Folder actions

Important

To prevent unauthorized access, Windows require administrator rights to access protected folders. To access these resources using the folder actions, run Power Automate with administrator rights. For more information about running Power Automate as an administrator, go to Run Power Automate with elevated rights.

Power Automate folder actions enable you to manipulate and organize folders.

The Get special folder action retrieves the paths for commonly used directories that vary among users and machines. The following example retrieves the desktop directory and stores it in a variable.

You can now use the %SpecialFolderPath% variable any time it's necessary, regardless of the user who runs the flow or the computer on which it runs.

Screenshot of the Get special folder action.

Create new folders with the Create folder action.

To get a list of a folder's contents, use the Get subfolders in folder action. This action retrieves a list of folders located within the specified folder. The following example retrieves all the subfolders of a specified special folder. In the Advanced section, you can see that the action sorts the results by creation time in ascending order and name in descending order.

Screenshot of the Get subfolders in folder action.

You can also copy, move, rename, and delete or empty folders using the appropriate actions.

If folder exists

Mark the beginning of a conditional block of actions depending on whether a folder exists or not.

Input parameters

Argument Optional Accepts Default Value Description
If folder N/A Exists, Doesn't exist Exists Choose the state of the folder to check
Folder path No Folder Enter or choose the full path of the folder, or a variable containing the folder, to check its state

Variables produced

This action doesn't produce any variables.

Exceptions

This action doesn't include any exceptions.

Get files in folder

Retrieve the list of files in a folder.

Input parameters

Argument Optional Accepts Default Value Description
Folder No Folder Enter or choose the full path of the folder, or a variable containing the folder, to retrieve the list of files from
File filter No Text value * Choose a filter to limit the files retrieved. This parameter allows wild cards, for example, *.txt or document?.doc. To allow for multiple file filters, separate the choices with a semi-colon, for example, .txt;.exe.
Include subfolders N/A Boolean value False Specify whether to look into subfolders as well
Fail upon denied access to any subfolder N/A Boolean value True Specify whether to throw an error when trying to get files of a folder with no access rights or ignore those folders
Sort by N/A No sort, Full name, Root path, Directory, Name, Name without extension, Extension, Size, Creation time, Last accessed, Last modified, Is hidden, Is system, Is read-only, Is archive, Exists No sort Specify whether to sort the results and by which criterion
Descending N/A Boolean value False Specify whether to sort the items in descending or ascending order
Then by N/A No sort, Full name, Root path, Directory, Name, Name without extension, Extension, Size, Creation time, Last accessed, Last modified, Is hidden, Is system, Is read-only, Is archive, Exists No sort Specify whether to sort the results by a second criterion
Descending N/A Boolean value False Specify whether to sort the items in descending or ascending order
Then by N/A No sort, Full name, Root path, Directory, Name, Name without extension, Extension, Size, Creation time, Last accessed, Last modified, Is hidden, Is system, Is read-only, Is archive, Exists No sort Specify whether to sort the results by a third criterion
Descending N/A Boolean value False Specify whether to sort the items in descending or ascending order

Variables produced

Argument Type Description
Files List of Files The retrieved files as a list of file objects

Exceptions

Exception Description
Folder doesn't exist Indicates that the folder wasn't found
Can't retrieve list of files Indicates a problem retrieving the list of files

Get subfolders in folder

Retrieve the list of subfolders in a folder.

Input parameters

Argument Optional Accepts Default Value Description
Folder No Folder Enter or choose the full path of the folder, or a variable containing the folder, to retrieve the list of subfolders from
Folder filter No Text value * Choose a filter to limit the subfolders retrieved. This parameter allows wild cards, for example, Doc* or Document?. To allow for multiple folder filters, separate the choices with a semi-colon, for example, Doc*;*.
Include subfolders N/A Boolean value False Specify whether to look into the subfolders and retrieve their subfolders (and so on) as well
Fail upon denied access to any subfolder N/A Boolean value True Specify whether to throw an error when trying to get subfolders of a folder with no access rights or ignore those folders
Sort by N/A No sort, Full name, Root path, Directory, Name, Name without extension, Extension, Size, Creation time, Last accessed, Last modified, Is hidden, Is system, Is read-only, Is archive, Exists No sort Specify whether to sort the results and by which criterion
Descending N/A Boolean value False Specify whether to sort the items in descending or ascending order
Then by N/A No sort, Full name, Root path, Directory, Name, Name without extension, Extension, Size, Creation time, Last accessed, Last modified, Is hidden, Is system, Is read-only, Is archive, Exists No sort Specify whether to sort the results by a second criterion
Descending N/A Boolean value False Specify whether to sort the items in descending or ascending order
Then by N/A No sort, Full name, Root path, Directory, Name, Name without extension, Extension, Size, Creation time, Last accessed, Last modified, Is hidden, Is system, Is read-only, Is archive, Exists No sort Specify whether to sort the results by a third criterion
Descending N/A Boolean value False Specify whether to sort the items in descending or ascending order

Variables produced

Argument Type Description
Folders List of Folders The retrieved subfolders as a list of folder objects

Exceptions

Exception Description
Folder doesn't exist Indicates that the folder wasn't found
Can't retrieve list of subfolders Indicates a problem retrieving the list of subfolders

Create folder

Create a new folder.

Input parameters

Argument Optional Accepts Default Value Description
Create new folder into No Folder Enter or choose the full path of the folder, or a variable containing the folder, to create a new folder in
New folder name No Text value Enter the text, or a text variable, to be the name of the new folder

Variables produced

Argument Type Description
NewFolder Folder The created folder object (which is a representation and can access the folder and all its information)

Exceptions

Exception Description
Folder doesn't exist Indicates that the folder wasn't found
Can't create folder Indicates a problem creating the folder
New folder path and name are empty Indicates that both the new folder path and folder name don't have value

Delete folder

Delete an existing folder and its contents (files and subfolders).

Input parameters

Argument Optional Accepts Default Value Description
Folder to delete No Folder Enter or choose the full path of the folder, or a variable containing the folder, to delete. Remember that all contents of that folder and its subfolders are deleted too.

Variables produced

This action doesn't produce any variables.

Exceptions

Exception Description
Folder doesn't exist Indicates that the folder wasn't found
Can't delete folder Indicates a problem deleting the folder

Empty folder

Delete all the contents of a folder (files and subfolders) without deleting the folder itself.

Input parameters

Argument Optional Accepts Default Value Description
Folder to empty No Folder Enter or choose the full path of the folder, or a variable containing the folder, to delete its contents

Variables produced

This action doesn't produce any variables.

Exceptions

Exception Description
Folder doesn't exist Indicates that the folder wasn't found
Can't delete folder's contents Indicates a problem clearing the folder's contents

Copy folder

Copy a folder into a destination folder.

Input parameters

Argument Optional Accepts Default Value Description
Folder to copy No Folder Enter or choose the full path of the folder, or a variable containing the folder, to copy. If the folder path ends with a \ only the contents of the folder (files + subfolders) are copied. Otherwise, the folder itself (along with its contents) is copied as a subfolder into the destination folder.
Destination folder No Folder Enter or choose the full path of the folder, or a variable containing the folder, to be the destination folder
If folder exists N/A Do nothing, Overwrite Do nothing Specify whether to overwrite files or not copy them at all, if the destination folder already exists. If the folder exists, but the files have different names, the old files still remain in the folder.

Variables produced

Argument Type Description
CopiedFolder Folder The copied folder object (which is a representation and can access the folder and all its information)

Exceptions

Exception Description
Folder doesn't exist Indicates that the folder wasn't found
Destination folder doesn't exist Indicates that the destination folder wasn't found
Can't copy folder Indicates a problem copying the folder

Move folder

Move an existing folder into a destination folder.

Input parameters

Argument Optional Accepts Default Value Description
Folder to move No Folder Enter or choose the full path of the folder, or a variable containing the folder, to move
Destination folder No Folder Enter or choose the full path of the folder, or a variable containing the folder, to be the destination folder

Variables produced

Argument Type Description
MovedFolder Folder The moved folder object (which is a representation and can access the folder and all its information)

Exceptions

Exception Description
Folder doesn't exist Indicates that the folder wasn't found
Destination folder doesn't exist Indicates that the destination folder wasn't found
Can't move folder Indicates a problem moving the folder

Rename folder

Change the name of a folder.

Input parameters

Argument Optional Accepts Default Value Description
Folder to rename No Folder Enter or choose the full path of the folder, or a variable containing the folder, to change its name
New folder name No Text value Enter the text, or a text variable, to be the new folder name

Variables produced

Argument Type Description
RenamedFolder Folder The renamed folder object (which is a representation and can access the folder and all its information)

Exceptions

Exception Description
Folder doesn't exist Indicates that the folder wasn't found
Can't rename folder Indicates a problem renaming the folder

Get special folder

Retrieve the path of a Windows' special folder (such as Desktop, My Pictures, Internet Cache etc.).

Input parameters

Argument Optional Accepts Default Value Description
Special folder name N/A Programs, Personal, Favorites, Startup, Recent, Send To, Start Menu, Music, Desktop, Templates, Application Data, Local Application Data, Internet Cache, Cookies, History, Common Application Data, System, Program Files, Pictures, Common Program Files Desktop Choose the name of the special folder (like My Documents or Desktop). This option is independent of path, to find the special folder on any computer regardless of path specifics.

Variables produced

Argument Type Description
SpecialFolderPath Folder The special folder object (which is a representation and can access the folder and all its information)

Exceptions

This action doesn't include any exceptions.