MS-DOS and Windows command line move command

Updated: 12/30/2021 by Computer Hope
move command

The move command allows users to transfer files or directories from one directory to another, or from one drive to another.


Today, move is an internal command that is available in the following Microsoft operating systems. When move was introduced with MS-DOS 6.0, it was an external command that used the move.exe file up to MS-DOS 6.22.

Move syntax

Moves files and renames files and directories.

To move one or more files:

MOVE [/Y | /-Y] [drive:][path]file name1[,...] destination

To rename a directory:

MOVE [/Y | /-Y] [drive:][path]dirname1 dirname2
[drive:][path]file name1 Specifies the location and name of the file or files you want to move.
destination Specifies the new location of the file. The destination can consist of a drive letter and colon, a directory name, or a combination. If you are moving only one file, you can also specify a destination file name, if you want the moved file to be renamed.
[drive:][path]dirname1 Specifies the directory you want to rename.
dirname2 Specifies the new name of the directory.
/Y Suppresses prompting to confirm you want to overwrite an existing destination file.
/-Y Causes prompting to confirm you want to overwrite an existing destination file.

The switch /Y may be present in the COPYCMD environment variable. This switch may be overridden with /-Y on the command line. The default protocol is to prompt on overwrites unless MOVE command is being executed from within a batch script.

Move examples

move c:\windows\temp\*.* c:\temp

Move the files of c:\windows\temp to the temp directory in root, this is of course assuming you have the Windows\temp directory. In this example, *.* is wildcards telling the computer every file with every extension.

move "computer hope" example

If your directory name or file name has a space, it must be surrounded with quotes, otherwise you get a "The syntax of the command is incorrect." error message. The command above would move the "computer hope" directory into the example directory contained in the same directory (current directory).

move c:\example.txt h:

The command above moves the file example.txt into the h: drive. In this example, the h: drive is a USB flash drive. The drive letter can vary depending on the other drives connected to the computer.