Tech Tips Home
The Best Tech Tips And Daily Deals
Newsletter On The Internet!

Shop online 24hrs a day or call us Mon-Fri
8:30AM-4:30PM EST - 1-800-915-2088
WorldStart Tech Tip And Store Search
Email: Password: Login Remember Me

Like what you see here? Subscribe to the Tech Tips newsletter!   Email: Subscribe

Complete Guide to Windows Libraries

Friday, February 18th, 2011 by | Filed Under: Computer Terms, Windows Explorer
 
Loading...


With the advent of Windows 7, we got introduced to new feature called Libraries which in easy English can be termed as an improved version of Windows Explorer.

What is a Windows Library?

Library in Windows 7 is a set of folders within your computer to categorize things in a better way, with more control to group or save the files anywhere on the PC. We have been using the similar feature in earlier versions of Windows (and in Windows 7 too) which are My Pictures, My Documents etc. But back then, you could save your files to that particular location specified for those libraries. With the new Library feature in Windows 7, you have total control on adding folders from all over the PC to any such Library, save files to any of them and even create new Libraries depending on your needs.

INFO: Head over to Microsoft to learn more about the Library feature.

Creating and Customizing a New Library

Creating a New Library

Open the explorer window and right-click on Libraries. Go to New>Library. Name the library whatever you like.

halder_windows_libraries_1

Customizing the Icon

Open a new notepad window and in Windows Explorer go to:

C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Libraries

Now drag the newly created library (“Worldstart” in my case) onto the new Notepad window. A bunch of text will appear on the notepad. Leave it open.

halder_windows_libraries_2

Download some free icon files from Sourgeforge or Windows7download. Resolution should be 256X256 for best results.

Open the location where the downloaded file can be found. Hold down Shift key and right click on the icon (you wish to set as your library icon). Click on the option “Copy as path” to copy the file path.

halder_windows_libraries_3

Now move back to the notepad window and add the line <iconReference>PASTE PATH HERE< iconReference> below the string that says <isLibraryPinned>true</isLibraryPinned>.

halder_windows_libraries_4

Save the notepad document and close the window. You will now see the Library with the changed icon.

INFO: To delete a library go to Libraries from Windows explorer, right click on the library you wish to delete and select “Delete”

halder_windows_libraries_5

Adding a Folder to the Library:

1. Open Explorer and click on the newly created library. Press the button “Include a folder” to add a folder to the Library. This button is only shown if the library does not include a folder.

halder_windows_libraries_6

2. You can right click on the Library and go to Properties. Here you can use the “Include a folder…” button to add a folder to the library.

halder_windows_libraries_7

INFO: Uncheck the “Shown in Navigation pane” option (under Attributes) to hide the Library from the navigation pane.

3. You can also right click on any folder, then go to Include in Library and select the library you wish to add the folder to.

halder_windows_libraries_8

Change Default Save Location for A Library

The default save location refers to a folder where the files are saved if you save a specific document to the library. Open the libraries from Windows explorer and right click on the library concerned. Choose Properties.

halder_windows_libraries_9

In the Properties dialog, choose a folder (previously included in the Library) and press the button “Set save location”. Press OK.

Changing the Folder Display Order within Libraries:

Open any library and the folders included in the library will be shown in order they are added. Now to reorder the list click the “Includes” option as shown in the screenshot.

halder_windows_libraries_10

Once the library locations window opens, select any folder and right click on it. Choose “Move up” or “Move down” as needed.

halder_windows_libraries_11

Once the order is changed, press OK to save the changes.

Open My Computer Instead of Opening Libraries:

The explorer icon in the taskbar (which is there by default) opens the library view in Windows 7. However as (most) older Windows users are more comfortable with opening My Computer. Here is a short hack to achieve this.

Right click on the default windows explorer icon and choose “Unpin this from taskbar”.

halder_windows_libraries_12

Now right click on the desktop and select New > Shortcut.

halder_windows_libraries_13

Type %windir%\explorer.exe /e in the space as shown in the screenshot below. Press “Next”.

halder_windows_libraries_14

Name the shortcut anything you want and press Finish. It will be named explorer by default.

Right click on the newly created shortcut and choose “Pin to Taskbar”

halder_windows_libraries_15

Now you can delete the shortcut from desktop and clicking the newly pinned explorer icon will open My Computer instead of libraries.

Enabling or Disabling Libraries in Windows 7

If you are finding it very tough to get used to the Library feature in Windows 7 you can disable the Library feature by editing registry. Just download the zip file from AskVG.com and unzip it on your PC.
There are three registry files (.reg) within the extracted folder. Here are the names of them and their uses:

1. Disable Libraries in Windows 7: Completely disable the Library feature in Windows 7.

2. Only Remove Libraries Icon from Windows 7 Explorer: This removes the libraries from the explorer window. However the feature is not disabled and is still accessible from C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Libraries.

3. Restore Default Settings: Running this script will enable the Libraries in Windows as well as the explorer window. Which means it will help you to restore the default settings.

To run the scripts (mentioned above) just double click on them. Once the script is executed successfully, log off and then log back in to view the changes.

halder_windows_libraries_16

A Simple Freeware to Handle (Almost) All of the Above Tasks

halder_windows_libraries_17

However, if you do not feel very comfortable performing these tasks, you still have a choice to tweak things with a freeware named Librarian. Download it from here.
That is all for now and if you are enjoying the Windows Libraries by now, I’ll consider my efforts has paid off.

~Soumen Halder

Tags: ,

4 Responses to “Complete Guide to Windows Libraries”

  1. Honey says:

    At last a great article for begineers like me,it is so easy to follow,I hope you will have many more W-7 articles by Soumen Halder,I for one will always read his articles,thank you very much,I am a premium member…

  2. Virginia says:

    Windows 7 is new to me and I found this article very confusing.It seemed like too much info at one time for me to understand.

  3. chris says:

    Nothing happens when I drag the icon to notepad, I tried changing the properties so the folders are displayed as icons and not thumbnails but it didn’t help, a black circle with a diagonal strike through appear beside the mouse when trying to drag the icon to notepad but only once it enters notepad. I also tried using notepad++ but that didn’t make a difference.

    • Dennis says:

      Hi Chris,

      What version of Windows 7 do you have? I have the “Home Premium” version, and I am having the very same problem that you are having.

Like these tips? Get them for FREE in your email!

WorldStart's Tech Tips Newsletter

  • Tech Tips Daily - Become a tech pro! Get the very best tech and computer help sent directly to your email every weekday!

  • Tech Tips Weekly - If you don't want our Tech Tips newsletter every day, then sign up for this weekly newsletter to get the best information of the week. Sent on Fridays.

Other Newsletters

  • WorldStart's Daily Deals - Every week, we send out great deals in our Daily Deals newsletter. Many of these deals are exclusively for our Daily Deals newsletter subscribers and can't be found with our regular specials.

  • Just For Grins - Each issue includes a couple clean jokes, some funny quotes, and a hilarious reader's story. Newsletter is sent five days a week.


Enter Email Address:

Subscribe

Your e-mail address is safe with us!
We only use it to send you the newsletters you request. It is NEVER disclosed to a third party for any reason, ever! Plus, if you decided you don't like our newsletters (don't worry, you'll love them), unsubscribing is fast and easy.

Free Newsletter Signup



Tech Tips Daily

Become a tech pro! Get the very best tech and computer help sent directly to your email every weekday!

Tech Tips Weekly

The week's best in tech and computer help. Get your issue sent to your email every Friday!

WorldStart's Daily Deals

The very best deals on the Internet! Get a new set of incredible sales every day of the week!

Just For Grins

Clean jokes, funny quotes, and hilarious comics. Sent 5 times a week straight to your email.


Subscribe


Love Worldstart? Refer A Friend!

WorldStart's Premium Membership

Tip Archive


Categories:
Archives: