How to Prevent a Flash Drive From Doing Alphabet Order

USB drives can hold hold hundreds or even thousands of MP3 files.
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When the MP3 songs on your flash drive play in alphabetical order, it can be for different reasons. In some cases, it's a feature of your car stereo or other music player, and there's not much you can do about it except rename the song files. On many music players, however, the MP3 song order is determined by the order in which you saved the files to the flash drive. To make sure your computer writes the songs to the drive in the correct order, first create a playlist of the songs in iTunes or Windows Media Player.

1 ITunes

2 Create a new playlist

Create a new playlist by selecting "New" and then "Playlist" from the File menu. (Press "Ctrl-B" if the File menu isn’t visible.) Drag the MP3 files from your iTunes library to the playlist.

3 Rearrange the songs

Rearrange the songs based on the order in which they should play. First, click the blank square next to the Name header, then drag the song titles to rearrange them.

4 Press

Press "Ctrl-A" to select all the songs from the playlist.

5 Copy the songs to the flash drive

Copy the songs to the flash drive. Press "Windows-E" to open Windows File Explorer, or click the Mac desktop and press "Command-N" to open a Finder window. Drag the selected songs from iTunes to the USB icon in the file window.

6 Windows Media Player

7 Select New Playlist

Select "New Playlist" from the New Playlist menu. Add your MP3 files to the playlist by dragging them from your Media Player music library.

8 Drag the song titles

Drag the song titles in the playlist to change the order.

9 To select all the songs

Press "Ctrl-A" to select all the songs from the playlist.

10 Click the Sync'' tab

Click the "Sync" tab, then drag the selected songs to the "Sync List" box. Click "Start Sync" to copy the songs to your flash drive.

11 Plug

Plug the USB drive into your music player to see if the songs still play in alphabetical order. If they do, then the problem isn’t related to the flash drive, but is a feature of your music player.

  • Information in this article applies to iTunes 11 and Windows Media Player 12. It may vary with other versions.
  • If the previous steps didn't help, rename the files on the flash drive so that the songs play in a different order. The easiest way to rename the files is to add numbers such as "010-" "020-" etc. to the beginning of each filename. If this is too cumbersome, or you have too many songs to rename manually, use an advanced MP3 management application such as Winamp, File Renamer or Advanced Renamer to rename the song files.

Alan Sembera began writing for local newspapers in Texas and Louisiana. His professional career includes stints as a computer tech, information editor and income tax preparer. Sembera now writes full time about business and technology. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Texas A&M University.