How to bring back Libraries in Windows 8.1

I've resigned myself to the fact that some questions just don't have answers. For example, who built the pyramids? What really happened to Amelia Earhart? And why did Microsoft disable the Libraries feature in Windows 8.1?

You remember Libraries: It was one of the most highly touted (and useful) additions to Windows 7, a way to find and sort files without having to navigate across a zillion far-flung folders.

Unsurprisingly, the feature carried over to Windows 8. Surprisingly, it vanished in Windows 8.1. The only explanation I can conceive is that... actually, no, I can't conceive of any explanation. Did Libraries generate too many tech-support calls? Did research show that not many people used it?

Again, I'm stumped, but I do think it's yet another slap-users-in-the-face change that makes absolutely no sense.

The good news is that you can easily restore Libraries in Windows 8.1. Here's how:

1. Open File Explorer. You can do this in Desktop mode by clicking the File Explorer icon in the taskbar, or in the Start Screen by typing file and then clicking File Explorer.

2. Click the View tab.

3. Click the Navigation pane button (left side of the toolbar), and then click Show libraries.

Presto! They're back! Ah, Windows--always with the hoop-jumping.

What do you think of Libraries? Essential feature? Not something you'd miss? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Contributing Editor Rick Broida writes about technology and is author of the new book,"The Cheapskate Rules." Ask for help with your PC hassles at hasslefree@pcworld.comSign up to have the Hassle-Free PC newsletter (which is included in the Power Tips newsletter) e-mailed to you each week.

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