Move and copy files using drag and drop

A common way to move or copy a file or folder is to select it and drag it to another location. For example, you can drag a file to the Recycle Bin to delete the file, or to a folder to copy or move it to that location.

Illustration showing how to drag files
How to drag files

What happens when you drag and drop a file depends on where you drag it. The following table describes what happens when you drag and drop a file to different locations.

When you drag a file to this location This is what happens
When you drag a file to this location

A folder on same drive

This is what happens

The file is moved to the destination folder.

When you drag a file to this location

A folder on a different drive

This is what happens

The file is copied to the destination folder.

When you drag a file to this location

A library on your computer (such as the Documents library)

This is what happens

If the library's main folder (or default save location) is on the same drive, the file will be moved. If it's on a different drive, it will be copied.

Tips

  • Pay attention to pop-up messages that appear when dragging—you can use these to find out what will happen when you release the mouse button.

  • If you press and hold the right mouse button while dragging, a menu appears that lets you choose a specific action, such as copying or moving.

  • To learn other ways to copy files, see Copy and paste a file.