Windows 7 / Getting Started

Windows 7 Understanding Libraries

Libraries are a new feature in Windows 7 that makes it easier for users to organize, find, and use their documents, pictures, and other data files. By using libraries, users can access files that are stored in different locations as a single collection. For example, documents that are stored in the My Documents folder, the Public documents folder, an external hard drive, and a network share can be accessed as a single set of files in the Documents library-as if they were all stored in the same place. Libraries are also integrated with the Windows Search service to enable users to find the files they need on their computers or on network file servers quickly. Libraries were introduced in Windows 7 to address the problem of the tendency of users to store their files in multiple locations on their computers, which can make it difficult for them to find the files when they need them.

To point a library to different locations, you must include a folder in the library. When you include a folder, it is associated with the library so that the contents of the folder-or library location-are displayed within the library and are searchable from the library. Library locations can be folders on the local system or shared folders on the network.

When Windows 7 is installed on a system, four default libraries are created:

  • Documents
  • Pictures
  • Music
  • Videos

Each of these default libraries has two locations configured. For example, the Documents library has the following two locations configured by default:

  • My Documents The C:\Users\user_name\Documents folder within the user's profile
  • Public Documents The C:\Users\Public\Documents folder that can be accessed by any user who is logged on to the computer interactively

Only one library location can be configured as the default save location for a library. The default save location is the folder to which files that are moved, copied, or saved to the library are stored. The default save location for the four default libraries are the known folders within the user's profile. For example, the default save location for the Documents library is the My Documents folder. The default save location for a library can be viewed or modified by opening the properties sheet for the library. If the location representing the default save location is removed from the library, the next available location in the Library Locations list will become the new default save location.

Libraries support two levels of functionality:

  • Full functionality If all library locations included in a library are indexed using the Windows Search service, the full Windows 7 library experience is available for users, including:
    • Rich metadata views Allows you to arrange files by properties such as date, type, author, and tags
    • Fast, full-content searching Searching library contents provides customized filter search suggestions based on the types of files included in the library
  • Basic functionality If one or more nonindexed locations are included in a library, some library functionality will not be available, including:
    • You cannot search the library from the Start menu.
    • You cannot perform a full-text search (grep search is used instead).
    • You cannot access search filter suggestions other than Date Modified and Size.
    • There are no file snippets in the search results.
    • You cannot use metadata browsing using Arrange By views.

For more information on the levels of library functionality, see the section titled "Managing Libraries" later in this tutorial.

Note The Windows Explorer user interface will not allow you to add a nonindexed remote location to a library.

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In this tutorial:

  1. Managing Users and User Data
  2. Understanding User Profiles in Windows 7
  3. Types of User Profiles
  4. User Profile Namespace
  5. User Profile Namespace in Windows XP
  6. User Profile Namespace in Windows Vista and Windows 7
  7. Application Compatibility Issue
  8. Disabling Known Folders
  9. Windows 7 Understanding Libraries
  10. Working with Libraries
  11. Including Indexed Folders in a Library
  12. Adding Nonindexed Remote Locations to a Library
  13. Creating Additional Libraries
  14. Managing Libraries
  15. Implementing Corporate Roaming
  16. Understanding Roaming User Profiles and Folder Redirection
  17. Understanding Roaming User Profiles in Earlier Versions of Windows
  18. Understanding Folder Redirection in Earlier Versions of Windows
  19. Enhancements to Roaming User Profiles and Folder Redirection Previously Introduced in Windows Vista
  20. Additional Enhancements to Roaming User Profiles and Folder Redirection Introduced in Windows 7
  21. Improved First Logon Performance With Folder Redirection
  22. Implementing Folder Redirection
  23. Configuring the Redirection Method
  24. Configuring Target Folder Location
  25. Configuring Redirection Options
  26. Configuring Policy Removal Options
  27. Folder Redirection and Sync Center
  28. Considerations for Mixed Environments
  29. Additional Group Policy Settings for Folder Redirection
  30. Troubleshooting Folder Redirection
  31. Implementing Roaming User Profiles
  32. Creating a Default Network Profile
  33. Configuring a User Account to Use a Roaming Profile
  34. Implementing Mandatory Profiles
  35. Implementing Super-Mandatory Profiles
  36. Managing User Profiles Using Group Policy
  37. Working with Offline Files
  38. Enhancements to Offline Files Introduced Previously in Windows Vista
  39. Additional Enhancements to Offline Files Introduced in Windows 7
  40. Understanding Offline File Sync
  41. Modes of Operation in Offline Files
  42. Managing Offline Files
  43. Managing Offline Files Using Windows Explorer
  44. Managing Offline Files Using the Offline Files Control Panel
  45. Managing Offline Files Using Sync Center
  46. Configuring Offline Files on the Server
  47. Managing Offline Files Using Group Policy
  48. Offline Files Policy Settings Introduced in Windows Vista
  49. Additional Offline Files Policy Settings for Windows 7