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Important This document may not represent best practices for current development, links to downloads and other resources may no longer be valid. Current recommended version can be found here.

rename, _wrename 

Rename a file or directory.

int rename(
   const char *oldname,
   const char *newname 
int _wrename(
   const wchar_t *oldname,
   const wchar_t *newname 



Pointer to old name.


Pointer to new name.

Each of these functions returns 0 if it is successful. On an error, the function returns a nonzero value and sets errno to one of the following values:


File or directory specified by newname already exists or could not be created (invalid path); or oldname is a directory and newname specifies a different path.


File or path specified by oldname not found.


Name contains invalid characters.

For other possible return values, see _doserrno, _errno, syserrlist, and _sys_nerr.

The rename function renames the file or directory specified by oldname to the name given by newname. The old name must be the path of an existing file or directory. The new name must not be the name of an existing file or directory. You can use rename to move a file from one directory or device to another by giving a different path in the newname argument. However, you cannot use rename to move a directory. Directories can be renamed, but not moved.

_wrename is a wide-character version of _rename; the arguments to _wrename are wide-character strings. _wrename and _rename behave identically otherwise.

Generic-Text Routine Mappings
TCHAR.H routine _UNICODE & _MBCS not defined _MBCS defined _UNICODE defined





Routine Required header Compatibility


<io.h> or <stdio.h>

ANSI, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 98 Second Edition, Windows Millennium Edition, Windows Millennium Edition, Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000, Windows XP Home Edition, Windows XP Professional, Windows Server 2003


<stdio.h> or <wchar.h>

Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000, Windows XP Home Edition, Windows XP Professional, Windows Server 2003

For additional compatibility information, see Compatibility in the Introduction.


All versions of the C run-time libraries.

// crt_renamer.c
/* This program attempts to rename a file named
 * CRT_RENAMER.OBJ to CRT_RENAMER.JBO. For this operation
 * to succeed, a file named CRT_RENAMER.OBJ must exist and
 * a file named CRT_RENAMER.JBO must not exist.

#include <stdio.h>

int main( void )
   int  result;
   char old[] = "CRT_RENAMER.OBJ", new[] = "CRT_RENAMER.JBO";

   /* Attempt to rename file: */
   result = rename( old, new );
   if( result != 0 )
      printf( "Could not rename '%s'\n", old );
      printf( "File '%s' renamed to '%s'\n", old, new );


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