Trails End Computer Club

Bulletin for the week of FEBRUARY 9, 2014

EACH Wednesday 

Program or Lesson 9:30 - 10:30 AM
One on One Help 10:30-?
In the Library


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Our weekly program or lesson is intended
to be of interest to all computer users.
Following the program an allotment of time will
be available for one on one help to those
who want a better understanding of something done
 during the presentation.

Upcoming Events

Wednesday FEBRUARY 12, 2014 Meeting
 9:15 AM Set up your computer
 9:30 AM Lesson, Computer Maintenance part 2
10:30 AM One on One help

Windows 7 Libraries

By Dick Maybach, member, Brookdale Computer Users’ Group, NJ
February 2013 issue, BUG Bytes      n2nd (at)

Windows 7 introduced a new way of accessing files, libraries. These are roughly similar to program shortcuts. A shortcut points to a program, while a library points to group of files and/or directories. Neither takes up significant disk space, and you can delete either without deleting what they point to. Shortcuts appear on your desktop, while libraries appear in your file manager. The purpose of both is the same – make it easier to access things on your PC.

The argument in favor of libraries is best made by citing some examples.
  • Your primary PC is a laptop with limited disk space, so you have most of your extensive collection of videos on an external USB hard drive, with just a few of your favorites on your laptop. You create a video library that includes both the video directory on your laptop and the external hard drive. When you travel (without the external drive) it includes only your favorites, but when you're home it expands to hold your entire collection. If you fill the USB drive, you can add a second and see its contents in the same library. Searches are now much faster, since they will look only at your video collection, and it will appear in one place even though it may be spread over several hard drives. This becomes even more important if the external drives archive data other than videos.
  • You are making a report that analyzes data from several different projects, each stored in a different directory. So you create a library that includes all the directories you need, and all the data appears to be in one place. When you finish the report, you can delete the now unneeded library without affecting any of your data.
  • You have an extensive photo collection with recent ones stored on your desktop PC (in My Pictures) and older ones archived on a different internal drive that you added when your C: drive began to fill. Using a library brings these together seamlessly.
You can probably think of other examples that fit your own situation.
LibrariesIt should be obvious that libraries don't affect the need to organize your files logically into directories. If you just throw everything together in My Documents, every library will contain all your files. Libraries augment your directory structure; they don't replace it.

Libraries can include files and directories on internal hard disks and on USB hard disks with NTFS or FAT-32 file systems. In general, they can't access USB memory sticks, DVDs, CD-ROMs, or drives on home networks. (There are some exceptions, but these aren't common.)

You can see your libraries by calling the Windows File Manager; just click on the folder icon in the taskbar at the bottom of your screen. The screen-shot shows the result, which shows the default libraries. (You may have to click on Libraries in the side panel to see something similar.) Note the New Library item in the File Manager menu bar; click on this to create one.

Before you use a library, right-click on its icon and select Properties to see something similar to the second screen-shot. Although a single library can include many folders, new additions always go the the same folder. The default save folder for the Documents library is My Documents, click on a different folder, then click on the Set Save Location button; a check-mark indicates your choice. Add or remove folders from the library by clicking the appropriate button below the Library locations box. While you have this window open, click on the button below to optimize the library for general items, documents, music, pictures, or videos, depending on its contents.

File Manager

Any time you are using the file manager you can add folders to a new or and existing library. Single-click on a directory, then click on the Include in Library item in the menu bar, and the drop-down menu shows the existing libraries to which you can add the directory, or you can click Create New Library to create a new one. (See the screen-shot below.)

LibraryWhen you open a library, what you see depends on the display option you've chosen. The screen-shot below shows my Pictures library. I've just clicked on the button next to “Arrange by,” which shows that I've selected “Folder.” If you select anything else, you will see all the files in all the folders included in the library arranged by month, day, rating, or tag. Your choices of arrangement depend on how you've optimized the folder. In my Documents library, for example, these are folder, author, date modified, tag, type, and name. While in a library, you can move to a directory by right-clicking on it and selecting Open folder location. Similarly, if you right click on a file and select Open file location, you will move the directory where it resides.

Libraries provide an alternate to the traditional directory tree, which you may find convenient for at least some of your work. It would be worthwhile to experiment with them enough to know when.

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