Goal: To use a printed list of movies and TV shows to select from hundreds of files on a USB hard drive using the number pad on the DVD remote control.

This method is not for everyone, a printed list will not be of any use if there are files moving on and off the hard drive. No navigation is required, just start the DVD player, press 3 numbers on the remote and the movie starts. So it is simple enough for old people and women to use. You do not have to rename any of the files if you don't mind them all in one place in alphabetical order.

I recently purchased the Philips DVP-5990 and connected a wiped clean (deleted all the stuff that comes on the hard drive) Western Digital 500GB USB 2.0 My Book (WDH1U500N) through the USB port on the front of the DVD player.

The (FAT-32) Hard Drives root directory was loaded up with 640 movies and TV shows, mostly XVID but some DIVX and MPG as well. The DVD player manual states that its file system can see 648 files. The Hard Drive contains about 410 GB of data.

A file renaming program called Flash Renamer was utilized to add numbers to the beginning of the file names so they read: 001 – Movie a, 002 – Movie b, 003 – Movie c, etc. The 3-digit number at the beginning of the file name will be entered on the DVD remote control to select the Movie. An alternative method would be to add these numbers in the word processor using bullet points. But I had a mixture of movies and television shows and numbering the files let me keep them separate on the disk without using folders.

The DVD player displayed the files in the order they were placed on the Hard Drive, not in alphabetical order. They appeared to be in no particular order - all jumbled. Also there were two folders being displayed that were not copied over. They looked like the Recycle Bin and a System Folder. These are hidden folders on your My Book Hard Drive that will be deleted later using your computer.

A program named DriveSort was used to put the files in the correct order on the Hard Drive. This program rewrites the FAT table of the Hard Drive; so make sure you have back-ups of ALL the files before running this program. After this program was closed the disk was opened in My Computer to see if the files were still there. There are other programs that do similar things but they were not tried.

A command prompt window was opened and the following command was typed: (this created a list of all the files on the Hard Drive).

dir g:\ /w > c:\list.txt

(Substitute your My Book drive letter for g: if needed)

This created a file in the root directory of the C: drive named list.txt. This file was opened and the list was checked to see if the files were in the proper order. This must be correct as this is the order the DVD player will use. The data in this file was copied to a word processor, cleaned up and printed. Now a hard copy of the files exists with each movie or show having a 3-digit number that corresponds to its location on the hard drive.

The two hidden files have to be deleted for the numbers to be correct; otherwise they skew the list by 2.

The operating system on my computer is Win XP.

The hidden folders must be unhidden before the can be deleted. To reveal the folders: Go to your My Book Hard Drive on your computer and from the pull down menu select Tools --> Folder Options then Select the View tab. Below in the advanced options select “Show hidden files and folders” and un-check the box next to “Hide protected operating system files”.

Now you should be able to see the two previously hidden folders in the root directory of your My Book. Windows will not let you delete them now. More work must be done. Don't forget to hide the folders again later.

To delete the Recycled folder: Right click on the Recycle Bin on your desktop and select Properties. Select Configure drives independently and then select the tab for your my Book hard drive; check the box so the files will not be moved to the recycle bin when they are deleted. Don't worry – this will not harm the environment. Select OK to close the window.

Now you should be able to delete the Recycle folder on your My Book.

To delete the System Volume Information Folder: Go to the Control Panel and then open up the System Properties. Choose the System Restore tab, select your drive from the list, and click on settings. Check the box that will allow you to turn off System Restore on this drive. Click OK to close the windows.

You should now be able to delete the System Volume Information folder on your My Book.

Plug the drive into the DVD player and navigate to the desired movie or show by pressing the 3-digit number from the printed list on the remote control. In a couple of seconds the show will start. No need to stop the playback before entering the 3-digit code for the next file. The hard drive light remains on when you power off the DVD player. It does spin down though.