Windows 7 Features – Libraries 1


Today’s look at Windows 7 is about Libraries.  If you’ve seen Windows Home Server, then you have an idea of what Libraries are.  In Windows Home Server, the system takes all of your hard disks (aside from the “System” disk) and incorporates them into one giant storage.  You don’t have drive letters (D: E: F: etc) anymore, just data locations.

Libraries are the client-side equivalent of this.  Since Microsoft couldn’t (or chose not to) do away with the drive letters completely, Libraries are a mixture of both worlds.  Some people complain about Libraries, and I will admit that in the beginning, I was one of them.  But then I decided to play around with them, and have come to love them overall.  Yes, they do have quirks that I’d like to see changed, but overall they are good and useful.

So, let’s dive into Libraries.  The default libraries that you’ll find in a Windows 7 installation are Documents, Downloads, Videos, Pictures, and Music.  The Documents Library has My Documents (the individual User) and Public Documents as the default locations. The Downloads has My Downloads as it’s default location.  Music has My Music and Public Music, and Videos and Pictures have similar locations as their defaults. 

You can add locations to the libraries by clicking on the “Includes xxxx locations” link.  Or you can remove locations aside from the default location.  The locations can be on external drives, folders in your main drive (or folders on the external drive), flash drives, or network locations.  I wouldn’t recommend flash drives, unless they are not going to be removed, but that’s my personal opinion.

If you want to create more libraries, you right-click on the Libraries folder in Windows Explorer, and choose New—> Library.  Then you rename the library to whatever you wish to call it.  To remove a library, simply right-click on it’s name and select Delete.  If you want to change the default save location, you simply right-click on the Library name, and select Properties.  Then you click on the location that you want to save to by default, and click “Set Save Location” then Apply and OK.  ***This is a feature that I just discovered as I’m typing this, and removes one of my dislikes for Libraries.***

If you have a default location set, and want to save a file in another location in the Library, you have to navigate to it’s real location (using the Drive Letters or other methods) then save the file. This was an issue that I didn’t like, since it defeats the purpose of having the library.  However, if you want to save in a subfolder of a library, you can do that through the “Library” link. Even if it’s not your default location.

So, how can Libraries become more productive for you?  That’s a really simple question, if you think about it.  If you’re working on projects for work or class, create a library for those projects.  Point the library to whatever location you will be saving the files to, and you have a one-click access to those files from that point on.  You can even combine multiple locations into the one library, so if you have files saved on two or more hard drives (or flash drives and network drives), you can get to them with one-click.

I will be creating a couple of video podcasts which will cover libraries and the taskbar in the next few weeks.  If you don’t have access to a copy of Windows 7 (either the RC or the RTM version) this will give you a visual idea of what I’m discussing.  And I will do this with other features as well. 

Have a great day:)
Patrick.


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