OneDrive – Move To

Moving entire directories from one site collection to another site collection with two different methods
OneDrive – Move To

I do not know when the error was eliminated. I only know that it was there for a very long time.  And it wasn’t until a Reddit discussion that I was proven wrong.

In 2019, I was in USA at Airlift 2019 in Bellevue. For 4 days Microsoft provided us with Teams basics and news. Friday was free, return flight on Saturday. And already during the preparations I communicated with the Microsoft product group and was then already on the Microsoft campus for breakfast. And Gaia Carini had invited the responsible engineer, who said only one thing about the problem: „Difficult“.

It was about moving data across the site collections while keeping the metadata, in this case the version history. And this, of course, in Windows Explorer. I described the problem here. And mentioned over and over again in the OneDrive workshops. And as described above, now it works. Not only in the browser, but also in Windows Explorer.

"Move to" with Windows Explorer
Move To with Windows Explorer

Scenario 1: Library is already synchronized

So classic synchronization. The entire library. And the new library, where the data should be moved to, is also set correctly.

  1. Switch to the Windows Explorer
  2. Calling the synchronized library (Source)
  3. Selecting the directories and files.
  4. Cut (CTRL X)
  5. Switch to the destination directory (Destination)
  6. Paste (CTRL V)
  7. Wait
    (until all files have been moved to the destination directory and synchronized)


If you have synchronized the files but enabled Files on Demand, the file must first be downloaded, then moved to the target directory and synchronized up again. The history is also moved, although it is not available in Windows.

If you have excluded directories and files from synchronization, they will not be moved. These are not present.

Do not forget that with many files and several history data the whole will last longer.

move to with the web browser
Move To: Web-Browser

Scenario 2: Library may or may not be synchronized.

  1. Switch to the web version of the source library
  2. Select parts or all folders
  3. Select Move to
  4. Search for the target library in the new window
  5. Select Move here
  6. Wait until the process is finished.

During the move, other members should not work with documents in the source library.

The download / upload in the first phase of moving is omitted. After successful moving, the data in the source library is deleted. This also results in the deletion of the synchronized data on the members‘ devices.  If „Files on Demand“ is enabled, the resynchronization of the destination library is negligible because no content has to be downloaded then.


It may take a while for the process to complete. However, since the process takes place in the cloud, no local resources are needed for the move.


So moving via web browser is much faster and should become the primary method. The shortcoming years ago, that moving data in Windows Explorer was done with loss of history when the site collection was changed, is no longer present. Especially in Europe, where mostly only asynchronous connections are available, one should still prefer the browser method. For more information see my 10 Minute Youtube-Video.

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