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What to do if iMovie Won't Play without Quartz Extreme

written by: Misty Faucheux•edited by: Tricia Goss•updated: 4/21/2011

You're trying to use iMovie, but you get an error message that basically says that iMovie won't play without Quartz Extreme. Now what? Learn how to fix this problem in this iMovie tutorial.

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    Why Do You Need Quartz Extreme?

    You have your Mac and you are ready to start experimenting with iMovie, but it just refuses to run on your computer. Then you notice something in the requirements: iMovie will not play without Quartz Extreme. What is Quartz Extreme and why do you need it?

    Quartz Extreme is technology created by Apple. It comes with all Mac OS X operating systems and it improves the graphics on supported graphics cards. The technology helps you quickly manipulate images and scroll through windows.

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    Compatibility

    Quartz Extreme Check 

    iMovie requires Quartz Extreme to work properly. If you do not have Quartz Extreme, then you will probably get the following error message: “iMovie requires a graphics card that is compatible with Quartz Extreme. One or more of your graphics cards does not support Quartz Extreme."

    If you receive this message, you must upgrade your graphics card. You can tell whether your graphics card is supported by following the below steps:

    1. Go to Applications, Utilities and then System Profiler.

    2. Go to Contents and then select Graphics/Displays. This pulls up all of the information about your graphics card and processor.

    3. Scroll until your see Quartz Extreme. Look next to the name, and you will see either “Supported" or “Not Supported."

    Generally, NVidia GeForce 2 and ATI Radeon or later versions are supported. Check your Mac, because depending on your system, you may not be able to upgrade your graphics card, which means that you would need to invest in a new system.

    In that case, it may be better to invest in a different program.

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    Update Your Program

    If you install your new graphics card, and you are still having issues, try updating your applications. To find updates for your program, follow the below steps:

    1. Go to the Apple menu.

    2. Select Software Update.

    3. Look for updates for iLife, which is the software package to which iMovie belongs.

    4. Download the updates for iLife.

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    Restore to Factory Presets

    If the program still does not work, try restoring the program to the factory presets. Follow the below procedures to restore your program:

    1. Go to Finder and select Go.

    2. In this menu, select Home.

    3. Go into the Library folder and open up the Preferences folder.

    4. Look through the folder until you find the “com.apple.x.plist" file. The X stands for the version of iMovie that you have. For example, if you have iMovie 8, the file will look like this: “com.apple.imovie8.plist."

    5. Delete the file, and then restart your program.

    If all else fails, delete the application, and reinstall iLife. You must drag it to the Trash and then reinstall it. You should also check to see there are any updates to the program.

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