What are Windows 7 Libraries?

Windows 7 introduces a new concept of Libraries as the new entry point for users’ data. Where users can find and organize their data as collections of items that may span multiple locations across computers. Libraries supersede the functionality of previous Windows versions’ known folders (for example, Documents, Pictures, Music) and replace them as the main “storage” destination. The Library API gives applications a straightforward method for interacting with libraries programmatically. Applications can create, interact with, and support libraries as first-class items in their environments.

With Windows 7, the concept of Libraries tries to address the problem of users storing content all over their PC by allowing them to have full control over their Documents Library folder structure. In other words, in Windows 7 users can define which folders to include in the Documents Library. We can say that Libraries are user-defined collections of folders that are logical representations of user content. By including folders in Libraries, the user is telling Windows where his or her important data is located. The system will index these folders, enabling faster searching and much richer viewing arrangement capabilities in Windows Explorer based on the file properties and metadata.

In previous versions of Windows, each application had its own proprietary library. For example, Windows Media Player had a different set of scopes than iTunes, and neither was consistent with the Music folder. With the Library API, applications can define and consume a consistent set of user-defined scopes.

Libraries may also contain network folders. This enables a better user experience at work and at home. Whenever users open a common file dialog, they get an aggregated view of all of the library locations that are available.

Libraries may also contain network folders. This enables a better user experience at work and at home. Whenever users open a common file dialog, they get an aggregated view of all of the library locations that are available.