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Windows 7 network libraries

Alastair Grant | Thursday 18 June 2009

Windows 7 comes with a few subtle but significant changes. Libraries is a method for grouping together logical containers of files under a common topic.

So if you've got your documents scattered across your hard drive, then they all appear in one easy to view place.

Most people though, keep their documents in one place on their computer. It's more likely that they will need to use libraries if their documents are - like mine - scattered across a network.

Alas, in the RC of Windows 7, you cannot add network locations, unc paths or mapped drives to a Windows 7 Library. You will be presented with the error "This network location can't be included because it is not indexed."

Brilliant, so just add it to the indexer? No, there doesn't appear to be a way of doing that either. Microsoft help suggests you make the files available for offline use - what this does is takes a copy of all the files and keeps them on your local computer. Defeating the point of you putting them on your NAS etc.

Not to worry, you can still put them in libraries!

I created a new library, by right clicking on Libraries and clicking new (clever eh?). I've called it "Software" as it's going to be for all the masses of files and ISO images I have scattered around the place.

Note: You'll want to add a local directory in order to give you an example to work against later.

First step is to navigate to:
%AppData%\Microsoft\Windows\Libraries

This contains the actual data files for your libraries.

Simply drag one of the libraries into Notepad (or your preferred text-editor) and you will be presented with an XML document.

The schema for this file can be found on the MSDN for reference.

If you've added in an existing folder you should see a node called . This will have the details of your previously added local directory.

All you need to do is simply change the URL to your destination path. UNC paths work fine here too.

Delete the serialized node (this contains a Base64 encoded shortcut). A new one will be generated when you refresh the library view.

You can then copy and past as many of these nodes in to add however many remote directories you wish.

Note: These directories will not be indexed.

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