Copy or move library files by using Open with Explorer

From time to time, you might need to copy or move one or more documents in a library to another library. For example, you might want to move all documents created over a year ago in one library to another library to archive the information. Or, you might want to copy documents from a library that you own from one site to another library in a subsite as you change workgroups. To do these operations, you can use the Open with Explorer command, which is an additional way to manipulate files in a library. When you use this command, it opens Windows Explorer on your computer, but it displays the folder structure on the server computer that underlies the site. You can manipulate the files in the folder, such as copying, renaming, deleting, and so on.

In this article


Overview

An Open Explorer window From time to time, you might need to copy or move one or more documents in a library to another library. For example, you might want to move all documents created over a year ago in one library to another library to archive the information. Or, you might want to copy documents from a library that you own from one site to another library in a subsite as you change workgroups. To do these operations, you can use the Open with Explorer command, which is an additional way to manipulate files in a SharePoint library. When you use this command, it opens Windows Explorer on your computer, but it displays the folder structure on the server computer that underlies the site. You can manipulate the files in the folder, such as copying, renaming, deleting, and so on.

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Software requirements for using the Open with Explorer command

If you experience problems using the Open with Explorer command make sure that pre-requisite software is installed and running on your client computer:

  • One of the following Windows client operating systems: Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, or Windows Server 2008 running as a client. In addition, the User Account Control (UAC) setting must be low or disabled.
  • Internet Explorer 7.0 or later. In addition, ActiveX controls must be enabled.
  • The Web Client service, which must be running. If you are using Windows Server 2008 or Windows 7 Server as the client computer, then you must install the Desktop Experience feature from Server Manager.

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About document properties and library information

When you copy or move documents from one library to another you should be aware of what happens to document properties and library information associated with the documents. Document properties that are stored with the file and viewable in the file's Properties dialog box, such as Title, Subject, and Author, are preserved when you copy or move files between existing libraries. However, library-specific information, such as views and settings, are not preserved.

If you want to preserve this library information, you can copy a library by using a library template.

 Note    If Explorer View is your default library view, you may receive an error message. To resolve this, change your default view to not use Explorer View, The Open with Explorer command is the recommended way to manipulate the files in a library.

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Copy or move library files

The following sections show you how to move or copy files in a document library from one site (the source site) to another site (the destination site).

Copy or move library files within a site collection

  1. Navigate to the source site containing the library for which you want to copy or move files.
  2. Click the name of the library on the Quick Launch, or click Site Actions, click View All Site Content, and then in the appropriate library section, click the name of the library.

 Note    A site can be significantly modified in appearance and navigation. If you cannot locate an option, such as a command, button, or link, contact your administrator.

  1. In the ribbon, under the Library Tools section, click the Library tab, and then in the Connect and Export group, click Open with Explorer.
  2. In the Windows Explorer window, select the files you want to move or copy.

To select multiple contiguous files, press and hold the SHIFT key, and then drag the mouse pointer through the set of files you want. To select multiple discontiguous files, Press and hold the CTRL key, and then click the files you want.

  1. Do one of the following:
  • Move    Right-click one of the selected files, and then click Cut on the shortcut menu.
  • Copy    Right-click one of the selected files, and then click Copy on the shortcut menu.
  1. In Internet Explorer, create a new tab, by clicking the New Tab button or by pressing CTRL+T.
  2. In the new tab, navigate to the destination site and library where you want to move or copy the files.
  3. In the ribbon, under the Library Tools section, click the Library tab, and then in the Actions group, click Open with Explorer.
  4. In the Windows Explorer window, right-click in a blank area, and then click Paste on the shortcut menu.

 Note    If the destination library contains folders, then those folders are visible, and you can open those folders and paste the files into a specific folder.

  1. Optionally, close the Windows Explorer window.
  2. Refresh your browser window (Press F5) to see the files in the library.

 Notes 

  • If you are moving or copying files to a library that requires certain file properties to be filled out, and those properties are missing, the files remain checked out to you. When you fill out the required properties, you can check in the files.
  • If you are moving or copying files to a library that requires files to be checked out, the files are initially checked out to you. You need to check the files in before other people can edit them.
  • If content approval is required for your library, your files may need to be approved before they are visible to everyone who has permission to view the files in the library.

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Copy or move files between site collections

  1. Navigate to the source site containing the library for which you want to copy or move files.
  2. Click the name of the library on the Quick Launch, or click Site Actions, click View All Site Content, and then in the appropriate library section, click the name of the library.

 Note    A site can be significantly modified in appearance and navigation. If you cannot locate an option, such as a command, button, or link, contact your administrator.

  1. In the ribbon, under the Library Tools section, click the Library tab, and then in the Actions group, click Open with Explorer.
  2. In the Windows Explorer window, select the files you want to move or copy.

To select multiple contiguous files, press and hold the SHIFT key, and then drag the mouse pointer through the set of files you want. To select multiple discontiguous files, Press and hold the CTRL key, and then click the files you want.

  1. Do one of the following:
  • Move    Right-click one of the selected files, and then click Cut on the shortcut menu.
  • Copy    Right-click one of the selected files, and then click Copy on the shortcut menu.
  1. In Internet Explorer, create a new tab, by clicking the New Tab button or by pressing CTRL+T.
  2. Enter the URL of the destination site in the address bar, such as http://Contoso.
  3. Navigate to the destination site and library where you want to move or copy the files.
  4. In the ribbon, under the Library Tools section, click the Library tab, and then in the Actions group, click Open with Explorer.
  5. Right-click in a blank area, and then click Paste on the shortcut menu.

 Tip    If the destination library contains folders, then those folders are visible, and you can open those folders and paste the files into a specific folder.

  1. Optionally, close the Windows Explorer window.
  2. Refresh your browser window (Press F5) to see the files in the library.

 Notes 

  • If you are moving or copying files to a library that requires certain file properties to be filled out, and those properties are missing, the files remain checked out to you. When you fill out the required properties, you can check in the files.
  • If you are moving or copying files to a library that requires files to be checked out, the files are initially checked out to you. You need to check the files in before other people can edit them.
  • If content approval is required for your library, your files may need to be approved before they are visible to everyone who has permission to view the files in the library.

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Applies to:
SharePoint Foundation 2010 , SharePoint Online for enterprises, SharePoint Online for professionals and small businesses , SharePoint Server 2010