How to enable Libraries in Windows 8.1 File Explorer

How enable Libraries in Windows 8.1 780_wide

Some time ago, we learned that in Windows 8.1, Microsoft will be removing Libraries from File Explorer. The reason for the change has to do with Microsoft adding the main Libraries folders (e.g., Videos, Music, Pictures, Downloads, Desktop, and Documents) to “Computer” (which now has also been renamed to “This PC”.), and having Libraries in the left pane could be confusing to some people.

Although, this isn’t a significant change that will cause many problems, there will some who will miss having access to their Libraries. So what you need to know first is that Microsoft didn’t remove the feature entirely, and second, now it’s just an optional feature that you can easily enable. Follow the steps below to enable Libraries once again in the File Explorer.


1. Just open This PC and navigate to the View tab and click Options.

Windows 8.1 Options menu 640_wide

2. Under navigation pane, choose the option Show Libraries, click Apply and OK. That’s pretty much all you have to do.

Show Libraries, Folder Options Windows 8.1 395_wide

Or even easier, you can right-click on an empty space on the left pane and simple click Show Libraries.

Show Libraries option menu 640_wide

Thank you for the tip @Windows4live

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 14 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and Email him at [email protected].