How to Make Your Libraries Visible in Windows 8.1

When you bring up File Explorer in Windows 8.1, you’re placed in a make-believe folder called This PC and shown six folders at the top — Desktop, Documents, Downloads, Music, Pictures, and Videos.

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If you’ve used Windows 7 or 8, you probably wondered what happened to your Libraries — they used to appear on the left side of the screen as links to the Documents, Music, Pictures, and Videos Libraries. Instead, you get the four folder (not Libraries) listed at the top.

Here’s how to bring back your Libraries:

  1. Open File Explorer. Click the View tab.

    You see the Ribbon shown.

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  2. Click or tap on the large Navigation Pane icon on the left and then select Show Libraries.

    Your four default Libraries appear on the left.

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Unfortunately, you aren’t done yet. One of the most important features of Libraries in Windows 7 and Windows 8 was their ability to hook into the Public folders on your computer. The Public folders are a good place to put files that you want to share with other people on your computer or other people on your network.

In Windows 8.1, the default Libraries aren’t hooked up to the Public folders of the same time. Swear once or twice at Microsoft, and roll your Public folders into your Libraries. Here’s how:

  1. In File Explorer, navigate to your Public Documents folder. To do so, double-click This PC, double-click Local Disk (C:), double-click Users, and then double-click Public.

    After all that double-clicking, you should come to a screen that looks like the one shown.

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  2. Right-click the Public Documents folder, choose Include in Library, and then Documents.

    Windows 8.1 reluctantly puts your Public Documents folder where it belongs.

  3. Repeat the steps for the Public Music folder (put it in the Music Library), the Public Pictures folder (in Pictures), and the Public Videos folder (in Videos).

  4. Close File Explorer (click the X in the upper right corner) and restart it. Verify that all the Public folders now appear in their correct Libraries.

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