Convert, Compress or rename files automatically in Microsoft Windows

Martin Brinkmann
Jul 29, 2013
Updated • Jul 29, 2013
Windows, Windows software

Automation when set up properly is one of the best ways to save time when you are working with your computer. This works very well for actions that you want executed at all times, say a defragmentation at night once a week, moving files out of a specific folder when they appear in it, or renaming files of your digital camera.

Folder Actions for Windows is a free for home-use program for the operating system that provides you with a selection of automated actions that you can configure on your system.

It supports five different kinds of actions:

  • Show new file alerts when files are moved into a selected folder.
  • Rename files in monitored folders.
  • Convert image, audio or video files into a different format.
  • Compress or unpack files.
  • Run a user defined action using batch files.

Here is how it works in detail.

Once you have installed the application on your system and started it up, you are presented with a two-pane interface. The left side lists all the folders that you want to run actions on, the right the automation options that you can configure.

Add at least one folder using the plus icon and select the desired action from the right. You can for instance select the video folder and the convert video files to action, or an incoming or download folder and the action to decompress any zip archives in that folder.

You can add as many folders as you like and select an action from the right for each folder individually. When you switch folders on the left, the selected automation is automatically displayed to you so that you know what is going on. There is no indicator prior to this though and the developer should consider adding it to the folder listing so that users know on first glance what kind of action is executed on that folder.

The only other option available is to include subfolders in the process. This can again be activated for each folder individually.

Depending on the action selected, you may get a notification on the screen telling you that a new file has been moved to a new folder, or no indicator whatsoever. Conversions for instance are processed silently in the background so that you need to check out the destination folder manually to find out if those operations have been completed.

You can open the processing queue on the other hand for that as well. To do so, right-click the icon in the system tray and select the option from the context menu.


Folder Actions for Windows could use a couple of additional features, like a notification option when all files have been processed, the action indicator in the folder pane, or (additional) conversion options for videos or images.

Those would make this useful program even better. If you want to automate some tasks on your system, and those tasks are supported by Folder Action for Windows, then you may want to give this a try to see how it works out for you.

Note that the program will add itself to the auto-start automatically of the operation system, and that it has to run in the background.


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  1. Anonymous said on March 9, 2023 at 1:52 pm

    Does it come back after every “moment” update?

  2. Baloney said on March 9, 2023 at 2:23 pm

    Yeah right.. Like this is going to stop defender from running =) This is comedy gold right here.

  3. Anonymous said on March 9, 2023 at 3:25 pm

    no ‘about the author’ paragraph?

  4. Gregory said on March 9, 2023 at 4:19 pm

    For permanent disable defender is if removed complete from system no just change permission folder.

    Just this is joke.

  5. moi said on March 9, 2023 at 5:57 pm

    simpler, load Autoruns (SysInternals)
    – filter “Defender”
    – untag all entries
    – reboot
    nothing has changed since my 1st modification years ago

  6. John G. said on March 9, 2023 at 6:32 pm

    I wouldn’t disable Defender imho, it has too many hidden roots inside Windows itself. One time I tried to uninstall it using brute force scripts and then the Onedrive feature stopped working definitely. A reinstallation was needed and since those times I prefer to maintain Defender untouched. It’s a better method to install another antivirus and it will disable Defender in a safer and easier mode (e.g., Avast is the best in this way, and also Panda Cloud Free is good too).

  7. boris said on March 10, 2023 at 12:19 am

    You can not stop defender from running in background or remove it without some penalty. All you can do is to limit telemetry.

    1. TelV said on March 10, 2023 at 4:52 pm


      It’s probably Smartscreen which is preventing WD from being disabled. Get rid of that and the problem should be solved:

  8. hoho said on March 10, 2023 at 1:47 pm

    Remove Windows and go for Linux.

    1. basingstoke said on March 10, 2023 at 2:51 pm

      Linux sucks dude. Besides it’s not comparable to Windows, these OSes are in different classes entirely.

      1. Derp said on March 10, 2023 at 4:36 pm

        I use Linux as my daily driver. It’s far more stable than Windows. When’s the last time you used Linux, 2010?

      2. Bromosexual said on March 11, 2023 at 2:04 am


        You’re right, dude. Bro, linux is just a bunch of code that starts before the OS, dude. Brobrodude, that shit ain’t even got emojis, dudebrodudeman! Dudebro, it’s no way near as cool as Windows with its hardcoded abilities to make money off the user, bro. Yo brodude man, you’re the coolest dude ever man, bro. Dude.

      3. basingstoke said on August 16, 2023 at 7:20 pm

        Lol what? Windows 7 doesn’t come with any Emojis

  9. TelV said on March 10, 2023 at 4:46 pm

    Download Autoruns and remove the checkmark from Windows Defender. It doesn’t remove it, but it will never run.

  10. Simon said on March 10, 2023 at 8:37 pm

    Just use “Defender Control”:

    Per this video,
    it also works on Windows 11 too…

  11. Someone said on March 10, 2023 at 9:26 pm

    Win Defender, is completly the most succesful free-built in antivirus of Microsoft. Really nice product. Saved my ass a lot of times. Has updated malware database, completly strong defence
    from whatever smart screen disables. Or if you want better and more upgrated (paid) program,
    you can go further. But defender is always on your side.

  12. CalixtoWVR1 said on March 10, 2023 at 10:03 pm

    Why would one disable Windows (or Microsoft) Defender in the first place?. I consider this to be playing with fire big time. Everybody knows that if one is using another A-V, Defender will be disabled on its own and won’t be in one’s way.

  13. Ed D said on March 10, 2023 at 11:09 pm

    Why would I want to disable Windows Defender in the first place? It’s a great anti virus in my opinion. Been using it since Windows 8 and and never had a problem or a virus. Why mess with a good thing, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

  14. owl said on August 17, 2023 at 1:57 am

    How a ridiculous article!
    I am thoroughly stunned.

    Why Should You Disable First-Party Windows Defender?
    I can only think that it is “malice or perversely intention (want you to buy a third-party AV where you can expect a back margin)” to guide invalidation without showing the premise.
    No sane company will use third-party closed source programs (such as AV).

    As I thought, “Ghacks Technology News” seems to be coming to downfall.

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