Windows 7: Libraries

by JL Beeken on 3-02-2012

After a year and a half with Windows 7 I’ve finally had a look at how Libraries work. I’ll give you the prognosis first. Not what I was hoping for.

Windows 7 Libraries

I’m assuming Windows 7 came this way by default because I see the same thing on my laptop which I haven’t altered. My Documents in the My Documents library and My Pictures in the My Pictures library and so on and I’ve been struggling through the dumb navigation of that since 2010.

I never knew if I was in My Documents or the My Documents Library. And there’s actually a difference. And I didn’t know how to change it either. On my laptop it also shows a Public folder under each one. I do recall deleting those from my desktop.

Well, it’s pretty simple. Just right-click and remove any regular folders from the library. (Don’t delete them! Just remove them.) Expand each library and remove the contained folders one by one by right-clicking and choosing the ‘Remove’ option.

Windows 7 Libraries

After the libraries are empty, I can delete the default four libraries if I want to. Just right-click and delete.

Windows 7 Libraries

OK, now I’ve got a place to build libraries and I can do what we all want to do with our genealogy files. Organize them 19 different ways to Sunday.

Create libraries!

As I’ve heard more and more about surname folder filing I’ve felt I might be missing something with my MRIN filing.

So, let’s say I want to bring together the generation of my great-grandfather Beeken who had eight siblings and four half-siblings.

What I can do is create a library called 04-Beeken (I’m generation 1 so that makes him 4. Whatever.) Then I can go to the MRIN folders of his generation and add them all to the library.

I’m not saying why I would want to do that; I’m just using it as an example. It’s a different way of viewing the same files. It could be handy to bring together all kinds of different files for different purposes.

On each folder I want to include in the library I right-click for this option.

Windows 7 Libraries

This is the beginning of the library. (Never mind about the question marks. Those are just icons to remind me to ask Cuz about some things.)

Windows 7 Libraries

Since these folders are not in numerical order, (which could be confusing) and I can’t do the obvious of dragging and dropping them into order, what I can do is open the library and click on ’6 locations’.

Windows 7 Libraries

And then I can order them myself by right-clicking and moving them up or down one click at a time. If I can get that box to appear at all. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t. Auto-sort should be an option because this is a nuisance obviously.

Windows 7 Libraries

You can also use this to remove folders. Or right-click on a library folder in Windows Explorer and choose ‘remove location from library’.

Windows 7 Libraries

You can add only folders to libraries (up to a maximum of 50). You can’t add or remove single files. Really? Bummer! There goes my fantasy. I was hoping I could create libraries for different photo collections and projects. That is something that Adobe Photoshop Elements Organizer can do but it’s not worth all the other aggravations of it.

You don’t have to sort your folders because you can view the contents in a few different ways; by folder, tag, name, type. This is a sort by tags. ( Meaning keywords, if you’ve already added them.) It doesn’t read keywords from PDFs.

Windows 7 Libraries

If you delete files or folders from a library they will also be deleted from their original locations.

As with most Windows things I’m disappointed with Libraries so far but not even remotely surprised. It’s a great idea that fell off its perch execution-wise. Some-one was on a roll, then they got distracted by a pinball machine and never made it back to their office.

The best part is that I was able to clear the extraneous library junk out of Windows Explorer and have some reasonable navigation back.

Has anyone found a good use for Windows 7 Libraries? I thought it might be a great boon to genealogists. But, since you can’t work with individual files, that might not be the case. It seems like there must be something. Please let me know if Libraries is helping anyone deal with their genealogy files in a better way. I’m all ears here for ideas.

For video tutorials, see Libraries – Windows 7 features.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Magda 1-29-2013 at 6:36 PM

Wow ! I wish I had seen this earlier . I just discovered my default libraries too and now you helped me figure it out further . Thanks .

Magda p.s. That ” sweet capcha ” below is the best !

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