There are very few differences between the File Explorer in Windows 10 and that in Windows 8.1, mainly related to the sections displayed in the left side of the File Explorer. The most frustrating change is that, the Libraries section is still gone with the release of Windows 10. Does this mean there are no more libraries in Windows 8.1 and Windows 10? Fortunately, it doesn't mean that. Libraries exist and work just as well as before. The problem is that their section has been hidden. Here's how you bring it back.
Libraries - Are They Still Gone In Windows 10?
First, let's see how File Explorer looks in Windows 10. If you don't look carefully you won't really notice anything. The major differences are found on the left column of the window: the Favorites section has been replaced by Quick access.
And this is how File Explorer looks in Windows 8.1. As you can see, the differences are very few between them.
How To Bring Back The Libraries Section In File Explorer In Windows 10
The first step is to open File Explorer. The fastest way to do it is by pressing WIN + E on your keyboard, but there are lots of other ways in which you can do it, and you can find them all here.
Then, expand the View tab and click or tap on the Options button located from the right side of the ribbon menu.
This will open the Folder Options window. All the changes that you need to make are located in the View tab, so make sure you are on the right path.
In the Advanced Settings box, scroll down to find the Navigation pane section.
Here you have two options that unhide the Libraries section, but in different ways. First there is the "Show all folders" checkbox.
This setting will rearrange the left column in File Explorer with the Desktop folder on top and the other sections beneath it, including Libraries.
The second checkbox is "Show Libraries".
This setting will unhide the Libraries and it will place it between This PC and Network. The rest of the data shown in the left column will remain the same.
How To Bring Back The Libraries Section In File Explorer In Windows 8.1
Let's see how you unhide the Libraries section in Windows 8.1. First, you have to open File Explorer. The easiest way is by pressing WIN + E on your keyboard, but there are other ways also, which we've talked about here.
Now, expand the View tab on the ribbon menu and then click or tap Options.
The Folder Options window is shown. All the changes you need to make are found in the General tab.
In the Navigation pane section, there are two options that unhide the Libraries section but in different ways. First, there is the "Show all folders" checkbox.
If you enable this setting, the left column in File Explorer will be organized differently. You will see the Desktop folder at the top and all important sections beneath it, including Libraries. Also, the Libraries will be shown in all Save As dialogues.
The second important checkbox is "Show Libraries".
Enabling this setting doesn't change the way data is organized in the left column. It just adds a Libraries section that's separate from other sections. Unfortunately, when enabling only this setting, the libraries are not shown in Save As dialogues.
Personally we prefer to use the first setting - "Show all folders". Experiment with both sections and pick the one that works best for you.
As you can see, restoring the Libraries section in Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 is really easy to do. It is unfortunate though that Microsoft decided to hide it by default, so that it promotes OneDrive more prominently. It would have been less frustrating to have this section turned on.