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In Drupal 6, I have placed my contributed modules inside the modules directory in the Drupal root directory (not in sites/all/modules). I need to upgrade my site to Drupal 7.

Do I have to move the contributed modules inside sites/all/modules before upgrading to Drupal 7?

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You don't have to, but it is highly recommended. It greatly ease identification of the files to keep while upgrading (and following the upgrade documentation).

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Apart from the previous answer, here are some extra suggestions related to moving your contributed modules:

  1. Technically there is no real "need" to move those modules (Drupal can also work if you store contributed modules in the root's subfolder "modules", as you have noticed in your "old" D6 site). However it is NOT considered as a good practise to store contributed modules there, since it's not compliant with typical instructions to update (not upgrade) from one D6 version to another D6 version. During such update, you typically replace the entire 'modules' directory (and only keep your 'sites') folder. If you'd do that during such update, you wipe out all your contributed modules (which is ot what you'd want to happen).

  2. If apart from "contributed" modules you also have "custom" modules (which are home written, not downloaded from Drupal.org), then you should consider storing contributed modules in something like sites/all/modules/contrib. And if you then also store your "custom" modules in something like sites/all/modules/custom. That way it is more easy to differentate the contributed modules from custom modules, something you'll typically want to know about when "upgrading" to a new Drupal version, like from D6 to D7.

  3. If you're actually moving modules from one directory to another, you can (should!) use the Registry Rebuild module to rebuild the system table (to get the modules in the right place).

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