Move the contents of a document library using explorer view.

I have seen this question below enough times I thought I would take a crack at answering it in high detail.  There are a couple of ways to do this so I will create a series of articles on how to do it.  This is the first and probably simplest method.  Enjoy. 


I have a number of documents in a document workspace at our group’s top-level site. I would like to move them to a sub-site, but can’t get it figured out. I am a new user and this is frustrating me.


Can you tell me how to move documents from one document library to another?




-News Group User




1.  Go to the document library that has the documents you would like to move.



2.  Now under select a view chose Explorer View


3.  You should see as above a view just like if you had opened the document library in Windows Explorer.  So now lets select just the files, right click, and then chose cut.  Depending on your IE security settings you may see this message below. 

If you do just press yes.  It is just warning you that you may not want to really run system commands against a web site.  In this case you do. 


4.  Now we want to go to the document library we want to move them to and chose explorer view.



5.      Now right click in the explorer view and choose Paste.  Once the copy process is done this is what you should see.

Hope this helps you out. 


Warning.  You will lose any MetaData or versions if you have them set up on your list.  I didn’t realize this until Bil Simser pointed it out to me.  He has a great blog on the topic here.  So if you need to retain this information you need to find another solution. 





SharePoint Help

23 Comments so far

  1.   Mark Kruger, SharePoint MVP on January 12th, 2006          Reply

    Very Nice HowTo for End Users! You should also take a look at this SharePoint Tip I posted:

    The Explorer View can fail to render if the URL contains too many characters.

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  16.   Pierre VIVIER-MERLE on February 2nd, 2007          Reply

    You can see here as well :
    Copying or moving SharePoint document libraries


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  18.   Rob D on May 11th, 2010          Reply

    Keep in mind that the source document library simply deletes the files and places them into the Recycle Bin. You could always restore those items from the Recycle Bin if you needed that information.

  19.   star wars usb on September 13th, 2010          Reply

    The screen shot is not displaying. Also, where could I look for “Explorer View”? Is that from Internet explorer or from Sharepoint?

  20.   MDH on December 17th, 2010          Reply


  21.   JMac on October 5th, 2011          Reply

    I do not an option for Explorer view. How do I add that?

  22.   Raj Pamamull on December 17th, 2011          Reply

    Nice article

    In SharePoint 2007 this seems to only work for moving files between document libraries on the same site. When I try to move files between document libraries on different sites I get the error “Cannot read from source file or disk”
    (Copy paste works fine). Is this a known bug?

  23.   Katie on February 27th, 2012          Reply

    I used this technique to move a large number of documents on my company’s site. Now I am listed as the person who modified/created the documents. Is there any way to display the original creator?

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