What are Windows libraries – FAQ

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In Windows 7 you can view personal documents, personal downloads, personal photos, personal videos and personal music. You will also see a name change in the public user profile: Public documents, public downloads, public photos, public videos and public music. These changes to the folder structure were made to accommodate a new Windows Explorer feature called Windows Libraries. Libraries and user groups are new in Windows 7 – and this feature has also been adopted in Windows 8, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about libraries.

What are Windows libraries

Libraries are where you manage your documents, music, images and other files. You can browse your files as in a folder, or you can view your files sorted by properties such as date, type and author.

In a way, a library is similar to a folder. For example, when you open a library, you see one or more files. However, unlike a folder, a library collects files that are stored in multiple locations. This is a subtle but important difference. Libraries don’t really store your articles. They monitor the files that contain your items and allow you to access and store them in different ways. For example, if you have music files in folders on your hard drive and an external drive, you can access all your music files simultaneously through the music library. Only folders can be included in libraries. Other elements of your computer (such as saved searches and search connectors) cannot be taken into account.

How to create or edit a Windows library

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Windows has four standard libraries: Documents, Music, Images and Videos. You can also create new libraries.

Here are some ways to modify an existing library:

Insert or delete a folder. Libraries collect content from library folders or locations. You can add up to 50 folders to a library.

Change default backup location. The default location determines where an item is saved when it is copied, moved or saved to the library.

Change the file type for which a library is optimized. Each library can be optimized for a specific file type (for example, music or images). Optimizing a library for a specific file type changes the options available for organizing your files.

What happens when I delete a library or items from a Windows library

If you delete a library, it is moved to the trash. Files and folders accessible in the library are stored elsewhere and are not deleted. If you accidentally delete one of the four default libraries (Documents, Music, Images or Videos), you can restore them in the navigation pane by right-clicking Libraries and then clicking Restore Default Libraries.

If you delete files or folders from a library, they will also be deleted from their original location. If you want to delete an item from a library, but not from where it is stored, you must delete the folder containing the item.

If you add a folder to a library and then delete the folder from its original location, the library folder is no longer accessible.

Why can’t I find or store files from a folder I created?

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