How-To Geek

Manage Files and Documents Easier with Libraries in Windows 7

In previous versions of Windows it can be a tedious task managing music, photos, documents and other files that are scattered in different directories on your hard drive.  Today we take a look at the new Libraries feature in Windows 7 that allows you to organize folders from multiple locations in one spot.

Using Libraries

To access your Libraries click on Start then your user name to open up your personal folder.


Now in the left pane click on Libraries to view the four default Libraries which are Music, Pictures, Videos, and Documents.


Libraries show files that are stored in different locations on your computer as in this example of a Music Library.


You don’t have to limit yourself to just the four default Libraries by creating your own.  When you click on Libraries in the left pane click on the New Libraries button.


A new Library comes up just like a new folder where you can label it.


When you go into your new Library you are prompted to add new folders and files to it.


If you want to add new folder locations to any of the Libraries just click on the hyperlink that shows the current number of locations.


You can then click the Add button to include other locations on the computer.


Right-click on the Library icon and select Properties and you can include a folder from here.


Also, while your navigating through explorer you can Right-click a folder and include it in a library.


This might seem like a subtle change to the user interface but it’s effective and makes navigating files and folders much easier.


Libraries will allow you to share your folders and files with your Homegroup network easier as well.  Check out our look at sharing files and folders in Windows 7 with the Homegroup feature

Brian Burgess worked in IT for 10 years before pursuing his passion for writing. He's been a tech blogger and journalist for the past seven years, and can be found on his about me page or Google+

  • Published 08/31/09

Comments (7)

  1. somename123

    but you cant add network path, or NAS to Libraries

  2. Jeff

    Off the point, perhaps, but I do a bunch of document design and Help system creation, and I was wondering which application you used to capture these windows on this page. Slick stuff. Love the blurry shadowed edge/border.

  3. seti

    I was asking myself the same question as Jeff. :)

    Could you please tell us what software you used to make the screenshots with those shadows?

    Thank you in advance :)

  4. aLiN

    @ Jeff,seti :
    Ashampoo Magical Snap or Ashampoo Snap can do that. It’s a very good software for screenshots.

  5. artplant

    But can you add individual files into library? As I see it now, only whole folders could be included into libraries which is very limiting… Certain pictures or songs could be part of different libraries (i.e. song “A.mp3” could be part of “My favourites” library and part of “R&B” and part of “Mother’s favourite songs” etc.). Is there a solution to this problem or I miss something?

  6. brooster

    load of shet – far easier witha desktop shortcut to somewhere you want it parked without clever links as per previous versions..

  7. symbiotox

    I agree with artplant,

    It’s definitely a one eyed functionality and huge disadvantage one can NOT ADD INDIVIDUAL FILES to a library. It would make installing an image viewer obsolete so that one can make libraries for a certain project out of individual files without duplication of shortcuts or images. Maybe Microsoft drew the line here to not slap 3th party image viewer developers in their face. They maybe took the position that temporary or permanent tagging images is for a 3th party developer. This would be a nice feature when it would be integrated in the OS though. I imagine it would not ask much more rocket science and code to do this ? It would be very welcome with graphic users.

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