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how to configure windows 8 libraries

Updated on February 6, 2013

Introduction

WINDOWS 7 INTRODUCED the concept of Libraries, which are a collection of folders, irrespective of location, that house related files. So, the Documents Library could be multiple folders spread over your hard disk, rather than being limited to the C:\users\\Documents folder, for example.

Libraries also play an important role in Windows 8. In fact, some components rely on them; the new backup system, File History, for example, requires you to use Libraries to back up files and folders.

It’s easy to manage and update Libraries, but it’s important to get everything configured in the right way.

1. Windows 8 has four built-in Libraries: Documents, Music, Pictures and Videos. These include the standard user folders, such as C:\users\\Documents for your work documents. These Libraries appear in every Windows Explorer window, including save dialogs, and are on the left-hand side beneath Libraries. Just click on the one you want to access. If you scroll through the list, you’ll see that the view is organised by the folders in the Library, such as My Music and Public Music.

2. To change which folders a Library uses, open a Windows Explorer window from the Desktop, right-click on the Library you want to change and select Properties. Click Add and browse to the folder you want to include in that Library, then click the Include folder button. This will add this folder to the Library and tell Windows to index it so you can search its contents quickly.

3. You can select folders under Library locations and click Remove to delete them. This is particularly useful if you’re using an SSD to boot and a hard disk for file storage, so have no need for the default folders. You can also select a folder under Library locations and select Set save location. This will make that folder the default save location when you select the Library in a save dialog box. When you’re done, click OK. Repeat Steps 2 and 3 for all the Libraries you want to modify.

4. You’re not limited to the default Libraries, as you can also create your own. Right-click on Libraries in an Explorer window and select New, Library. Type in a name for your Library and press Enter. Right-click on your new Library and select Properties. Click Add to add any folders you want to the Library. You can choose the type of file the Library will contain, including Pictures, Music, Videos, Documents and General. This defines the default view and file attributes that you see. Click OK when you’re done to save the changes.

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