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How to Find and Use the Missing Libraries in Windows 8.1

Libraries, a sort of super folder introduced in Windows 7, vanished in Windows 8.1: Microsoft dropped them from the Navigation Pane. To add them back, right-click a blank portion of the Navigation Pane and choose View Libraries.

And now, the primer: Libraries resemble folders, but they monitor the contents of several folders, displaying those folders’ content in one window. That leads to a nagging question: How do you know which folders are appearing in a library? You can find out by double-clicking the library’s name.

For example, double-click the Navigation Pane’s Documents library, and you see that library’s two folders: My Documents and Public Documents.

When you drop a file into a library, which folder does that file really live in? It lives in the folder known as the Default Save Location — the folder that currently holds the honor of receiving incoming files.

For example, when you drop a music file into your Music library, the file goes into your My Music folder. Similarly, documents end up in your My Documents folder, videos go into My Videos, and pictures go into My Pictures.

If you think libraries sound too complicated, you’re not alone. That’s probably why Microsoft has boarded them up in Windows 8.1, which means they may disappear completely in the next Windows version.

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