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About Windows Movie Maker

from Windows Me and XP

to Vista and Windows 7 and 8


Microsoft Windows Movie Maker started as an integral part of each Millennium, XP and Vista system. Beyond that it moved to being part of an optional download... in Windows Live Essentials for Vista and Windows 7 and 8.

This page is my personal summary of the evolution. I consider all versions thru those for Vista to be 'classic' versions. Beyond the classic ones are Windows Live Movie Maker, which runs in Vista but is optimized for Windows 7 and 8... and Movie Maker 2011 and 2012.

Movie Moments was released in late 2013 for Windows 8.1, an app from the online Microsoft Store. It runs on my Surface tablet (where Movie Maker doesn't work) and Windows 8.1 desktop (without conflict with classic and newer versions of Movie Maker).

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Microsoft Windows Movie Maker in Windows Me and XP

Movie Maker 1

Version 1 of Movie Maker was in the Windows Millennium (Me) operating system in late 2000.

It was an extremely easy to learn and use app for video editing. A user could be up and running comfortably in a couple hours. But it lacked any special effects and its only transition was a fade or dissolve from one scene to the next by overlapping them on the timeline. It was meant to be a basic starter app for home video enthusiasts like myself, and was a bridge from the analog editing environment to computer-based editing. Once over the bridge, you don't look back.

Movie Maker version 1 was also included in Windows XP when it was released in late 2001.

Movie Maker 2

In January of 2003 Movie Maker version 2 added features of special video effects and transitions, and text clips that could be used either as video clips or overlays with the video showing in the background. This version was only for Windows XP... no further updates were available to Windows Me users.

In addition to including the new features in Movie Maker, Microsoft provided info about how others could ‘hook’ into the software using custom xml code. Third parties, geeks, and hackers could make their own add-on effects, transitions, and text clips… like filter factory add-ons for Photoshop. Today my laptop has over 1,000 special effects and transitions, more than 10 times those included in MM2 itself. The community of users took off, creating all kinds of neat innovative custom video clips.

Movie Maker 2 in XP offers something for everyone. If you want to make content, it might be a long time before you need to move on to mid to high end editing software. If you’re not as much into video content, but like to explore the behind-the-scenes technology of effects and transitions, there are infinite possibilities. Some of my videos are nothing more than eye-popping WOW type effects and transitions. Who needs real Hollywood content when you can produce short bursts of eye candy?

With YouTube and other online hosts facilitating the ultra-easy distribution of videos, and with broadband advancements reaching more computer users, online video is taking off. You need more of a reason to not be onboad today than you do to start using the services.

The latest version 2.1 for XP was released in 2004 as part of the large Service Pack 2 for the Windows XP operating system. It had minimal changes in movie-making features.

Movie Maker, as an entry-level tool to help home users easily turn their memories into videos, served its purpose well, as you can see by browsing the videos on YouTube today, and noting that many or most of them were made with Movie Maker.

As good as it is, Movie Maker in XP falls short in some key areas…


Vista’s Movie Making Process…

Movie Maker 6

Vista's Movie Maker 6.0 takes a big step forward (versions 3, 4 and 5 were skipped to align the version numbers with that of Windows)… it resolves all 4 short-falls of Movie Maker 2 in XP. And it evolves Movie Maker from a program to a process that works in tandem with other related programs and wizards.

Beyond that, Movie Maker in the Home Premium and Ultimate versions support using and making high definition files.

My website is expanding to include the apps wizards of Vista's moving-making processes. The kind of basic ‘how-to’ info that I had in my books about Movie Maker 2 will be online for Vista users as I write it. Don't think of Vista as having a new Movie Maker app... it's a new moving-making process. The Movie Maker app may not be doing the importing, nor will it need to do the rendering when heading to a DVD from a movie project.

Movie Maker 2.6 for Windows Vista was released on 4/6/07 for those whose computer can't run the Vista version 6 of Movie Maker. This would be due to video cards that either don’t have the right driver model or that lack Shader 2.0 capabilities. Once their video cards are upgraded, the systems should switch to the v6.0 that came with Vista.

Movie Maker v2.6 is an interim step for only those with the issue... it was made by paring down v2.1 to drop some features and then compiled to work on a Vista system.

Photo Story 3 is a free download from Microsoft. It was originally released for XP but also runs on Vista and Windows 7.

Vista SP1 was released for manufacturing in Feb 2008... Movie Maker is the same version 6.0.6000.16386 as in the original Vista release.


Windows (Live) Movie Maker

Windows Live Movie Maker (WLMM) marked the start of the future of Microsoft's 'official' Movie Maker line of video editing apps. Version 14.0.8091.0730 was originally released August 19, 2009 as part of the optional download of Windows Live Essentials for Vista and Windows 7. The suite also runs on XP but not the Movie Maker app. Public beta versions had been released earlier... in September and December 2008.

This image shows the newest Movie Maker 2012 version.

Windows Movie Maker 2012

Beta version 15.3.2804.0607 was released to the public in June 2010. You could run this version or the released one, but not both on the same computer. Among other things, the beta introduced a webcam capture feature for Windows 7 users.

Beta version 2011 (Build 15.4.3002.0810) was released for public use on August 17, 2010. The first distinguishing feature was a new 'Snapshot' icon on the menu of the Home tab. The final release of Windows Live Essentials 2011 on Sept 30, 2010 included version 2011 (build 15.4.3502.0922).

An incremental update to version 2011 (Build 15.4.3555.0308) was released in March 2012. It seemed to effect Photo Gallery and Flickr with no changes to WLMM.

Files for the WLMM app are bundled in the Photo Gallery folder of Windows Live. Installing WLMM requires the installation of Windows Live Photo Gallery.


Windows Movie Maker 2012

The word 'Live' was dropped from the Windows Movie Maker 2012 version published in August 2012... build 16.4.3503.0728

The version added a number of significant features (see this Microsoft forum post by Rudi R) including...

Build 16.4.3505.0912 was released in October 2012. It runs the latest version on my Windows 7 Toshiba L35 laptop, something I couldn't do with the initial 2012 version. See this forum post by BobbyMi for specific info about the changes.

Other incremental updates...


Unofficial Versions of Windows Movie Maker

As official versions of Movie Maker (except for v2.6 for Vista) are not available from Microsoft as single app downloads, the popularity of Movie Maker leads to 'unofficial options'.

  • For XP, a third party package of MM2.0 has been available for years... and is too often installed over MM2.1 when users think it's the answer to their problems. It isn't!!

  • Windows Movie Maker Portable is the first third party app made for the clean slate of Windows 7. It looks like a hacked v2.6 for Vista.

    I expect these and other derivative versions to proliferate and provide constant challenges to users and those who support them on forums and newsgroups. I won't pass along the links... you'll need to search for them elsewhere.

    Windows 7 and 8 users can download and install MM2.6, and they can copy the files for MM1, MM2.1, and MM6 from other computers.


    Movie Moments

    Windows 8.1 was released in late 2013. One of the downloadable apps from the Microsoft Store is Movie Moments.

    Although not a direct evolutionary step for Movie Maker, I'm covering Movie Moments in this website.