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Making full use of Windows 7's Libraries

Windows 7's Libraries and How to Use Them

Libraries are a new feature of Windows 7 and can sort all your media and files so that you can easily view them in one place. And the files that are pulled together by the Library can be located anywhere on your computer, even if they are scattered across multiple folders or multiple storage devices.

Windows 7 has 4 default Libraries - Documents - Music - Pictures and Videos (If you ever remove or change these Libraries, you can quickly restore them by right-clicking Libraries in Windows Explorer, and then clicking Restore default libraries).

In many ways, a Library is similar to a folder. When you open a Library, you will see one or more files or folders. However, unlike a folder, a Library can display files that are stored in several folders at the same time. This is an important, difference. Libraries don't actually store items. They monitor folders that contain your files, images and videos, and provide a single access point.

You can create your own Libraries and add folder locations to them. You can create Libraries for any set of files that you don’t feel are well covered by the default Libraries. For example, you might create a new Work Documents Library to keep work-related documents separate from personal documents.

Creating a new Library is easy. Just right-click Libraries in the Navigation Pane on the left side of an Explorer window, point to New, and then click Library.

In this screen shot we have already created a new Library item for 'QBS PC Help' for all our work related documents.

Windows 7 Libraries

After creating a Library, it’s time to add your folder locations. Right-click a Library, and then click Properties to edit the folder locations that the Library includes, as well as other properties.

For folders to be successfully added to a Library, they must be capable of being indexed on the local machine, indexed on a remote Windows machine, or on a server with files indexed by Windows Search. In order to maintain the high standards for the Windows search experience, you can’t add folders that are not indexed into a folder.


Adding Folders to the Library

You add folders to the Library view by clicking the Include a Folder button. You can then select the folders you want to add.

Also choose how you want the Library to optimize your Library files. The choice is:

1. General Items
2. Documents
3. Music
4. Pictures
5. Videos.

Right Click Library

By using the Library Properties dialog box you can include new folder locations or remove existing folder locations.

Removing folder locations from Libraries or deleting entire Libraries doesn't actually delete the files from where they’re stored; you are simply removing them from the overall view that the Library provides.

You can also set the default save location. The default save location is the folder in which Windows Explorer stores a file when you save it to the root of a Library (for example, when you drop a picture into the Pictures library).

Libraries are used throughout Windows 7. Prior to 7, Windows Media Player and Windows Media Center both had their own distinct library concept. In Windows 7, however, both of these programs use the Libraries visible in Explorer. This results in a far more consistent view of the media stored on your PC.

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