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  1. #1
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    Windows 7 folder structure: can you hide certain categories

    If I understand this right, in XP, "My Documents" placed above the C drive in the folder tree was actually just a "library" in that it allowed immediate access to files (including My Picture folder and its files) that were really located under Documents and Settings.

    Does anyone know if this is correct?

    As I understand it, Libraries in Windows 7 contain fake copies of things that are stored in the user folder found below C:/ in the folder tree. They don't really "live" in the Libraries.

    Is this right?

    To confuse matters further, it appears Microsoft was on such a roll with its library concept and liked it so much that they "helpfully" copied the entire user folder (Let's call it Johnny's Folder") and stuck that above the C:/ too. And it too is actually a "library" of "fake" files that actually reside below C:/ on the folder tree.

    So now, before we even get to C:/ in the folder tree, we already have 2 copies of all our documents, videos, etc - one stored in Libraries and one stored in the fake user folder.

    Is this right?

    And finally: The "real" copy of every document, PDF, song, photo, video, map, you name it, that is stored under the User Name or under the Libraries designations, is actually hidden on the C drive (unless you unhide hidden files).

    So how we have 3 copies of every item. Or maybe we have 1 copy (under c:/) and the other two are little fakes depicted in list form or in thumbnails that are really just a shortcut to where the real file is hidden under C:/

    The user is able to add, delete, rename his files from any of the 3 locations?

    What if the user does not want the Libraries - can they be hidden or sfely removed from the folder tree so they aren't always "there" in your face?

    I don't know about other people but when I have had Windows Explorer open there are times when I am not sure which category I am in - Libraries, my User folder tree, or in the group of folders and subfolders and files beneath C:/

    OK so, maybe it doesn't matter in the long run, but, it seems to matter to ME at least right now.

    Has anyone removed the libraries? Is that possible? Or does it delete everything below it.

    Is it possible to just hide them? I would be happy to get them out of my sight.

    Alternatively, I guess I could keep the libraries and use them like "My Documents" used to be used, and hide that whole folder tree under User Name that is right below "Libraries." Is it possible to do that?

    I am not even considering deleting anything or changing folder names unless someone knowledgeable tells me it is safe to do.

    Kelliann

  2. #2
    Super Moderator satrow's Avatar
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    I consider 'Libraries' to be dumbing down and adding fluff which gets in my way.

    I don't recall the exact steps I took to remove them but here's an old Technet posting on removing Favorites, Libraries, and Homegroup from the Navigation Pane.

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  4. #3
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    The actual files and folders are NOT hidden and can easily be found under the user/"username" folders on the C Drive. You do not need to use the Libraries if you do not wish to but DO NOT delete them. The files and folders you see above the C Drive as you call them are actually only pointers to the actual files and folders and do not actually occupy any space. They just point to the files and folders so it makes it easier for you to find them quickly. DO NOT delete them either. The only files and folders that are hidden by default are the protected system files and folders, and even these can be unhidden, but be careful. These are hidden for a reason.

    To summarize there is in reality only 1 copy of your files and folders with a couple of different pointers to these files and folders, but if you delete the pointers you also delete the files and folders. The pointers are set up to make it easier to find your stuff. There are people that have found ways to delete these pointers, I am sure, but these methods are for power users only. Please be very careful.

    The file structure is designed in an attempt to make it easier for the average user to make it easier to find their files and folders. There were not Libraries in XP. The Libraries are a Win 7 (and possibly Vista) thing. A power user can actually create as many Libraries as they need for larger projects to hold pointers to all the files and folders for those projects, etc. The 4 default Libraries are set up to hold pointers to the like type file location on your PC, just like the "username" folder above the C Drive provides an easy way for a user to find their various documents.
    Last edited by Medico; 2012-02-29 at 05:10.
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    If you want to learn more about Libraries check out the first few links at http://www.bing.com/search?q=windows+7+libraries+explained&qs=AS&form= QBLH&filt=all&pq=windows%25207%2520librar&sc=8-16&sp=3&sk=HS1AS1]Windows 7 Libraries explained[/url]. To disable Libraries see the links at Windows 7 libraries disable.

    I recommend you learn more about Libraries before making up your mind about removing them. Depending on your work style and organization Libraries can be very useful.

    Joe

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  8. #5
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    Thank you all for your opinions and links. I understand this better now just from Ted's explanation, and will go read the links Joe and Satrow provided. I won't delete or touch even one single thing unless I am positive it is safe.

    Ted, your mention of large projects caught my eye and since I get some big ones, perhaps I can see if that might work. Right now, what I do is collect links in a desktop folder, incoming emails in a folder in the email program, and documents in a folder under "My Documents" which I can see in multiple locations in the folder tree, including "Libraries."

    I am going to be reorganizing the way I work on these projects, if possible, so may be back here with more questions on specifics.

    Meantime: Ted - I don't understand - why do you say My Documents in XP was not a "library." I think you could call it that since in XP it was just a bunch of pointers to the "real" files located beneath c:/Documents and Settings/MyUserName/My Documents. If a "Library" is defined as just a bunch of shortcuts to the "real" files, then I think My Documents in XP could be called a Library and so could, in Windows 7, the folders and files under MyUserName located in the folder tree below Libraries and above C:/

    Kelliann

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    You can call "My Documents" a library if you wish. But it does not function in the same manner as Microsoft has defined a Library is Windows 7. The folders and files under "My Documents" exist under "My Documents". That is their original location. If you delete an object from "My Documents" it is deleted from the PC. Folders and files do not exist under Libraries. They exist in their original locations on the PC. If you remove an object from a Library it still exists in its actual storage location.

    Joe

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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeP517 View Post
    If you delete an object from "My Documents" it is deleted from the PC. Folders and files do not exist under Libraries. They exist in their original locations on the PC. If you remove an object from a Library it still exists in its actual storage location.
    If you delete an item from a library it's deleted from the PC too:

    If you delete files or folders from within a library, they're also deleted from their original locations. If you want to remove an item from a library but not delete it from the location it's stored in, you should remove the folder containing the item. When you remove a folder from a library, all the items in the folder will be removed (but not deleted).
    Libraries: frequently asked questions

    Bruce

  11. #8
    Super Moderator satrow's Avatar
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    Judging by your comments, I'd say that your working style and organization is such that learning to use 'Libraries' will be mostly a waste of time. Go ahead and remove them from the navigation pane as in the 2nd link in my earlier post. You'll see that it's very simple to put them back, should you ever feel the need.

  12. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by BruceR View Post
    If you delete an item from a library it's deleted from the PC too:

    If you delete files or folders from within a library, they're also deleted from their original locations. If you want to remove an item from a library but not delete it from the location it's stored in, you should remove the folder containing the item. When you remove a folder from a library, all the items in the folder will be removed (but not deleted).
    Libraries: frequently asked questions

    Bruce
    Yep. That is what I was trying to saying albeit inelegantly. Thanks for the clarification.

    Joe

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