The Right Way to Move the Documents Folder in Windows 10

By | June 24, 2016
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The Right Way to Move the Documents Folder in Windows 10

Changing the location of your Documents folder is an option for those of you who have an external hard drive or who have a second internal hard drive. One of the reasons for moving the Documents folder is that it frees up space on your C:\ (or Windows) drive – if hard drive space is a concern. It also keeps your documents safe if something should happen to your C:\ drive or if Windows fails. Once you move the location of your Documents folder, it will function exactly as it did before you moved it – but only if you move it correctly.

Here’s how to move your Documents folder correctly in Windows 10:

1. Click on the Start button.

2. Click on File Explorer. On the drive to which you want to move your documents, create a folder, name it Documents or My Documents. Now close File Explorer and reopen it.

2. Right-click Documents on your current Documents folder (not the new one you just created) and choose “Properties”

3. Now click the Location tab at the top.

4. Next, click on Move. In the Destination dialog select the new location for your Documents folder (the folder you created in Step #2. The new location should appear in the text box.

5. Click on OK. Windows will prompt you to confirm. Click Yes and you’re done. Note: It may take a while for the process to complete – while all files in the Documents folder are moved to the new location. The time it will take to transfer your Documents folder depends on how many files and folders are in your Documents folder and how big they are.

When you’ve complete this, you won’t know the difference as the Documents folder in the new location will show up and work in Windows as if it had never been moved.

When you save files to it, they will be saved in Documents as they always have been, the only difference is that the Documents folder is not on your C drive – but on your external.

Despite the location, the Documents folder will function exactly the same. And the best part of this is, you won’t be taking up more than half your C: drive with one folder (Documents) and if anything ever happens to Windows or your C drive, the Documents folder — and all the files in it will be safe on the external drive.

In Windows 10 you can change the location of your Music, Pictures, Videos, folders too. You can do it the same way as you move the Documents folder.

 

17 thoughts on “The Right Way to Move the Documents Folder in Windows 10

  1. Candace

    I followed your instructions as above to move my Documents folder to my external hard drive. All the files were moved over, but there was no folder named Documents. – I had to create one and move the files to that new folder. Did I screw anything up?

    In addition, when I try the same with Pictures, there is a second dialogue box that comes up after the first, which asks, “Do you want to redirect folder “Pictures” into another system folder “Documents” located at “E:\”? If you proceed with redirection, you will not be able to separate them or restore default location. Do you still want to proceed with redirection?” Do I click Yes?

    Thanks for all your help — much appreciated.
    Candace

    Reply
    1. infoave Post author

      Hi Candace. You can reset your documents folder back to the way it was. I have revised the instructions to make it clearer that you have to create a folder at the destination.

      To restore the default location for your documents:

      1. Press Windows Key + E to open File Exlorer
      2. Right-click on Documents & select Properties.
      3. Click on the Location tab.
      4. Click on the “Restore default” button.

      Sorry that I didn’t make it clear that you have to create a folder in the destination location before you move the documents folder.

      Reply
      1. Candace

        I tried to restore the Documents folder to its original location, but the only Documents folders I find are in My Passport and Libraries, and neither has a Location tab in Properties. I can keep the default location in my Passport. There is no Documents folder in the C: drive. Is there supposed to be? (See my second question below.)

        Another question: I just moved the default location of my Pictures to my Passport, which worked fine, but there is still a Pictures folder in the C: drive with all the pictures in it. What do I do with that?

        Thanks.
        Candace

        Reply
        1. Candace

          Under This PC, I have “E:\” and “My Passport (E:)”. There is no Documents folder. It is located in both E:\ and My Passport (E:), but neither one of those folders shows a location tab.

          My Pictures folder is now located in E:\ and My Passport (E:), but it still shows the original folder with all its contents under My PC. I performed a test by saving a new image to the Pictures folder, and it saved the image in both locations. How do I correct that?

          Thanks so much for your help.
          Candace

          Reply
  2. SusieB

    I did this yesterday, thanks to TC and Darcy giving me the link to their instructions
    It worked like a charm
    I had no idea how my C drive became so full but this removed 44 Gigs from my C drive
    Thanks muchly for this great tip

    Reply
  3. Sandy Euglow

    How safe is this??

    Darnay’s Ultra Easy Internet Locator Website

    Reply
    1. A_Hippy_Hillbillie

      Gee Sandy Euglow just how safe is Darnay’s Ultra Easy Internet Locator Website? Who gives a flying saucer! The topic subject matter is: “The Right Way to Move the Documents Folder in Windows 10” hello, Dah!!!

      Reply
    2. patrick

      Step 2 clearly tells you to create a folder on your destination drive.

      Reply
    1. infoave Post author

      Candace,

      The article you sent me was about moving your user profiles folder – i.e. C:\Users\Your User\ Name\ – it has nothing to do with simply moving your documents folder (although your documents folder is in your Users folder). The User folder contains all your system folders like documents and pictures, etc. and it also contains some important hidden folders like App Data wich includes: App Data Local, App Data LocalLow and App Data roaming and Local Settings which all contain important information needed by your programs and Widnows. It would surely cause you serious problems if you move the Users folder. The only time you would ever consider moving the contents of your user folder would be if you had a corrupt user account. And even then you don’t move the entire user folder – you move the contents. And still doing it that way, you may find that you still have a lot of setting up to do to make your new user profile look and act like you want it. This may include installing some programs, redoing some of your settings, etc.

      Our article had nothing to do with moving the Users folder – indeed it would be computer roulette to move it. Documents, Pictures, and Music folders contain no system files that are necessary for programs and even your computer to work corrrectly.

      So I am not sure how this article has anything to do with moving the Documents folder.

      Thanks,

      TC

      Reply
  4. Bonnie Rice

    Does this work if I want to move my Document Folder to my One Drive? That keeps everything safe in the cloud in case I crash the computer, right? I want to move my Pictures folder too. Thanks Bonnie

    Reply
  5. Chris

    This did not work for me. When I hit “apply” after locating the new “Documents” on my separate HDD it automatically change my Pictures, Video, and Music folders to the new Documents folder. Then when I tried to remap my Pictures folder to the new Pictures folder it automatically redirected the other 3 folders to the new Pictures folder.

    Then when I restore defaults for the User>Documents folder it automatically changes the other 3 to the same location.

    Any suggestions.

    Reply
    1. infoave Post author

      As we’ve often said… the moving documents features is part of Windows; we’e used it many times many different computers. Still, we can only give you the correct instructions – if you follow those instructions and they don’t work as they should, then we can’t offer you any more advice other than make sure you’ve done it correctly.

      Our article never said anything about “mapping” folders and I’m now sure why you’d do that. You have to remember there is only one pictures folder and it’s in C:\Users\Your user name. Pictures is also a library folder – it doesn’t really contain pictures, it contains shortcuts to pictures. Trying to “map” a library would be useless – it does not contain pictures.

      I’m sorry the tip didn’t work for you.

      Reply
      1. Chris D.

        Late-comer here, (hoping you’re still paying a modicum of attention to this dangling thread), with a simple question:

        Does this method work as well for moving said documents from one location to another on the same drive? I have a separate partition on my main internal drive, so that the OS and installed programs are on a separate partition from user documents. The directory structure of those docs was pulled in “as is” from a prior computer, which fact has created an unnecessarily baroque “tree.” So I’d merely like to move that whole ramified branch to another, more central, location on the same partition. Could this method be so employed? Thanks!

        Reply
        1. infoave Post author

          I don’t know the answer. I never saw the logic of moving the documents folder to a folder on the same drive. The reason for moving it is for safety (getting it off the Windows drive) and for saving space on the Windows drive. It is a common error for people to backup Documents on an another drive then import the backed up directory (Documents) instead of opening the directory and importing the files inside the documents folder. I’ve seen people with structures like “Documents/Documents/Documents/.

          If you do try to move documents using the method we describe, let us know what happens.

          Reply
          1. Chris D.

            Well, you’ve got in half right, but only half. I had a laptop that went suddenly sour… it was tortuous regaining access to my files again, and when I did I didn’t expect to have much time to do so, so I DID do exactly that: dragged the whole My Documents folder into another computer. Given that I already had a multi-branched (tho orderly) file structure on the laptop, I sort of grafted it onto the tree of another computer’s drive.

            But none of this was ever on the Windows drive. I have always partitioned out a separate drive for that. It’s just that I’ve been trying to see if there were some method for moving that tree en masse to a different location on the drive, I.e., closer to the root, which wouldn’t break the connections, yet shorten the path . .

          2. infoave Post author

            Nowhere in our article does it say anything about dragging your documents folder anywhere; it says this:

            Here’s how to move your Documents folder correctly in Windows 10:

            1. Click on the Start button.

            2. Click on File Explorer. On the drive to which you want to move your documents, create a folder, name it Documents or My Documents. Now close File Explorer and reopen it.

            2. Right-click Documents on your current Documents folder (not the new one you just created) and choose “Properties”

            3. Now click the Location tab at the top.

            4. Next, click on Move. In the Destination dialog select the new location for your Documents folder (the folder you created in Step #2. The new location should appear in the text box.

            5. Click on OK. Windows will prompt you to confirm. Click Yes and you’re done

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