Uniform Win7 Folder Behavior for Mp3 Albums RRS feed

  • Question

  • I wasn't sure if this question belonged here or in the media sub forum, hopefully this is the right place.

    I recently upgraded from WinXP to Win7 and was pleasantly surprised by the folder behavior for folders containing mp3 albums. Specifically how my artists parent folders show icons that contain the album art of the individual album folders within them. However, I can't seem to get this to work uniformly across all my artist folders. I've checked over my IDtag meta data to be sure my albums indeed included their respective album art and all albums do indeed has complete meta data.

    I keep my music collection on an external drive not associated with the default user 'My Music' folder and I use a 3rd party music player instead of WMP11. I've read several suggestions around the web that mention solutions to similar problems by using either the default music folder or WMP to organize my collection and thus fix the error, but I don't really want to attempt moving my files for a solution not specifically called out for my issue.

    Included below is an image displaying the problem I'm encountering.

    As you can see, some folders work just fine, where as others do not. There are no discrepancies within the IDtag meta data between artist folders and their respective albums. It more or less appears that windows is just being choosy with how this icon formatting is being applied (though I'm sure there's more than that going on).

    Does anyone know how I can fix this issue so that the folders all display icons the same way?

    Monday, September 19, 2011 8:01 AM

All replies

  • Hi,



    I just want to know whether you want to the icons display with picture? And could you please explain “IDtag meta data”?


    As far as I know, how the folder icon displays depends on what it contains if it contains pictures or videos, it will display with a picture.


    Meanwhile, you can also change the icon manually. For details, please refer to:




    I would keep on focus this thread, and please provide more information about this issue.

    Please remember to click “Mark as Answer” on the post that helps you, and to click “Unmark as Answer” if a marked post does not actually answer your question. This can be beneficial to other community members reading the thread. ”
    Friday, September 23, 2011 8:27 AM
  • Right, guess the description can be ambiguous if you're not mp3 file savvy. Yes, I am trying to get the images of the album art to show within the parent artist folders. IDtag meta data is the file information stored within a music file that provides audio players the pertinent data about the file. Here's Wikipedia's information on the current standard ID3: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ID3.


    For a visual representation, I've included the following capture showing the audio properties and IDtag information Win7 recognizes and collects from mp3 files:

    My goal is to have all my files show the same icon style, the one that shows the album art within a Windows folder icon instead of the icon that shows the Windows folder icon containing other folders with documents. The previous image shows the difference between the two. The artist group listed first, 3 Doors Down, properly shows its album art within the folder icon. However, the artist directly beneath them, Adele, does not show in this way.

    As you can gather from the above capture, Win7 recognizes that my Adele music files contain album art nested within the IDtag data itself. There are no image files within any of my folders, only the images stored within the IDtag data. Every mp3 I have is similarly encoded with the proper information and all information was manually encoded by myself allowing no room for errors in its formatting.

    If its not clear, my folder nesting format is as follows:

    Drive Letter:\Base Folder\Artist Folders\Album Folders\mp3 files

    The link to: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/812003 on How to modify your folder view settings doesn't seem to apply in this scenario and it was information I had found and tried to implement previously to no avail. For whatever reason Win7's behavior for these folders seems to be random. Each folder follows the same structure and has the same folder settings applied to it. Each file has the same IDtag formatting. I can only assume the problem somehow lies with the way Windows is interpreting the contents of and displaying these file icons.


    Saturday, September 24, 2011 1:28 PM
  • hello,

    This is because of (possible hidden) folder.jpg/albumart<guid>.jpg files within the artist or album directory.

    to show hidden files/files click:

    start windows explorer -> click pulldown menu Organize and choose "Folder and search options". Under the view tab. tick "Show hidden files, folders and drives".

    The albumart.jpg and folder.jpg will be the key in solving this issue. I dont know (and unable to test at this moment) if the album art is located directly in the artist folder, or it only "lives" in the album folder.



    Wednesday, September 28, 2011 8:22 AM
  • I'm afraid that's not the issue. There are no hidden files in any of my album folders.

    You can safely assume I've attempted all basic (well, what I consider basic) troubleshooting options in resolving this myself. If it had been a simple issue of settings within the properties of the folder or hidden files I would have discovered it on my own.

    There has to be another way to access the settings for this icon behavior somewhere. Something I've missed or over looked.

    Wednesday, September 28, 2011 3:16 PM
  • hi there!

    Now i'm home, I can test my solution in Windows 7, and you're right, its doesnt seem consistent.

    I happen to use exactly the same way to organise my music as you, but I never use the large icon view in explorer. When i viewed my artist folder, most of the artist folders showed the albumcovers, but some didnt. So i looked inside the album and looked at the MP3 itself, and found that the mp3s did have the albumcover embbedded. I decided to save the embedded file to disk (using Tag&Rename), in the album folder with the name "folder.jpg". and then refreshed the folder with all of the artists. the map i changed, didnt show the new cover graphics.

    so whats the difference bewteern my just modified map and another artists folders that does show the album art? the answer is simple, there was no difference.

    i turnded to sysinternals procmon and found out Windows7 builds a database of icons when a folder is listed. renaming the 2 database files, forces windows to build a new database. directory: C:\Users\sander.kl\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Explorer, files i renamed: thumbcache_idx.db and thumbcache_sr.db

    Then i searched for a more conveniant way to clear the cache and found that "Disk Cleanup" offers to clear thumbnails. which works aswell. start -> run -> cleanup. there may be more ways to trigger this "clear DB" event.

    BTW the name of picture file (and format) doesnt seem to make any difference. (unlike winXP where only folder.jpg was treated differently)


    Wednesday, September 28, 2011 5:00 PM
  • Renaming my db files doesn't have an effect. Also, my Disk Cleanup has no option for clearing thumbnails (probably because my system is set to not generate them).

    Sorry, but so far nothing seems to work. Perhaps the db files are the incorrect ones for media stored on an external drive.

    Friday, September 30, 2011 6:11 PM
  • If you right-click on the folder in the navigation pane, choose Properties, then click the Customize tab, what are your "Optimize this folder for:" settings?  Folder customization can make a big difference in what you see.


    Friday, September 30, 2011 7:13 PM
  • Yes, I've tried that.

    What everyone seems to be forgetting is its not that the icons aren't displaying properly or that there is some db or folder image missing. The problem is that windows is being selective with how it interprets the data within each folder despite these things.

    The problem must lie within a windows system setting, not the individual files or folders otherwise they would all work the same since they are all formatted the same to start with. All settings and data contained within each folder and file is identical aside from the folder names and the individual stats of each mp3 file. All metadata is configured the exact same way in each file. Each folder follows identical file structure.

    Sunday, October 2, 2011 7:11 AM
  • I'm having the same problem if you ever get to the bottom of this drop me an email
    Tuesday, October 18, 2011 8:55 PM
  • I have the same issue!  have tried multiple things to fix, but nothing works.  Windows 7 seems inconsistent in its behavior.   My work around is to create a Folder.jpg file, but I'd rather not have to do this!
    Thursday, February 2, 2012 5:10 AM
  • I have just been sorting out my music collection on Windows 7 x64 and noticed the same odd inconsistencies, but have found a solution to the problem....

    For the folders which do not show the album art correctly, perform the following:

    1. Make a new folder, e.g. Adele_New

    2. Copy the albums contained in the affected folder (e.g. Adele)  to this new folder.

    3. Delete the old affected (Adele) folder.

    Now when you look inside the folder and then click back to look at all your albums, the new (Adele_New) folder will display the album art pictures correctly. You can now rename this folder back to its original name and the album art pictures still display correctly.

    Hope this helps?

    Tuesday, February 14, 2012 12:24 PM
  • Did you figure out the solution to your problem?

    I believe I may have if you're still having issues.

    To test:

    Step 1: Determine an artist that album art does not appear in the folder for (Adele in the example above)

    Step 2: Go to WMP and search in the Library for Artist > Adele (assuming your music is automatically loaded into your library)

    Step 3: Right-click on the album and select "Find album info"

    Step 4: Select the best match in the column along the right and click Next - sometimes this may take a little work searching, especially for "Best Of..." albums

    Step 5: Make sure track list matches up - sometimes this takes some work as well

    Step 6: Ensure album folders within Artist folders are named accurately (for example, mine had an issue when I had the album year in the folder name like your Three Doors Down example below). If you have multi-disc sets, simply have two levels - for example having "The Rolling Stones" folder with two folders "Forty Licks - Disc 1" and "Forty Licks - Disc 2" rather than 'Rolling Stones > Forty Licks > Disc 1' and 'Rolling Stones > Forty Licks > Disc 2'. Too many folder levels.

    Hope this helps. Seemed to take care of my issue. Not all my folders have the album art and looks awesome. If you still have some hick-ups that you can't figure out post 'em and maybe I've already came across one similar.

    Monday, March 5, 2012 7:34 AM