for the "free internet documentation of the ":~4%" feature", I couldn't find anything, but a brief description from my own experience is:
Using the environment variable ENV (as in set ENV=SomeTestText)
echo %ENV:~4%
would take the text in %ENV%, and echo starting at the 4th character to the end
echo %ENV:~4,2%
would take the text in %ENV%, and echo starting at the 4th character and outputting just 2 characters
echo %ENV:~-4,2%
would take the text in %ENV%, and echo starting at the 4th character from the end (because of the -) and outputting just 2 characters

Nice compilation of batch code.  I hope my input helps answer your most recent question.
Could try this for NT2000+:

@echo off

setlocal enabledelayedexpansion

set fromMask=%~1
set toMask=%~2

if [%fromMask%]==[] echo Usage %0 fromMask [toMask]&goto :EOF

for /f "delims=" %%a in ('dir /b /a-d *.* 2^>NUL') do call :PROCESS "%%a"

goto :EOF


set nameOnly=%~n1
set nameOnly=!nameOnly:%fromMask%=%toMask%!

if "%nameOnly%"=="" goto :EOF
if /i "%nameOnly%"=="%~n1" goto :EOF

echo ren %1 "%nameOnly%%~x1"

Note, I've disabled the rename for testing.

Good Luck,
Steve KnightIT ConsultancyCommented:
Re: the %ENV~4% etc. try SET /? Gives detailed info.

Cloud Class® Course: Amazon Web Services - Basic

Are you thinking about creating an Amazon Web Services account for your business? Not sure where to start? In this course you’ll get an overview of the history of AWS and take a tour of their user interface.

callrsAuthor Commented:
Thanks for your answers.
Online documentation found at soon after this post, and proved helpful in various posts.
Will follow up here later this month.

Need to tend to a neglected garden yet...and to my own health. Body weight dropped over 10 pounds to 125 in past month. Been so busy at EE, getting by with tidbits of fruit, brown rice, mung beans, and vegetables. :-p
callrsAuthor Commented:
weary still -.-
callrsAuthor Commented:
Yikes. time passes so quickly. Not abandoning this. Had question for GuruGary but that will have to wait longer...
callrsAuthor Commented:
dear read following book search substring it will give u the thing what u want

to improve ur skills in batch programming learn following text

A Modern Batch Programming Tutorial (Win 2k/XP)
Change the Look on This Site

<Text removed by AnnieMod -- the text was copy-paste from>
callrsAuthor Commented:
Mohsan, looks like a very nice tutorial, thank you.

But here's a tip: A link etc. is all-important to identify the source, and pasting some relevant material from the article can be better than copying in the whole thing.    ;)
And when the same entire long info is pasted across multiple threads, it needlessly balloons the forum; also, the author of the article may mind.
I agree with callrs...

Here's the link:
callrsAuthor Commented:
Link's can be had with a Google search of any phrase from the article. So should have let Mohsan come back to paste the link for practice sake lol
Sorry dear.
next time i will post link. 
callrsAuthor Commented:
      * ¿ *
callrsAuthor Commented:
Too stressed to concentrate on this & other basics; so sending a heart beat for now.
This is ridicules...
callrsAuthor Commented:

(Side note, of concern, not to bash: "start behaving as an adult" --> comment insults & is presumptuous of kids, who start off naturally loving giving inquisitive and faithful, and whom adults can learn mountains of wisdom from...adults not kids have made the pains we see in the world...)

In the spirit of helping upon which I embarked on this task -- spending, less for myself than for the world, not the stated 12 but double that time to find, categorize, test, edit, and fully credit a kaleidoscope of DOS rename routines --  I had hoped to spend several more hours to enhance the investment here before closing. In all honesty, question was asked not to ask it, but to find a way, in first days here at ee, to present the research to the programming community. But as this was something I 'selfishly' sought, I then got lost in solving others' multitude of issues at ee; a habit even in my own life of looking after others first: I often do for others what's delayed indefinitely for myself.

Computer's been my escape from hardships: recent major dental pain, looming critical housing crisis, renovation-company nightmare, malnutrition, neighborhood slander, people seeing my lack & harshly critiquing "you don't work", etc. Computer is where I can shut out practical and social stigmas and just go code or advise or help others...and I've done this for years free of charge even before ee, with countless expressions of thanks received.

No AnnieMod, I don't think the experts just love to lose their time; who does, least of all I who sees every moment as precious to be spent productively with a smile. I was simply buying time in a changed comic-relief sort of way despite what had happened that very month that has literally knocked me out since the 8th from an act of extreme insensitivity at ee, turning the computer screen -- a vital refuge -- into the very trap I sought escape from, with repercussions that have cost me and others great anguish and loss.

But closing thread as requested.

Sorry for the delay. I'd embarked on a multi-purpose file rename utility to post here (program to find and replace: prefix, suffix, middle, extension,...) the day of GuruGary's answer, but never finished the tests; right now however mental acuity is lacking to be able to complete it while other commitments await.


Mohsan, thanks for the apology & the commitment to the future. Hope you learn more MS-DOS as well : )
callrsAuthor Commented:
>>multi-purpose file rename utility
Possibly this week
callrsAuthor Commented:
Or not. Still embroiled in exhausting time-consuming three-months-long+ deluge from some at ee who (I've seen to grossly err yet) crassly brand others single-sidedly. Now another victim, one of high character to whom helping thoroughly, not points, has been paramount:  Recent case at CS I'm preparing input for; email if interested.
Question has a verified solution.

Are you are experiencing a similar issue? Get a personalized answer when you ask a related question.

Have a better answer? Share it in a comment.

All Courses

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.