If the mp3 files are fragmented on your HDD then WMP probably won't play them back without annoying skips and pauses.
Or atleast that's been my experience with WMP.
Like I said I have one HDD (my F drive) which starting from a clean
drive was stocked with my mp3 files directory by directory
giving that drive no chance whatsoever to be even slightly fragmented.
I also get annoyed with how long it takes to find the next mp3
when the next mp3 isn't in the same subdirectory
(a real possibility of you don't establish a heirarchy)
to that end...
Each of the sub-directories immediatly above the mp3 files is the album title
For Example, my Directory/subdirectory scheme is
F:\mp3 Library 320k\Disturbed\02 Believe\011 Devour.mp3
the "02" represents the second album by Disturbed
this places the album in chronological order if I burn
the entire album as mp3 to a CD-R for playback in
my car with another Disturbed album, RATHER than
alphabetical order by album title.
The "011" is the track number on the album.
I do it in the file name because not all players recognise the track
number ordering in the id3 tags, so album number and track number
"Brute forces" past that particular playback glitch.
The same file is also found in the same path different only
by drive letter on G, I & J and they aren't simply different
letters but different physical drives.
I HATE rediculously long file names, as would be created by artist-album-track.mp3 file naming schemes create.
I tend to listen to a lot of albums rather than songs
and I hate busting up the continuity, on a long road trip
(and I tend to make several per year), I'll often listen to several albums in order and really hate it when my CD-player wants to play Rush's "Counterparts" album first because it's album title places that subdirectory/folder FIRST alphabetically, rather than LAST where it should be chronologically.
BTW, if you do use WMP to edit data on a particular song understand that if you do so while that song is playing you
can enter the edit mode, edit the information and "save" it, but because you are actively playing it there is a hidden "file sharing violation" which prevents it from actually writing the information to the specific file... that will explain the flawed tags if you've ever used WMP to burn a disc...
BTW, if you intend to rip/extract audio from a CD, then create compressed (mp3) files and then delete the extracted wav files do not do so on the same HDD on which the files will be stored for playback, this alone will create the undesired fragmentation.
additionally writing id3 tags to mp3 files by definition adds data to each file. sometimes this doesn't cause the file to exceed the last
not completely filled cluster, but when there isn't enough unused space on that last cluster when your tagging program wants to save the id3 information that alone will cause fragmentation....
This is why I do my extraction, compression and tagging on a drive
that I wipe clean after each and every session.
My constant writing, editing deleting and defragging of that drive is admittedly hard on the drive, but WHEN it fails I'll unceremoniously move it 14" towards me 6" inches to the right and let gravity move it
downwards into the trashcan that is 36" below the drive's current location.
And my "playback drive" only gets it's mp3 files in a "Clean" write to it's utterly unfragmented platters.
I'm not saying my methods and procedures are "necissary" or the only way of doing it, but I will say it works, in a very brute force and redundant kind of way.
Using a sledge hammer to drive carpet tacks and having the motto
"anything worth hitting is worth hitting twice" tattooed on your arm.
It's all about protecting the time spent organizing that data.
The way I have my files organized ANY program can access
them for copy or playback and WILL play them in the proper order because of that "brute force" approach to organization.