Track numbers OK in MP3 Tag but corrupt in Windows Explorer

For years I have been using Total Recorder (Prof edition) to split audio book files and MP3 Tag to tag them to put onto my MP3 player. Once I got the hang of tagging I didn't have any problems. I am running Windows 7.

My problem is this. I am trying to tag an audio book which is in 12 parts. I have split each of the 12 parts into about 19 files to make bookmarking more practical (1 hour long tracks are a pain). When I load all of 12 parts into MP3 Tag and 'auto track number' the tracks show up fine in the MP3 Tag screen. But in Windows explorer the track numbers are corrupted.

In an attempt to identify where the problem is I have discovered that if I 'auto track number' cumulatively up until part 5 all is OK in Windows. But as soon as I 'auto track number' and include Part 6 I start to have problems. I am wondering if it is something to do with going over 100 tracks, but this has never been a problem before, and my track numbers are 3 digits.

I have spent a couple of days trying to find out what the problem is, but I am stumped. I attach a screen grab of Windows Explorer. You will see there are 2 track of track 8 and later on the track numbers jump from 23 to 28, 29 then down to 24, then 28 appears again a bit later on. But the track numbers are fine in MP3 Tag. Just can't listen to an audiobook with the tracks all messed up like this.

Any ideas as to why this is happening?

Explorer_1.doc (172 KB)

I think there is a bug in WE that interprets 3-digit-track numbers with leading zeros as octal values - which messes up any decimal order.
So, the only advice I can give is to either use only 2-digit-numbers or 4-digit-numbers or no leading zeros.

Many thanks for the suggestion. This may be why there are 2 of track 8 and track 16 is out of order. I tried using 4 digit numbers but the problem remains. I can't use 2 digit numbers as an audiobook is usually over 100 tracks. If I don't use leading 0's then the tracks don't sort properly in my MP3 player.

Well it looks like you have identified the problem, now I just need to find a work around. Umm, I could possibly change my split settings to make longer tracks (not ideal, but better than disordered tracks) or fiddle around to see if I can get my MP3 player to sort by part number then by track number, so I don't have to have consecutive track numbers throughout the whole book. but just in each part.

Thanks again for your suggestion as to the cause of the problem.

If anyone is interested then there is a discussion here Visit My Website
which explains the problem in more detail and also why removing the leading zero's will cause sorting problems in MP3 players.

I've never used an Mp3 player that required leading zeroes in the track number field (TRACK in Mp3tag) to properly sort tracks. Your Mp3 player may be sorting the files by file name.

Make sure you're not confusing the file name with the track number meta data internal field. You don't have to format the track number the same in both places. Include the leading zeroes in the file name, but not in the TRACK field.

Let us know if that works.

Thanks for your thoughts on this. My MP3 player is an elderly but reliable 60gb (I have lots of audiobooks) Zen Vision M. I found some instructions on the Creative website, but they aren't overly useful because they don't specify which category the Vision M comes into when sorting files. However some creative players do sort by album, artist, genre, title etc rather than filename which is why I create the track number and then incorporate them into the 'title' field so that the tracks play in the correct order.
The screen-shot in my initial post shows the correct file names, in the correct order with the track numbers at the end of the file name. Despite the file names being correct and in the correct order the MP3 player seems to be playing by track number.

Have I understood the point you were making correctly?

As there are more things under the sun than the ordinary brain can imagine ... if no leading zeros are allowed for one environment but the other needs the fully padded numbers ... why not use numbers above 1000? This has a leading 1 and still caters for audiobooks with loads of tracks ...

Thank you for this suggestion, it makes excellent sense, and probably seems obvious to many reading the forum! The difficulty I have is that I only have a very basic understanding of how the scripts in MP3 Tag work so I have no idea how to create a string which would number from 1,000 upwards. :unsure:

(Years ago, after much trial and error I worked out how to tag audiobooks for my MP3 player, wrote myself out a crib sheet and left it at that. I am only revisiting now because of encountering problems with window 7 when trying to update my library.)

JJ Johnson I have removed the leading zeros from the track number, but included the track number in the title field for sorting (which does have leading zeros, not sure why perhaps the track number is taken from the file name). Doing this does not appear to have corrupted the track number in windows explorer. Hallelujah! I will now try and transfer across to my Zen to see if it loads and plays in the correct order. Thanks for the suggestion. :mellow:

JJ Johnson
OK - have transferred to the Zen. Appears to be all in the correct order :music: . Viewing the Zen on the laptop shows the filename, but it actually sorts on the Zen via the title. Despite it's idiosyncracies it has proved to be a really good buy - I have used it virtually every day for over 7 years so I can't complain.

Thanks for the help. Will listen to the a/b over the next day or two to check it is playing correctly. Then I will get going on updating my library.

Yes, if you include the track number in the TITLE field, then it's just like using it in the file name. The TITLE will be sorted as a text string, so it too requires the zero padding of numbers. But the TRACK field (for Windows Explorer or any software or player that uses the track number to sort) seldom needs leading zeroes.

The following is a pretty good forum for discussions of all portable players, with a forum dedicated to the Creative Vision:M.

Create an action of the type "Format value" for TRACK
Enter as format string:

Run this action once for each track.

I have recently noted the same problem but with a new Sansa Clip Zip and not with my old Sansa E270 since a Windows Update.

Based on the above discussion, I found my solution was to either use

  1. No leading zeros or
  2. Start the numbering with 1001

Both make Explorer and my Clip Zip happy :music:

or you can use better 1$num($mod(%track%,1000),3) so you can run it as many times as you like.