Tuesday, March 27, 2012

How To: Bulk Delete Files in a Large SharePoint Document Library using PowerShell

A client recently had a case where a migration of tens of thousands of documents into a document library failed, and they wanted to delete everything and start over.  It turns out there is no easy ‘Delete Everything’ button or API call in SharePoint.  Instead, I came up with this gem to fairly quickly check in any ‘orphan’ files, delete a few thousand items in batches of 1000, and then delete all folders:


$w = get-spweb $url
$l = $w.Lists[$libraryName]
$format = "<Method><SetList Scope=`"Request`">$($l.ID)</SetList><SetVar Name=`"ID`">{0}</SetVar><SetVar Name=`"Cmd`">Delete</SetVar><SetVar Name=`"owsfileref`">{1}</SetVar></Method>"

function DeleteAllFiles($folder)
    $count = $folder.Files.Count - 1
    if($count -gt -1){
    Write-Host "Deleting $count files..."
    for($i = $count; $i -gt -1; $i--){
        $f = $folder.Files[$i];
        if($f.CheckOutStatus -ne [Microsoft.SharePoint.SPFile+SPCheckOutStatus]::None){
            $f.CheckIn("Checkin by admin");   

function BuildBatchDeleteCommand($items)
    $sb = new-object System.Text.StringBuilder
    $sb.Append("<?xml version=`"1.0`" encoding=`"UTF-8`"?><Batch>")
    $items | %{
        $item = $_
return $sb.ToString()

$count = $l.CheckedOutFiles.Count -1;
Write-Host "Taking over $count items that have never been checked in."
for($i = $count; $i -gt -1; $i--){
    $f = $l.CheckedOutFiles[$i];
    Write-Host $f.Url


Write-Host "Deleting $($l.Items.Count) items"
while($l.Items.Count -gt 0){
    $q = new-object "Microsoft.SharePoint.SPQuery"
    $q.ViewFields="<FieldRef Name=`"ID`" />"
    $q.ViewAttributes = "Scope=`"Recursive`""

    $items = $l.GetItems($q)
    $cmd = BuildBatchDeleteCommand($items)
    Write-Host "Deleting $($items.Count) items..."
    $result = $w.ProcessBatchData($cmd)
    if ($result.Contains("ErrorText")){ break; }
    Write-Host "Deleted. $($l.Items.Count) items left..."

Write-Host "Deleting $count folders..."
$l.Folders | %{$_.Url.ToString()} | sort -descending | %{
    $folder = $_
    $f = $w.GetFolder($folder)


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