How To Bring Libraries Back In Windows 8.1

How To Bring Libraries Back In Windows 8.1

Microsoft made a strange change in Windows 8.1 — Libraries, a very useful feature, is missing from the File Explorer’s sidebar. Here’s how to bring it back.

Libraries are still built into Windows, but they’re not visible in that sidebar. To bring them back:

  1. Open File Explorer and expand the View tab.
  2. Go to Options > Folder Options on the right side of the ribbon.
  3. Go to the General tab and check the “Show Libraries” checkbox at the bottom of the window. Click OK.

With that change, Libraries will appear just as they did in Windows 7 and 8. The only other difference is that Libraries no longer include public folders. This is a curious change, but may not affect you. Hit the link below to read more about the new change.

Introducing Windows 8.1: What’s New About Libraries? [7Tutorials]


  • Libraries where the final straw for me and windows. They added a layer of complexity and confusion that I could never get my head around. In early versions of windows 7 you could disable them, but later versions prevented that.

    For me, they never solved the problem they were intended to solve. If your files are that badly organized, I don’t see how libraries help, and they make some file operations ambiguous, making you have to fight through dialog boxes to do simple things.

    And that’s why my virtual windows install on OSX is XP, not windows 7.

    Good riddance to Libraries.

    • Enabling libraries doesn’t bring them back everywhere. For example, when using Office 365 Home Premium, Word 2010 or Firefox, the save as window doesn’t include libraries in the left column. A workaround is to go to Desktop and click on Libraries.

    • I don’t see how you can hate such a tiny feature that much? They are quite literally shortcuts, to multiple locations… thats it…

      You are essentially hating on shortcuts right now… that you don’t even need to use, and simply take up a very small, minimisable working space in your left column…

      If XP is worth that to you, I don’t know what to do aha 😉

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