Moving Files Using the Command Line

by Barry Dysert
(last updated January 16, 2017)


If you don't mind doing a little more typing and a little less mouse clicking, you can perform a lot of actions from the command line. (Displaying the Command Prompt window is covered under another tip.) One thing you can do from the command line is to move files. The command-line command you use is MOVE and it takes two (or more) parameters. The first parameter specifies the file you want moved and the second parameter specifies to where the file should be moved.

So let's say you have a file called "C:\Temp\BatFun.bat" and you want to move it to C:\Bat\BatFun.bat You would type the following at the command line:

C:\> MOVE C:\Temp\BatFun.bat C:\Bat\BatFun.bat

The BatFun.bat file in the \Temp directory will be moved to the \Bat directory. It will no longer exist in the C:\Temp directory, which is the main difference between COPY and MOVE. (See the tip titled Moving Files Using the Command Line for details of the COPY command.) Of course, you can specify whatever name you like for the destination, so you may have a \Temp\BatFun.bat file that you're developing and testing, but once you're satisfied with it you may want to move it to your \Bat directory and give it the name of DirList.bat. This is accomplished by just changing the name of the destination parameter:

C:\> MOVE C:\Temp\BatFun.bat C:\Bat\DirList.bat

You can use wildcard characters to move multiple files at a time. So let's say you have several .bat files in your \Temp directory that are supposed to work together, and you want to move them all to your \Bat directory. Maybe the files are named C:\Temp\Dir1.bat, C:\Temp\Dir2.bat, and C:\Temp\Dir3.bat. To move them all to your \Bat directory the command would be:

C:\> MOVE C:\Temp\Dir?.bat C:\Bat

The wildcard character "?" stands for exactly one actual character in the source parameter. Note that you didn't need to specify anything except the destination directory (without the trailing backslash) as the second parameter. This is because MOVE will automatically use the file name specified by the first parameter as the file name to be used in the \Bat directory. In other words, you'll end up with a Dir1.bat, Dir2.bat, and Dir3.bat in your C:\Bat directory.

The MOVE command is similar to the COPY command but with two main differences:

  1. You cannot concatenate files with the MOVE command.
  2. MOVE removes the file from the source location instead of leaving it there.

 This tip (13101) applies to Windows 7, 8, and 10.

Author Bio

Barry Dysert

Barry has been a computer professional for over 30 years, working in different positions such as technical team leader, project manager, and software developer.  He is currently a senior software engineer with an emphasis on developing custom applications under Microsoft Windows. ...


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What is three minus 2?

2017-01-19 19:02:34

Gordon Schochet

It is even easier to move files with a program that includes "move" and "copy" to another folder options in in the right click.

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