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PowerShell: Creation date into filenames

G5th August 2016

C1 Comment


Insert a file’s creation date into its file name using a simple piece of PowerShell scripting.

Let’s say that you want to use a PowerShell script to append the creation date of a series of files to those files’ names (for instance, to replace IMG_2479.jpg with 20160805_2479.jpg). This is an easy job for PowerShell, but there are a couple of traps.

Many people recommend using the Get-Date function, but this is problematic because it will insert today’s date:

Get-ChildItem -path "c:/path/to/files/" -recurse -include @("*.jpg") | rename-item -newname { $  -replace "IMG",$(get-date -Format yyyyMMdd)}

This is fine if you’re processing the files on the same day that they’re created. But what if you’re not?

A better approach is to use the CreationTime function, which turns the file’s creation date into a string (in this case, the format is yyyyMMdd but this can be customised). This is then inserted into the file name.

Get-ChildItem -path "c:/path/to/files/" -recurse -include @("*.jpg") | rename-item -newname { $  -replace "IMG",($_.CreationTime.toString("yyyyMMdd"))}

This code can be used with files of any type (just remove -include @("*.jpg")).

It is very important to note that if a file was copied or moved after the creation date, the CreationTime will return the date that the file was copied. To get around this, files should be moved or copied using robocopy rather than Windows Explorer if this is likely to be a problem. Robocopy will preserve all original meta information about a file.

Note, too, that the CreationTime returns the creation time of the file, which may be independent of when a photo was actually taken in the case of image files. EXIF data is not involved in this process.



One response to “PowerShell: Creation date into filenames”

  • Written by Wade Blackmore on 1 July 2018:

    Hello Adam,i find your article very useful and well commented, and as a beginner in Powershell coding i wanted to ask you whether it is possible to correct some filenames timestamps i have. here is my case:

    I have a bunch of `.jpg` files spared into different folders with a false timestamp on the filename (1 hour delay) and i want to correct that according to the creation time. The goal of this is to get one `.csv` sheet containing all the corrected filenames with their full path.

    I am now trying to write a **Powershell script** that can go through all the folders > extract the creation time and replace it on **the filenames with a false timestamp**, below a small example:

    **Original filename with false timestamp:**
    Filename, Created Date, Modified Date
    20180524010500530_FR785101.jpg, 2018-05-24 00:05:00, 2018-05-24 00:05:34

    **The correct output would be:**
    Filename, Created Date, Modified Date
    20180524000500530_FR785101.jpg, 2018-05-24 00:05:00, 2018-05-24 00:05:34

    Is it possible for you to help me achieve that ?

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