Windows 10: What is the difference between 'This PC' and 'Libraries'?

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  1. Posts : 132
    Windows 10 Home ver 1803
       04 Sep 2016 #1

    What is the difference between 'This PC' and 'Libraries'?

    In File Explorer I can see a number of ways to access my files. For example, if I wanted to go to my Pictures;
    I can go straight to Libraries >Pictures and make a selection Or
    I can go to 'This PC'> Pictures and make a selection

    So what is the difference? I know I am looking at the same file. But I don't get why this functionality is there?

    I know this is no big deal and I can just keep This PC closed and keep Libraries open for viewing purposes.

    Am I missing something obvious?

    Your thoughts?
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  2.    04 Sep 2016 #2

    I use This PC all the time to access my drives and recent files. Libraries are a central place to manage documents, pictures, music, etc. Here's an old article on libraries for Windows 7 (should still pertain to 10).
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  3.    04 Sep 2016 #3

    where is the article?
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  4. Posts : 15
    Windows 10/OS X 10.11 ADP
       04 Sep 2016 #4

    This PC is a replacement for My Computer, presumably because some senile individuals assumed that somehow at work they were connected to their machine at home when they clicked My Computer. Inside This PC is all the Documents, Photos etc that you're used to. No real explanation needed.

    Libraries doesn't actually exist. It's a smart folder. What it does is presents the same folders you're used to (Docs, Photos etc), but when you select one of them it lists the contents of all the folders of the same type that you have access to in other people's User logins too. This sounds a lot more complicated than it is.

    Think of it this way. Tom makes an account for his son Jim. The account is limited, whereas Tom's account had Admin rights. When Tom clicks on Photos inside of Libraries, he will see his stuff, then below it (separated by a nice big sign) he will see what's in Jim's account Photos folder. By default, if you have a One Drive account, you will also see the contents of the documents folder you have in the cloud below that as well.

    However, if Tom just went to This PC > Documents, he would see his files, without Jims or OneDrives.

    Btw, this is just default behaviour. If you want to, you can add ANY folder to each of the smart folders inside Libraries. This makes it very useful as a quick way to gather content together for a particular job.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  5.    04 Sep 2016 #5

    You are right , it sounds complicated, whether or not it sounds more complicated than it really is, well that's something I might not agree with. for now, I guess Ill live with chasing my pictures and looking all over for them. I appreciate you taking the time to help, thank you.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  6.    04 Sep 2016 #6

    dearelliot said: View Post
    where is the article?

    Click 'article', it's a link to Lifehacker article or here -
    Get to Know Windows 7 Libraries Inside and Out

    If you are the only User on the PC, you can simplify things by hiding the libraries and simply use the This PC folders you are used to in prev Windows versions under My Computer. Click 'View' tab in File Explorer (see attached screenshot) and untick Show libraries.

    Click image for larger version. 

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      My ComputerSystem Spec

  7.    04 Sep 2016 #7



    This PC= Actual Files

    Libraries are convenient for looking at files but when I want to make changes or move files I always do it in This PC. I'm a dinosaur so take what I say with a grain of salt.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  8. Brink's Avatar
    Posts : 32,376
    64-bit Windows 10 Pro build 18242
       04 Sep 2016 #8

    In addition: :)

    The folders in This PC are links to the folders in your account's "C:\Users\<user name>" profile folder.

    Libraries gather folders that are stored in different locations so you can browse them in one place. You can include folders and drives to a library as you like.

      My ComputersSystem Spec

  9. Stevekir's Avatar
    Posts : 304
    Windows 10 Home 64 bit (with Creators OS)
       04 Sep 2016 #9

    I have never actually seen "Libraries" in Windows 10 (that is, something actually calling itself "Library"). I know what they are from W 7, and as someone above said, they are smart, presumably because they are effectively a shortcut which gathers up together various folders such as "Documents" (and any others added by the user). But "Libraries" as such don't appear in my computer anywhere (not that I worry).

    However, Option 3 in Brink's tutorials quoted above (first image clip) seems to imply that "Documents", "Music" etc. are themselves Libraries, whereas in W 7 they were folders in Libraries. I think.

    Now I'm confused.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  10.    04 Sep 2016 #10

    Well as most of you know with windows 10 , it seems I have pictures in "Documents" "Downloads" "Pictures" "One Drive" "Photos" and I think maybe somewhere else on windows ten, then in some of these places I have folders album, files, that hold pictures.. How nice it would be if I had all pictures in one place and they called that "Pictures" Just like my Vista back when. Now maybe Vista had a similar problem but I didn't encounter it so as far as I'm concerned it didn't exist.
    Also now when I add my latest pictures from camera by using my reader I have no idea where they are going, and I have to hunt for them, what surprises me is I cant seem to find the in of all places "Pictures"
      My ComputerSystem Spec

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