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Upcoming EventsWednesday 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 LibrariesBy Dick Maybach, member, Brookdale Computer Users’ Group, NJ
February 2013 issue, BUG Bytes www.bcug.com n2nd (at) charter.net
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.
It 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.
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.)
When 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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