How To Hide Default Library Folders in Windows 7 and Windows 8

The library folders is the new feature first introduced in Windows 7 that allows you to get access to files from one convenient place, regardless of where they are stored. It comes with 4 libraries by default, Documents, Music, Pictures, and Videos, but you can add any folder you frequently access into the library, either through the Explorer context menu or drag and drop to the Libraries category on the left pane in Windows Explorer.

But what if you don’t like them shown up in your Windows Explorer, or you feel it’s notĀ appropriateĀ having them listed in a business environment? Well, if that’s the case, it’s recommended hiding them, instead of deleting them, because many applications depend on these default libraries to run properly, and will recreate them if they can’t locate them on the computer.

And here is what you can do:

1. Open Command Prompt window, by Win+R, typing in “CMD”, and pressing Enter.

2. Navigate to folder that has all library shortcuts.

cd %appdata%\Microsoft\Windows\Libraries

3. Apply hidden attributes to the library shortcuts you want to hide. For example, the following command line hides the Picture library from Windows Explorer.

attrib +h pictures.library-ms

The Picture library disappears right after you apply the hidden attribute to the shortcut, even you have the option “Show hidden files and folders” checked in Folder Options.

Hide Default Library - Pictures folder

However, applying hidden attribute doesn’t make the folder go away in Start Menu. It’s not going to be a problem in Windows 8, since there is no Start Menu existed anymore in Windows 8. But in Windows 7, you will have to enable a setting in Group Policy in order to hide it.

You can open Group Policy Editor, navigator to

User Configuration\Administrative Templates\Start Menu and Taskbar

And enable the settings.

Hide Default Library - Group Policy

After logging off and logging back in, the Pictures icon we enabled to remove in Group Policy disappears from the Start Menu.

Hide Default Library - Start Menu

Kent Chen

Microsoft MVP, IT Professional, Developer, Geek, and the co-founder of Next of Windows.

Last updated: 08/04/2014

Posted in: How to , Tips & Tricks
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