As you saw previously, you can use pictures for folders instead of manila folder icons thanks to XP's Thumbnail view. Additionally, this thumbnail generator automatically places the appropriate album cover art on music storage folders when copying music in the WMA format (i.e, using the Windows Media Player to rip CDs). Figure 7-6 shows this default behavior.
Figure 7-6. XP automatically uses album art if copying in Windows Media Player.
But waityou already have music on your hard drive that's been ripped using the mp3 format. Can you use this same feature on those music folders as well?
Absolutely. To do so, you first need to obtain the album art from a site like cdnow.com or amguide.com, and then you can use the Windows XP folder customization techniques discussed in Chapter 5, "Customizing the Windows Interface." You'll soon notice, however, that this can be an afternoon-eater. What's more, you'll lose these customizations if you ever have to reinstall XP. There is a better way.
Instead of taking the default picture name when downloading cover art, save the images as "folder.jpg." All you have to do then is make sure the appropriate cover art is placed in the proper folder. Now XP will automatically use the folder.jpg image as the thumbnail for that folder. It will also use the same image for album cover visualizations in Windows Media Player, and because this kind of folder customization is automatic, it will survive an OS reinstallation.