Can Anyone Offer Any Suggestions on Windows Explorer?

One of the search features that I like with Windows Explorer (not Internet Explorer) is that you can search by a specific file type. For instance — if you do a search for .mp3 files as file type with nothing in the search field it will pull up all of the .mp3 files on your drive.

This is pretty cool and useful. One of the things that I do in Windows Media Player is to tag the comments section of my .mp3 files with the tag 5 Star for my 5 Star rated songs. This way I can later search from .mp3 files, sort by 5 star in the comments field and copy only these songs over to my laptop for remote listening.

My problem is this. Windows Explorer seems to freeze up when you try and double click on top of the column “comments” in order to sort by this field to conveniently group and then copy to another PC. It will sort (painfully slow) if the number of files is say less than 5,000 or 10,000, but if you have more files then that it just permanently hangs. I’ve even let it run overnight and come back the next morning to no avail.

So my question is, is there a way that I can modify or hack Windows Explorer to have it not hang when I try and do a large sort like this? Or alternatively, is their an easier way to get my 5 star songs off of my home office PC and on to my laptop? The best answer would be for Microsoft to treat a laptop as a portable device with WMP 10 but alas that is not to be in today’s world.

I’ve tried some other shareware type apps out there for playing around with files but none seem to be as good in the end as Windows Explorer itself. I’d appreciate any advice anyone might be able to give me on how to boost the power of the Windows Explorer software and have it be better able to handle these large complex tasks.

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  1. Ed Bott says:

    I just tried a similar operation on a directory filled with around 14,000 files and was able to sort by any existing field in under 3 seconds. This leads me to think the problem could be related to a disk anomaly. Also, if the Comments field is stored in an alternate data stream, you might be experiencing a stream-related issue. See this article for some ideas…

  2. Anonymous says:

    Apple’s iTunes will let you do this… you can drag selected songs out of the application onto the desktop, a folder, or a disk window. iTunes will then find the actual mp3 files and transfer them to the location you dragged them to. To select songs, you can rate songs within itunes and then sort them. Alternatively, it might work with your existing system– iTunes recognizes comments tags, so you can sort your library by those and select those with your “5 star” comment for exporting. Just be careful when you install iTunes to not let it “rearrange your library” under the preferences…