Ask Leo: Why You Can Ignore Windows Libraries

ignore windows libraries

Why You Can Ignore Windows Libraries

By Leo Notenboom

Ever since Windows 7 came out, I’ve received a slow but steady stream of questions regarding the new “Libraries” item that shows up in Windows Explorer.

And I’ve avoided dealing with it.

Why? Because in my opinion, the Libraries feature does little more than add confusion to an already confusing situation.

I avoid them like the plague.

It’s time to dive into Libraries and begin to understand exactly what they are and are not. From there, you can decide whether they’re an incredibly useful feature or nothing more then a confusing distraction.

For example – and I’ll probably say this repeatedly – Libraries are not folders.

Told you it’d be confusing.

What Libraries are


A Library – say the “Music” Library that shows up in default installations – is nothing more than a collected view of one or more folders.

It’s actually a very simple concept, but even that description sounds confusing.

Right-click the Music Library and click Properties. You’ll get a dialog much like this:

music library

Note that it lists two folders as “Library locations.”

  • My Music (C:\Users\LeoN)
  • Public Music (C:\Users\Public)
  • Where “LeoN” would be replaced by your login name on your machine.

    Using Music as the example, here’s the magic behind Libraries:

    The Music Library is simply showing you the contents of the folders “C:\Users\LeoN\My Music” and “C:\Users\Public\Public Music”, combined.

    Read that again, because it’s important. It’s very simple, but completely not obvious.

    A Library is not a folder. A Library is simply another way of looking at the contents of multiple folders in a single place.

    That’s all.

    Read the rest of the story here..

    This post is excerpted with permission from Leo Notenboom.

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