How do I add a network folder to a Windows 7 library

Windows 7 has some neat little features… one of them is the libraries folders you can see on the left side bar when you open up windows explorer or my computer. You can set up your own too, but i kept getting an error when i wanted to add a folder that was on a network share on my home server.

…however I kept getting an error when trying to add my network shared folder about not being able to add “non-indexed” files. After doing some searches I kept getting stupid answers about making offline files… which is pointless on a machine with 320GB hard drive and a network folder over 2TB of pictures and movies on my server… I did find a few another solutions that did work though and was painlessly easy and took under 30 seconds to do with 3 simple steps.

Click after the break to see the working solutions to this problem.

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My particular situation involved my local Windows 7 machine, and a home movies network folder on a Windows Server 2003 machine.

First thing to do is go to the machine that has the shared folder on it, The Windows Server 2003 machine in my case.

1. Because this operating system is an older generation than my win 7 machine I want to install Windows Search 4.0, which should help with comparability issues. You can find it here, click on the link that matches the operating system of the host machine that has the network share on it… follow the prompts until it is done installing.

2. Next step is to change the indexing options on this host machine (again the Win Server 2003 in my case). To do this go to the start menu -> control panel -> indexing options… if your having trouble finding this in the control panel go to the start menu -> Search -> and type “indexing” until you see “indexing options” in the search bar.
Once you have “Indexing Options” open, click modify and then make sure the folder your trying add on the windows 7 machine is added.
Note: you want to add the mapped folder path as it is on the Windows 7 machine, not the local from the server… so if you have C:/videos/home movies on the server, but the local windows 7 machine has this folder mapped to H:/home movies, you will want to map that path on the server as well, and then add this location on the indexing options.

3. Last step is on the Windows 7 machine… go to the Start Menu -> Search bar at the bottom -> and start typing “offline files” click on “manage offline files” when it appears… now disable offline files by click on the button that says this. If you have a server with network shares there is no need to have this on, and will most likely just mess things up… after you click ok it will prompt to restart the windows 7 machine… accept and after it boots back up, try adding the network folder to a new or one of the existing libraries… hopefully it will work this time, giving you a quick shortcut to various media or folder content 🙂

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