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Windows 7 - Setting Up Your Libraries

In Windows 7, libraries are basically collections of files categorized by type. You can access your libraries by clicking on the "Libraries" section in the left-hand pane of any Windows Explorer window. You can access each individual library from the links in the top-right of your start menu. By default, Windows 7 includes libraries for documents, pictures, music and videos. You can also add your own for collections of different types of files.

Libraries are useful since they can provide a single location from which you can access all of the relevant file types on your computer. For example, you can configure your music library to display music stored in multiple folders either on your computer, network hard drive or remote computer. While Windows provides default folders for documents, pictures, music and videos in your own user account folder, many people like to store their multimedia collections elsewhere, such as on a separate hard drive or partition or even on another networked computer or device. For these files to show up in your libraries, you're going to have to take a few steps to configure them correctly.

Access your selection of libraries as explained previously. By default, you'll see the four icons. Right-click on each one which you want to specify different folders for. Go to properties and click the button "Include a folder." Browse to the location containing the relevant files and click "Include folder." Click "OK." From now on, the contents of any new folders you added to the library will always be displayed when you open that library.

You can also create your own libraries for files of different types. To do this, return to the main library window in Explorer. Right-click anywhere in the blank area, click "New" and click "New library." Enter the name for your new library and then right-click on it and go to "Properties." Add the folders you want the library to display files from in the same way that you did for your existing libraries. Note that you'll also be able to see the total size of all of the files contained in that library.

In the dropdown box beneath "Optimize this library for," choose the type of file that best describes the files in that library. For example, if you choose music as the file type, information such as track length and number will automatically appear beside each file when you open that library. Click "OK" when done.

You can delete a library at any time by selecting the icon, right clicking and pressing "Delete." You will not lose any of the files contained in the library itself. You'll only be deleting the shortcut.


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