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  1. #1
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    Hi,
    My last question was answered so well that I decided to try again.

    I'm quite attached to dragging and dropping files in XP. VERY! I have tons of files stored in My Documents and some duplicates and extraneous files stored directly on the c: drive. I'm always dragging files to copy to my external drives, etc.

    In Windows 7, I'm hearing and reading that the libraries are more like shortcuts to the actual files, somewhat in the way that Picassa organizes your photos without actually moving the files. If that's the case, shouldn't my files be actually stored in locations other than within the libraries? Yet, the documents folder is located within the libraries. If some files are actually within the library and others are linked to the library, is this a recipe for mayhem?

    Also, I'm finding the only solution to convenient drag and drop between folders is to open two instances of Explorer. Is there a better solution in the works?

    Thanks so much in advance. Judy

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Deadeye81's Avatar
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    Hi Judy,

    Libraries are a new feature of Windows 7 just as are homegroups. Libraries are virtual folders. They are different than shortcuts to your files in that if you delete a file in one of your libraries, the original source file will be deleted also, whereas you can delete shortcuts without disturbing the original files. This may seem ominous, but libraries are a great feature.

    Four default libraries are included in Windows 7. They are Documents, Music, Pictures, and Videos. The original files are stored in your root drive (normally drive C under users\username. If you are the only user on your computer and you do not have a home network in place, then the benefit of libraries may be difficult to see. Libraries are per user devices. Each user on a Windows 7 computer has his or her own libraries. If you have a home network and two or more Windows 7 computers, you can set up a homegroup and your libraries are automatically shared with the other Windows 7 machines in your homegroup. It makes networking with Windows 7 machines a real joy. You can create new libraries very easily, and can add files to your library for specifc projects so they are accessible in just one location even though they may be stored in multiple folders or drives on your computer.

    As to copying or moving files, have you used Aero snap to easily arrange your Windows Explorer instances so they appear side by side? If not, try this. Open one instance of Windows Explorer, grab the title bar at the top with your mouse and drag it to the left side of your screen until it snaps into place. Open a second instance of Explorer and repeat the same process, but drag this one to the right side of your screen. You will find that both will "snap" into place, equally dividing your screen. It make it easy to copy or move files.

    Hope this helps.
    Deadeye81

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    A library such as "Documents" contains folders. You get to decide what folders are in the Documents library. The folders in a library a just folders. They have in them whatever you put theres. You might want to read Understanding Windows 7 Libraries - The Windows Blog.

    Joe
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    Libraries-frontside a very nice idea, backside, when it comes to actual locations and backup verification, yes, potentially mahem inducing since just by default, without any customization one must now be sure to check both the user's account and the public account. This problem is largely alleiviated if a all-encompassing backup porcedure is initiated such as imaging or using the method offered by Clickfree products or a savvy user who knows where to check for the actual files wether the defaults are used or a custom library organization is employed.

    I personally prefer the more direct heirarchical structure approach but I also think that is a preference in the minority since its much more cut and dried than the "social" approach of Libraries and emphasis on key-letter search. In other words, Microsoft is trying to make it easier for less structure-oriented users to understand the digital filing cabinet that is the computer.

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    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Judy,

    To quickly access your files (the actual files) create a shortcut to your Users/UserName directly on your desktop. Right click the folder and choose Create Shortcut. Windows will politely tell you it cannot create a shortcut here, would you like to place the shortcut on the desktop? I have found that most of the files listed in the libraries by default are in your User Name folder, including My Pictures, My Documents, My Music, My Videos, Contacts, Favorites, etc.. Drag and drop still works the way you are accustomed to, you just have to have the original location, which this should put at your finger tips.
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    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    Joe's link is a must read for Libraries.

    I use the drag and drop too. I find that I have to change the view to "details" or "List".
    Otherwise it gets a bit irritating.
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  7. #7
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    Hi, and thanks, Gerard, JoeP, Byron, Ted and Clint.
    You've provided me quite a bit of study material. I'm going to spend some quality time on this information.

    I can't remember where I originally read that deleting a file from the library didn't remove it from its actual location. I'm going to go back and dig to see where I found that misinformation. That's mainly what I was concerned about, having multiple files and the confusion of backing them up and accidentally deleting. Since I'm a lone user on this computer, and not needing to access files from another user, it looks like I can simply save everything in my username document folder. It should then resemble sort of, the old file system. The library concept doesn't appear helpful to me at this point.

    I did a bit of experimenting just now, opening up the mypictures folder, then opened the sample pictures folder and found that I could drag and drop one of the pictures into the mypictures public folder without resorting to using two instances of Explorer. Is it only possible to do this when placing files from a private folder to a public folder? Thanks much. Judy

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    Hi, Gerard.

    I found this on the blog site JoeP posted. It sort of contradicts what I've heard so far.
    Quote:
    In many ways, a Library is similar to a folder. As we mentioned before, when users open a Library, they can see one or more files or folders. However, unlike a folder, a Library can display files that are stored in several folders at the same time. This is a subtle, but important, difference. Libraries don't actually store items. They monitor folders that contain a userís items, and provide a single access point and rich view pivots (by file Type, date or author) of this aggregated content. Libraries promote a userís data and let the file system fade into the background.

    Now my question is this: Where could I safely store my personal data besides the libraries, where it would not be affected by a system restore. In XP, anything in MyDocuments was safe from change by system restore.

    Am I totally missing the point here? Wouldn't be the first time. Judy

    BTW, I'm finding tons of discontent online regarding this exact issue.

  9. #9
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Judy Olson View Post
    Hi, Gerard.

    I found this on the blog site JoeP posted. It sort of contradicts what I've heard so far.
    Quote:
    In many ways, a Library is similar to a folder. As we mentioned before, when users open a Library, they can see one or more files or folders. However, unlike a folder, a Library can display files that are stored in several folders at the same time. This is a subtle, but important, difference. Libraries don't actually store items. They monitor folders that contain a user's items, and provide a single access point and rich view pivots (by file Type, date or author) of this aggregated content. Libraries promote a user's data and let the file system fade into the background.

    Now my question is this: Where could I safely store my personal data besides the libraries, where it would not be affected by a system restore. In XP, anything in MyDocuments was safe from change by system restore.

    Am I totally missing the point here? Wouldn't be the first time. Judy

    BTW, I'm finding tons of discontent online regarding this exact issue.
    Judy,

    The underlined items you quote above is exactly what we have been talking about. "Libraries don't actually store items". As Gerald stated, and I'm paraphrasing, the Libraries point toward the actual data, they are common areas to more easily find your data just as a shortcut on your desktop points toward the data or app somewhere else on the PC.

    As stated, most of the actual folders that hold your data are in the Users/User Name folder. These are the actual data and this data is as safe as it ever was on XP. The libraries provide a convienient place to find your stuff. As stated previously you can create new libraries, or have your libraries point toward other folders on other drives, etc. Once you store your personal data in a folder in My Documents for example, this data would show up as a "shortcut" in the library labeled My Documents. For example I have a folder called My DVDs in my folder named Ted. In that folder is a file containing my DVD collection. With the libraries there are several ways I can find this file when I want to make an addition. I can go to the Library named My Documents and find it there. I can open Windows Explorer and click down to the actual My Documents folder to find the file. I can click the shortcut I placed on my desktop called Ted, or I can use Windows Search and type the folder name or file name. All methods take me to this same file.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Judy Olson View Post
    In many ways, a Library is similar to a folder. As we mentioned before, when users open a Library, they can see one or more files or folders. However, unlike a folder, a Library can display files that are stored in several folders at the same time. This is a subtle, but important, difference. Libraries don't actually store items. They monitor folders that contain a user's items, and provide a single access point and rich view pivots (by file Type, date or author) of this aggregated content. Libraries promote a user's data and let the file system fade into the background.

    Now my question is this: Where could I safely store my personal data besides the libraries, where it would not be affected by a system restore. In XP, anything in MyDocuments was safe from change by system restore.
    With the Library construct you are able to create folders anywhere that is convenient for you. You can then add any folder to a Library. You can even create a new Library of your own. Once you add a folder to a Library than Windows Explorer automatically displays the content in one view as if it was all in the same folder. The information about which folders are in a Library is stored in your user data. The actual files themselves are not affected by system restore.

    If you were copying files to an external disk you may still do that if you wish. You do not have to include any information on the external disk in a Library.

    Joe
    Joe

  11. #11
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    Simplest way I know of explaining it is that you can delete a Library folder itself without affecting data BUT the folders that may be pointed to in the Library folder are actual data folders or shortcuts to them.

    Libraries promote a userís data and let the file system fade into the background.
    Exactly what I was referencing when I mentioned "social" approach versus structural approach. I'm strutural to a fault, but I think most people aren't, so we get Libraries...You know where all the books are! Only if you delete the library in that case, one better get the books out first!

  12. #12
    Super Moderator Deadeye81's Avatar
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    Judy,

    Your user files are actually stored in C:\Users\YourUserName\subfolders (of which there are Contacts, Desktop, Downloads, Favorites, Links, My Documents, My Music, My Pictures, My Videos, Saved Games, and Searches folders.) These user files will not be affected by a system restore in Windows 7 any more than they would be in XP or Vista. It essentially corresponds to the old Documents and Settings folder on drive (C in XP.

    Libraries are an organizational element that makes it easier to view, sort, search and filter files that are actually stored in multiple folders on your computer as if they were all in a single location (called a library) on your computer's internal hard drive. Try this: navigate in Windows Explorer to the Documents library, click on the expand arrow to the left of Documents. Next click on the expand arrow beside My Documents. Right click on any subfolder of My Documents and select Open folder location . This will take you to your user name location where your user files for that particular folder are actually stored.

    Now the default libraries that Windows 7 included show the same folders and files that are located in your user folders. If you create your own library or libraries, you can populate them with files of your choosing that you already have stored in any number of locations on your hard drive, for whatever purpose you have in mind.

    Hope this helps.

    Gerald
    Deadeye81

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  13. #13
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    Thanks, Gerald and Byron.
    I think I'm getting it. I plan to do some experimenting with some sample files before I transfer important files onto the computer. Save some files into Users/Username folders and add them to libraries, delete the libraries, etc.

    I tend to be very definite about how my files and folders are structured. Most likely I'm just resisting that grab for control, and I want to assure myself that I still have it in my control.

    I get that the Users/Username actually holds my files. Since it's on the c: drive, I would have thought it would be vulnerable to changes by system restore, but I can test that out too.

    Thanks again for your patience and your wealth of information. This forum is just great. Judy

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Judy Olson View Post
    Thanks, Gerald and Byron.
    I think I'm getting it. I plan to do some experimenting with some sample files before I transfer important files onto the computer. Save some files into Users/Username folders and add them to libraries, delete the libraries, etc.

    I tend to be very definite about how my files and folders are structured. Most likely I'm just resisting that grab for control, and I want to assure myself that I still have it in my control.

    I get that the Users/Username actually holds my files. Since it's on the c: drive, I would have thought it would be vulnerable to changes by system restore, but I can test that out too.

    Thanks again for your patience and your wealth of information. This forum is just great. Judy
    I think of libraries like this: imagine standing outside your front door and you have one of those big, fancy glass doors with multiple glass panels. It has several panes of glass that that make up one large area we call a "window". When looking at that window, however, each of those panes shows a different room of your house. If you look at the window as a whole it looks like one place and you can describe it as such. However, the rooms are physically located in different placesÖ..some on the first floor, some on the secondÖ.maybe a basement. You can still open the door and physically walk into those actual rooms, but the window (library) just gives you one easy point of access to all of them. Does that make sense?

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    Hi Judy,

    I second you: great forum.

    My approach to user folders (albeit currently in Vista) is to do what I have always done since WIndows 95, which is to ignore the default Windows folder structure and create my own Documents folder, usually on a separate partition. That avoids the risk of data loss when reinstalling Windows and has the added advantage that my documents folder does not get cluttered with folders that some programs insist on putting there and that I never use - My Scans, My Playlists, Adobe, etc.

    For programs that default to a defined Windows folder, e.g. for saving and opening files, I put a shortcut from there to my preferred folder. The combination of folder shortcuts within folders and start menu shortcuts to my most frequently used folders means that I am rarely more than two or three clicks or keystrokes away from any folder.

    Cheers
    Dominik

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