How to set up Windows 7 Libraries

Windows 7

Get faster access to your files with our guide to setting up Windows 7's Libraries feature

Libraries are the first major addition to the standard Windows Explorer interface for a long time. They're a great way to group collection of folders and files together from disparate locations without needing to make copies.

The Libraries folder hierarchy is an organisational one - it doesn't reflect the actual folder structure on your hard disk. This is one of the reasons a few people haven't taken at all well to the notion, but it's really not that difficult to understand.

Find out how to get started with Libraries here.

Windows 7

Windows 7

Finding Libraries

Finding Libraries

Libraries are a standard fixture of all Windows 7 Explorer windows, and similar windows, such as Save As dialogs. By default the top-level Libraries folder contains four libraries: Documents, Music, Pictures and Video.

Add folders

Add folders

By default, the only folders in each library are the standard Documents locations under C:Users. The power of libraries lies in the ability to add folders. To do that, click the "2 locations" link at the top of any library view.

Expanding Libraries

Expanding Libraries

Click Add to start expanding the scope of a library. You can add folders from almost any location, including network folders. Here we've browsed on the network to find a folder. The only ones you can't add are flash drives and optical drives.

Set default location

Set default location

If you drag a file or folder into a library rather than adding it via the Add dialog, it gets saved to the default save location. To modify that, simply right-click on 'Set as default save location'.

Create a new Library

Create a new Library

You're not limited to the default Documents, Video, Music and Pictures libraries. To create a custom library, click on the top-level Libraries icon, right-click and select New | Library. Enter a name and you're away.

Fill your new Library

Fill your new Library

New libraries don't include any folders by default - just add them in the same way we covered in step 3. It's worth bearing in mind that if you right-click on an already created library and select New Folder, that's what you get - a new folder in the default save location.

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