Sharepoint online copy to/move to issues

New Contributor



we are fully migrated do O365, so this question is not connected with migration issues.


We use the copy/move functionality between libraries, folders within libraries or between sites quite often. There are specific reason for this:

- temporary externally shared folders archived in internal sites

- adjusting the content structure etc.


We use web interface only (Chrome on Mac).


However, the functionalities are clumsy and inconsistent:

- sometimes it works without any problems

- sometimes copy/move operation just hangs (0% migrated) and nothing happens (for days)

- sometimes copy/move operation seems to be hanged at 0%, but in the target library/folder the files are already present and accessible

- we try to move one specific folder for weeks to a different site, it never finishes, original folder is still present and the only way to check what has been moved, is to manually check the structure in the target library, file by file. There is no sign if the process is still running or not.


These situations are not bound to number or size of files. It does happen with 1-2 files the same way as with many of them.


There is no way to check the status of these operations (or at least I am not aware of any). So we are not able to be alerted if the operation has failed, if all the files have been moved or not.


We have user complaints that they cannot find the expected files where they need to. I did not expect to have such issues with copy/move operations.


Similar topic is discussed here:


... with no clear solution.


Am I missing something here? Should we use this functionality or not? If not, what is the preferred way?  

5 Replies

Hi @Milos Halecka ,


You are not missing something it is consistently not working as you would expect. Same observations from me:-


When moving more than about 25 folders/files it errors on the 26th due to "Timeout" issue. 

The 0% is due to the information not being posted back in the browser window. In most cases the content is being moved. 


My advice - tell users not to use it for more than a couple of files/folders. Use the SharePoint migration tool for larger amounts of data or purchase a product like ShareGate. 




Hello Andy,

thanks for the response. However, it is sad to hear that such a basic functionality is not working as expected.


@Milos Halecka 

Downloading from SharePoint is pain now a days 

@Milos Halecka 

Same problem for me.

Tried to copy a folder from a SP site to another from the web interface. The content was copied partially for no apparent reason. I waited a day and still no progress.

This is really a pain!

I'm trying Powershell now and hope it will go through!

First install the module:

Install-Module PNP.Powershell

Then create a PS1 file with this content (edit it according to your need):

#Config Variables
$SiteURL = ""
$SourceFolderURL= "sourcelibrary/sourcefolder"
$TargetFolderURL = "/sites/targetsite/targetlibrary"
#Connect to PnP Online
Connect-PnPOnline -Url $SiteURL -Credentials (Get-Credential)
#Copy Folder to different site collection
Copy-PnPFile -SourceUrl $SourceFolderURL -TargetUrl $TargetFolderURL

Then run it:

PS C:\temp> .\"copy to script.ps1"

cmdlet Get-Credential at command pipeline position 1
Supply values for the following parameters:

Copy file '/sites/sourcesite/sourcelibrary/sourcefolder' to '/sites/targetsite/targetlibrary'?
[Y] Yes  [N] No  [S] Suspend  [?] Help (default is "Y"): y 

@Milos Halecka I hope Microsoft reads this. You need to fix SharePoint. It is horrible and nothing is setup and forget, it is a constant struggle.


  1. If you COPY data, you lose metadata and version history
  2. If you sync data to OneDrive and upload that way, you lose metadata and version history
  3. If you MOVE data from one site to another, it fails/unreliable and gets stuck in progress
  4. There is NO SEARCH on recycle bin because MS doesn't want to index it.

I know Fortune 100 companies that love SharePoint cause they have the staff to sit around and only do SharePoint, but for us smaller companies SharePoint is a major resource HOG and very intensive on our team. I suggest looking at cleaning this up and making SharePoint a better solution.