The %DATE% and %TIME% environment variables provide the current date and time on Windows machines on the command line and inside a batch file.

Sadly, those values are locale-aware! Meaning that, say, on a German machine, you will get


instead of


this screws up sorting if you want to use this variable in a file name.

Is there any easy way to get hold of a locale-unaware YYYY-MM-DD date string in a Windows batch file?

For the moment, I am working with this rather kludgy workaround:

for /f "tokens=1,2,3,4 delims=. " %%i in ('date /t') do set date=%%k-%%j-%%i
echo %date%

but this is now German locale specific - obviously, a completely independent solution would be much nicer.

The OS in question is Server 2008. I would much prefer not using a third party tool, if at all possible.

4 Answers 4


There were a few attempts (Rob van der Woude had something), but nothing really worked across all locales. However, you can get the current time in a easily-parseable format via

wmic os get LocalDateTime

The following gets you at least UTC already:

@echo off
rem Get the time from WMI - at least that's a format we can work with
set X=
for /f "skip=1 delims=" %%x in ('wmic os get localdatetime') do if not defined X set X=%%x

rem dissect into parts
set DATE.YEAR=%X:~0,4%
set DATE.MONTH=%X:~4,2%
set DATE.DAY=%X:~6,2%
set DATE.HOUR=%X:~8,2%
set DATE.MINUTE=%X:~10,2%
set DATE.SECOND=%X:~12,2%
set DATE.FRACTIONS=%X:~15,6%
set DATE.OFFSET=%X:~21,4%


However, you probably need to account for the time zone offset (unless it's for a log file, then I'd always use UTC) but that's nothing a bit of calculation cannot do :-)

  • 1
    Excellent, this looks exactly like what I need! Thank you.
    – Pekka
    Jan 26, 2011 at 21:56
  • 2
    For the record: for /f %%x in ('wmic os get localdatetime ^| findstr /b [0-9]') do @set X=%%x is a tiny bit nicer. There's also a more compact version available over here, namely in that comment.
    – Tomalak
    Jan 22, 2014 at 10:09
  • It's a bit hard finding and updating all old instances where you wrote something :). I'd probably use Win32_UTCTime and Win32_LocalTime by now.
    – Joey
    Jan 22, 2014 at 11:57
  • really fantastic!
    – jeromerg
    Feb 22, 2018 at 15:57
  • As @Tomalak says, the findstr solution is much better, as for my case, the original for (without the skip) iterates 3 times. Once for the word "LocalDateTime", a second time for the actual date, and a third time for an empty value (maybe a line break?).
    – cavpollo
    Nov 22, 2019 at 4:31

Here's a two-liner I've been using, which seems to work regardless of Windows version or local time settings:

FOR /f %%a in ('WMIC OS GET LocalDateTime ^| find "."') DO set DTS=%%a
set CUR_DATE=%DTS:~0,4%-%DTS:~4,2%-%DTS:~6,2%

This will set a variable called %CUR_DATE% in the following ISO standard format:


I tried making it a one-liner with &&, but it didn't seem to take, so I resorted to the two-line version. Hope this helps.


I use this trick to get UTC..

for /f "tokens=*" %%i in ('tzutil /g') do set CTZ=%%i
tzutil /s UTC
set UTC=
for /f  "skip=1 delims=" %%i in ('WMIC OS GET LocalDateTime') do if not defined UTC set UTC=%%i
tzutil /s "%CTZ%"
set UTC=%UTC:~0,4%-%UTC:~4,2%-%UTC:~6,3%T%UTC:~8,13%
echo %UTC%

However it does have the side effect of briefly changing the entire system to UTC. This is probably OK on a personal workstation, but not sure what the impact would be a large production server, which should probably be set to UTC anyway.


Here is my solution to this problem:

@echo off

set curtime=
for /f "tokens=*" %%x in ('powershell -NoLogo -NonInteractive -OutputFormat Text -Command "[DateTime]::Now.ToString(\"yyyy-MM-dd HH:mm:ss\")"') do set curtime=%%x
echo %curtime%

Of course, the same as UTC time:

set curtime=
for /f "tokens=*" %%x in ('powershell -NoLogo -NonInteractive -OutputFormat Text -Command "[DateTime]::UtcNow.ToString(\"yyyy-MM-dd HH:mm:ssK\")"') do set curtime=%%x
echo %curtime%

You may play with formatting as much as you like, the output is stable independent from Windows of CurrentLocale (here is minimal knowledge of Powershell and .Net required).

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.