Deleting a large list from SharePoint using PowerShell

I recently ran into an issue trying to delete a list over 5,000 items from SharePoint. I tried using Metalogix Content Matrix to delete the list/site, but they all were bound by the threshold. I realized I had to use PowerShell, but research lead to even this having issues deleting the list. The solution was batches of 1,000 items. It takes a few hours to remove 25,000 items, but I was able to delete the list once the items were removed.

I received this error prior to deleting the items in the list using a script via modern UI Site Contents menu:

“My List- 24453 items- We’re sorry, we had some trouble removing this. You can try again from the settings page.”

Similar error on the list settings page:

“The attempted operation is prohibited because it exceeds the list view threshold enforced by the administrator.”

This script on MSDN was able to remove the items so I could then delete the list in the browser:

Here is the script as well:

[code language=”powershell”]

Add-PSSnapin Microsoft.SharePoint.Powershell -ea SilentlyContinue
$web = get-spweb “https://intranet/sites/home”
$list = $web.lists[“My List Title Here”]
$query = New-Object Microsoft.SharePoint.SPQuery
$query.ViewAttributes = “Scope=’Recursive'”
$query.RowLimit = 1000
$query.ViewFields = “”
$query.ViewFieldsOnly = $true
$listItems = $list.GetItems($query)
$query.ListItemCollectionPosition = $listItems.ListItemCollectionPosition
foreach($item in $listItems)
Write-Host “Deleting Item – $($item.Id)”
while ($query.ListItemCollectionPosition -ne $null)


This above script was able to remove the items, then I could delete the list.

All done!

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