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When I first heard of the Libraries feature in Windows 7, I only skimmed over the details quickly and so had a very warped idea of how it worked. The result was I had the impression they’d be like the ‘smart playlists’ I can make for my iPod in iTunes i.e. set up certain rules/criteria and it would automatically be populated with matching files and would change as new files fit the criteria and old ones didn’t (I think Mac's work like this but I've never used one so don't know for sure)

For example, I might want a smart folder that contained all the files that fell within the following rules: all files of a certain format, containing the word ‘project’ in the title and changed within the last 7 days.

Later, of course, I looked into the Libraries feature in more detail and discovered they didn’t work like this :(

I’ve recently started using Windows 7 Pro’ (after using XP for many years) and find myself wishing the Libraries worked as I'd first imagined. So, is there a (free) way to add smart folder type functionality to Windows 7?

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Well you can't do what you want with libraries, but you can do it with windows search. Take a look at all the command availble to you here:

http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/winfamily/desktopsearch/technicalresources/advquery.mspx

What's nice about search in win7 is that you can save your searches to a small file and then collect them all up into a library. It's more messy of a way to do it, but it works.

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Cheers Doltknuckle, Not checked what it can do in detail but yeah, that seems to work. It saves the search to my Favourites - nice. Could really do with a nice interface to help easily build the searches though (like constructing a smart playlist in iTunes) - I wonder if there's addon software to do that? –  andygrunt Nov 25 '10 at 17:22
    
Update: Using the search in a windows explorer window (as opposed to the one at the bottom of the Start menu) seems to be better as it offers lists of possible keywords like 'kind:' then offers parameters such as video, music etc. This makes it much easier to construct your search - I still suspect there may be something better out there though... –  andygrunt Nov 25 '10 at 18:46
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