Random geekery since 2005.

Husband, father, programmer, speaker, writer, blogger, podcaster, collector, traveler, golfer.

Today is the twenty-eighth (and last!) day of Diduary. You can see links to all of the published articles in the series here.

If you’ve played with Windows 7, you’ve certainly noticed this new anomaly in your Windows Explorer interface, called “Libraries.” The basic reason for them is that you, a Windows user, store your data all over the place. You might have a centralized server, or some external drives, in addition to several specific locations on your local hard drive (think “My Documents” AND your desktop, for example.)

What Libraries allow you to do is to create a customized interface for you to see all of those places at one time. Here’s a screenshot of my current configuration (keep in mind this is simpler than normal, only because I just rebuilt my machine 3 days ago.) (click to enlarge)

As you can see, with my Videos library, I have three different locations that I store videos on my machine. The first two are the defaults, and the third one is my Home Server. (You can read more about Home Servers on Diduary 24th.) What’s nice about this view is that I can see ALL of my videos in one place, and I can also SEARCH for them in one place, without searching my entire hard drive.

As a big plus, this also comes in handy for developing with Visual Studio. I generally have a folder on my machine called “Projects.” I store ALL of my projects in this folder, so I can easily find all of them. But depending on which tool I use to create that project, it can be stored in several different places. Expression Blend has its own location. Visual Studio 2008 has its own location. VS 2010 has yet another location. If I decided to leave them all at their default locations, I could create a new library called “Projects” that showed those three (or more) different locations.

So for those of you running Windows 7, give libraries a try. You’ve probably just been ignoring them, but I think it’s one of the more innovative and useful features of this great new operating system.

With those last few sentences, this concludes my Diduary series. It’s been a fun, exhausting trip through many of my favorite tools and programs. I hope you learned something from it, and that you tell your friends where you read it.

I look forward to blogging about some new topics in the coming months, including a great development conference I’m helping put together, as well as the sequel to the Toughest Developer Puzzle Ever. If you missed it, the original is still up and running.


9 responses to “The 28th of Diduary: Did you know how “libraries” work in Windows 7?”

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