Show "actual sorting" of files on PC? [want thumb drive alphabetical]

The stereos in my cars do not sort the USB Thumb Drive music folders alphabetically.

So I need to be sure these are sorted properly when copying folders from my PC…

I have a directory sorter utility on my PC called “mp3DirSorter” which sometimes works and sometimes does not. I will take the thumb drive out to my car and sometimes the folders begin with the “M’s” and the “A’s” begin midway through the listing.

Other times they are all alphabetical.

I can’t tell when looking at the thumb drive folders on my PC WHAT ACTUAL ORDER they are in??? Windows always displays the listing alphabetical.

So any way to see the actual order of the folders/files?

I would start with a clean thumbdrive, sort the files as required on my computer, and then load them. I would expect that to work. I am guessing that sorting them does not change how they are stored, but only how the directory is displayed.

I hear ya. I don’t listen to music on shuffle, I usually work through a band’s discography and want the folders in chronological order. My theory is that copying a bunch of folders all at once means the order they appear on the thumb drive is the order they finish copying. I don’t think pre-sorting them will help. If a folder in the middle is small, and finishes copying first, it will be the first one on the thumb drive. At least, this is the only explanation I can come up with as to why the folder order on the thumb drive gets scrambled.

I start by reformatting the thumb drive, then copy the folders over one at a time, in the order I want them. I wait until each folder is done before starting the next. It seems to work about 95% of the time, sometimes there are still little hiccups with the order not being quite right.

Go back to DOS and build a .BAT batch file to do the copies, in the order you want.

Then run this from the Command window against a clean thumb drive, and it should have the files in your desired order.

P.S. You can generate a list of all your music file names via the following, then edit that file into copy commands, and sort it in your desired order.

not here to bust anyone’s balls … and, while t_bonham rings logical … logic on dos-computer does not guarantee logic within automotive aftermarkets. last year i did quite a bit of research … seemed every auto manufacturer utilized different protocol and symantecs when designing the digital systems.

anyway … one could go into the coding of each file (using hex-editor) … and label the “name” correctly within the coding … this should sort the files correctly. the issue arises:
[li]one file might name “simon&garfunkel”[/li][li]one file might name “simon+garfunkel”[/li][li]one file might name “greatesthits-simon&garfunkel”.[/li][/ul]
again, i am not talking about windows/dos file-names … am talking about the coding inside the actual file(s).

anyway … also came across some software which, purportedly, assists with sorting files alpha-numerically or whatever. i seriously doubt this would solve the issue … probably similar to me_billy’s utility named mp3DirSorter. anyway, name of that file is “drivesort_en” … research/download … at your own risk!

To answer only this, the only way I know of to get the physical order of folders is to open a command prompt and use the DIR command.

If your thumb drive is N:, the command to view the first-level folders in physical order is

DIR N:* /AD /P

(/AD says you only want to see folders. /P says you want the results paginated for convenient reading)

And for the files in the Lawrence Welk AwesomeMusic folder, it’s

DIR “N:\Lawrence Welk AwesomeMusic*” /P

Note that there’s no official guarantee that DIR will list the files in physical order by default. But AFAIK it does.

active disk editor shows you the actual directory entries, and which cluster they point to. It’s free, but complex.

I suspect that the problem is that your car doesn’t list the files in the same order that the directory does: there is no reason why it should: as you note, Windows doesn’t.

Sometimes the meanest answer can be the most useful.

Ignore any advice that references Windows. If you named your actual model of MP3 player, then someone here could maybe tell you the field your player uses for sorting files and provide a script to reorder them properly. If it happens to be based on the name of the file, then there are a number of BAT scripts that might help. Save the text of one of those scripts into a text file (with the extension .BAT - turn on “show file extensions” - google it if you don’t know how) and run it in the directory with your music.

A quick test to see if that’s the solution is to re-save two of your files as 001_whatever…mp3 and 002_whatever…mp3 onto your portable medium and run them. If they play first, it is based on file name.

One car stereo is a factory 2012 Volvo. (USB Thumb Drive)

Another is an aftermarket JVC KDS79BT. (USB Thumb Drive)

And the 3rd is my Android cell phone version 4.0 - Folders copied to “Music” folder and no need to sort the folders as Android sorts them!

FYI - mp3DirSorter will only sort FAT file systems, not NTFS. So it can only sort the files once they have been copied to the Thumb Drive (FAT), but can’t sort folders on my Windows 10 PC (NTFS).

Are your files tagged with Artist, Album, Title, Date, and Tracknumber fields? Maybe Android is reading these metadata before presenting you with the directory listing.

A firmware update on your car stereos might enable similar functionality. I upgraded the firmware on a Sansa Clip Sport, and now it’s able to load whole folders of FLAC music in the correct album order (a feature that previously only worked for MP3—still doesn’t work for Ogg Vorbis, before or after the firmware update).

I have over 200 CD folders and many of these were originally named anything other than the artist/group name!

I have renamed all folders to the artist name and that is what I want to be sorted alphabetical. Windows and Android do this just fine.

But sometimes the thumb drive sort utility does not get it sorted properly, but I can’t SEE how it would appear to on a car stereo until I stick the thumb drive into the car stereo and then look at the folders.

So I want to see the actual order of the folders when looking at the thumb drive on my Windows PC.

It appears that the following is what I need to see the order of the files…
DIR N:* /AD /P

Note Microsoft has gone and changed the DOS Shell to be “Windows Powershell” which has totally new commands and no all inclusive instruction manual which I can find anywhere.

Windows still has the dos shell in addition to “Windows Powershell”. it is called cmd.exe.

DriveSort shows you the actual order of files in a folder and lets you sort them. I use this to solve the problem in our 2015 Honda CR-V and 2016 Mazda 3.

Thank You! Now we are getting somewhere.

But what did Windows 10 do with the run command? Neither cmd.exe nor run is listed in “All Apps”!

Thank you Microsoft for changing everyday things so they are frustrating to use!

Hit Windows+R to bring up the Run dialog box. Type cmd to run the command shell.

Command Prompt is under Windows System in All Apps.

ETA: So is Run.


This did the trick. Shows the thumb drive files as they are actually stored - what the car stereo would see. And will also sort them!

Thank You!

Also thanks for the window run information!