Libraries gather folders that are stored in different locations so you can browse them in one place. Here are answers to some common questions about libraries in Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1.

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Where have my libraries gone?

They're still there, and they work the way they did before, they're just hidden from the left pane in File Explorer by default. You can still get to them under Favourites by opening Desktop. If you've customised your libraries and want to see them in the left pane, tap or click View, tap or click Navigation pane, then choose Show libraries.

When I show libraries, why do two Documents folders appear?

Your libraries include the Documents folder on your PC as well as the Documents folder on OneDrive.

How do I add a folder to a library?

Some applications let you browse your PC to select folders to add. You can also add folders in File Explorer. To do this:

  1. Browse to the folder you want to add, then press and hold or right-click it.

  2. Tap or click Include in library, then select the library you want to add the folder to.

Why can't I find files in a folder I recently included in a library?

Just after you add a folder to a library, searches and views of the folder might appear to be incomplete. This is because Windows is still indexing the folder.

What types of locations are supported in libraries?

You can include folders in a library from many different locations.

Where is the folder stored?
Can it be included in a library?

On your C drive, or other internal drives on your PC


On a CD or DVD


On a USB flash drive, SD card, microSD card or portable external hard drive

Yes, but the files and folders will be available only when the device or drive is connected.

On a network

Yes, as long as the network location is indexed, or the folder has been made available offline. (See the following question.)

On a different PC in your homegroup


On a network-attached storage (NAS) device



  • Only folders can be included in libraries. Individual files and other items can't be included.

What are the Public folders?

If you upgraded your PC from an earlier version of Windows, each of your libraries will contain a Public folder. The Public folders are a convenient way of sharing files with everyone who uses your PC or everyone on your network. For example, if you and other family members share a PC, you can put all of your family pictures in the Public Pictures folder so that everyone can get to them easily and add, delete and edit photos.

How do I import photos and videos into a library?

You can use the Photos app to import photos and videos into your Pictures library. For more information, see Importing photos and videos from a camera, phone or DVD

How can I print documents from a library?

You can print a document from a library without even opening the document. To do this, browse to the document, press and hold or right-click it, then tap or click Print. To print multiple documents at once, select each document you want to print, press and hold or right-click one of them, then select Print. In an open document, you can use the print command that's typically found in a menu at the top of the document – you can also try pressing Ctrl+P.

What if I see a message that says a library is no longer working?

This message might appear if a library has been damaged. Here's how to solve this problem:

  1. Open File Explorer by swiping in from the right edge of the screen, tapping Search (or if you're using a mouse, pointing to the top-right corner of the screen, moving the mouse pointer down, then clicking Search), entering File Explorer in the search box, then tapping or clicking File Explorer.

  2. Tap or click View, tap or click Navigation pane, then select Show libraries if it is not already selected.

  3. In the left pane, press and hold or right-click Libraries, then tap or click Restore default libraries.

Why have I received a message saying that a location can't be included because it's not indexed?

This message appears if you try to add a network location that isn't indexed. The easiest way to index it so you can include it in a library is to enable offline files on your PC and make the network folder available offline. (In File Explorer, tap or click Home, tap or click Easy access and choose Always available offline.) When you do this, the files are added to the search index on your PC.

Why have I received a message saying that some library features are unavailable because of unsupported library locations?

You might get this message if you’ve used an application to add a folder that isn't indexed (like a network folder) to a library. Searching, sorting and filtering in the library will all be slow. To make these tasks faster, remove the location from the library. If it's important to you to keep the folder in a library, you can create a new library for just that folder so that it won't slow down searching, sorting and filtering in any other library locations.

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