How To Use the Bulk Rename Utility

If you’ve ever had a project in front of you where you needed to go through huge numbers of computer files and rename them or search for a particular word or symbol and replace them quickly, then the Bulk File Rename Utility is for you.

My client wanted to move many thousands of files and folders from his server to OneDrive for Business. We found out that OneDrive for business will not sync any files with these characters in them – they call them ‘invalid characters’:   \ / : * ? “ < > # %. We didn’t know how many files were affected and it would be extremely time consuming to have someone open and go through all the folders.

Recently, I was on LinkedIn and doing a search on ‘OneDrive for Business’, just to see what kinds of articles are out there and I found this article called ‘Flawlessly Migrate Thousands of Files/Folders’. In it Nik D’Agostino has a link to the Bulk Rename Utility as well as instructions on running PowerShell scripts to extract older data you may not want to migrate.

OneDrive for Business Bulk Rename Utility

I thought I’d do a quick video on how the tool works. I also have some written instructions below the video.


There are great detailed instructions in his article – the first step being to make a backup of the items you’re going to run the tool on. You just never know what can and will happen, so always make a backup.

I downloaded and extracted the tool (to extract a zipped folder, right-click on it and choose ‘extract’ and I usually have it extract in its own folder and then show the folder to me.

Bulk Rename utility

Then click to open the application and you’ll be presented with the bulk rename screen.

Using the Bulk Rename Utility Tool

You’ll want to uncheck all the little boxes except 3 and 12.

Next, choose and click the folder on the left side of the screen and then you’ll need to shift-select all the files and folders on the right side that you want to run the tool on. All of those folders will be highlighted when selected.

Then in box 3, this is where you fill out your replace and with sections. In my video (below), I renamed some photos and changed them from dsc to pic.

When it’s filled out, then click the Rename button at the lower right. You’ll get a prompt asking if you’re sure, click OK and run the tool. If the tool found items to change, it’ll tell you how many it changed and how many it didn’t.

That’s it – you’ve run the tool and renamed your documents.

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