[windows] Batch file to delete files older than N days


Run the following commands:

ROBOCOPY C:\source C:\destination /mov /minage:7
del C:\destination /q

Move all the files (using /mov, which moves files and then deletes them as opposed to /move which moves whole filetrees which are then deleted) via robocopy to another location, and then execute a delete command on that path and you're all good.

Also if you have a directory with lots of data in it you can use /mir switch


I am looking for a way to delete all files older than 7 days in a batch file. I've searched around the web, and found some examples with hundreds of lines of code, and others that required installing extra command line utilities to accomplish the task.

Similar things can be done in BASH in just a couple lines of code. It seems that something at least remotely easy could be done for batch files in Windows. I'm looking for a solution that works in a standard Windows command prompt, without any extra utilities. Please no PowerShell or Cygwin either.

This one did it for me. It works with a date and you can substract the wanted amount in years to go back in time:

@echo off

set m=%date:~-7,2%
set /A m
set dateYear=%date:~-4,4%
set /A dateYear -= 2
set DATE_DIR=%date:~-10,2%.%m%.%dateYear% 

forfiles /p "C:\your\path\here\" /s /m *.* /d -%DATE_DIR% /c "cmd /c del @path /F"


the /F in the cmd /c del @path /F forces the specific file to be deleted in some the cases the file can be read-only.

the dateYear is the year Variable and there you can change the substract to your own needs

IMO, JavaScript is gradually becoming a universal scripting standard: it is probably available in more products than any other scripting language (in Windows, it is available using the Windows Scripting Host). I have to clean out old files in lots of folders, so here is a JavaScript function to do that:

// run from an administrator command prompt (or from task scheduler with full rights):  wscript jscript.js
// debug with:   wscript /d /x jscript.js

var fs = WScript.CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject");


function clearFolder(folderPath)
    // calculate date 3 days ago
    var dateNow = new Date();
    var dateTest = new Date();
    dateTest.setDate(dateNow.getDate() - 3);

    var folder = fs.GetFolder(folderPath);
    var files = folder.Files;

    for( var it = new Enumerator(files); !it.atEnd(); it.moveNext() )
        var file = it.item();

        if( file.DateLastModified < dateTest)
            var filename = file.name;
            var ext = filename.split('.').pop().toLowerCase();

            if (ext != 'exe' && ext != 'dll')

    var subfolders = new Enumerator(folder.SubFolders);
    for (; !subfolders.atEnd(); subfolders.moveNext())

For each folder to clear, just add another call to the clearFolder() function. This particular code also preserves exe and dll files, and cleans up subfolders as well.

Gosh, a lot of answers already. A simple and convenient route I found was to execute ROBOCOP.EXE twice in sequential order from a single Windows command line instruction using the & parameter.


In this example it works by picking all files (.) that are older than 30 days old and moving them to the target folder. The second command does the same again with the addition of the PURGE command which means remove files in the target folder that don’t exist in the source folder. So essentially, the first command MOVES files and the second DELETES because they no longer exist in the source folder when the second command is invoked.

Consult ROBOCOPY's documentation and use the /L switch when testing.

For windows 2012 R2 the following would work:

    forfiles /p "c:\FOLDERpath" /d -30 /c "cmd /c del @path"

to see the files which will be deleted use this

    forfiles /p "c:\FOLDERpath" /d -30 /c "cmd /c echo @path @fdate"

this is nothing amazing, but i needed to do something like this today and run it as scheduled task etc.

batch file, DelFilesOlderThanNDays.bat below with sample exec w/ params:

DelFilesOlderThanNDays.bat 7 C:\dir1\dir2\dir3\logs *.log

echo off
SET keepDD=%1
SET logPath=%2 :: example C:\dir1\dir2\dir3\logs
SET logFileExt=%3
SET check=0
IF [%3] EQU [] SET logFileExt=*.log & echo: file extention not specified (default set to "*.log")
IF [%2] EQU [] echo: file directory no specified (a required parameter), exiting! & EXIT /B 
IF [%1] EQU [] echo: number of days not specified? :)
echo: in path [ %logPath% ]
echo: finding all files like [ %logFileExt% ]
echo: older than [ %keepDD% ] days
:: LOG
echo:  >> c:\trimLogFiles\logBat\log.txt
echo: executed on %DATE% %TIME% >> c:\trimLogFiles\logBat\log.txt
echo: ---------------------------------------------------------- >> c:\trimLogFiles\logBat\log.txt
echo: in path [ %logPath% ] >> c:\trimLogFiles\logBat\log.txt
echo: finding all files like [ %logFileExt% ] >> c:\trimLogFiles\logBat\log.txt
echo: older than [ %keepDD% ] days >> c:\trimLogFiles\logBat\log.txt
echo: ---------------------------------------------------------- >> c:\trimLogFiles\logBat\log.txt
FORFILES /p %logPath% /s /m %logFileExt% /d -%keepDD% /c "cmd /c echo @path" >> c:\trimLogFiles\logBat\log.txt 2<&1
 FORFILES /p %logPath% /s /m %logFileExt% /d -%keepDD% /c "cmd /c echo @path"
:: LOG
 echo:  >> c:\trimLogFiles\logBat\log.txt
 echo: deleting files ... >> c:\trimLogFiles\logBat\log.txt
 echo:  >> c:\trimLogFiles\logBat\log.txt
 SET check=1
IF %check% EQU 1 (
 FORFILES /p %logPath% /s /m %logFileExt% /d -%keepDD% /c "cmd /c del @path"
IF %ERRORLEVEL% EQU 0 echo: deletion successfull! & echo: deletion successfull! >> c:\trimLogFiles\logBat\log.txt
echo: ---------------------------------------------------------- >> c:\trimLogFiles\logBat\log.txt

Copy this code and save it as DelOldFiles.vbs.

USAGE ONLY IN COMMAND PROMPT: cscript DelOldFiles.vbs 15

15 means to delete files older than 15 days in past.

  'copy from here
    Function DeleteOlderFiles(whichfolder)
       Dim fso, f, f1, fc, n, ThresholdDate
       Set fso = CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject")
       Set f = fso.GetFolder(whichfolder)
       Set fc = f.Files
       Set objArgs = WScript.Arguments
       n = 0
       If objArgs.Count=0 Then
           howmuchdaysinpast = 0
           howmuchdaysinpast = -objArgs(0)
       End If
       ThresholdDate = DateAdd("d", howmuchdaysinpast, Date)   
       For Each f1 in fc
     If f1.DateLastModified<ThresholdDate Then
        Wscript.StdOut.WriteLine f1
        n = n + 1    
     End If
       Wscript.StdOut.WriteLine "Deleted " & n & " file(s)."
    End Function

    If Not WScript.FullName = WScript.Path & "\cscript.exe" Then
      WScript.Echo "USAGE ONLY IN COMMAND PROMPT: cscript DelOldFiles.vbs 15" & vbCrLf & "15 means to delete files older than 15 days in past."
      WScript.Quit 0   
    End If

 'to here

There are very often relative date/time related questions to solve with batch file. But command line interpreter cmd.exe has no function for date/time calculations. Lots of good working solutions using additional console applications or scripts have been posted already here, on other pages of and on other websites.

Common for operations based on date/time is the requirement to convert a date/time string to seconds since a determined day. Very common is 1970-01-01 00:00:00 UTC. But any later day could be also used depending on the date range required to support for a specific task.

Jay posted 7daysclean.cmd containing a fast "date to seconds" solution for command line interpreter cmd.exe. But it does not take leap years correct into account. J.R. posted an add-on for taking leap day in current year into account, but ignoring the other leap years since base year, i.e. since 1970.

I use since 20 years static tables (arrays) created once with a small C function for quickly getting the number of days including leap days from 1970-01-01 in date/time conversion functions in my applications written in C/C++.

This very fast table method can be used also in batch code using FOR command. So I decided to code the batch subroutine GetSeconds which calculates the number of seconds since 1970-01-01 00:00:00 UTC for a date/time string passed to this routine.

Note: Leap seconds are not taken into account as the Windows file systems also do not support leap seconds.

First, the tables:

  1. Days since 1970-01-01 00:00:00 UTC for each year including leap days.

    1970 - 1979:     0   365   730  1096  1461  1826  2191  2557  2922  3287
    1980 - 1989:  3652  4018  4383  4748  5113  5479  5844  6209  6574  6940
    1990 - 1999:  7305  7670  8035  8401  8766  9131  9496  9862 10227 10592
    2000 - 2009: 10957 11323 11688 12053 12418 12784 13149 13514 13879 14245
    2010 - 2019: 14610 14975 15340 15706 16071 16436 16801 17167 17532 17897
    2020 - 2029: 18262 18628 18993 19358 19723 20089 20454 20819 21184 21550
    2030 - 2039: 21915 22280 22645 23011 23376 23741 24106 24472 24837 25202
    2040 - 2049: 25567 25933 26298 26663 27028 27394 27759 28124 28489 28855
    2050 - 2059: 29220 29585 29950 30316 30681 31046 31411 31777 32142 32507
    2060 - 2069: 32872 33238 33603 33968 34333 34699 35064 35429 35794 36160
    2070 - 2079: 36525 36890 37255 37621 37986 38351 38716 39082 39447 39812
    2080 - 2089: 40177 40543 40908 41273 41638 42004 42369 42734 43099 43465
    2090 - 2099: 43830 44195 44560 44926 45291 45656 46021 46387 46752 47117
    2100 - 2106: 47482 47847 48212 48577 48942 49308 49673

    Calculating the seconds for year 2039 to 2106 with epoch beginning 1970-01-01 is only possible with using an unsigned 32-bit variable, i.e. unsigned long (or unsigned int) in C/C++.

    But cmd.exe use for mathematical expressions a signed 32-bit variable. Therefore the maximum value is 2147483647 (0x7FFFFFFF) which is 2038-01-19 03:14:07.

  2. Leap year information (No/Yes) for the years 1970 to 2106.

    1970 - 1989: N N Y N N N Y N N N Y N N N Y N N N Y N
    1990 - 2009: N N Y N N N Y N N N Y N N N Y N N N Y N
    2010 - 2029: N N Y N N N Y N N N Y N N N Y N N N Y N
    2030 - 2049: N N Y N N N Y N N N Y N N N Y N N N Y N
    2050 - 2069: N N Y N N N Y N N N Y N N N Y N N N Y N
    2070 - 2089: N N Y N N N Y N N N Y N N N Y N N N Y N
    2090 - 2106: N N Y N N N Y N N N N N N N Y N N
                                     ^ year 2100
  3. Number of days to first day of each month in current year.

                       Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
    Year with 365 days:  0  31  59  90 120 151 181 212 243 273 304 334
    Year with 366 days:  0  31  60  91 121 152 182 213 244 274 305 335

Converting a date to number of seconds since 1970-01-01 is quite easy using those tables.

Attention please!

The format of date and time strings depends on Windows region and language settings. The delimiters and the order of tokens assigned to the environment variables Day, Month and Year in first FOR loop of GetSeconds must be adapted to local date/time format if necessary.

It is necessary to adapt the date string of the environment variable if date format in environment variable DATE is different to date format used by command FOR on %%~tF.

For example when %DATE% expands to Sun 02/08/2015 while %%~tF expands to 02/08/2015 07:38 PM the code below can be used with modifying line 4 to:

call :GetSeconds "%DATE:~4% %TIME%"

This results in passing to subroutine just 02/08/2015 - the date string without the 3 letters of weekday abbreviation and the separating space character.

Alternatively following could be used to pass current date in correct format:

call :GetSeconds "%DATE:~-10% %TIME%"

Now the last 10 characters from date string are passed to function GetSeconds and therefore it does not matter if date string of environment variable DATE is with or without weekday as long as day and month are always with 2 digits in expected order, i.e. in format dd/mm/yyyy or dd.mm.yyyy.

Here is the batch code with explaining comments which just outputs which file to delete and which file to keep in C:\Temp folder tree, see code of first FOR loop.

@echo off
setlocal EnableExtensions EnableDelayedExpansion
rem Get seconds since 1970-01-01 for current date and time.
call :GetSeconds "%DATE% %TIME%"
rem Subtract seconds for 7 days from seconds value.
set /A "LastWeek=Seconds-7*86400"

rem For each file in each subdirectory of C:\Temp get last modification date
rem (without seconds -> append second 0) and determine the number of seconds
rem since 1970-01-01 for this date/time. The file can be deleted if seconds
rem value is lower than the value calculated above.

for /F "delims=" %%F in ('dir /A-D-H-S /B /S "C:\Temp"') do (
    call :GetSeconds "%%~tF:0"
    rem if !Seconds! LSS %LastWeek% del /F "%%~fF"
    if !Seconds! LEQ %LastWeek% (
        echo Delete "%%~fF"
    ) else (
        echo Keep   "%%~fF"
goto :EOF

rem No validation is made for best performance. So make sure that date
rem and hour in string is in a format supported by the code below like
rem MM/DD/YYYY hh:mm:ss or M/D/YYYY h:m:s for English US date/time.


rem If there is " AM" or " PM" in time string because of using 12 hour
rem time format, remove those 2 strings and in case of " PM" remember
rem that 12 hours must be added to the hour depending on hour value.

set "DateTime=%~1"
set "Add12Hours=0"
if "%DateTime: AM=%" NEQ "%DateTime%" (
    set "DateTime=%DateTime: AM=%"
) else if "%DateTime: PM=%" NEQ "%DateTime%" (
    set "DateTime=%DateTime: PM=%"
    set "Add12Hours=1"

rem Get year, month, day, hour, minute and second from first parameter.

for /F "tokens=1-6 delims=,-./: " %%A in ("%DateTime%") do (
    rem For English US date MM/DD/YYYY or M/D/YYYY
    set "Day=%%B" & set "Month=%%A" & set "Year=%%C"
    rem For German date DD.MM.YYYY or English UK date DD/MM/YYYY
    rem set "Day=%%A" & set "Month=%%B" & set "Year=%%C"
    set "Hour=%%D" & set "Minute=%%E" & set "Second=%%F"
rem echo Date/time is: %Year%-%Month%-%Day% %Hour%:%Minute%:%Second%

rem Remove leading zeros from the date/time values or calculation could be wrong.
if "%Month:~0,1%"  EQU "0" ( if "%Month:~1%"  NEQ "" set "Month=%Month:~1%"   )
if "%Day:~0,1%"    EQU "0" ( if "%Day:~1%"    NEQ "" set "Day=%Day:~1%"       )
if "%Hour:~0,1%"   EQU "0" ( if "%Hour:~1%"   NEQ "" set "Hour=%Hour:~1%"     )
if "%Minute:~0,1%" EQU "0" ( if "%Minute:~1%" NEQ "" set "Minute=%Minute:~1%" )
if "%Second:~0,1%" EQU "0" ( if "%Second:~1%" NEQ "" set "Second=%Second:~1%" )

rem Add 12 hours for time range 01:00:00 PM to 11:59:59 PM,
rem but keep the hour as is for 12:00:00 PM to 12:59:59 PM.
if "%Add12Hours%" == "1" (
    if %Hour% LSS 12 set /A Hour+=12
set "DateTime="
set "Add12Hours="

rem Must use 2 arrays as more than 31 tokens are not supported
rem by command line interpreter cmd.exe respectively command FOR.
set /A "Index1=Year-1979"
set /A "Index2=Index1-30"

if %Index1% LEQ 30 (
    rem Get number of days to year for the years 1980 to 2009.
    for /F "tokens=%Index1% delims= " %%Y in ("3652 4018 4383 4748 5113 5479 5844 6209 6574 6940 7305 7670 8035 8401 8766 9131 9496 9862 10227 10592 10957 11323 11688 12053 12418 12784 13149 13514 13879 14245") do set "Days=%%Y"
    for /F "tokens=%Index1% delims= " %%L in ("Y N N N Y N N N Y N N N Y N N N Y N N N Y N N N Y N N N Y N") do set "LeapYear=%%L"
) else (
    rem Get number of days to year for the years 2010 to 2038.
    for /F "tokens=%Index2% delims= " %%Y in ("14610 14975 15340 15706 16071 16436 16801 17167 17532 17897 18262 18628 18993 19358 19723 20089 20454 20819 21184 21550 21915 22280 22645 23011 23376 23741 24106 24472 24837") do set "Days=%%Y"
    for /F "tokens=%Index2% delims= " %%L in ("N N Y N N N Y N N N Y N N N Y N N N Y N N N Y N N N Y N N") do set "LeapYear=%%L"

rem Add the days to month in year.
if "%LeapYear%" == "N" (
    for /F "tokens=%Month% delims= " %%M in ("0 31 59 90 120 151 181 212 243 273 304 334") do set /A "Days+=%%M"
) else (
    for /F "tokens=%Month% delims= " %%M in ("0 31 60 91 121 152 182 213 244 274 305 335") do set /A "Days+=%%M"

rem Add the complete days in month of year.
set /A "Days+=Day-1"

rem Calculate the seconds which is easy now.
set /A "Seconds=Days*86400+Hour*3600+Minute*60+Second"

rem Exit this subroutine
goto :EOF

For optimal performance it would be best to remove all comments, i.e. all lines starting with rem after 0-4 leading spaces.

And the arrays can be made also smaller, i.e. decreasing the time range from 1980-01-01 00:00:00 to 2038-01-19 03:14:07 as currently supported by the batch code above for example to 2015-01-01 to 2019-12-31 as the code below uses which really deletes files older than 7 days in C:\Temp folder tree.

Further the batch code below is optimized for 24 hours time format.

@echo off
setlocal EnableDelayedExpansion
call :GetSeconds "%DATE:~-10% %TIME%"
set /A "LastWeek=Seconds-7*86400"

for /F "delims=" %%F in ('dir /A-D-H-S /B /S "C:\Temp"') do (
    call :GetSeconds "%%~tF:0"
    if !Seconds! LSS %LastWeek% del /F "%%~fF"
goto :EOF

for /F "tokens=1-6 delims=,-./: " %%A in ("%~1") do (
    set "Day=%%B" & set "Month=%%A" & set "Year=%%C"
    set "Hour=%%D" & set "Minute=%%E" & set "Second=%%F"
if "%Month:~0,1%"  EQU "0" ( if "%Month:~1%"  NEQ "" set "Month=%Month:~1%"   )
if "%Day:~0,1%"    EQU "0" ( if "%Day:~1%"    NEQ "" set "Day=%Day:~1%"       )
if "%Hour:~0,1%"   EQU "0" ( if "%Hour:~1%"   NEQ "" set "Hour=%Hour:~1%"     )
if "%Minute:~0,1%" EQU "0" ( if "%Minute:~1%" NEQ "" set "Minute=%Minute:~1%" )
if "%Second:~0,1%" EQU "0" ( if "%Second:~1%" NEQ "" set "Second=%Second:~1%" )
set /A "Index=Year-2014"
for /F "tokens=%Index% delims= " %%Y in ("16436 16801 17167 17532 17897") do set "Days=%%Y"
for /F "tokens=%Index% delims= " %%L in ("N Y N N N") do set "LeapYear=%%L"
if "%LeapYear%" == "N" (
    for /F "tokens=%Month% delims= " %%M in ("0 31 59 90 120 151 181 212 243 273 304 334") do set /A "Days+=%%M"
) else (
    for /F "tokens=%Month% delims= " %%M in ("0 31 60 91 121 152 182 213 244 274 305 335") do set /A "Days+=%%M"
set /A "Days+=Day-1"
set /A "Seconds=Days*86400+Hour*3600+Minute*60+Second"
goto :EOF

For even more information about date and time formats and file time comparisons on Windows see my answer on Find out if file is older than 4 hours in batch file with lots of additional information about file times.

My command is

forfiles -p "d:\logs" -s -m*.log -d-15 -c"cmd /c del @PATH\@FILE" 

@PATH - is just path in my case, so I had to use @PATH\@FILE

also forfiles /? not working for me too, but forfiles (without "?") worked fine.

And the only question I have: how to add multiple mask (for example ".log|.bak")?

All this regarding forfiles.exe that I downloaded here (on win XP)

But if you are using Windows server forfiles.exe should be already there and it is differs from ftp version. That is why I should modify command.

For Windows Server 2003 I'm using this command:

forfiles -p "d:\Backup" -s -m *.log -d -15 -c "cmd /c del @PATH"

Have a look at my answer to a similar question:

REM del_old.bat
REM usage: del_old MM-DD-YYY
for /f "tokens=*" %%a IN ('xcopy *.* /d:%1 /L /I null') do if exist %%~nxa echo %%~nxa >> FILES_TO_KEEP.TXT
for /f "tokens=*" %%a IN ('xcopy *.* /L /I /EXCLUDE:FILES_TO_KEEP.TXT null') do if exist "%%~nxa" del "%%~nxa"

This deletes files older than a given date. I'm sure it can be modified to go back seven days from the current date.

update: I notice that HerbCSO has improved on the above script. I recommend using his version instead.

You're probably not going to find a totally non install solution short of a complicated bat file or windows script. I use delen, drop it in a system directory then use it like the regular del command in any bat file.

I think e.James's answer is good since it works with unmodified versions of Windows as early as Windows 2000 SP4 (and possibly earlier), but it required writing to an external file. Here is a modified version that does not create an external text file while maintaining the compatibility:

REM del_old.cmd
REM usage: del_old MM-DD-YYYY
setlocal enabledelayedexpansion
for /f "tokens=*" %%a IN ('xcopy *.* /d:%1 /L /I null') do @if exist "%%~nxa" set "excludefiles=!excludefiles!;;%%~nxa;;"
for /f "tokens=*" %%a IN ('dir /b') do @(@echo "%excludefiles%"|FINDSTR /C:";;%%a;;">nul || if exist "%%~nxa" DEL /F /Q "%%a">nul 2>&1)

To be true to the original question, here it is in a script that does ALL the math for you if you call it with the number of days as the parameter:

REM del_old_compute.cmd
REM usage: del_old_compute N
setlocal enabledelayedexpansion
set /a days=%1&set cur_y=%DATE:~10,4%&set cur_m=%DATE:~4,2%&set cur_d=%DATE:~7,2%
for /f "tokens=1 delims==" %%a in ('set cur_') do if "!%%a:~0,1!"=="0" set /a %%a=!%%a:~1,1!+0
set mo_2=28&set /a leapyear=cur_y*10/4
if %leapyear:~-1% equ 0 set mo_2=29
set mo_1=31&set mo_3=31&set mo_4=30&set mo_5=31
set mo_6=30&set mo_7=31&set mo_8=31&set mo_9=30
set mo_10=31&set mo_11=30&set mo_12=31
set /a past_y=(days/365)
set /a monthdays=days-((past_y*365)+((past_y/4)*1))&&set /a past_y=cur_y-past_y&set months=0
set /a minusmonth=(cur_m-1)-months
if %minusmonth% leq 0 set /a minusmonth+=12
set /a checkdays=(mo_%minusmonth%)
if %monthdays% geq %checkdays% set /a months+=1&set /a monthdays-=checkdays&goto :setmonth
set /a past_m=cur_m-months
set /a lastmonth=cur_m-1
if %lastmonth% leq 0 set /a lastmonth+=12
set /a lastmonth=mo_%lastmonth%
set /a past_d=cur_d-monthdays&set adddays=::
if %past_d% leq 0 (set /a past_m-=1&set adddays=)
if %past_m% leq 0 (set /a past_m+=12&set /a past_y-=1)
set mo_2=28&set /a leapyear=past_y*10/4
if %leapyear:~-1% equ 0 set mo_2=29
%adddays%set /a past_d+=mo_%past_m%
set d=%past_m%-%past_d%-%past_y%
for /f "tokens=*" %%a IN ('xcopy *.* /d:%d% /L /I null') do @if exist "%%~nxa" set "excludefiles=!excludefiles!;;%%~nxa;;"
for /f "tokens=*" %%a IN ('dir /b') do @(@echo "%excludefiles%"|FINDSTR /C:";;%%a;;">nul || if exist "%%~nxa" DEL /F /Q "%%a">nul 2>&1)

NOTE: The code above takes into account leap years, as well as the exact number of days in each month. The only maximum is the total number of days there have been since 0/0/0 (after that it returns negative years).

NOTE: The math only goes one way; it cannot correctly get future dates from negative input (it will try, but will likely go past the last day of the month).