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Alphabetize and backup Favorites folder, or Bookmarks list, in Microsoft Internet Explorer browser (MSIE).
Mirrors 1. 2. Change mirror pages if problems.

*Table of Contents. After text loads, click topics below. Click TopLink, back button, or HomeKey to return here fast.

*Simplest solutions. "Sort by name" or Power Drawers.
*Alphabetize all the favorites at once.
*Problems and solutions.  
*Alphabet folders at the top.
*Backup of favorites to floppy, CD, or DVD.
*Importing favorites. Step-by-step instructions.

*Drug war charts, and more.

Simplest solutions. [TopLink]

Isn't it annoying to try to find bookmarks in nonalphabetized favorites folders? And isn't it annoying that when you rename a filename or foldername in the favorites folder that it is no longer in alphabetical order? 
You can alphabetize one folder at a time by right-clicking inside favorites folders from within the favorites menu and its nested folders. Then click "sort by name." It could take a long time to alphabetize each and every nested folder this way. 
Windows Explorer method. First put a shortcut on the desktop to the Favorites folder. Here's how: Click the Windows folder link below. 
Click "Show Files." Then right-click the Favorites folder therein. Then click "Send To." Then send a shortcut to the desktop. You can then drag it to the quick launch toolbar too. You can click the icon on the desktop or on the quick launch toolbar to open the favorites folder. Once open you can use the explorer bar from the view menu (and then the folders command) to explore subfolders.
Power Drawers is faster, though.
There is a shareware (with free trial period) program called Power Drawers that can be used to find and click Microsoft Internet Explorer (MSIE) favorites from its correctly alphabetized folders and subfolders. Look it up in Google, download it, and install it. It alphabetizes all the folders it sees within its own nested menus.
Right-click the Favorites icon anytime you want the fastest access to completely alphabetized nested folders.
There are bookmark managers available, too. Use a search engine to find them. Try them out.

Alphabetize all favorites. [TopLink]

You may be able to alphabetize all or most of your favorites folders at once. See the next section if there are problems.

First, export the favorites. Use the "Import and Export" command in the file menu of MSIE:
C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\IEXPLORE.EXE

Follow the instructions, and remember the location of the exported bookmark.htm - The default location is here:
C:\My Documents

Now empty the recycle bin (as a precaution in case of problems). To do so, click the the Recycle Bin icon on the desktop. Then click "Empty Recycle Bin" from the file menu.

Then select all the favorites in the favorites folder, and delete them so that they end up in the empty Recycle Bin. To delete the favorites go to C:\WINDOWS\Favorites and click "Select All" from the edit menu. 

Select the hidden file(s) too. To do so choose "folder options" from the "view" menu. Mark "Show all files" from the "View" tab page. Click OK. This will allow the hidden files to be deleted (even if you don't see some of them). Deleting the hidden files (even if you don't see them being deleted) can help in alphabetizing some favorites, especially the folder where the bookmarks are being deleted from.

Be sure all is selected in the favorites folder. Click "Delete" from the File menu. All will be sent to the Recycle Bin. Do not empty the recycle bin of these favorites. You may need those favorites if there are problems.

Import the previously-exported bookmark.htm file. Use the "Import and Export" command in the file menu of MSIE. This can take up to 10 minutes if there are thousands of bookmarks, especially if some have long filenames, or there are duplicates, etc.. The default location is inside
C:\My Documents

The favorites folders and subfolders should now be alphabetized (or better alphabetized) in MSIE:
C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\IEXPLORE.EXE

If there are still some large non-alphabetized folders that remain, then usually those folders need to be divided up into more subfolders. Then you will have to repeat all the steps above.

Any folder that has so many items that the folder extends past the top or bottom of the monitor screen when viewing it from MSIE's favorites menu may have too many items in the folder.

This is especially important for the topmost folder. For the topmost level I prefer around 10 to 15 topics with short titles. Topic examples:


Inside those main topic folders I prefer subfolders for the letters of the alphabet. If using a small monitor put the first half of the alphabet in a separate folder. See the center-column option below.

Two letters per folder.
One letter per folder. a-m half of alphabet in a separate folder. The a-m subfolder.
_ a-b
_ c-d
_ e-f
_ g-h
_ i-j
_ k-l
_ m-n
_ o-p
_ q-r
_ s-t
_ u-v
_ w-x
_ y-z
_ a-m
_ n
_ o
_ p
_ q
_ r
_ s
_ t
_ u
_ v
_ w
_ x
_ y
_ z
_ a
_ b
_ c
_ d
_ e
_ f
_ g
_ h
_ i
_ j
_ k
_ l
_ m

FAST WAY! Create a favorites subfolder of 26 or 13 empty subfolders; each consisting of 1 or 2 letters of the alphabet. You can select and copy all those subfolders at once. Paste them into any other favorites folder or subfolder that you want to quickly organize. The underscore and space in front of the letters insure that these alphabet subfolders are at the top of the folder they are in.
Drag bookmarks into those alphabet folders. You may occasionally need to hold down the shift and control keys together when dragging some folders and files around between folders. This is to be able to actually move stuff around (and not just create more shortcuts).
After doing all the above you may still have some main topic folders that will not become alphabetized. This seems to occur when you have thousands and thousands of bookmarks. From the favorites menu of MSIE just right-click on a blank spot inside the problem folders. Then click "sort by name."

Problems and solutions. [TopLink]

While you are thinking of it, go to Windows update (in the start menu) while online and upgrade for free to the latest version of MSIE.

Problem of slow opening and closing of directory windows. Especially after some folders and files have been moved around. Some versions of Windows do not seem capable of dealing well with thousands of bookmarks, especially when many have very long pathnames and filenames. And also when there are duplicate filenames in the same favorites subfolder. I read somewhere that in some earlier versions of Windows such as Windows 95 and 98, that there are problems that ensue when many, many files, folders, and subfolders are nested into any one single folder on the hard drive. This may explain some of the roots of the alphabetization problems. Restarting the PC will often help.

Problem importing bookmark.htm file. If the PC can not import all the bookmarks in the bookmark.htm file, then you will have to copy them from the recycle bin (where you had previously deleted them to). Select them all from within the recycle bin folder, and click "copy" from the edit menu.

Then click inside the empty favorites folder and click "paste" from the edit menu there. If some filenames or folder names or paths are too long or invalid, then the copying will stop, and you will be told of the problem. Fix the problem, and copy and paste again. Keep doing this until no problems are mentioned. It may be faster to do this one main toplevel subfolder at a time. When done you can compare the number of files and folders in both favorites folders by checking "properties" by right-clicking either folder.

Problem of dividing up folders, and moving favorites around. There is an easier way to split up folders and move stuff around. Use a couple Windows Explorer and/or My Computer and/or My Documents windows. Position and resize them so that it is easy to drag files and folders wherever you want them. You can also tile them vertically or horizontally by right-clicking the bottom bar of the Windows screen.

One efficient way to clean up the favorites folder is to use a program like Nero to back it up. Doing so will shorten all the bookmark filenames to a set length, and will point out any duplicate filenames to be corrected. The Joliet filename maximum length is 60 characters (not including the extension). Once backed up one can empty the favorites folder on the hard drive, and then refill it from the corrected, backed up copy.


Alphabet folders at the top. [TopLink]

Any folder that has so many items that the folder extends past the top or bottom of the monitor screen when viewing it from MSIE's favorites menu has too many items in the folder. It will be difficult for MSIE to keep that folder alphabetized. So divide up the folder into other folders, subfolders, A-Z folders etc..

Here are some examples of possible lists of nesting subfolders for any topic or subtopic in the favorites menu. Stuff is MUCH easier to find when it is divided into some subfolders. 13 folders consisting of 2 letters of the alphabet for each folder is a great way to subdivide any folder. To keep these folders at the top there needs to be something in front of the 2-letter folder name. Putting an _underscore_ in front works. It is an easy way to keep the A-Z folders at the top. Putting "aa" or "aaa" in front will work too. "aa" will be higher in an alphabetized Windows folder list than "aaa" or "aaaa" folders, and so on. Underscores will be higher up than the letter "a." An underscore followed by a space will be higher up than an underscore followed by a letter.

The folder list below is in alphabetical order according to the Windows folder-directory system. This info is useful for choosing your filing methods in the favorites folders.

_ a
_ aa
_ aaa
_ a-b
_ c-d
_ e-f
_ g-h
_ i-j
_ k-l
_ m-n
_ o-p
_ q-r
_ s-t
_ u-v
_ w-x
_ y-z
__ 2 underscores is not as high up as one underscore.
___ 3 underscores shows up below 1 or 2 underscores.
aa is below underscores.
aaa is below aa and underscores.


Floppy disk or CD/DVD backup of favorites. [TopLink]

In case your computer crashes completely, you will need to import your bookmarks from a floppy disk, CD, DVD, etc.. So you should backup the bookmark.htm file (from the steps above) to a floppy disk, CD, DVD, etc. now.

Put a blank formatted floppy disk in the disk drive. Go to the "My Documents" folder. The My Documents folder is accessed easily from the Start Menu. Click the Start Menu button on the lower-left bottom of your screen. Then click "Documents" in the pop-up box. Then click "My Documents" in the next pop-up box. Or just click:
C:\My Documents

Export the favorites to My Documents according the instructions in the sections above.  

Right-click bookmark.htm from the "My Documents" folder. Then click "Send to" from the menu. Then click "3 1/2 Floppy" from the nested menu. Follow the instructions. The bookmark.htm file will load to the floppy disk. Wait until the floppy disk light goes out. Click the link below to see that the bookmark.htm file is now on the floppy disk:

Take out the floppy disk and store it somewhere cool and away from speakers, wires and magnetic fields. You can backup any file this way, not just the bookmark.htm file. You can backup web pages for example.

You can optionally use WinZip first to compress a folder before sending it to a floppy backup. It is oftentimes much faster to backup a zipped folder than to backup an unzipped folder to a floppy. Especially when the unzipped folder has hundreds or thousands of subfolders. Try it and see. Get WinZip shareware from here:

You can also backup your favorites folder to a CD or DVD. Nero is a good backup program. You can backup the bookmark.htm file and/or the favorites folder itself. If there are thousands of bookmarks in the favorites folder it can be much faster to zip it first.


Importing favorites (bookmark.htm). Step-by-step instructions. [TopLink]

If there are problems go to the problems and solutions section farther up.

These step-by-step instructions work for importing favorites (bookmark.htm) from a floppy disk, the hard drive, a CD, or a DVD.

Delete everything within the favorites folder on the hard drive (as described previously).

Drag the bookmark.htm file from its backup location to the My Documents folder. Allow it to replace any old bookmark.htm file there.
C:\My Documents

To copy your floppy disk backup copy of your favorites into My Documents:

Insert the floppy disk into the floppy drive slot on the computer. Then check to see if the bookmark.htm file is on it. Just click:

Then drag the bookmark.htm file from the floppy disk to My Documents on the hard drive.

Then import the bookmark.htm file into MS Internet Explorer browser. Here is how:

If the backed-up bookmarks are zipped, then first, unzip the backed-up bookmarks from the floppy or other backup disk, tape, etc.. If you use WinZip, most versions of WinZip will usually make sure that all unzipped items end up on the hard drive. Remember where, or just keep the folder window open where they end up. Most versions of WinZip usually put all unzipped items into

It is fairly easy to import your backed-up bookmarks into your browser. This example below assumes you will eventually be importing the bookmarks from the C:\unzipped folder or from My Documents
C:\My Documents

But the instructions can be adapted for importing the bookmarks from wherever they happen to be. If the bookmarks are in another folder then change the instructions below to take that into account.

Launch Internet Explorer by going to:

Start menu. (lower left button on the Windows screen).
--Click "Internet Explorer." It will launch. Or try clicking:
C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\IEXPLORE.EXE

In Internet Explorer go to:

File menu
--Import and Export
--Import Favorites
--Import from a File or Address
--Click the up arrow folder until inside the "C" folder.
--Use the horizontal scroll bar to find the "unzipped" folder or My Documents.
--Double-click the folder to open it. Find bookmark.htm
--Highlight bookmark.htm by clicking on it just once.
--Click Save.
--Click Next, and wait until a box pops up. May take awhile.
--Click Next.
--Click Finish. Then wait. May take awhile.
--Click OK. You're done, and the bookmarks are in browser.


Drug war charts, and more. [TopLink]