PapaJohn Productions


Movie Maker - Problem Solving - 'Can't Save a Movie'

Sometimes you'll run into the situation of not being able to save a movie.

You get a message "Windows Movie Maker cannot save the movie to the specified location. Verify that the original source files used in your movie are still available, that the saving location is still available, and that there is enough free disk space available, and then try again."

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You get an error message about your source files or disk space... you thought everything was fine and you're confused about what it means. Or you might watch the estimated time to completion keep going up while the progress meter isn't. Or you don't get any messages, it seems to have saved OK, but it's not all there when viewed in a player.

Whatever the reason, your movie isn't being successfully rendered. Give it a few extra minutes, but giving it another 1/2 hour or letting it run overnight won't get you there. Cancel the process... If you're not sure, check your CPU to see how much is being used... rendering a movie uses lots of CPU energy, so if your CPU isn't chugging along strongly, then your movie isn't being rendered.

If you can save movies as DV-AVI files, but not as WMV, check your QASF.DLL and be sure you're not running with a version 6.5 file. It should be version 9 or newer.

Try a second or third time... and it might work fine without doing anything more.

After a few successive failures, close Movie Maker... clear some more space on your hard drive and defrag it. Then try again.

If that still doesn't resolve it, your movie might be beyond the project complexity constraint... and you'll need to either tweak your computer to expand its memory or memory settings and/or render the movie in segments and then add them together.

It's possible that the issue is with a specific clip or source file... if it gets hung up at the same spot each time, or you've learned too late that you shouldn't have used MPEG-2, Divx or Xvid encoded source files.

If you've used source files that don't work such as MPEG-2 files, you might be able to swap them out with substitutes of the file types that work fine instead of having to start over. See that section of this page.

And there are other possible reasons.... this subject isn't finished yet.

Here's something that works for one... I'd like to hear from others who try it (so far others report that it doesn't help): Play Music as You Render

Sub-Project Service

I've helped many divide their complex projects into more manageable segments, easy to edit further, render and put together into the final movie.

This goes well beyond usual online peer support, so I'm offering the service at a standard price of $49.95 (U.S. dollars). Email your project file (click on the project image below to start your email), get my confirmation that I can do it on your schedule, pay the fee to my PayPal or Google account, and I'll email the project segments back to you.

For those who want more info about how we work together sub-dividing your project...

click here for more info

Or you don't get a message; the progress meter doesn't start showing progress, or it makes some progress and just doesn't finish. Or the forecast time to completion stops going down and then starts going up. You wait and wait, and finally give up, thinking that Movie Maker has stopped working.

The problem is often the result of:

There are other reasons also. You need to do some detective work to be sure you're resolving the right issue the right way. This website page explains the processes that happen, and gives you some pointers about what the issues and resolutions might be.

Recent items of note:

A number of users reported their issues resolved by reinstalling the Windows Media Player... I don't undertand the relationship, but want to pass it along.

... and users of 'Folder Lock' software have problems when the locked folders include those with the source files used by a project.

Newsletter #31 was a special issue about what to do when you can't save a movie or story. Click the image to read it.

Newsletter 31

Newsletters are published weekly to subscribers only, but posted online for open viewing a couple months later. Use this link to the Products and Services page for more info and to subscribe.

You might not have gotten an error message. Your rendering finished and you think it saved OK. But when viewing the movie, there are obvious issues. Here's part of an email I received on 12/17/04: "I used your advise and split the movie into thirds. (It was approximately 19 minutes in length, with approximately 265 jpg pictures, with an effect and transition for each one, and 5 songs.). I still had problems getting the sections to save or save correctly. One section saved but even though the movie ended after approximately 5 minutes, the movie ran for another 4 minutes with nothing on it. I check and there wasn't anything trailing in the timeline. It saved correctly later, without any change to the timeline. I also had a section save with all the music intact, but most of the pictures were missing. The third section saved with all the music intact and all the pictures were there complete with effects and transitions, but most of the pictures were upside down. ??? Wow! At that point I just had to laugh. Was I ever going to get this movie, that I have spent hours and hours on, saved? I enlisted the help of a friend and we decided to try to increase the virtual memory on the laptop I was using to save from. Once we did that, each of the sections saved like a charm. I was able to get the movie burned to a DVD and am very excited about the finished product."

This is an ongoing issue with some users. Let's explore how Movie Maker 2 saves a movie, issues that it might run into during the process, and how you can best know what the issues are and resolve them.

The Bottom Line(s) - Current Thinking

The first bottom line is that the message is sometimes wrong, but Movie Maker doesn't provide a better message. The location is there, the source files are in their orginal places, and there is more than enough free space. There are other reasons for the error message, but no pointer is given and the rendering process doesn't start. If this is your situation, you should test the saving process with small projects (one clip long), using various kinds of source files, and saving to both WMV and DV-AVI formats. Confirm that the process works fine with these, before assuming it is the complexity of your large project.

The second bottom line is that the message is somewhat right, that there is something about the location(s), source file(s) or available hard drive space that precludes the rendering. A single corrupt or unavailable source file could be the reason. Detective work is needed here. Again, it may not be the project complexity.

The third bottom line is that, with or without the error message, the 'project complexity' is high enough that Movie Maker runs into a memory constraint. All software has it's limitations, so the key questions are 'how complex does a project have to be to reach this level?' and 'What memory constraint is it - real RAM or virtual, or something else?' You shouldn't automatically assume that your project is too complex, and start splitting it up into smaller bite-sized chunks, or run out to buy more RAM. What should you do? .... we're exploring it.

How Complex Can a Project Be?

To help define the complexity and the memory constraint with a real world example, there's an ongoing forum thread on the Movie Maker 2 forum at (see the Online... Forums page for a link). The thread started 7/23/03 and is titled... Another 'stops saving' problem...

The project being assessed has these complexity parameters and it reaches the 'almost fully saved' point when rendering:

Overall Project - 36 minutes - 11.4 MB project file (MSWMM) with the various tracks having:

Video - 365 clips - 95% of them imported from digital camcorder files on the H drive, some picture files in BMP format on the X drive

45 clips with video effects - 15 of them with multiple effects - all from the standard MM2 library of effects

Transitions - 135 - mostly fades - all from the standard MM2 library

Audio/music track - 23 clips using the audio portion of video files on the H drive, some MP3 files on the X drive, and some audio parts of WMV files on the X drive

Title Overlays - 47

The computer and Movie Maker for this person is running well, so it seems that he has reached the point of having too complex a project. Compare your project to his and see if you think yours is too complex. If so, skip right to the bottom of the page and follow the Microsoft suggestions. If not, keep reading.

How Movie Maker Saves a Movie

Understanding what Movie Maker is doing during the various phases of saving a movie goes a long way toward helping you determine if things are going along normally, or if it's bumped into an issue that needs resolution.

Here are five phases that Movie Maker 2 goes through when saving a movie, starting when you have finished filling out the info in the Save Movie Wizard, and you are ready to walk away and do something else for a while as the movie is created:

1 - Pre-rendering: Movie Maker 2 checks the information on the timeline/storyboard and gets ready to do the rendering. It uses what is currently on the timeline as the specification for the movie, not the information in the project file.

While it's checking the timeline and getting ready for the rendering, the Task Manager will report Movie Maker as 'Not Responding', and the CPU activity will show spurts up and down as Movie Maker does its thinking and planning. CPU activity won't head right up to 100% and stay at that level. And I guess the Task Manager doesn't really know that Movie Maker is planning how to do the rendering, and just assumes it's not responding.

It might spend several minutes checking things out before being ready to start the rendering. The checking time will vary by the project. When it's ready, it'll check for the appropriate folder to use when building the movie file, or create a new one.

In addition to checking your project spec and source files, it'll check your computer to ensure it has all the inter-related software that is needed. Techie things like codecs and DLLs. Some of these will have been installed with Movie Maker 2, and others with other software. Any additional needed codecs will be obtained from a Micorosoft website. If it doesn't find one of the needed items, you can get the 'generic' error message above, but it really means that it can't find one of the needed items, or the one it finds is corrupt. It might create the temporary folder for the saving process, but rendering won't start.

2 - Location of Saved Movie: For the option of saving a movie to your computer, you told Movie Maker which drive and folder to use as you entered the info in the wizard.

For the other 4 options (CD, e-mail, Web and DV Camera), Movie Maker uses or creates a temporary sub-folder in the location specified in Tools > Options > General tab > Temporary storage. I left mine at the default location "C:\Documents and Settings\PapaJohn\Local Settings\Temp\".

The Local Settings folder and the folders under it are hidden by default in Windows XP. You can't see them without changing the folder option in My Computer to show hidden files and folders.

If you see the path to the folder, it would look something like this (with the big long random number changing each time) - C:\Documents and Settings\PapaJohn\Local Settings\Temp\WMT127.tmp\{C95A9D40-7250-4CD2-B396-C7CF34936D83}\

You can change the location of the temporary folder if you want, just before starting down the path with the Save Movie wizard. Use any existing hard drive and folder. If you put it someplace else, it might be more convenient and accessible without you having to get into hidden places and files. And using a drive that is faster, or has more free space and was more recently defragged, can only help the process.

This phase of the process occurs in a split second. It doesn't take very long for Movie Maker 2 to check the specified folder location and create a new sub-folder if needed. You know that the pre-rendering phase is finished and the rendering phase is beginning as soon as you see the new temporary folder appear (or in the case of saving to the computer, the new file is created in the folder you specified).

3 - Rendering: Movie Maker 2 renders the new movie in the appropriate folder. The details for the rendering process come from the source files you used for the project (video clips, audio clips, music files, narration files), the transition and special effect files that came with Movie Maker 2 (the standard ones) or added afterwards (Fun, Creativity and Third Party packages), and the timeline info (the location of each clip on the timeline, in and out points for each clip, effects and transitions applied, text effects). Gathering up this data and putting it together into a movie is a time consuming process, which needs a lot of your computer's CPU energy. Other computer activities slow down as the rendering occurs, but you can usually use the computer for other things during the rendering without effecting the quality of the saved movie. It'll just take a little longer.

The file name is first created with nothing in it, and then added to during the rendering. When Movie Maker creates the TMP file for the "Save to Camera" option, it attempts to allocate a contiguous block of disk space, so that when transferring the file back to the camera skips due to file fragmentation are minimized. When the file is fragmented, there can be a brief pause in the transfer of data from the local disk to the camera, since the camera can't pause the tape mechanism during record, that section of the tape doesn't have new frames written to it. That results in audio drop outs and uneven motion during tape playback. So for the best quality transferring to camera, it's a good idea to defragment your hard drive prior to starting the Save to Camera option.

You can watch the file size grow during the rendering. The progress percentage that Movie Maker reports as the rendering happens is determined by the actual size of the file that is created so far compared to the estimated file size that Movie Maker had shown up front.

You can also watch the CPU and hard drive page file usage charts during rendering, using your Task Manager. See how CPU usage quickly moves up to the 100% level when the rendering starts, and stays up high during it. The page file usage also picks up. When the rendering finishes, or you cancel the process, CPU and page file usage will go back down just as quickly to the levels they started at.

CPU During Rendering

For a simple project file, CPU usage may not stay up at 100%; it might just move up there as needed, such as during the rendering of transitions or special effects.

Watching the file grow and seeing the patterns in CPU usage gives you two indicators of progress or activity, in addition to the percent complete and estimated time to completion information being reported by Movie Maker 2. High CPU usage during rendering is a good thing. If your CPU were twice as fast, the rendering would happen in half the time, but it would work just as much while it is rendering.

When the CPU is running at 100%, it is generating heat. The CPU cooling fan must be working and the airflow clear to prevent an overheated CPU from closing down before the rendering is completed. This is especially important on larger projects and with faster CPUs. On 8/7/03, I had an exchange of emails with someone who said he couldn't render more than half of his movie, the project was large, his laptop was getting hot and it smelled burned. To resolve it, he tried saving the movie with the laptop in front of an air conditioner blowing directly on it. It rendered fine.

Memory Check

Check memory usage during and after an editing/rendering session, before turning off the computer. Use the info at the lower left of your Task Manager (see the figure at the right):

If you want more memory, your options are to purchase and add more physical RAM and/or change your virtual memory setting via: Start > Control Panel > Performance and Maintenance > System > Advanced tab > Performance Settings > Advanced tab > Virtual memory - Change.

Newsletter #69 was an exercise that started with a very simple project, and added more and more complexity... to the point that the memory needed to render the movie exceeded available memory... and the familiar error message appeared. Instead of splitting the project into smaller less complex parts, I changed the virtual memory setting to raise it enough to successfully complete the rendering. Click the image to read it.

Newsletter 69

The exercise showed that rendering to a high quality WMV movie requires the most memory, and a low quality WMV file requires the least... rendering to DV-AVI was in-between. It also showed that transitions and text overlays need more memory than special effects and music.

4 - Ending: If the movie file was saved to your computer, the process is done. For the other 4 options, the temporary folder and movie file are stepping stones toward something else. Movie Maker will use the temporary file until the remainder of the process is finished. The remaining processes for the other 4 options are:

Save to CD - Movie Maker first checks the CD when you select this option. If the CD is too full, Movie Maker says "A recordable CD drive was not detected. Would you like to save your movie on your computer hard disk instead?" It's a nice offer, but the message really means that the CD is too full to use, not that there isn't a recordable drive. You probably want to replace the CD in the drive with another one that has enough free space. It could be an empty new or a partially used CD. It'll offer to burn to more than one CD and wait until you decide that you don't want any more before it deletes the temporary file.

Send in e-mail - The temporary movie is saved and then added to a new e-mail as an attachment. The only up-front checking will be to see that you have default e-mail software. Movie Maker will offer you a chance to play the movie or save a copy to your hard drive before it opens a new e-mail with the movie attached. You can do one or both. You don't need to be connected to the internet to create the email with the attached movie. You can mail it later, when online. You can opt to save the email to your drafts folder or choose the Send Later option.

Send to the Web - It'll create the temporary movie file, and then check the internet for a list of your video host services. If you are not online, it'll say "Windows Movie Maker was not able to download video hosting provider information from the internet. Make sure your Internet connection is working properly and try again." It then offers you an option of saving it to your hard drive so you can send it to the service via their website. If you Finish the wizard without opting to save the movie to your hard drive, the temporary folder and movie file will remain until you close Movie Maker.

Send to DV camera - If your camcorder isn't connected, it'll say "Your DV camera is not connected to your computer. Connect your camera to your computer using an IEEE 1394 cable, and then turn on the camera." It won't render the file first. DV-AVI files are large, so you won't want a temporary file on your hard drive when not needed.

5 - Cleanup: When Movie Maker is finished with the temporary file (it's been burned to a CD, attached to an e-mail, uploaded to a web service, or exported to a digital camcorder), Movie Maker 2 cleans up after itself by deleting the movie file. But it will leave behind the new temporary folder with the long number.

In the case of the web hosting service, the temporary movie file remains on your hard drive until you close down Movie Maker normally. At that point the file is deleted.

Deleted temporary files are not placed in your compuler's Recycle Bin. They are 'behind the scenes' activities.

The issues that Movie Maker Can Run Into When Saving a Movie

I'm accumulating test results, selected posts and any related items here, to help us reach appropriate conclusions. It looks like, with Chris' post in the last section below, we'll be working both ends of the issue against the middle - there's a lot of sorting out to be done yet. I won't include all posts about the topic, but enough to help define the issues and resolutions.

When is the Message Wrong?

Here are some examples:

In November 2007 I ran into a 4-1/2 minute project file that would render fine to any quality wmv file, but immediately got the standard message when trying to save it to a DV-AVI file. The project and source files were on an external USB drive and the project took forever to open, but once open the editing was fine.

In October 2009 I had a simlar issue using MM2.6 on Windows 7. After successfully saving about 30 movies (from a single 90 minute DV-AVI source file) to single clip DV-AVI files and rebooting the system, the next day's first save would work to WMV but not to DV-AVI. The project file, as small as it was, somehow got corrupted. All worked fine moving on to a new "untitled" project file.

If your wmm2filt.dll isn't 'registered', the error message will pop up quickly when you start the rendering process... for either a WMV or DV-AVI type. This happens with MM2.1; I haven't tested it with MM2.0 (let me know if you check it). The Setup > MM2.1 page has more info about this and other issues you'll have if one or more of the DLLs are not registered.

When an external USB2 Drive is set to 'Optimize for quick removal' and you can't save a movie as a DV-AVI.

When QDV.DLL isn't registered (it sometimes slips a gear on my system, needing re-registering) - a key file needed to work with DV-AVI files.

When the version of QASF.DLL isn't up-to-date - it's a key file needed to save a movie as a WMV type.

Issues that Result in a Message being Somewhat Right

Multiple Users on One Computer

8/15/03 - I have my laptop setup for multiple users. One is 'PapaJohn' and another is 'Movie Studio'. I noticed today that a movie I'm working on, that I created when logged in as 'Movie Studio', gets the classic message when I try to save a movie when I'm logged in as 'PapaJohn'.

When I looked closely at the project as 'PapaJohn' I see that one clip has the big red X on it, a still image that I had made from a video clip, using the 'Take Picture' feature of MM2. It's not important to me why it isn't linked OK when all the other clips in the project are fine. It's the fact that this one un-linked clip results in the error message when I'm logged in as a different user than the one who created the movie project.

Selected Posts

4/15/07 - forum post - ...This problem will also make Outlook2007 and OneNote2007 crash. I got the resolution for these 2 applications and found it also resolves the Movie Maker publishing problem in Vista. The problem is because of the Voxware Audio Codec. Please follow the steps below. :)

Your Movie Maker will be happy to work for publishing immediantly. :)

5/3/05 - I did resolve the problem. After running my cursor along the video timeline, at around image 200, or so, I saw a "red-x" frame. I deleted it, as well as three others, and then was succesful in finishing the project. I believe these were "defective" mpegs. It would be really nice if the program actually showed you where the problems were!

8/23/04 - My movie file, even though it is basically the same composition project as the original seems to be limited to near 50 MB. The program works fine for about 9 to 11 minutes and then the music continues, but the slides discontinue to flow (either it freezes on the last slide or it goes black) I have tried several attempts since the original and all have the same symptoms and all fall in the range of 48 MB to 51.5 MB I have tried other output formats too, NTSC for example, all high quality, but the same results. > (Microsoft) We've seen other reports of this behaviour especially on timelines with a lot of transitions. The good news is that we made a fix in Windows Movie Maker 2.1 within Windows XP SP2 so this problem is far more unlikely to occur. If you don't want to install SP2 yet you can also try the following workaround. Sometimes just trying to save your movie again will work, as it doesn't always repro 100% of the time. If in your case it is consistenly failing then the other suggestion I have is to save your movie as a DV-AVI file first. To do this, when you're on the Movie Settings page choose "Other Settings" and select DV-AVI from the list (if Other Settings isn't visible then click "Show more choices..."). Play back the resultant DV-AVI file to make sure that it's OK. If you ultimately want a DVD, you should be able to import that DV-AVI file into Sonic MyDVD. If you want to save it as a WMV file to save disk space you can also import the DV-AVI file back into MovieMaker, drag it down to the timeline then publish it again as a WMV file with your choice of profile.

8/6/03 - (MSN Messenger Audio Discussion) - This is my first attempt at using Movie Maker 2 and I'm getting that error message. The project file has only 6 JPG pictures on it and, when I try to save the movie, the message pops up. > We had it working fine an hour later, after these steps: (1) Determined that it would save it as a DV-AVI file, but not to any WMV choice - would get the error message. (2) Downloaded/installed the latest MM2 installation package - no change. (3) Found that his firewall precluded playing a sample web-based file in Windows Media Player - poked a temporary hole in the firewall to play the online movies, but it didn't resolve the MM2 issue. (4) Downloaded/installed the full version 9 codec package - no change. (5) Tried using a WMV source file instead of the JPG pictures - no change. (6) Downloaded and installed the Windows Media Encoder package - BINGO!!! works great! Seems like a missing or corrupt part of the XP setup precluded Movie Maker from rendering to a WMV file, but wasn't needed to render a DV-AVI file. Whatever was missing or corrupt was brought in or fixed by installing the Encoder package (the current suspect is QASF.DLL).

8/3/03 - Whenever I attempt "Save or Create" a movie file, I receive an error "Windows Movie Maker cannot save the movie to the specified location. Verify that the original source files used in your movie are still available, that the saving location is still available, and that there is enough free disk space available, and then try again." I have tried everything. I have seen a few postings with the same problem but never a solution. I've heard about the file being "too complex" so I have even tried to import a single picture to my timeline and record it out as a movie only to get the same error. I have 42 gig of hard drive space available and 512 MB of ram. ---- OK, I'm updating my own posting.... I just found that I was able to change the file setting to DV-AVI (NTSC) and my projects will render and save. I'm now assuming that there must be a codec issue with WMA files. I attempted to try all other settings from 340kbs broadband movie to a High Quality Video NTSC and none of them work. Is there another codec I need to download?

7/26/03 - I am trying to clarify how MM2 works in a little more detail when saving projects. My issue is I have 256MB RAM and, whilst I have saved AVI files of 2.5GB in the past, MM2 freezes if I try to save a file more than 16MB in size. I am aware of the normal work-arounds & MS knowledge Base articles. When MM2 is loaded with my project (5 mins long - 89MB recommended file save size) I have 70MB RAM available. When trying to save this reduces to ~ 20MB. Above 16MB and MM2 crashes with % completion in proportion to the size of the target file (ie 20MB gets 38%, 40MB 20%, etc). So I probably need more RAM, although I (& believe PPJ) have saved larger movies with 256MB RAM. I have ruled H/W out due to the precise reproductive nature of the issue. So anyone know how MM2 uses RAM as it is saving? Anyone know how to validate pagefile is working properly? > Join us in the MM2 forum also, where we have an ongoing thread going - Another 'stops saving problem...', where we are exploring the relationship between project complexity and memory. There's a link to the forum at the bottom of the Online... Forums page. The length of the timeline isn't the issue. I've saved a 22 hour movie on a laptop with 144MB of actual RAM. It's probably the complexity issue - but the complexity issue is - UR!!! Oh!!! complex. I think chalking up a saving problem to complexity and suggesting more RAM is too simplistic an answer. > As a quick test, I deleted some of the transitions (over half) and completion for recommended format rose to 19% from 7%..... although the file size increased from 89MB to 98MB ???? > (3 days later) upgraded the RAM to 768MB and, although the save progresses further (21% for 89MB), it still freezes before finishing. A friend's PC who has a different Motherboard but same ATI graphics card and 512 MB RAM has no problems saving THE SAME project with MM2. It would appear there are more mysteries yet to be found with MM2!!!!!!

7/24/03 email - If you change the display settings in the middle of your project, you will get the cannot save message. I went from High colour to Medium to speed up the display, and it would not save until I changed back. > later email - checking this again, as it might not have been the issue.

7/21/03 - I've finished making my movie, and then I go to save as a movie. Next, I have it created in my computer, and then fill in the requested saving location, and movie title. then I go to save as best quality, cause that is what is recommended. It proceeds to save for two seconds and then this message pops up: "Windows Movie Maker cannot save the movie to the specified location. Verify that the original source files used in your movie are still available, that the saving location is still available, and that there is enough free disk space available, and then try again." My source files are still available in the original location, my saving location is still available, and I have way too much free disk space to even worry about. > On some small but complex projects, I have noticed the same problem: MM2 refuses to save to dv-avi (saving to WMV is ok). After reducing the length of some transitions, the problem is solved.

7/9/03 - When I attempt to record my completed movie back to DV camera, I get the message that my movie has not been recorded to tape. No reason why not. Just a link to a menu on how to record back to DV Cam, which I know about and have checked all the options thoroughly. Other movies will record back- this one will not. It is not overly long (about 20 mins) and not overly big (I have plenty of disk space).

7/8/03 - I am trying to save the first movie I put together with Movie Maker Version .0.3312.0 and I always get "WMM cannot save ..." I can preview the entire timeline without problems. I know the original source files are still available, they are still in a folder on my desktop where I imported them from. I know the saving location is still available (my videos). I know that a 236 MB file will fit in 49.57 GB of free space. > What format did you capture your video in? I am experiencing this problem as are others on this group. If I capture to DV-AVI, I can *only* save to DV-AVI in the same format. I'd recommend downloading the Windows Media Encoder, which can convert the video from one format to another.

6/30/03 - I can use MM2 and everything is quite simply hunky dory! That is... until I try to save a save a movie file... choose 'optimised for computer'... file approx 10 minutes long, approx 160 mb... file... after about 10 seconds of the save process, the whole machine just freezes... needs a reset button reboot... > 10 seconds isn't enough time. MM2 has a lot of thinking to do about your project before it starts showing progress. > Even if I can't do anything with the computer... change window, move mouse etc??? > You can do other things with the computer as the movie is rendered, but MM2 will take most of the energy. I'm not discounting you having a problem with saving a movie, just letting it have a minute or two before progress indication starts. > left it for 10 minutes or so... complete freeze... I'm now happy to say it's a freeze... definitely!!!

6/30/03 - I cannot "save to my computer" when I try to use one of the movies in my collection that is "complete." I.e., when you add movies, sometimes it automatically divides them up into multiple clips. But when I add a large .mpg, and try to save it as ANYTHING (the whole point is to make a much smaller copy of these mpg's) it tells me the standard "I'm out of disk space, or the source file isn't there, etc..." None of which is actually a problem. But I CAN save the divided movies easily enough. > If your hard drive is still formatted as FAT32, there is a 4gb file size limit. For larger file sizes, you need to convert the drive to NTFS and the file size limit increases to 4tb (terrabytes). > They're not that large... not by a longshot. And how do I "convert" that's precisely what I was trying to do!! :) > (another poster) This problem does not occur in MM1, however in MM2, for example, I pull a 10 minute clip from my DVcam into a DV-AVI file which is about 1.8GB. (Yes I'm using NTFS) I edit to my "production" version and attempt to save it to something other than DV-AVI and it fails. However, saving to the identical format is not a problem. All source files are available and free space is well over 40 GB. This is a problem in MM2. I reinstalled the MM1 executable and I'm converting my files that way instead.

6/30/03 - In trying to determine why my installation of MM2 will not save a movie, giving the totally irrelevant warning about low disk space, misplaced files, etc., I've been tracking events at the time of the failed save. At the time of each failed save, Event Viewer/Security shows the following advisory: Date: M/DD/YYYY, Source: Security, Time: hh:mm:ss, Category: System Event, Type: Success A, Event ID: 515, User: NT Authority\System, Computer: MyComputerName, Description: A trusted logon process has registered with the Local Security Authority. This logon process will be trusted to submit logon requests. Logon Process Name: KSecDD, For more information blah, blay, yada, yada. The help system is obfuscatory and no help. What I'm wondering is if I, as administrator, am nonetheless not authorized to make a movie and if this is the source of the failure to save to a movie file? I have tested this a half dozen times, and the security audit with this message occurs at the time that I request the file save. This further raises the question: is Microsoft invoking a back-door Digital Rights Management scheme on MM2? "Back Door" in the sense that users are unaware of a DRM scheme in MM2.

How to Find and Resolve the Issue(s)

If the Message is Wrong - Something Else is the Issue

Running MM2 with an older version 6.5 QASF.DLL file results in movies being able to be saved as DV-AVI but not WMV. Check that your QASF.DLL is version or newer. It's in the c:\Windows\System32 folder and you can check it with a right mouse click on the file name and a check of it's properties. A normal install of Movie Maker 2 should have updated it. If not, you'll need to do it.

Try another reinstall of MM2 first to upgrade the DLL. If that doesn't work, an installation of the Windows Media Encoder package (see the Setup.. Software page for a link) should. An upgrade of DirectX to version 9.0a or 9.0b might also upgrade the DLL. Some have had success by simply finding the version 9 DLL on another computer, and copying it over the one in the System32 folder. If your computer doesn't accept the new file as a valid one, it'll delete it within a second and refresh it with another copy of the one it wants to use.

An 11/5/05 email reported watching his memory and upping the virtual memory setting without success... and succeding by lowering the hardware acceleration setting from the 3rd position to the 2nd (see the Problem Solving > Crashes and Hangs page for info about the setting).

A 10/11/05 email reported another case of not being able to save as WMV but having no problems with DV-AVI: "... the issue was with codecs not being installed. I updated a DLL, which i don't think was necessary, then installed an ACE codec pack with about 200 codecs in it. After that it worked fine, but i couldn't playback the timeline. So I unchecked all of the codecs and it plays back fine on the timeline now..."

If the Message is Somewhat Right, But Not Totally

Your project isn't so complex that you are into the memory constraint. But, there is something about a location or source file that precudes normal rendering. You will have to do some detective work to find out which location, source file or drive is causing the error.

If you believe the message is wrong (your project is really simple) and that your basic setup is fine (you can easily save tiny projects with various source files to both WMV and DV-AVI formats), then this is the place to focus on.

Study your source files and, by trial and error, temporarily delete clips from the project just to test the saving process without them. The saving process uses what is on the timeline/storyboard, so there isn't a need to save the project file during this investigatory phase. Be careful not to save over your original project file (back it up to make sure you don't).

If you used Source Files you wish you didn't - like MPEG-2

If you've gone down the road so far with MPEG-2, Divx, Xvid or other file types that it would be a major effort to convert them and start the project over, here's a work-around.

Convert the source file(s) to AVI, using a compression codec that is known to work in Movie Maker... see the Import Movie Source Files > Video > Video Codecs page for pointers.

Replace the existing source files with the new AVI files, in the same folders and with the exact same file names. Movie Maker 2.1 will use the new source files without having to import them.

To test the work-around, I...

Movie Maker didn't blink an eye at the substitute file. Previewing and continued work on the project worked as normal, the rendering of the movie from the project went well, and the saved movie played fine.

My test was using a VOB file from a DVD, so I'm sure the same would work if the problem source file was an AVI file encoded with a Divx or Xvid codec.

If the Message is Right

7/23/03 - Chris (Microsoft) - Publish failures are typically due to the "complexity" of the timeline. More images, transitions, effects, and titles tend to cause a higher memory footprint and increase the likelihood of observing the stalled publish problem (or outright failing directly). Typical problems are failing gracefully (i.e. showing the publish failure page) or stalling, where the publish time remaining increases, but no progress is made and CPU usage is near idle levels. Setting the page file to automatically resize is helpful, but often the first publish will still fail, as the page file hasn't grown to accommodate the usage level, and thus the first few memory writes fail.

Similarly, the transitions, effects, and titles have issues with some video chipsets that don't provide all the necessary DirectX interfaces.

Some failures that show up as the application crashing during render are due to problems in 3rd party decompression codecs.

Workaround steps are:

This should work, if not, try breaking it into 3 pieces.

It's the complexity of the timeline that is causing us to use a whole bunch of memory, and hang. By doing it in sections, the "final" timeline only contains two clips, and can easily be published.

Newsletter 8

Newsletter #8 was about dividing a complex project into parts to resolve the issue of saving. Click the image to read it.

Newsletter 116

Newsletter #116 took a fresh look at the same subject. Click the image to read it.