Move Site (SPWeb) Operation fails with list view threshold exception

When using Move Site via Site Content and Structure to move a site to another location in the site hierarchy you may find it fails with one of the following errors (depending on where you look):

Operation to Move 'old site URL' to 'new site URL' failed

"MoveWebs.Move catches SPException : The attempted operation is prohibited because it exceeds the list view threshold enforced by the administrator."

"Move Operation under site 'Site Name' failed in the Content and Structure tool. Details in ULS logs"


Increasing the list view threshold alleviates the issue however I have not managed to figure out exactly why the limit is reached. I have encountered this when none of the lists in the site being moved, or any of its child sites, have breached the list view threshold. In fact the largest list was less than 2000 items with the list view threshold at the default 5000.

Perhaps its due to the aggregated total items being moved? This makes some sense as the list view threshold is in place to prevent SQL table locks which occur when more than 5000 rows are queried. As all the lists in a site collection are stored in a single table it makes sense that the same limitation would occur here.

If moving large sites is something that you need to do, I would suggest doing it out-of-hours if possible as these thresholds are in place for a good reason. Make sure that you utilise the administration list view threshold rather than increasing the one which restricts the majority of users. Performing actions that require an increased list view threshold may cause serious performance issues.

Please comment if you have anything to add to this.

Published by

Paul Ryan

As a developer my professional interests are technical and tend to be SharePoint focused. I've been working with SharePoint since 2009 and hope my posts will give back a little to the community that's supported me over this time. I'm also a keen runner (half-marathon) and passionate Brompton bicycle owner.

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