How to create a Windows library folder on your desktop

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The Library feature that Microsoft introduced in the Windows 7 operating system is not an entirely new concept. It creates virtual folders that can contain files and folders of multiple sources on your system.

The data that is displayed in a library is not really stored in that library, but in other locations. This makes libraries an excellent organizational tool as you can use it to display multiple data sources in a single location.

Libraries are on the other hand are quite limited by default.Windows 7 ships with four default libraries, and offers options to create new ones in the same location.

While it is possible to create a new library, it is only displayed in Windows Explorer's sidebar menu by default and not necessarily in the location you would like to access it.

Third-party programs such as the management tool Librarian improve how you manage libraries.

If you want to create a new library in a different location, you need to use the following trick to do so

create-library

1. Create a new text document in the location you want the library to be available in. The easiest way to do so is to right-click and select New > Text Document.

2. Open the newly created document and paste the following lines of code into it.

<libraryDescription xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/windows/2009/library">
</libraryDescription>

3. Save the text document.

4. Change its file extension from .txt to .library-ms instead.

5. You will notice that its icon is changing automatically. Double-click on the new library you just created to start adding folders to it.

6. Click on the "include a folder" link and select a folder you want to add to the library.

library-add-folder

7. You add additional folders to the library with a click on the includes link at the top of the library. It reads Includes: 1 location once you have added the first folder.

8. A new window opens up when you do which you can use to add or remove folders from that library.

library-locations

You can add any folder on the system to the library, and as many as you want. They all become available here when you click on the folder icon.

The default sorting filter is set to folder, which means that every root folder that you have added to the new library is displayed separately.

If you want files and folders to be mixed, like Microsoft has done with the default libraries of the system, you can do so by selecting a different "arrange by" filter when the folder is open.

library

A custom library folder in a location of your choosing can be quite handy. Maybe you want access to several documents folders right from your desktop, or web development projects.

While you can achieve direct access with shortcuts as well that you place on the desktop or in other locations, you won't be able to display contents of multiple folders in the destination folder.

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Responses to How to create a Windows library folder on your desktop

  1. Steve Hall March 8, 2014 at 4:45 pm #

    Step 4, changing the extension: In Windows 8.1, the correct extension is .library-ms

  2. David March 8, 2014 at 7:49 pm #

    Any way to choose an icon other than the MS ones?

    • Martin Brinkmann March 8, 2014 at 7:54 pm #

      You can use the tool Librarian for that, linked in the article.

  3. Womble March 8, 2014 at 8:27 pm #

    Wonder if you could create a Library in your OneDrive Sync folder then just add folders to the library that you want to sync without having to move the actual folders there.

    • Womble March 8, 2014 at 9:43 pm #

      To answer my own question it doesn't work. OneDrive just treats the library file like a regular file. Shame!

      • David March 8, 2014 at 10:02 pm #

        I bet Symbolic Links would work for OneDrive. I use a GUI program called DirLinker for all my pretend-directory-location needs.

  4. FREEMAN March 9, 2014 at 8:18 am #

    Does anyone know how a folder on a NAS can be indexed and so searchable ?

    I think I read somewhere that's possible through Library folders tweak...

    I already added the NAS folder on the library but either I missed something or it just doesn t work the way I need.

  5. GK March 9, 2014 at 1:10 pm #

    You can add any Library to the Classic Shell menu too as expandable scrolling or multi-column menu. :)

  6. FREEMAN March 10, 2014 at 9:11 pm #

    No one knows ? :-(

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