How do I get current date/time on the Windows command line in a suitable format for usage in a file/folder name?


Update: Now that it's 2016 I'd use PowerShell for this unless there's a really compelling backwards-compatible reason for it, particularly because of the regional settings issue with using date. See @npocmaka's

What's a Windows command line statement(s) I can use to get the current datetime in a format that I can put into a filename?

I want to have a .bat file that zips up a directory into an archive with the current date and time as part of the name, for example, Is there any easy way I can do this, independent of the regional settings of the machine?

I don't really mind about the date format, ideally it'd be yyyy-mm-dd, but anything simple is fine.

So far I've got this, which on my machine gives me Tue_10_14_2008_230050_91:

rem Get the datetime in a format that can go in a filename.
set _my_datetime=%date%_%time%
set _my_datetime=%_my_datetime: =_%
set _my_datetime=%_my_datetime::=%
set _my_datetime=%_my_datetime:/=_%
set _my_datetime=%_my_datetime:.=_%

rem Now use the timestamp by in a new ZIP file name.
"d:\Program Files\7-Zip\7z.exe" a -r Code

I can live with this, but it seems a bit clunky. Ideally it'd be briefer and have the format mentioned earlier.

I'm using Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP Professional. I don't want to install additional utilities to achieve this (although I realise there are some that will do nice date formatting).

9/12/2019 9:44:07 AM

Accepted Answer

See Windows Batch File (.bat) to get current date in MMDDYYYY format:

@echo off
For /f "tokens=2-4 delims=/ " %%a in ('date /t') do (set mydate=%%c-%%a-%%b)
For /f "tokens=1-2 delims=/:" %%a in ('time /t') do (set mytime=%%a%%b)
echo %mydate%_%mytime%

If you prefer the time in 24 hour/military format, you can replace the second FOR line with this:

For /f "tokens=1-2 delims=/:" %%a in ("%TIME%") do (set mytime=%%a%%b)

C:> .\date.bat

If you want the date independently of the region day/month order, you can use "WMIC os GET LocalDateTime" as a source, since it's in ISO order:

@echo off
for /F "usebackq tokens=1,2 delims==" %%i in (`wmic os get LocalDateTime /VALUE 2^>NUL`) do if '.%%i.'=='.LocalDateTime.' set ldt=%%j
set ldt=%ldt:~0,4%-%ldt:~4,2%-%ldt:~6,2% %ldt:~8,2%:%ldt:~10,2%:%ldt:~12,6%
echo Local date is [%ldt%]

Local date is [2012-06-19 10:23:47.048]

7/15/2017 11:39:48 AM

Regionally independent date time parsing

The output format of %DATE% and of the dir command is regionally dependent and thus neither robust nor smart. date.exe (part of UnxUtils) delivers any date and time information in any thinkable format. You may also extract the date/time information from any file with date.exe.

Examples: (in a cmd-script use %% instead of %)

date.exe +"%Y-%m-%d"

date.exe +"%T"

date.exe +"%Y%m%d %H%M%S: Any text"
20091222 185503: Any text

date.exe +"Text: %y/%m/%d-any text-%H.%M"
Text: 09/12/22-any text-18.55

Command: date.exe +"%m-%d """%H %M %S """"
07-22 "18:55:03"`

The date/time information from a reference file:
date.exe -r c:\file.txt +"The timestamp of file.txt is: %Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S"

Using it in a CMD script to get year, month, day, time information:

for /f "tokens=1,2,3,4,5,6* delims=," %%i in ('C:\Tools\etc\date.exe +"%%y,%%m,%%d,%%H,%%M,%%S"') do set yy=%%i& set mo=%%j& set dd=%%k& set hh=%%l& set mm=%%m& set ss=%%n

Using it in a CMD script to get a timestamp in any required format:

for /f "tokens=*" %%i in ('C:\Tools\etc\date.exe +"%%y-%%m-%%d %%H:%%M:%%S"') do set timestamp=%%i

Extracting the date/time information from any reference file.

for /f "tokens=1,2,3,4,5,6* delims=," %%i in ('C:\Tools\etc\date.exe -r file.txt +"%%y,%%m,%%d,%%H,%%M,%%S"') do set yy=%%i& set mo=%%j& set dd=%%k& set hh=%%l& set mm=%%m& set ss=%%n

Adding to a file its date/time information:

for /f "tokens=*" %%i in ('C:\Tools\etc\date.exe -r file.txt +"%%y-%%m-%%d.%%H%%M%%S"') do ren file.txt file.%%i.txt

date.exe is part of the free GNU tools which need no installation.

NOTE: Copying date.exe into any directory which is in the search path may cause other scripts to fail that use the Windows built-in date command.


Two more ways that do not depend on the time settings (both taken from :How get data/time independent from localization:). And both also get the day of the week and none of them requires admin permissions!:

  1. MAKECAB - will work on EVERY Windows system (fast, but creates a small temp file) (the foxidrive script):

    @echo off
    pushd "%temp%"
    makecab /D RptFileName=~.rpt /D InfFileName=~.inf /f nul >nul
    for /f "tokens=3-7" %%a in ('find /i "makecab"^<~.rpt') do (
       set "current-date=%%e-%%b-%%c"
       set "current-time=%%d"
       set "weekday=%%a"
    del ~.*
    echo %weekday% %current-date% %current-time%

    More information about get-date function.

  2. ROBOCOPY - it's not native command for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, but it can be downloaded from microsoft site. But is built-in in everything from Windows Vista and above:

    @echo off
    for /f "skip=8 tokens=2,3,4,5,6,7,8 delims=: " %%D in ('robocopy /l * \ \ /ns /nc /ndl /nfl /np /njh /XF * /XD *') do (
     set "dow=%%D"
     set "month=%%E"
     set "day=%%F"
     set "HH=%%G"
     set "MM=%%H"
     set "SS=%%I"
     set "year=%%J"
    echo Day of the week: %dow%
    echo Day of the month : %day%
    echo Month : %month%
    echo hour : %HH%
    echo minutes : %MM%
    echo seconds : %SS%
    echo year : %year%

    And three more ways that uses other Windows script languages. They will give you more flexibility e.g. you can get week of the year, time in milliseconds and so on.

  3. JScript/batch hybrid (need to be saved as .bat). JScript is available on every system form NT and above, as a part of Windows Script Host (though can be disabled through the registry it's a rare case):

    @if (@X)==(@Y) @end /* ---Harmless hybrid line that begins a JScript comment
    @echo off
    cscript //E:JScript //nologo "%~f0"
    exit /b 0
    function GetCurrentDate() {
            // Today date time which will used to set as default date.
            var todayDate = new Date();
            todayDate = todayDate.getFullYear() + "-" +
                           ("0" + (todayDate.getMonth() + 1)).slice(-2) + "-" +
                           ("0" + todayDate.getDate()).slice(-2) + " " + ("0" + todayDate.getHours()).slice(-2) + ":" +
                           ("0" + todayDate.getMinutes()).slice(-2);
            return todayDate;
  4. VSCRIPT/BATCH hybrid (Is it possible to embed and execute VBScript within a batch file without using a temporary file?) same case as JScript, but hybridization is not so perfect:

    :sub echo(str) :end sub
    echo off
    '>nul 2>&1|| copy /Y %windir%\System32\doskey.exe %windir%\System32\'.exe >nul
    '& echo current date:
    '& cscript /nologo /E:vbscript "%~f0"
    '& exit /b
    '0 = vbGeneralDate - Default. Returns date: mm/dd/yy and time if specified: hh:mm:ss PM/AM.
    '1 = vbLongDate - Returns date: weekday, monthname, year
    '2 = vbShortDate - Returns date: mm/dd/yy
    '3 = vbLongTime - Returns time: hh:mm:ss PM/AM
    '4 = vbShortTime - Return time: hh:mm
    WScript.echo  Replace(FormatDateTime(Date,1),", ","-")
  5. PowerShell - can be installed on every machine that has .NET - download from Microsoft (v1, v2, v3 (only for Windows 7 and above)). It is installed by default on everything from Windows 7/Windows Server 2008 and above:

    C:\> powershell get-date -format "{dd-MMM-yyyy HH:mm}"

    To use it from a batch file:

    for /f "delims=" %%# in ('powershell get-date -format "{dd-MMM-yyyy HH:mm}"') do @set _date=%%#
  6. Self-compiled (never seen a Windows machine without .NET, so I think this is a pretty portable):

    @if (@X)==(@Y) @end /****** silent line that start JScript comment ******
    @echo off
    :::       Compile the script    ::::
    if exist "%~n0.exe" goto :skip_compilation
    set "frm=%SystemRoot%\Microsoft.NET\Framework\"
    :: Searching the latest installed .NET framework
    for /f "tokens=* delims=" %%v in ('dir /b /s /a:d /o:-n "%SystemRoot%\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v*"') do (
        if exist "%%v\jsc.exe" (
            rem :: the compiler
            set "jsc=%%~dpsnfxv\jsc.exe"
            goto :break_loop
    echo jsc.exe not found && exit /b 0
    call %jsc% /nologo /out:"%~n0.exe" "%~dpsfnx0"
    :::       End of compilation    ::::
    exit /b 0
    ****** End of JScript comment ******/
    import System;
    import System.IO;
    var dt=DateTime.Now;
    Console.WriteLine(dt.ToString("yyyy-MM-dd hh:mm:ss"));
  7. Logman This cannot get the year and day of the week. It's comparatively slow and also creates a temporary file and is based on the time stamps that logman puts on its log files. It will work on everything from Windows XP and above. It probably will be never used by anybody - including me - but is one more way...

    @echo off
    del /q /f %temp%\timestampfile_*
    Logman.exe stop ts-CPU 1>nul 2>&1
    Logman.exe delete ts-CPU 1>nul 2>&1
    Logman.exe create counter ts-CPU  -sc 2 -v mmddhhmm -max 250 -c "\Processor(_Total)\%% Processor Time" -o %temp%\timestampfile_ >nul
    Logman.exe start ts-CPU 1>nul 2>&1
    Logman.exe stop ts-CPU >nul 2>&1
    Logman.exe delete ts-CPU >nul 2>&1
    for /f "tokens=2 delims=_." %%t in  ('dir /b %temp%\timestampfile_*^&del /q/f %temp%\timestampfile_*') do set timestamp=%%t
    echo %timestamp%
    echo MM: %timestamp:~0,2%
    echo dd: %timestamp:~2,2%
    echo hh: %timestamp:~4,2%
    echo mm: %timestamp:~6,2%
    exit /b 0
  8. One more way with WMIC which also gives week of the year and the day of the week, but not the milliseconds (for milliseconds check foxidrive's answer):

    for /f %%# in ('wMIC Path Win32_LocalTime Get /Format:value') do @for /f %%@ in ("%%#") do @set %%@
    echo %day%
    echo %DayOfWeek%
    echo %hour%
    echo %minute%
    echo %month%
    echo %quarter%
    echo %second%
    echo %weekinmonth%
    echo %year%
  9. Using TYPEPERF with some efforts to be fast and compatible with different language settings and as fast as possible:

    @echo off
    :: Check if Windows is Windows XP and use Windows XP valid counter for UDP performance
    ::if defined USERDOMAIN_roamingprofile (set "v=v4") else (set "v=")
    for /f "tokens=4 delims=. " %%# in ('ver') do if %%# GTR 5 (set "v=v4") else ("v=")
    set "mon="
    for /f "skip=2 delims=," %%# in ('typeperf "\UDP%v%\*" -si 0 -sc 1') do (
       if not defined mon (
          for /f "tokens=1-7 delims=.:/ " %%a in (%%#) do (
            set mon=%%a
            set date=%%b
            set year=%%c
            set hour=%%d
            set minute=%%e
            set sec=%%f
            set ms=%%g
    echo %year%.%mon%.%date%
    echo %hour%:%minute%:%sec%.%ms%
  10. MSHTA allows calling JavaScript methods similar to the JScript method demonstrated in #3 above. Bear in mind that JavaScript's Date object properties involving month values are numbered from 0 to 11, not 1 to 12. So a value of 9 means October.

    <!-- : Batch portion
    @echo off
    for /f "delims=" %%I in ('mshta "%~f0"') do set "now.%%~I"
    rem Display all variables beginning with "now."
    set now.
    goto :EOF
    end batch / begin HTA -->
        var fso = new ActiveXObject('Scripting.FileSystemObject').GetStandardStream(1),
            now = new Date(),
            output = [];
        for (var i in props) {output.push(props[i] + '()=' + now[props[i]]())}

Here's a variant from alt.msdos.batch.nt that works local-independently.

Put this in a text file, e.g. getDate.cmd

-----------8<------8<------------ snip -- snip ----------8<-------------
    :: Works on any NT/2k machine independent of regional date settings
    @ECHO off
    if "%date%A" LSS "A" (set toks=1-3) else (set toks=2-4)
    for /f "tokens=2-4 delims=(-)" %%a in ('echo:^|date') do (
      for /f "tokens=%toks% delims=.-/ " %%i in ('date/t') do (
        set '%%a'=%%i
        set '%%b'=%%j
        set '%%c'=%%k))
    if %'yy'% LSS 100 set 'yy'=20%'yy'%
    set Today=%'yy'%-%'mm'%-%'dd'% 
    ENDLOCAL & SET v_year=%'yy'%& SET v_month=%'mm'%& SET v_day=%'dd'%

    ECHO Today is Year: [%V_Year%] Month: [%V_Month%] Day: [%V_Day%]

-----------8<------8<------------ snip -- snip ----------8<-------------

To get the code to work sans error msg's to stderr, I had to add the single quotes arount the variable assignments for %%a, %%b and %%c. My locale (PT) was causing errors at one stage in the looping/parsing where stuff like "set =20" was getting executed. The quotes yield a token (albeit empty) for the left-hand side of the assignment statement.

The downside is the messy locale variable names: 'yy', 'mm' and 'dd'. But hey, who cares!


I use this (again not region independent (UK))

set bklog=%date:~6,4%-%date:~3,2%-%date:~0,2%_%time:~0,2%%time:~3,2%

The first four lines of this code will give you reliable YY DD MM YYYY HH Min Sec variables in Windows XP Professional and higher.

@echo off
for /f "tokens=2 delims==" %%a in ('wmic OS Get localdatetime /value') do set "dt=%%a"
set "YY=%dt:~2,2%" & set "YYYY=%dt:~0,4%" & set "MM=%dt:~4,2%" & set "DD=%dt:~6,2%"
set "HH=%dt:~8,2%" & set "Min=%dt:~10,2%" & set "Sec=%dt:~12,2%"

set "datestamp=%YYYY%%MM%%DD%" & set "timestamp=%HH%%Min%%Sec%" & set "fullstamp=%YYYY%-%MM%-%DD%_%HH%%Min%-%Sec%"
echo datestamp: "%datestamp%"
echo timestamp: "%timestamp%"
echo fullstamp: "%fullstamp%"

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