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Troubleshooting Common Windows Movie Maker Problems

written by: Misty Faucheux•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 2/6/2009

Windows Movie Maker is a nice, generally free software program for creating your own films or editing home movies. But, with this freebie, you can run into some problems that pop up often. Learn how to troubleshoot some common Movie Maker issues.

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    Freezing Up or Restarting

    Windows Movie Maker is a nice little freebie for Windows users. It's fun to make movies with and add effects with those movies, but Movie Maker may also have glitches with which you'll need to contend.

    One of the most glaring and common problems is that Movie Maker has a tendency to shut down or error out when you add special effects like transitions or importing clips from other programs. These problems often can arise when you don't have enough memory. This may involve the amount of RAM in your system, or it may involve virtual memory. If your PC is memory-constrained, you need to add more RAM. However, if virtual memory is the problem, try shutting down the rest of the program that you have open.

    Another reason that Movie Maker may freeze is that the file type you're trying to import is not supported. If this happens, you will have to restart Movie Maker.

    If you use DirectShow and try to install new video transitions or effects from this software, Movie Maker may shut down. Movie Maker has a tendency of shutting down when more than 100 of these effects are stored on your computer. You may have to uninstall some of the less used effects since Movie Maker will not support more than that limit.

    The lesson learned here is that you need to save your work early and often when working in this program. When you import a clip or add effects, save your work. It will keep you from having to start over.

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    Importing Clips

    When importing clips, sometimes you will get a variety of error messages. These error messages usually have their roots in one of the following issues. Sometimes the problem lies in copyright protection. Digital rights management (DRM) allows the creative minds behind what you're trying to import to say what their media can be used for. If its DRM protected, you will not be able to import the clip.

    Another issue that could force the clip to not be imported is that Movie Maker does not support the audio or video file. In this case, you either need to use a supported file, or you need to install the codec that the file uses.

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    Adding Transitions

    When adding transitions, you can run into problems other than Movie Maker freezing or shutting down. If you add an effect and it doesn't show up or the effect won't "take," your computer or graphics card may be the problem. If your graphic card or computer does not support the transition, you can't use it. To remedy this problem, you will have to install a graphics card that supports the transition or effect for which you are trying to use, or, of course, you can abandon the attempt.

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    Uploading Clips

    So, you've made it through adding clips and transitions to your movie, but you're now having trouble uploading it to the web. This is most often caused by not creating an account with Mydeo, the site that Movie Maker uses to upload movies to the Web. You can create an account by simply going to the site.

    But, if you have an account and have tried logging in, you may do best by saving your movie to your computer first. To save your movie to your computer, do the following steps.

    1. Go to the left-hand menu.

    2. Click "Finish Movie."

    3. Go to the option "Save to My Computer" and select it.

    4. Name your movie.

    5. Click the setting that you would like your movie saved in. (Movie Maker recommends 340Kpbs.)

    6. Log into your Mydeo account.

    7. Click on "Add Video."

    8. Select your video from your computer.

    9. Click "Upload File."

    You can also upload your file to YouTube by following similar measures. YouTube, however, has some trouble with .wmv files, and Movie Maker strictly saves in this format. If you do upload your file to YouTube, it will look grainy. Plus, once you upload your movie to this site, YouTube will own the rights to your movie and can use it any way that they wish without paying your royalties. (Mydeo does not claim any rights to your videos or movies.)

    For more information on Movie Maker or for additional troubleshooting help, you should go to Windows Movie Maker Frequently Asked Questions page.