How to Copy or Move Files and Folders in Windows 10

By Andy Rathbone

To copy or move files to different folders on your hard drive in Windows 10, it’s sometimes easiest to use your mouse to drag them there. For example, here’s how to move a file to a different folder on your desktop. In this case, You’re moving the Traveler file from the House folder to the Morocco folder.

  1. Align the two windows next to each other.

    Click the first window and then hold the Windows key and press the right-arrow key. To fill the screen’s left half, click the other window, hold the Windows key, and press the left-arrow key.

  2. Aim the mouse pointer at the file or folder you want to move.

  3. While holding down the right mouse button, move the mouse until it points at the destination folder.

    As you see in the following two images, you’re dragging the Traveler file from the House folder to the Morocco folder.

    To move a file or folder from one window to another, drag it there while holding down the right mou

    To move a file or folder from one window to another, drag it there while holding down the right mouse button. Select the Traveler file.
    Moving the mouse drags the file along with it, and Windows explains that you're moving the file. (B

    Moving the mouse drags the file along with it, and Windows explains that you’re moving the file. (Be sure to hold down the right mouse button the entire time.)

    Always drag icons while holding down the right mouse button. Windows is then gracious enough to give you a menu of options when you position the icon, and you can choose to copy, move, or create a shortcut. If you hold down the left mouse button, Windows sometimes doesn’t know whether you want to copy or move.

  4. Release the mouse button and choose Copy Here, Move Here, or Create Shortcuts Here from the pop-up menu.

When dragging and dropping takes too much work, Windows offers a few other ways to copy or move files. Depending on your screen’s current layout, some of the following onscreen tools may work more easily:

  • Right-click menus: Right-click a file or folder and choose Cut or Copy, depending on whether you want to move or copy it. Then right-click your destination folder and choose Paste. It’s simple, it always works, and you needn’t bother placing any windows side by side.

  • Ribbon commands: In File Explorer, click your file or folder, click the Ribbon’s Home tab at the top, and then click the Copy To (or Move To) button. A menu drops down, listing some common locations. Don’t spot the right spot? Then click Choose Location and click through the drive and folders to reach the destination folder, and Windows transports the file accordingly. Although a bit cumbersome, this method works if you know the exact location of the destination folder.

  • Navigation Pane: This panel along File Explorer’s left edge lists popular locations: drives, networks, OneDrive, and oft-used folders. That lets you drag and drop a file into a spot on the Navigation Pane, sparing you the hassle of opening a destination folder.

After you install a program on your computer, don’t ever move that program’s folder. Programs wedge themselves deeply into Windows. Moving the program may break it, and you’ll have to reinstall it. However, feel free to move a program’s shortcut. (Shortcut icons contain a little arrow.)