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  • Friday, April 19, 2019

    • Windows tip of the week

      Create a custom Documents library for faster searches

      by Ed Bott

      Even the most organized individual can have trouble keeping track of files that are scattered across multiple locations, especially when your filing system includes multiple local drives (such as a Documents folder on the system drive and an Archive folder on an external drive) as well as folders on cloud services that you share with co-workers or family and friends.

      To bring all those files together into a single virtual folder that you can search at one time, use a Windows library. If the Libraries heading isn't visible in File Explorer, right-click the navigation pane and click Show Libraries.

      You can right-click and use the New menu to create a new library from scratch. Or use one of the four default libraries that are automatically created for each user account. In File Explorer, click the Documents icon under the Libraries heading to display the library's content; then click Manage Library on the Library Tools tab. Use the Add and Remove buttons to specify which folders are included in the library.

      Opening the Documents library in File Explorer gives you a unified view of all those files, which you can browse, sort, filter, and, most importantly, search just as if they were all neatly stored in the same folder. When you use the search box from a library, your search results come from all library locations. But because a library is a virtual folder, the folders themselves remain in their correct location, and any changes you make are saved exactly where they should be.

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  • Thursday, April 04, 2019

    • Windows tip of the week

      Suppress unwanted notifications

      by Ed Bott

      Notifications can be a powerful distraction. If you're trying to concentrate on the content of a PowerPoint slide deck that's due in an hour, the last thing you want is a series of messages popping up along the right side of the taskbar about incoming mail messages and news headlines.

      Those same notifications can turn embarrassing if they pop up while you're presenting that slide deck to a room full of customers or co-workers, especially if the subject lines are personal in nature.

      To suppress those pop-up messages so that you and your audience can concentrate, use Windows 10's Focus Assist feature, which is available in Settings > System > Focus Assist. With Focus Assist off, Windows displays all notifications. You can enable the feature manually by choosing Priority Only and then customizing the specific types of notifications that are allowed to break through, or choose Alarms Only to limit interruptions to alarms you've set.

      On that same page, you can also define rules that automatically suppress notifications during specific times (such as when you're normally asleep) or when you're duplicating your display (to deliver that slide show).

      To turn Focus Assist on or off manually, use its Quick Actions button on the Action Center pane.

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