Robert’s Ramblings

Robert Alonso’s Thoughts on Technology and More…

Everyone is so concerned about Windows 7’s stability and performance that little has been said about the user interface improvements. I have been using the final code now for a couple of weeks and have begun to notice some of these easily overlooked and misunderstood improvements. For now, I will only discuss one that I really life.

Windows 7 introduces a new user interface concept called, “Libraries.” When you first install Windows 7, there are four default libraries. These are:

  • Documents
  • Music
  • Pictures, and
  • Videos

Anyone who has been using Windows for a while will recognize these types of files as being part of My Documents and other like named folders. What makes this a different type of structure is that a library can contain multiple folders on your machine that contain whatever file type you designate. For example, the Music library on my machine contains three folders that have music. One is the folder “My Music” on the “C:\” drive, the other is the public folder for music on my machine and the third is a network location where I store some music. Windows 7 determined these locations from my usage of them in Vista prior to the upgrade. It could not have been from scanning my machine because it missed a large amount of music on my “D:\” drive.

Far more interesting than what Windows put into my library for music is that I can tailor it to my needs. I can add and delete folders that contain music. When you use File/Open or other file based tools including Windows Explorer you are presented with the libraries as if they were folders. You can thus manipulate and use related file types from one location regardless of their real location. The allowed folder locations are:

  • C:\ Drive
  • External Hard Drive
  • Additional Internal Drive
  • USB Flash Drive (as long as certain conditions are met)
  • Network (as long as the location is indexed or has been made available offline)
  • Homegroup

Please note that removable media like CDs and DVD are not supported. Libraries can contain up to 50 folders from the allowed locations (above). You can set the default save location for new items that you save to the library and you can also change the type of file that the library is optimized for. This makes for a very easy-to-use way to categorize your files, access them and save them.

Robert Alonso
Alonso Consulting

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