We have come across an issue in our SharePoint implementation whereby moving documents (Cut and Paste) between two different sites using Explorer View causes the following error:

Can't read from source file or disk.

The structure of the site is as follow:


It doesn't make a difference whether the file I try to move is in the root of the library or is inside a document set. I've tested as a normal user and also as a farm administrator, both of which receive the error.

We have users on Windows XP and Windows 7. Using the structure above, XP users can cut and paste documents between two sites but Windows 7 users cannot. Using the structure below, where the library is a further subsite deep, neither XP or Windows users can perform the move.


I've read some articles and blogs online which suggest that this is normal behavior and it's not possible to move documents between different sites using Explorer, only libraries. Does anyone have experience of this problem or similar and can anyone advise why we're seeing different results for XP and Windows 7 users?

  • You can use copy-paste. It works me
    – zuhal
    Feb 18, 2015 at 12:22
  • Yes copy/paste does work however it does not preserve the Document ID which is why we wanted to use cut/paste instead. It also means that you have to do copy>paste>delete original to avoid duplicates - something we've found users don't always do unfortunately.
    – Stuart C
    Feb 18, 2015 at 14:52

4 Answers 4


I am afraid this is a well known and documented issue, related to WebDav (Web Distributed Authoring and Versioning), FPRPC (FrontPage Server Extensions Remote Procedure Call), SSL enabled infrastructures (https) and other issues (e.g. filenames ending with a dot, using ports other than 80 etc)

You can find many resources online, but the main workarounds suggested are the following:

  1. Use the content structure feature to move documents (publishing features must be activated)
  2. Create mapped drives for both locations and move between them

In either case, try to experiment with test documents for both operating systems to be on the safe side.

This article provides interesting details about Explorer View and this one refers to your problem, but you will find also discussions in Technet and other official Microsoft pages.

  • Option (2) does not preserve the document metadata, eg created / created by, same as @StuartC noted in his comment on his OP.
    – JohnC
    Sep 29, 2016 at 16:14

This seems to be issue with permissions in our case. The user who was trying to drag/drop. She could copy but not delete because she did not have delete permissions.


A workaround for this is to create a temporary place on your computer, map both WebDav folders (Source and Destination) and move the files first to your local temporary folder and then to the Destination folder.


Another problem/solution in our case the error would occur if the file moved not from site to site, but within different folders of the same library. The user had read/write access to the library, and could read, copy and delete documents, but they could not move the documents. The cause of the issue was that document approval was turned on for the library. The solution was to give the user 'approval' access which then allowed them to be able to move the documents.

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