How do I move a file in Python?


How can I do the equivalent of mv in Python?

mv "path/to/current/" "path/to/new/destination/for/"
Asked By: David542



os.rename(), os.replace(), or shutil.move()

All employ the same syntax:

import os
import shutil

os.rename("path/to/current/", "path/to/new/destination/for/")
os.replace("path/to/current/", "path/to/new/destination/for/")
shutil.move("path/to/current/", "path/to/new/destination/for/")
  • The filename ("") must be included in both the source and destination arguments. If it differs between the two, the file will be renamed as well as moved.
  • The directory within which the new file is being created must already exist.
  • On Windows, a file with that name must not exist or an exception will be raised, but os.replace() will silently replace a file even in that occurrence.
  • shutil.move simply calls os.rename in most cases. However, if the destination is on a different disk than the source, it will instead copy and then delete the source file.
Answered By: ig0774

For either the os.rename or shutil.move you will need to import the module.
No * character is necessary to get all the files moved.

We have a folder at /opt/awesome called source with one file named awesome.txt.

in /opt/awesome
○ → ls
○ → ls source

>>> source = '/opt/awesome/source'
>>> destination = '/opt/awesome/destination'
>>> import os
>>> os.rename(source, destination)
>>> os.listdir('/opt/awesome')

We used os.listdir to see that the folder name in fact changed.
Here’s the shutil moving the destination back to source.

>>> import shutil
>>> source = '/opt/awesome/destination' 
>>> destination = '/opt/awesome/source'
>>> shutil.move(source, destination)
>>> os.listdir('/opt/awesome/source')

This time I checked inside the source folder to be sure the awesome.txt file I created exists. It is there

Now we have moved a folder and its files from a source to a destination and back again.

Answered By: jmontross

Although os.rename() and shutil.move() will both rename files, the command that is closest to the Unix mv command is shutil.move(). The difference is that os.rename() doesn’t work if the source and destination are on different disks, while shutil.move() is files disk agnostic.

Answered By: Jim Calfas

The accepted answer is not the right one, because the question is not about renaming a file into a file, but moving many files into a directory. shutil.move will do the work, but for this purpose os.rename is useless (as stated on comments) because destination must have an explicit file name.

Answered By: Javier Palacios

This is what I’m using at the moment:

import os, shutil
path = "/volume1/Users/Transfer/"
moveto = "/volume1/Users/Drive_Transfer/"
files = os.listdir(path)
for f in files:
    src = path+f
    dst = moveto+f

You can also turn this into a function, that accepts a source and destination directory, making the destination folder if it doesn’t exist, and moves the files. Also allows for filtering of the src files, for example if you only want to move images, then you use the pattern '*.jpg', by default, it moves everything in the directory

import os, shutil, pathlib, fnmatch

def move_dir(src: str, dst: str, pattern: str = '*'):
    if not os.path.isdir(dst):
        pathlib.Path(dst).mkdir(parents=True, exist_ok=True)
    for f in fnmatch.filter(os.listdir(src), pattern):
        shutil.move(os.path.join(src, f), os.path.join(dst, f))
Answered By: Peter Vlaar
  import os,shutil

  current_path = "" ## source path

  new_path = "" ## destination path


  for files in os.listdir():

        os.rename(files, new_path+'{}'.format(f))
        shutil.move(files, new_path+'{}'.format(f)) ## to move files from 

different disk ex. C: –> D:

Answered By: Ned Slark

Based on the answer described here, using subprocess is another option.

Something like this:"mv %s %s" % (source_files, destination_folder), shell=True)

I am curious to know the pro’s and con’s of this method compared to shutil. Since in my case I am already using subprocess for other reasons and it seems to work I am inclined to stick with it.

This is dependent on the shell you are running your script in. The mv command is for most Linux shells (bash, sh, etc.), but would also work in a terminal like Git Bash on Windows. For other terminals you would have to change mv to an alternate command.

Answered By: Bill

This is solution, which does not enables shell using mv.

from subprocess import Popen, PIPE, STDOUT

source = "path/to/current/", 
destination = "path/to/new/destination/for/"

p = Popen(["mv", "-v", source, destination], stdout=PIPE, stderr=STDOUT)
output, _ = p.communicate()
output = output.strip().decode("utf-8")
if p.returncode:
    print(f"E: {output}")
Answered By: alper

After Python 3.4, you can also use pathlib‘s class Path to move file.

from pathlib import Path


Answered By: MoonFruit

Also possible with using method.

>>> import subprocess
>>> new = "/path/to/destination"
>>> old = "/path/to/new/destination"
>>> process = "mv ..{} ..{}".format(old,new)
>>>, shell=True) # do not remember, assign shell value to True.

This will work fine when working on Linux. Windows probably gives error since there is no mv Command.

Answered By: Muhammedogz

Since you don’t care about the return value, you can do

import os
os.system("mv src/* dest/")
Answered By: Diego