I recently completed an upgrade (db attach) from SharePoint 2010 to SharePoint 2013 to SharePoint 2016. Users now see a "Documents" folder and "Shared Documents" folder under Subsites - Site Contents. I have a user who uses Windows Explorer to manage SharePoint content who noticed more files under "Documents" folder than under "Shared Documents" folder. I assume "Documents" folder is the SharePoint 2016 replacement for "Shared Documents."

Why are there two folders?

Should these folders be mirrored?

Can "Shared Documents" be deleted?

What is best practice for this scenario?

  • can you check the internal name for Documents folder? what you see in URL? Sep 22, 2020 at 14:58
  • Documents folder url: ...../Documents/Forms/AllItems.aspx Shared Documents folder url: ...../Shared Documents/Forms/AllItems.aspx
    – C1TonyB
    Sep 22, 2020 at 17:40

1 Answer 1


Do you have publishing features activated on one of these sites? I think I have spotted similar behavior when migrating from SharePoint 2010.

A Documents library (and also other libraries) is automatically created if you once had the publishing features activated, and won’t get deleted even if you deactivate the features later.

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It is certain that these libraries are all safe to delete if they are not in use. You can just keep them as they are, or merge them into one based on content organizing consideration.

  • Thank you for your response. After the upgrade to SharePoint 2016 the Documents library became the default library (Users now see Documents library and not Shared Documents library in Quick Launch), correct? It appears content is the same in both Documents and Shared Documents. If users were only adding content to Shared Documents, how did the same content get into Documents? Was this part of the upgrade? Thank you.
    – C1TonyB
    Sep 25, 2020 at 11:44
  • @C1TonyB Per my understanding, yes. Since Documents is the default document library in the new farm, the migration will carry the original Shared Documents library to the new Documents library. The migration will also keep the original copy because it doesn’t erase any content from your farm. Just delete the extra document library if it is not needed. Sep 28, 2020 at 6:36

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