It isn’t often I find something useful [software, that is] while stumbling about with StumbleUpon. It is something I really enjoy, because I pick up lots of useful information, but seldom do I get pointed toward software, useful or otherwise. As I was saying the other day, with the addition of a working StumbleUpon extension for Chrome (I’m using it on Iron) I am stumbling a lot more than ever before.

This morning I came upon something that, though I doubt it will be that useful for me, it will be invaluable to the customers I have that aren’t especially good at disk organization and manipulation. It is for Windows 7 only, and called the Win7 Library Tool.

[from the programmer’s site]

Windows 7 libraries are a really useful feature of Windows 7, however unfortunately they arrive in a slightly cut-down form out of the box.  Microsoft decided against exposing some really useful capabilities to users, like adding network locations, pretty much the first thing I tried to do.  You get this message:


Luckily, you can add network locations (and any other un-indexed locations), but it must be done programmatically.  MS supply a command line utility slutil.exe, candidate for the worst named executable in history.  Pretty sure it stands for shell_library_util.  Anyway, I decided to write a tool to make it easy to add network locations, and added a few other features as well:

  • Add network (UNC or mapped drive) and any other un-indexed folders to libraries.
  • Backup library configuration, such that a saved set of libraries can be instantly restored at any point (like after a re-install of the OS or for transfer between multiple computers).
  • Create a mirror of all libraries (using symbolic links) in [SystemDrive]:libraries.  This means you can reference all your files using a much shorter path, and also provides another entry-point to your files in many places in the Operating System (e.g. file open/save dialogs).
  • Change a library’s icon.

Hopefully it’s easy enough to use, so I don’t have to explain it .

You can download it for free below.  (Note: This will only run on >= Windows 7.)

Download Installer | Source Code

I must give credit to Josh Smith for his TreeView CodeProject article, upon which this solution is modelled.

The application uses the Microsoft API CodePack to manipulate libraries, which I encourage you to check out if you are writing software to integrate / take advantage of new features in Windows 7.

If you want to learn why and how libraries were introduced in Windows 7, including diving into the .library-ms file format, you can read this MSDN article.

So, there it is. It should help those who have things stored on other machines (which includes me, so I suppose I’ll be making some use of it myself). I’m not really enthused about Libraries as a concept, but for the purpose of gaining easy access to content on other machines, I’ll relent.


Opera, the fastest and most secure web browser

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