How to Organize Music on USB for Car? – 4 Steps

Last Updated on August 2, 2023 by John Robinson

There are several reasons to organize music on a USB drive for cars. Firstly, it is very easy to organize and update your music files on a USB drive. Second of all, you can use a USB drive as a great alternative to CDs. Thirdly, it is very portable and can be carried anywhere.

Steps On How To Organize Music on USB for Car

Step 1: Understanding the sequence in which your car will read a USB?

It is important to understand that the music on your USB drive will be read in alphabetical order or in the order that they were copied onto the drive? Let’s understand this before trying to organize your music by artist, genre, etc.

So to understand this consider one simple question:

If you copy your music library from your computer to a USB drive, will they be played in alphabetical order or the order in which they were copied to the USB drive?

The answer is Alphabetical order. So if you copy an artist called “John” then the artist called “Paul” will it be played first or last? The answer is that it will play in alphabetical order. So if you have a lot of artists that have the same name, you could find your USB drive playing them in random order.

This means you should try to have your music organized into folders by artists. This will be the simplest way to have things organized with a USB drive without compromising on how you want your music to be played or listened to.

Step 2: Formatting the USB for in-car use

Different in-dash head units are going to need the USB stick that you are planning on using formatted in a specific way.

For instance, I have a head unit that wants the USB formatted as a FAT32 file system with a 32kb allocation size. So if you want to use the head unit in my car, your USB stick must be formatted with a 32kb allocation size.

Many head units are going to want the USB stick formatted as NTFS which is Microsoft’s proprietary OS.

You can format the USB stick on your computer by plugging it in and right-clicking on the USB drive’s icon and selecting format.

Then select the file system, allocation size, and click start.

usb formatting

After this is done, you can exit the format utility. In addition, it is a good idea to purchase a USB drive with a fast transfer speed so that it can read and write data quickly.

Step 3: Copying Your Music Files to the USB

Transfer all your music to the USB drive by either copying or dragging and dropping your music files.

Now you can organize your USB drive with artist folders so that when you are in the car, your USB drive be displayed alphabetically by the artist.

For instance, you can create a folder for “John” and inside that folder, you will place all the songs by “John” and then you can create a folder for artists like “Paul” and inside that, you will place all the songs by “Paul” and so on.

Folder 1(John)

  • Song 1
  • Song 2
  • Song 3

Folder 2(Paul)

  • Song 1
  • Song 2
  • Song 3

If you have a lot of music and the artists have similar names, then simply add a number to a folder, for instance, “John” would be “John (1)” and then “Paul” would be “Paul (2),” etc.

You can use this way to organize your music for your USB drive or other portable music players as well.

Step 4: Plug it in and Play

Once you’ve formatted the USB drive and copied all your music files to it, you can insert the USB drive into the car’s entertainment system and it should start playing alphabetically by artist.

A Final tip for organizing music on a USB drive

You can use multiple USB drives if you have a large collection of music. You can also create new folders on your computer for artists and then copy the folders with artists to a USB drive.


So these are some of the tips for organizing music on a USB drive for a car. Using a USB stick makes it easy to organize your favorite songs and playlists as you want. So now that you know how to organize music on a USB drive for a car, enjoy your ride!

In addition, if you are using a USB drive for your car entertainment system, you should make sure that the USB has enough memory to contain all the music files.

Frequently Asked Questions

What format should a USB be for music?

Your USB drive should be in the FAT32 format. This is the most compatible file format for all types of operating systems and software. Some car entertainment systems may not accept USB drives that are formatted in any other file format.

How do I put my songs in order on a USB stick?

Your USB drive will be displayed alphabetically on your car’s entertainment system. So you should create folders on the USB drive with the correct artist name and then place all the music in that folder.
This way you can easily organize your USB drive with artist folders. This is the most straightforward way to organize music on a USB drive for a car.

John Robinson
John Robinson

Howdy! I’m John Robinson from Levittown, New York. I am a mechanical engineer for 15 years and already had an established car repair company. I developed a personal relationship with cars since I was a kid. I always love the sounds and smell emitted by a car or truck and even at construction machinery. Since then I have been married but my love for cars only grew.