windows - nfolders Batch file to delete files older than N days

11 Answers

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

batch script to delete files older than 30 days

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.

forfiles /p "v:" /s /m *.* /d -3 /c "cmd /c del @path"

You should do /d -3 (3 days earlier) This works fine for me. So all the complicated batches could be in the trash bin. Also forfiles don't support UNC paths, so make a network connection to a specific drive.

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"

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

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 =;
            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.

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"

Might I add a humble contribution to this already valuable thread. I'm finding that other solutions might get rid of the actual error text but are ignoring the %ERRORLEVEL% which signals a fail in my application. AND I legitimately want %ERRORLEVEL% just as long as it isn't the "No files found" error.

Some Examples:

Debugging and eliminating the error specifically:

forfiles /p "[file path...]\IDOC_ARCHIVE" /s /m *.txt /d -1 /c "cmd /c del @path" 2>&1 |  findstr /V /O /C:"ERROR: No files found with the specified search criteria."2>&1 | findstr ERROR&&ECHO found error||echo found success

Using a oneliner to return ERRORLEVEL success or failure:

forfiles /p "[file path...]\IDOC_ARCHIVE" /s /m *.txt /d -1 /c "cmd /c del @path" 2>&1 |  findstr /V /O /C:"ERROR: No files found with the specified search criteria."2>&1 | findstr ERROR&&EXIT /B 1||EXIT /B 0

Using a oneliner to keep the ERRORLEVEL at zero for success within the context of a batchfile in the midst of other code (ver > nul resets the ERRORLEVEL):

forfiles /p "[file path...]\IDOC_ARCHIVE" /s /m *.txt /d -1 /c "cmd /c del @path" 2>&1 |  findstr /V /O /C:"ERROR: No files found with the specified search criteria."2>&1 | findstr ERROR&&ECHO found error||ver > nul

For a SQL Server Agent CmdExec job step I landed on the following. I don't know if it's a bug, but the CmdExec within the step only recognizes the first line of code:

cmd /e:on /c "forfiles /p "C:\SQLADMIN\MAINTREPORTS\SQL2" /s /m *.txt /d -1 /c "cmd /c del @path" 2>&1 |  findstr /V /O /C:"ERROR: No files found with the specified search criteria."2>&1 | findstr ERROR&&EXIT 1||EXIT 0"&exit %errorlevel%

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).

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

ROBOCOPY works great for me. Originally suggested my Iman. But instead of moving the files/folders to a temporary directory then deleting the contents of the temporary folder, move the files to the trash!!!

This is is a few lines of my backup batch file for example:

SET FilesToClean1=C:\Users\pauls12\Temp
SET FilesToClean2=C:\Users\pauls12\Desktop\1616 - Champlain\Engineering\CAD\Backups

SET RecycleBin=C:\$Recycle.Bin\S-1-5-21-1480896384-1411656790-2242726676-748474

robocopy "%FilesToClean1%" "%RecycleBin%" /mov /MINLAD:15 /XA:SH /NC /NDL /NJH /NS /NP /NJS
robocopy "%FilesToClean2%" "%RecycleBin%" /mov /MINLAD:30 /XA:SH /NC /NDL /NJH /NS /NP /NJS

It cleans anything older than 15 days out of my 'Temp' folder and 30 days for anything in my AutoCAD backup folder. I use variables because the line can get quite long and I can reuse them for other locations. You just need to find the dos path to your recycle bin associated with your login.

This is on a work computer for me and it works. I understand that some of you may have more restrictive rights but give it a try anyway;) Search Google for explanations on the ROBOCOPY parameters.


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