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Using the Move-Item Cmdlet

Moving a File or Folder

You know how it is: as soon as you have everything set up just perfect, you’ll invariably want (or need) to change things. The files you put in the C:\Scripts folder? Turns out they should really be in C:\Test. Or maybe just the .zip files should be in C:\Test. Or maybe - well, you get the idea. Can you use Windows PowerShell to move items from one location or another? Let’s put it this way: if you couldn’t, it would be pretty silly to have a cmdlet named Move-Item.

Let’s take a look at a very simple example: moving a single file from one folder to another. To do that, call Move-Item followed by, in order, the path to the file to be moved and the location to move it to. For example, this command moves the file C:\Scripts\Test.zip to C:\Test:

Move-Item c:\scripts\test.zip c:\test

Nothing to it, huh? Because Move-Item accepts wildcards you can easily move all the .zip files in C:\Scripts to C:\Test:

Move-Item c:\scripts\*.zip c:\test

And so on.

By default, Move-Item will not overwrite any existing files in the target folder. For example, suppose you’re trying to move a file named Test.zip from C:\Scripts to C:\Test. However, C:\Test already contains a file named Test.zip. In that case the move will fail … unless you include the -force parameter, which instructs Move-Item to overwrite existing files. This command will move Test.zip to the Test folder, even if the file C:\Test\Test.zip already exists:

Move-Item c:\scripts\test.zip c:\test -force

Also by default, you need to specify only the folder name (e.g., C:\Test) when indicating the new location for the item. However, you do have the option to specifying a complete path when moving an item, which will effectively move the item and then rename it. For example, this command moves the file C:\Scripts\950.log to the C:\Test folder. Note, however, the actual target location: C:\Test\MyLog.log. That means the command will move the file 950.log, and then rename it MyLog.log.

Here’s what the command looks like:

Move-Item c:\scripts\950.log c:\test\mylog.log

Move-Item Aliases
  • mi

  • mv

  • move

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