Why Libraries are great for Office users and why Microsoft hides them

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Libraries is a great Windows feature that Microsoft introduced and promoted in Windows 7 but now regrets and hides in Windows 10.  We’ll explain why they’ve changed their mind and why you should still use Libraries to manage your Office documents.

A Library bring together the contents of many folders into a single view.  The files/folders don’t move, the Library is a merged view of their contents.

For example, a Pictures library can show images from your My Photos folder, Public Pictures and a Camera Roll from OneDrive/Dropbox in a single view.

No need to switch between folders or search multiple locations, the Library has it all.

The default libraries are by file type (Documents, Videos etc) but that’s just the start.  Libraries can be created for projects or tasks like the ‘Summer Holidays’ one we’ve created.

‘Summer Holidays’ could contain a pictures folder on the computer, another pictures folder shared online and some folders of documents (itineraries, tickets etc).

Do the same for special projects or teams.

There’s a whole chapter devoted to Libraries in our acclaimed Windows 10 and Windows 8.1 books.

Where are Libraries?

In Windows 7 and 8 Libraries appear automatically in the left-hand Navigation pane of Explorer.

In Windows 10 they seem to have disappeared!  Microsoft has hidden them away for their own selfish reasons.

To restore Libraries go to Explorer | View tab | Options | Change folder and search options | View | then scroll waaaay down to the bottom for | Show libraries.  When we said Redmond had ‘hidden’ libraries, we weren’t kidding!

Why is Microsoft hiding Libraries?

Back in Windows 7, Libraries were seen as a great thing.  Microsoft told us all the advantages of Libraries over folders.

It let you merge the personal and Public folders (like My Music and Public Music) into a single view.  If you use the new-fangled cloud storage like Microsoft Skydrive, those folders could join in too.

That was then.  Now Microsoft has a different corporate strategy in which Libraries don’t have a place, in fact Libraries work against Microsoft’s interests.

These days, Microsoft wants you to put all your files in their cloud storage.  Either OneDrive or SharePoint.  Instead of the reality where people have files in different places, they are pushing a ‘put everything on our cloud servers’ approach.

Everything in the cloud suits Microsoft.  They want to increase customers linkage and entanglement with Microsoft services.

But what is best for Microsoft, isn’t necessarily best for customers.  Libraries are a useful part of organizing your work and life. Use Libraries despite Microsoft’s efforts to hide them.

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