Windows

Video: Remove Libraries from Windows Explorer in Windows 7

Bill Detwiler shows you how remove Libraries from the Windows Explorer navigation pane with a quick Windows 7 registry hack.

If you don't use Windows 7 Libraries and would rather they not appear in the Windows Explorer navigation pane, then I've got just the tip. During this episode of TR Dojo, I'll show you how to remove Libraries from the navigation pane in with a quick registry edit.

For those who prefer text to video, you can click the Transcript link that appears below the video player window or check out Greg Shultz's original article.

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About

Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

27 comments
thebluejay
thebluejay

This fix doesn't work for me - libraries are still in the navigation pane in Windows Explorer, even after restart with the entry as appears here: Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00 [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{031E4825-7B94-4dc3-B131-E946B44C8DD5}\ShellFolder] "QueryForOverlay"="" "HideOnDesktopPerUser"="" "PinToNameSpaceTree"="" "Attributes"=dword:b090010d

DavidHarrisLH
DavidHarrisLH

Libraries is one of the 'improvements' in W7 which seem to have been imposed with little reference to previosu versions and no help for people used to the old ways of working. Networking is another. I help lots of inexperienced PC users and getting them to understand the changes - and even understanding them myself - is a big challenge. How can we persuade MS to evolve but to keep existing function available? And none of thes 'improvements' seem better to me

Thack
Thack

Although I understand the concept and philosophy of libraries, having used them since W7 was released I find them to be unnecessary: an unwanted layer on top of my already-well-organised folder hierarchy. I do appreciate that some people prefer the library approach. Each to their own. However, when I follow Bill's instructions the result is mixed. Libraries disappear from the left pane in Explorer, but they are still there in the right hand pane. Also they are still there in all the common dialog boxes (i.e. Open, Save, etc). Further: after the registry hack the 'Documents' library was not replaced by the 'Documents' folder in the left hand pane, so the only way I could get to 'Documents' was to start at the C: hard drive level and work down through Users. Useless, basically, so I've had to undo the registry hack and go back to libraries. Has anyone else experienced these difficulties with switching off libraries? Perhaps it's something to do with my specific setup. Thack

carlsf
carlsf

What MS should have left alone as was in XP/VISTA... THE "CLASSIC" option. We will NOT use WIN7 because of the UI and the changes. SORRY MS your problem no more $$$ from us.

john3347
john3347

I can see from the results of this survey that I am not the only one who finds "Libraries" redundant and often confusing and therefore a huge waste. I followed this tip a few months ago when it first appeared as a TR blog and have been less frustrated with Windows 7 since. Thanks TR, keep the tips coming.

wolsonjr
wolsonjr

IMHO - big deal. Let me know when someone finds a way to dump libraries completely and move home directory to another drive/partition. I hate it.

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

Windows 7 Libraries were designed to help us organize our files more efficiently by putting them in groups--like music or pictures. But, many people already do this within their system's directory structure, and they would rather not mess with another superfluous layer of file management. In this week's TR Dojo episode, I show you how to remove Libraries from the Windows Explorer navigation pane with a quick Windows 7 registry hack. Do you like the Libraries feature in Windows 7 or find them to be a headache? Take the poll and let me know. Original post and poll: http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/itdojo/?p=2306

thebluejay
thebluejay

The fixdescribed above did not work for me but I found this registry fix which did the trick. Just copy it to a text editor and name it remove libraries.reg and run it: Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00 [-HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Desktop\NameSpace\{031E4825-7B94-4dc3-B131-E946B44C8DD5}] [-HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{031E4825-7B94-4dc3-B131-E946B44C8DD5}] [-HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\CLSID\{031E4825-7B94-4dc3-B131-E946B44C8DD5}] [-HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FolderDescriptions\{2112AB0A-C86A-4ffe-A368-0DE96E47012E}] [-HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FolderDescriptions\{491E922F-5643-4af4-A7EB-4E7A138D8174}] [-HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FolderDescriptions\{7b0db17d-9cd2-4a93-9733-46cc89022e7c}] [-HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FolderDescriptions\{A302545D-DEFF-464b-ABE8-61C8648D939B}] [-HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FolderDescriptions\{A990AE9F-A03B-4e80-94BC-9912D7504104}] [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\HideDesktopIcons\NewStartPanel] ???{031E4825-7B94-4dc3-B131-E946B44C8DD5}???=-

don.brandt
don.brandt

I use the Favorites. I just put the folders that I use the most in Favorites and I have quick and easy access to all the files and folders that I regularly use.

john3347
john3347

Bill was very clear in the video that this hack only removed Libraries from the Windows Explorer navigation pane and did not remove it from some other locations within Windows.

PeterM42
PeterM42

The "legacy" folder/tree format has worked well for years. Do you use the Libraries feature in Windows 7? * No (74%) * Yes (26%) Kinda says it all

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

When an entire household to stops using MS, I think it's time to start buying Apple shares, MS is on their way out. Did you like XP and Vista? If so, why the hell did you change then? Didn't change? Then what the hell are you complaining about, having a choice? Get over yourself, if you don't like a more productive and much more secure operating system, then stay put. Nobody forced people to buy gas powered cars, you can still own a horse if you like.

don.brandt
don.brandt

I know what you meen. In XP you could move My Documents to any place you wanted it to reside including your network home folder that gets backed up.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

I think libraries are a great idea. Works well for me. Saves me creating libraries. When your media files are in multiple directories there's no need to drill down in folder views anymore, they are all available in the libraries regardless of where they are on the HD or tree.

mfeldhandler
mfeldhandler

It's called folder redirection. It requires a number of registry edits.

JCitizen
JCitizen

It irritates me no end when it opens up instead of the regular file tree when I need to find my picture or video files. X-(

Fyrewerx
Fyrewerx

While I know Libraries work well for many people and PCs, I found it to be the cause of potential disaster. Because several of my PCs are set up with a 10,000 RPM C: drive for system and apps only (150 GB version), and my Data drive (D:) is actually a RAID 1 mirror (1 TB), if I cannot positively ensure that the data goes to the D: drive, the C: disk could get filled up and crash. Damn, I never have this problem on Vista.

SirWizard
SirWizard

No need to verbally assault someone, dumb Schmucko. (Do you like it?!) Nobody forces people to buy gas powered cars, but employers force people to use certain operating systems and applications. Some unwilling users are stuck with Microsoft's increasingly crippling UI designs as Windows pro(re)gresses. Yes, threefold increases in the number of clicks required to do anything and a dumbed down flat storage layout suitable for a few dozen pictures may work for the ignorant unwashed masses. Do you advocate their ignorance, perhaps? For me, the mere existence of Libraries is not so much the problem--the immense pain comes with the Save dialog box that defaults to some f-ing library instead of empowering me to default to my own extremely well-organized folder structure. A hack that doesn't remove libraries from the attendant dialog boxes hardly helps. A flat library with many thousands of pictures would not be an inviting place to store another 2,000 new pictures when I unload them from my camera. My structured folders work much better, thank you. What would be so bad about letting the end user select whether or not to use Libraries?

blarman
blarman

Yeah, right. I just had to laugh about all those "And [x feature] was my idea" commercials. MS' SOP is just to tell you how you should do things and force you into registry hacks to do them any other way. For MS, one size fits all. I program, and the libraries feature is nice for accessing my various projects, but I don't use it for pictures/etc (the legacy "My Documents..." nonsense). And I can get tho things just as easily with desktop shortcuts, so it wouldn't kill me if they disappeared. If MS is really listening, here is MY list of features: 1) Standard multiple-monitor support for different size screens. This is especially useful for laptops/docking stations. 2) Multiple desktops. For me, being able to segment my communications, programming, debugging, etc. into different desktops makes for efficiency - I don't have to constantly maximize/minimize/resize application windows. 3) Pull IE out of the OS. It's a security problem. Always has been, always will be. 4) Build a cheap version of Office for home users. $50 for Word/Excel with no frills. Right now, OpenOffice gets my business 'cause I'm just not going to pay $250 to put MS Office on a $500 netbook.

JCitizen
JCitizen

and can instantly recognize an image among thousands, then libraries are for you. Or perhaps I just don't know how to use them; I'll bite! :)

drosene
drosene

There are many sources of this information. Give this one a try. http://hubpages.com/hub/Windows-7_-_Moving_My_Documents Libraries work great especially for non-technical types, ie most computer users. Moving their data off the "C" drive to other partitions should be part of the standard Windows 7 install but until it is give this a shot. Note, moving the download folder involves a variation easy to figure out. Note also that this DOES NOT move data stored by some applications in the user's profile areas c:users/username/AppData/Local LocalLow or Roaming. There is no doubt a Hack for that but there are also many references to moving things like Outlook.pst, Firefox/Thunderbird profiles, etc.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

Having to select your hard drive and everything, my God whatever next? YOu do realize that the whole benefit of libraries is so thta you don't HAVE to go through a folder tree. No matter wheat folder you store media in, it will all show up in the libraries folders, if you take 5 minutes to learn how they work.

JCitizen
JCitizen

I'm finding out is as much a problem with the vendor who wrote the drivers for the graphics card as anything else; however if MS helped the developers along, you would see a better result, I'm sure. MS has been building walls against the hardware folks and breaking them down with the software folks lately it seems.

don.brandt
don.brandt

OK, you can move the My Document location as you could in XP. Something that I will try.

JCitizen
JCitizen

I can see the use of it if you have sharing and work groups activated in your LAN. This I can see, but my security requirements don't even allow sharing between users on the same machine. This is another reason why I didn't like libraries, because they violated the separation of users in the local machine users group. I figured out how to block that, but I still don't need the feature when I just want to use my folder tree to locate the file. I'm a visual person, but I find objects faster by file path than by picking and choosing among thousands of images that have no logical order, which is what libraries look like to me. If I were running shares, this feature would be very valuable for sure! (edited) for spelling.

Gis Bun
Gis Bun

I agree with Oz_Media. If you just have a single computer it may be useless but as soon as you are in a homegroup or on a regular network, that's where libraries are great. If you work for a company and they have a logos from various companies in multiple locations you can quickly search for that logo without having to see if you have it locally and then each and every network location. It also kills off the idea of creating a mapped local drive when you want to access common files [i.e. your Photoshop files are stored in a location.Every time you open a file, Photoshop remembers the last folder where you opened. Libraries allows you one click to get back to your "default" location.]