How to Fix: Can't Move Folder, Same Location (Windows 10)

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader Tina J. writes:

" Dear Dennis,

I recently did a clean install of Windows 10 May 2019 Update (version 1903) on my main PC. My C drive is an SSD and only has 120GB of available space. As such, I have modified my the location of my Documents, Pictures, Music, and Video so that it points to the D drive which has 2TB of available space. In the past this hasn't been an issue, but since the Windows 10 May 2019 update, I cannot redirect my Pictures or Documents folder to the D drive - though both the Music and Videos folders had no problems changing locations. When I try to move Pictures and Documents, I receive an error message stating that 'Can't move the folder because there is a folder in the same location that can't be redirected. Access is denied.' I have tried renaming D:\Pictures to D:\Pictures2 temporarily to see if the error message would go away, but it does not. I am not sure what the problem is. I have tried modifying my registry to point to the new location but this does not work. Can you please help? "

My response:

I asked Tina if she would like me to connect to her system using my remote desktop support service in order to have a closer look, and she agreed.

Below I will discuss my findings.

How to Fix: Can't move the folder because there is a folder in the same location that can't be redirected. Access is denied.

It appears that the Windows 10 May 2019 update has a OneDrive bug with how the user profile folders are integrated, especially if the user has chosen to point Documents, Pictures, Music, Video (and similar) externally to another location.

Here's how I fixed it:

  1. When I connected to Tina's machine, I opened her user profile folder (C:\Users\Tina) and looked at the location of the Pictures folder via the "Properties" menu option. Here, the "Location" tab stated that the Pictures folder was stored at C:\Users\Tina\OneDrive.
  2. Via File Explorer, I clicked on the OneDrive folder, but it only contained a few files - which makes sense, because this was a clean install of Windows 10. I then moved all the data off the OneDrive folder into C:\Temp\OneDrive, then uninstalled OneDrive via Start -> Control Panel -> Programs and Features.
  3. I then went back to Tina's user profile folder at C:\Users\Tina, then right-clicked the Pictures folder, then selected "Properties." I then clicked on the "Location" tab and set the location to D:\Pictures, and it accepted the change without giving the error "Can't move the folder because there is a folder in the same location that can't be redirected. Access is denied."

Problem solved.

I hope that helps anyone else having the same issue.

Additional 1-on-1 Support: From Dennis

If all of this is over your head, or if you are still having issues with the "Can't move the folder because there is a folder in the same location that can't be redirected. Access is denied." error message, I can help using my remote desktop support service. Simply contact me, briefly describing the issue and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

Got a Computer Question or Problem? Ask Dennis!

I need more questions. If you have a question - or even a computer problem that needs fixing - please email me with your question so that I can write more articles like this one. I can't promise I'll respond to all the messages I receive (depending on the volume), but I'll do my best. 

About the author: Dennis Faas is the owner and operator of With over 30 years of computing experience, Dennis' areas of expertise are a broad range and include PC hardware, Microsoft Windows, Linux, network administration, and virtualization. Dennis holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Science (1999) and has authored 6 books on the topics of MS Windows and PC Security. If you like the advice you received on this page, please up-vote / Like this page and share it with friends. For technical support inquiries, Dennis can be reached via Live chat online this site using the Zopim Chat service (currently located at the bottom left of the screen); optionally, you can contact Dennis through the website contact form.

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PseudoGeek's picture

I don't understand - what does OneDrive have to do with mapping the document folders to another local drive? And how on earth did you ever make the connection that OneDrive was causing the problem? I've mapped my storage to secondary drives for many years, as Tina was trying to do.

Dennis Faas's picture

OneDrive is enabled by default in Windows 10 and will automatically try to upload anything you place in the %userprofile% folder to the cloud. It's Microsoft's answer to everything else that uses cloud storage (Google Drive, Dropbox, etc) in hopes of getting you to pay for a subscription to their cloud service - assuming you eat past the default maximum storage limit.

In this case, OneDrive overrode the default location from c:\users\tina\documents to c:\users\tina\onedrive, resulting in the error message "Can't move the folder because there is a folder in the same location that can't be redirected. Access is denied." Removing OneDrive fixed this problem.

buzzallnight's picture

is kind of like the evil Borg from Star Trek!

I am fine with Windows 7, I was fine with XP for that matter, even 98!.
Now M$ is hinting that they are not even going to do windows anymore!

I would like to see an article about how we can lock in these older versions of windows because M$ is just getting deranged and suicidal
and let's see, have they ever made a product that doesn't need more buggy patches all the time?????????


Oh, Windows 10 is modern, it will be better.
Patch, buggy patch, patch, patch, buggy patch.
3 years and really it is still Beta!!!!!!!

How about instead of coming up with something new
they just fix the crap they have out already?

PseudoGeek's picture

That's evil.

buzzallnight's picture


hybridauth_Google_109377253206638660393's picture

I had the same problem where I couldn't get my "Documents" folder out of the OneDrive folder. I tried uninstalling OneDrive and that still didn't fix the problem. So I reinstalled OneDrive and then stumbled across this which is probably an easier way of fixing this than uninstalling OneDrive.

So.....if you right click on the OneDrive "cloud" in the systray and then select "Settings" that will pop-up additional choices. Choose the tab "Backup" and then select "Manage Backup". From there you should be able to deselect the backup of the Documents folder. I've already deselected mine and so it isn't showing and I'm not going to select it again so it does show, but hopefully it's apparent what needs to be selected (or at least de-selected). Hope this helps someone else.

hushaoming_15585's picture

I reinstall OneDrive and uplink the backup. Everything is fixed. I think that because OneDrive do something locked folder.
Thank you Bro

dtkirbyjr_13594's picture

I tried to move some folders which reside in my C:Users\ etc folder because I was under the mistaken impression that OneDrive would not back up folders that we located on different logical drives. I ended up making a complete hash, rendering my home desktop essentially unusable. To all of you without a very deep understanding of Windows, like they say on TV "DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME"?

I contacted Dennis and got really fast remote help, that resolved things spot on. This was my first experience with him and i was completely impressed.

hybridauth_Google_116639365700935255500's picture

My problem is that after re-installing OneDrive, its icon doesn't show up in the system tray. If I open the app, there are no settings to manage backups.