How to move files and folders on the computer

Updated: 04/26/2017 by Computer Hope

A folder full of files.Below are the steps required to move computer files from one source to another. Click on one of the links below to scroll down automatically to the operating system you need help with, or scroll down to review them all.

Note: When moving files you are going to have only one copy of the files you move. If you want more than one copy of the files you should copy the files and not move them.

How to move files in Windows

In Windows, you can move files in a number of ways. You can drag-and-drop, cut and paste, or use the "Move to Folder..." command. Below are the all of the steps on how you can move files in Windows, choose the option that works best for you.

Tip: You can also select multiple files and move multiple files at once using any of the steps below.

Cut and paste

Moving a file in WindowsTo cut and paste a file, select the file you want to move, right-click on the highlighted file, and then select Cut. Browse to the folder you would like to move the file to and then right-click within the file listing and select Paste to move the file to that folder.

Alternatively you can click the Edit from the File Menu and then click Cut to cut the files and then move to where you want to move the files and click Edit and Paste.

Finally, you can also use shortcut keys to cut and paste files. Select the files you want to cut, then press the shortcut key Ctrl+X to cut the files. "Cutting" the files is just like cutting text in a document: it moves the files to a temporary "clipboard" until you "paste" them somewhere. Navigate to the destination folder and press the shortcut key Ctrl+V to paste the files. The files are now in your destination folder.

Drag-and-drop

Drag-and-drop right-clickHighlight the files you want to move, click with your right mouse button and while continuing to hold down the right mouse button drag-and-drop the files to where you want to move them. When you release the mouse button, you'll be given a menu similar to the example shown in the picture. Select the Move here option to move the files.

Note: For drag-and-drop to work you'll need to be able to see the window of where you are moving the files.

Use Move To folder

To use the "Move to Folder..." command, select the file by clicking on the file name. Click on the Edit menu near the top left of the window and click the Move to Folder... option. A new window will be shown that allow you to browse to the folder where you would like to move the file, then click the Move button to move the file to that folder.

If you are using Windows 8, once the files are selected the Move to option is shown under the Home tab.

How to move files in the Windows command line (MS-DOS)

move commandIn the Windows command line and MS-DOS, you can move files using the move command. For example, if you want to move a file named stats.doc to the folder c:\statistics, you would type the following command, then press the Enter key.

move stats.doc c:\statistics

If you'd like to move multiple files, you can separate the file names with a comma, as in the following command.

move stats.doc, morestats.doc c:\statistics

In the next example we are moving the file example.doc to the D:\ drive.

move example.doc d:\

You can also move multiple files by using wildcards. In the example below the move command is moving all files that have the .doc file extension into the c:\statistics directory.

move *.doc c:\statistics

Using the move command you can also move a directory (folder). In the example below the move command is moving the directory "example" in the current directory to another directory called "new" that is also in the current directory.

move example new

  • See our move command page for full information, available options, and other examples on this command.

How to move files in Apple macOS

Drag-and-drop

Highlight the files you want to move, click with your left mouse button and while continuing to hold down the button drag-and-drop the files to where you want to move them. When you release the mouse button, the files are moved.

Keyboard shortcut

You can also move files using keyboard shortcuts by following the steps below.

  1. Highlight the files you want to move.
  2. Press the keyboard shortcut Command + C.
  3. Move to the location you want to move the files and press Option + Command + V to move the files.

Terminal

To move files in the Terminal command line use the mv command.

How to move files in the Linux command line

mv commandLinux or Unix users can move one or more files or directories by using the mv command from the command line. For example, if you wanted to move a file named myfile.txt to the folder named backup you would type the following command.

mv myfile.txt backup

Additional information