We are creating a new site collection and migrating content from the old site. The problem is we need to retain version history for files. We have global admin access, but no access to the server itself, so powershell and installing third-party tools are not an option. Is there a way to copy those documents over using another method, like maybe web services?

  • You can't run program depends on server side? And you can't install any solutions to server? Oct 3, 2014 at 20:56
  • No, I can't run anything server side. Would it be possible to use web services to create a program that had this functionality?
    – g0013y
    Oct 7, 2014 at 14:10

4 Answers 4


As you said now server side installation / powershell then your option is very much limited.

  1. Save the list / library as template on source side and then move it to destination site collection, after that create new library using that template. This will move all documents to new site collections. But if you want just few documents then i would create temp library from the template then move required documents using the content structure options. http://pravahaminfo.blogspot.com/2011/05/how-to-move-document-library-from-one.html
  2. other option you have 3rd party tool, i would recommend to test the Share-Gate as this totally client side tools you need permission on source and destination sites only. as they have 15 days trial so try it.
  • Thank you, I'll give that a try and let you know how it goes.
    – g0013y
    Oct 6, 2014 at 21:28
  • Well, no luck so far. Share-Gate would probably work, but I can't see spending that much money on a one-time solution. The libraries are too large to create a template.
    – g0013y
    Oct 22, 2014 at 20:40
  • how big the library/ files, may be think about their trial version(share-gate) or Metalogix...do you have content on 2nd site collections?
    – Waqas Sarwar MVP
    Oct 22, 2014 at 20:48

You can use Export/Import to carry over versions of the document. The Export-SPWeb cmdlet gives you a parameter that allows you to specify if you want to export the versions of the list items/documents as well

Export-SPWeb http://site -Path "site export.cmp" -IncludeVersions All


  • Correct me if I'm wrong, but does that not require server access? I am a global admin on the site, but I don't (and won't be able to) have server access.
    – g0013y
    Oct 6, 2014 at 21:26
  • Yes, you will need access to the server. Sorry didn't read that you didn't have access to the servers. I believe if I'm not mistaken that using Windows Explorer view will retain the document version history...
    – Mike
    Oct 6, 2014 at 21:28
  • We've tried that, but I guess since it is between two different site collections it doesn't retain version history. I'll try it myself and let you know.
    – g0013y
    Oct 6, 2014 at 21:29
  • Moving the documents did not retain version history.
    – g0013y
    Oct 22, 2014 at 20:41
  • Inside the same site collection it should, sorry about that. You will need administrative permissions/access to perform this function, then.
    – Mike
    Oct 23, 2014 at 13:55

I have used One Drive for coping files from a site to a site collection and didn't have any problems with that. I had to ask users to close all documents first and I've disabled 'Edit' rights for everyone except Admin to avoid any syncing problems. Also, if you have Check in/out enabled you need to disable this for the move and enable it again after all files are copied/moved.

Unfortunately version history was not retained but this was not a requirement for us so I didn't really check if it's possible, might be worth checking.


You can use the Send To command to copy the documents to the new location and then remove the link to the source file. Once the link is removed, you can delete the document from its original location and have only the one document. Instructions on Office Support: https://support.office.com/en-my/article/Copy-a-file-to-another-library-or-Send-To-location-0bfe3b52-db99-44ed-91c7-140aa9ba3d41

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