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Put cloud files into Windows 7 Libraries

Merge your cloud documents into your regular computer folders.

Windows 7 has ‘Libraries’, a way to bring folders and files from different locations into a single searchable ‘location’ and that can include sync’d folders from cloud services.

‘Location’ in quotes because no files are moved or copied – it’s a virtual folder. By default, Libraries bring together ‘My Documents’ and ‘Public’ folders into a single library. For example the ‘My Music’ folder and the ‘Public Music’ folder.

Windows 7 - default libraries image from Put cloud files into Windows 7 Libraries at

Click on Libraries | Music and you’ll see all the music from both folders in a single list. You can search the library (ie all folders at once) using the Search pane on top right of the Explorer window.

Windows 7 - search library image from Put cloud files into Windows 7 Libraries at

The search should be quick because Windows should index the contents of the library folders.

You’re not limited to the default folders that Windows creates and it’s easy to add folders to the existing libraries or make entirely new libraries.

The libraries feature arrived with the release of Windows 7 and is continued in Windows 8.

Adding cloud storage

You can include cloud folders into any library just like any other folder.

The condition is that the cloud files have to be synced to your computer. Windows 7 can’t really ‘see’ cloud storage but it can deal with a local copy of the cloud files. Happily most cloud storage has sync software (at least for Windows) with Google Drive being the last major player to do so.

Cloud sync software automatically keeps copying between the cloud storage files and folders on a local computer. This lets you manage the files when offline and is much faster than waiting for the Internet connection.

Since the sync’d folders on your computer are normal folders (as far as Windows is concerned) you can add them to library. We’ll use Google Drive in this ‘step-by-step’ however you can use the same tip with any sync’d cloud service including Skydrive, Dropbox and SugarSync.

There’s two ways to do it – from either side, as it were. Select a folder and add it to a library or from the library choose folders to include.

Select any folder (in this case a Google Drive folder called ‘Docs’) right-mouse click then choose ‘Include in library’ and the library you want to use.

Windows 7 - add folder to library image from Put cloud files into Windows 7 Libraries at

Alternatively you can go to the library folder, right-mouse click and choose Properties.

Windows 7 - Library properties image from Put cloud files into Windows 7 Libraries at

Click ‘Include a folder …’ then select the folder you want to add to the library.

Notice that you don’t have to add the entire cloud storage to a library. You can add any cloud folder or sub-folder to a library.

Multiple cloud folders

You can add more than one folder from a cloud service into a Library.

In Using more than one cloud service we show how to have multiple cloud services on a single computer.  When you’ve done that, you can add folders from separate cloud services into a Library.  That’s handy if you’ve split folders between different free cloud services.

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