Friday, December 19, 2008

How to create date based folder names in Windows XP


Do you always name your folders when you create them on Windows? Because if you don’t, soon you will have “New Folder (18)” and “New Folder (19)” littered every where and you will have no idea what each contains. If only Windows was clever enough to automatically create folders with smart  names that enabled you to identify them later. Here is a nifty trick that allows you to create new folders based on the current date.

First we have to change the date format. Here is how to do it:

  • Open the Control Panel and double-click Regional And Language Options.
  • In the Regional And Language Options dialog box, click the Customize button on the Regional Options tab.
  • Select the Date tab. In the Short Date panel select the Date Separator drop-down field and select a dash (-) because Windows doesn't allow slashes in file and folder names.

  • Click the Apply button and close the dialog boxes.

Keep in mind that any change you make to the Short Date Format setting will affect the way the date is displayed throughout the entire operating system. You can make all kinds of changes to the date format as long as you use the dash (-) as the date separator for this hack to work.

Now we have to create a special command on the context menu to create new folders based on the date.

  • Launch Windows Explorer and select Tools>Folder Options.
  • Select the File Types tab and in the Registered File Types list, select Folder, and click the Advanced button.
  • In the Edit File Type dialog box, click the New button.
  • Now type “New Date Based Folder” (without quotes) in the Action text box and CMD.EXE /C MD "%1\%%DATE%%" in the Application Used To Perform Action text box.

  • Click OK and close the dialog boxes.

Now, whenever you want to create a new date-based folder name in Windows Explorer, simply right-click on the folder in which you want to create the folder and select the New Date-Based Folder command from the context menu. The new date based folder will be created inside that folder.


This is different from how you create new folders in Windows. The usual procedure is to right click on any empty area in Explorer and create a new folder inside that folder. But in this new method, you have to come out of the parent folder, right-click on the parent folder (not empty area) to create the date based folder.

There is one flaw in this method. On any given day you won't be able to create two identical date-based folder names within the same folder. [via Tech Republic]

If this seems too much work for you, then try this software called Custom Folder. Custom Folder allows you to create custom dated and time-stamped folders and even deals with incremental naming in case there is already a sub-folder with the same name. All you have to do is right-click on Windows Explorer and select “Create custom folder name” to open this dialog box. Then choose a name using a any of these supported formats.

  • Static text - Place static text anywhere in the mask to define your default folder name
  • Date - Chose from a two or four digit year mask; two digit month mask and two digit day mask
  • Time - Chose from a two digit hour, minute and/or second field and add an optional three digit millisecond field
  • Increment - By adding a simple switch, Custom Folder will automatically add a three digit incremented identifier to a default mask, making it ideal for backups or version control.
  • Trim - Helping you to keep your filing tidy, the "trim" switch instructs Custom Folder to trim any blank spaces from either end of the default folder name, ensuring that subsequent searches or batch operations are not bugged by unseen leading or trailing spaces.



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