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Windows 7: Is Libraries Useful; a Debilitating Crutch--Or Both?

27 May 2013   #1
TomBrooklyn

Win 7 Pro
 
 
Is Libraries Useful; a Debilitating Crutch--Or Both?

While it seems Libraries can be helpful for finding user data that may not all be neatly stored in one or several logical and easily found places; it also seems to me it would be better for a user to get their data organized and clearly know where it is, rather than let it be scattered hither and thither across various folders and drives, and rely on Libraries to find it all when desired.


Therefore
, while Libraries can obviously be useful to help find misplaced, poorly placed, or oddly placed data; might it not be better to avoid using Libraries as much as possible; and get used to using folders directly--to develop and maintain an understanding of exactly where all your data is being stored. Besides a general feeling of competency and control this would engender, this knowledge could facilitate doing comprehensive back-ups that don't inadvertently miss any data.


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27 May 2013   #2
jimbo45

Linux CENTOS 7 / various Windows OS'es and servers
 
 

Hi there
IMO a better facility to use these days is "Spanned Volumes" -- although remember if one volume in the "Spanned set" fails you lose the whole thing -- but provided your backup is fine then this really shouldn't be an issue.

The reason particularly why like spanned volumes is that I have several very large multi-media files - for instance I have about 4TB of music (I like loads of classical music at the best quality available --Uncompressed FLAC) and I can have all the music say in a high level directory "MUSIC" then split down into sub directories etc.

I might have 4 physical disks "Spanned" -- which gives me say my 5 - 6 TB "volume size".

So say I have volumes D,E,F,G defined as Spanned.
Windows explorer will show this as a single volume "D" with 5 - 6 TB total size.

Then you just use this volume as a single big volume. Backing up sub directories regularly will ensure you don't lose anything.

Another thing to consider is that a lot of multi-media type programs where you can organise your photos / music etc
often use some type of data base / folder system which don't allow multiple volumes. By using Spanned volumes the application just thinks your directory is on a single disk.

(I think W8 has a better system of "Pooled Storage" which is an improvement on Spanned volumes but spanning certainly works on W7).

Libraries have some problem with automatic updates / re-organisation. Spanned volumes work EXACTLY like Windows explorer does and your directories are always up to date.

To use spanned volumes - change to DYNAMIC Disks then select the disks to Span together. Can't show you an image at the moment as I'm using a laptop currently with a single internal HHD (SSD actually).

Cheers
jimbo
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27 May 2013   #3
Barman58

Windows 10 Pro x64 x2 Windows 10 Enterprise x64, Ubuntu
 
 

I use libraries extensively - with the default view as Folder so I see the underlying folder structure. The reason I use libraries is because my folder structure is organised in a way that results in the scattering of files across disparate drives/partitions.

They also allow me to consolidate my cloud storage - a library that contains the local synchronised file stores for several services, (Skydrive, Google Drive, Flicker, Etc.), are all visible in one place.
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27 May 2013   #4
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by TomBrooklyn View Post
Therefore, while Libraries can obviously be useful to help find misplaced, poorly placed, or oddly placed data; might it not be better to avoid using Libraries as much as possible; and get used to using folders directly--to develop and maintain an understanding of exactly where all your data is being stored. Besides a general feeling of competency and control this would engender, this knowledge could facilitate doing comprehensive back-ups that don't inadvertently miss any data.
What an odd statement!


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Barman58 View Post
I use libraries extensively - with the default view as Folder so I see the underlying folder structure. The reason I use libraries is because my folder structure is organised in a way that results in the scattering of files across disparate drives/partitions.

They also allow me to consolidate my cloud storage - a library that contains the local synchronised file stores for several services, (Skydrive, Google Drive, Flicker, Etc.), are all visible in one place.
+1

Using libraries does not mean being unorganized. I belong to those users who even plan the partitioning and folder structure before installing Windows on a new machine. I have separate partitions and drives for various types of data which then contain certain folder hierarchy to better suit my needs.

Using libraries I have a central one click access to all my data, each library collecting data from various partitions and drives, each having a thoroughly thought default save location. This does not mean I do not know where my data is located; in fact I know it exactly but instead of having to browse to folder A on drive X to find a document and then to folder B on drive Z to access another document I can find both in Documents library. For my purposes I need those documents to be saved on different folders on different drives but I can access them all from one library.

Libraries are for me a powerful tool to help me staying organized.
Is Libraries Useful; a Debilitating Crutch--Or Both?-2013-05-27_104753.png
Kari


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27 May 2013   #5
boohbah

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 7600
 
 

nigel, i just added my cloud stuff to libraries, prompted by your post .
then i wanted a cloud icon for libraries so i made one.
heres a copy if you want to use it

i used a base template then nicked a cloud ico image and stuck them together . looks good

Is Libraries Useful; a Debilitating Crutch--Or Both?-cloudy.jpg

Library cloud Icon.zip


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27 May 2013   #6
Kari

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

 

Nice icon, Julian. Saved it for future use.
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27 May 2013   #7
boohbah

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 7600
 
 

your welcome.
its so easy to change a library icon using win8, the option is there in the icon properties.
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27 May 2013   #8
Barman58

Windows 10 Pro x64 x2 Windows 10 Enterprise x64, Ubuntu
 
 

Ditto
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27 May 2013   #9
gigagiggles

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

My ONLY experience with Libraries is as follows:

I created a library from a collection of video files on a USB external drive. When I incidentally caused the loss of the MasterFileTable on the external drive, I could only recover generic files (without filenames and such). When I managed to visit Libraries and found intact the library created, I was glad for the recovery and puzzled! I thought these were links instead of actual digital data occupying the primary hard drive space. I've stayed away from Libraries ever since.
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27 May 2013   #10
Lady Fitzgerald

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 

Right now, I only use Libraries in a limited way. I use the default Libraries on the Start Menu as a shortcut to get to my Documents, Music, etc. folders and only keep the main folder in each Library.

However, I will eventually have several HDDs filled with videos. Rather than span those HDDs, like Jimbo does, I plan on using the Video Library to do the same thing. The downside to spanning the drives is, as Jimbo pointed out, is, if one of the HDDs should fail, you will lose the data on all of the spanned HDDs. That danger can be adverted with a proper backup scheme but such a scheme would be too bulky and cumbersome for my needs. A Library will give the multiple drives in it a single directory, same as spanning drives will do, while allowing each drive to remain independent, simplifying backups.
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