Monday, October 26, 2009

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All You Want To Know About Libraries In Windows 7 | Windows 7 Introduces User Libraries

In Windows XP and Windows Vista, you have special folders named “My Documents,” “My Pictures,” and so on for storing your files. However, not many people actively used these folders for storing their personal data. Instead, people created their own folders, with names like C:\My project June 2008 and C:\photos\Photos from Japan trip 2009.

Although there is nothing wrong with this approach, it makes indexing and searching very time-consuming, not to mention frustrating.

In Windows 7, Microsoft has attempted to address this problem with the concept of Libraries. Conceptually, Libraries are a central repository of all the various folders on your computer. To search for files in your computer, go to the Libraries and navigate the various subfolders contained within it. You can still create an assortment of folders, but you can avoid the chaos by adding a folder to one of your libraries.

Exploring Libraries
The Libraries are found in Windows Explorer. Figure below shows the application with its four default libraries—Documents, Music, Pictures, and Videos.

Figure: The Libraries in Windows Explorer

When you click the arrow to the left of the Documents library (or double-click its icon), you will observe that there are two folders contained within it (see Figure below): My Documents and Public Documents. These two folders are actual folders located elsewhere
on your computer.

Figure: The Documents library, which contains two folders
Each library is mapped to two separate folders for a good reason. The first folder, called the private folder, is for saving your own personal data. The second folder, called the public folder, is for everyone. If you use the HomeGroup feature to share files, the private folder will have read-only permission. This means that other users on the network can view what is in your private folder, but cannot make changes to it. In contrast, public folders will have read-and-write permissions, which means that other users can view their content as well as make changes to it.

In fact, My Documents is mapped to C:\Users\username\My Documents and Public Documents is mapped to C:\Users\Public\Public Documents.

With the Libraries, all your content should ideally be grouped under the default libraries. For example, all your documents should be saved in either the My Documents or Public Documents folder. When you need to search for documents, you simply go to the Documents library and start your search from there.

Creating Your Own Library
Of course, not everyone wants to save their documents in a generic folder named My Documents. You can still save your documents in a specific folder—say, C:\My Report June 2009—and then link it with the Libraries. Suppose you want to create a library to contain all your reports. In this case, the first thing you do is to create a new library by right-clicking Libraries and selecting New→Library (see Figure below).

Figure: Creating a new library
Name your library (for this example, I have named it as Reports) and your newly created
library will now be empty (see Figure Below).

Figure: Your newly created library
To link your library to an actual folder, click the “Include a folder” button and specify a folder name. For example, I have added the C:\My Report June 2009 folder to my library.  The Reports library now looks like Figure Below.

Figure: Adding a folder to a library
To add more folders to the library, click the “1 location” link (see Figure below).

Figure: Adding more folders to the library
Click the Add button to specify a folder to add to the library (see Figure below). You can add as many folders are you like.

Figure: Adding additional folders to the library
Note that the first folder added to the library will be the default save location for the library. This means that when you drag-and-drop an item to the Reports library, the item will be copied into the My Report June 2009 folder (because this is the first folder added to the library).

You specify another folder as the default save location by right-clicking a folder in this list and choosing “Set as default save location.” You can change the order in which these appear by right-clicking and choosing Move Up or Move Down. You can now use the library just like a normal folder. The files inside each folder are saved in their respective directories, but the library itself offers a logical grouping of related files (see Figure below).

Figure: Using the library
You may remove the entire library if you want, but this will not remove the files or directories that are part of the library.

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Haja Peer Mohamed H, Software Engineer by profession, Author, Founder and CEO of "bench3" you can connect with me on Twitter , Facebook and also onGoogle+

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