I think the Windows 7 library feature is great - once you understand how it works, but it's pretty frustrating that you can't add network drives/shares to a library.

I fully understand that in some circumstances users might find it confusing to have something available one minute and not the next - i.e. when they go offline. I also understand when MS say that to add a network drive/share you need to mark that particular folder as "Always available offline"... All good. For laptop users with documents on a file share that is.

However, for desktop users wanting to have libraries of network folders having them marked as 'available offline' seems a pretty harsh penalty on local disk usage and in some cases would simply not work because of network folder size/local disk size.

With the exception of 'tricking' windows into thinking a remote folder is local (i.e. with a symbolic link, or a subst'd drive, or even a mapped drive) .... is there an alternative? I've read somewhere on the Interwebs that MS have a patch out there but haven't been able to find it.


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    A really good question and I would be very interested in a solution too. +1 – C.Schmalzgruber Sep 16 '09 at 11:14
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    I've read the 'tricks' but have not even successfully done that. Link to a working 'hack'? – Tim Lytle Sep 25 '09 at 2:42
  • The "Always available offline" feature is apparently only available in Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate editions of Windows 7, so it isn't a universal solution either. – Burly Jan 26 '10 at 18:35

You can add network shares to a Windows 7 library, however, they have to be indexed on the server that is sharing them, install Windows Search 4.0 on the server and make sure you index the folders you intend to add to your Windows 7 library.

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    Anyone knows how to index a Unix (Samba) share? – Ton Plomp Dec 29 '09 at 15:27
  • After you install Windows Search on the server side, make sure the Shares's Share permissions gives Read access to Everyone group – surfasb Dec 8 '12 at 19:40

This was the very first thing I tried to do when I discovered libraries in Windows 7. Luckily Microsoft have provided a programatic way to add network locations, so I wrote a tool to make this easy. It also provides some additional features like backup/restore of library sets. You can download it for free (+ WPF source) here:

Win7 Library Tool

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    Nice tool indeed, however it doesn't make Windows Index the network share – Ton Plomp Jan 7 '10 at 19:12

You can add network drives if they are part of your homegroup. I think the drive just has to be indexed by a copy of windows 7 before it can be used in a library. The windows help and support covers what you can and can't add pretty completely. I searched for "library" and when to Libraries: frequently asked questions.


I found this discussion while creating a solution to add indexed network drives to your library.

Maybe the write up helps other users having the same issue: http://www.cloudtec.ch/blog/tech/add-search-indexed-network-share-windows-library.html


PS: It requires a Windows Server...

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    Welcome to Super User! Generally we like answers on the site to be able to stand on their own - Links are great, but if that link ever breaks the answer should have enough information to still be helpful. Please consider editing your answer to include more detail. See the FAQ for more info. – slm May 19 '13 at 12:48

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