Windows 7's best secret feature

One of Windows 7's most subtle changes may, in fact, have one of the operating system's greatest impacts on the way you compute -- the way in which files and documents are organized. It finally fixes the way that Windows forces you to organize your entire life under the Documents folder.

In earlier versions of Windows, including XP and Vista, you're practically forced to organize all of your files and documents under the Documents folder in your user account. Try to organize your files differently, and you come across so many conflicts with default settings, that you'll throw up your hands and give in.

Windows 7 changes things. Now there's an overall "Libraries" folder under which your other folders live, such as Personal Documents, Public Documents, Downloads, Music, Pictures, and Videos. You can see a screenshot of it, below.

windows_7_library.jpg

So how is the new Libraries organization different from Documents? You can easily include folders from other locations in Libraries as well --- and that includes even network locations. So you can include folders from servers, for example. And if you've got a home network you can include folders from other PCs as well. In Windows Explorer, click the library locations button on the right side of the screen, and you'll see the dialog box shown below, which lets you add locations.

windows_7_add_library.jpg

At first glance, this is far from earth-shaking. But it's a great productivity booster.

I'll have more details about Windows 7 in a fuller review in Computerworld.

Preston Gralla is a contributing editor for Computerworld, and the author of more than 35 books.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

7 inconvenient truths about the hybrid work trend
Shop Tech Products at Amazon