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PapaJohn's Newsletter #145

Movie Maker version 2.6 for Vista

The release of Movie Maker v2.6 last week came as a 'routine surprise' to MVPs in the digital media area. I've been curiously studying it since then, to the point of using it for this week's newsletter topic. Any release of a new Movie Maker version is newsworthy from my perspective.

I first heard about it when another MVP asked about it, giving me a link to a 3rd party website. He didn't know at the time that quietly, without fanfare, Microsoft had done this official release.

The stealth-like release was deliberate. The version is meant to be a 'work-around' for Vista users who can't run the in-box version of Movie Maker due to video cards that either don't have the right driver model or that lack Shader 2.0 capabilities. From what I read, it seems to mainly effect those using the Home Basic version. If your version of Movie Maker on Vista is running, you should pass up on even thinking about the new version beyond reading this newsletter.

The way people will find out about it is from the error message that pops up if Vista's Movie Maker can't run... the help link at the bottom of the error message takes them to online help about video card requirements, with a link there to Movie Maker 2.6. Microsoft is also releasing it as a supplemental disc to OEMs so they can preinstall it on machines that don't have the graphics card oomph to run Movie Maker, and save them a support call.

Error - MOVIEMK.exe could not be found.

If your needs or interests go beyond those of usual Movie Maker users, the v2.6 is another new thing to explore and hack, have fun with, and even find creative positive ways to use it.

v2.6 doesn't overwrite the original Vista v6, as it installs to a different folder. But you can't run both of them at the same time. Here's the error message if you try to open v6 when v2.6 is running, another message that doesn't really say what it means. The file is still there; it's just being blocked by v2.6 being open.

If you open v6 first, and try to start v2.6, nothing will appear to happen if v6 is windowed or full-screen. If v6 is minimized, it'll pop back up to remind you that it's running, maybe subtly reminding you that you don't need the new version.

If this newsletter doesn't satisfy your curiosity enough to not download it, here's the link.

Movie Maker 2.6

It only installs on a Vista system... BUT, you can easily copy the v2.6 folders/files from there to an XP system, as I did to try it on my laptop. It's a hybrid in that it runs on either Vista or XP.... but some value on Vista, but none that I can think of on XP.

Before getting into more details, here are...

... a few notes...



Paul Glagla wrote a nice comment about last week's newsletter about his DVDate utility. He also included a few pointers about the content...

  • When you want to use the date/time feature to inlay text, you should type it between double-quotes, otherwise it can be misinterpreted, specially if it has the letters h, m, s, y, d, n, or t.
  • The original formats are ddddd in line 1, and tt in line 2. They call the default windows format for date and time.
  • The *scn file contains no thumbnails. It contains only the start and end frame number of each "scene".

AutoRuns for Windows v8.61

The April 2007 issue of the Technet Magazine had a one page article about this utility, something that ties into the subject of issue #134...  things that startup and run on your computer, use resources, and for the most part you don't know what they are... 


This utility, which has the most comprehensive knowledge of auto-starting locations of any startup monitor, shows you what programs are configured to run during system bootup or login, and shows you the entries in the order Windows processes them. These programs include ones in your startup folder, Run, RunOnce, and other Registry keys. You can configure Autoruns to show other locations, including Explorer shell extensions, toolbars, browser helper objects, Winlogon notifications, auto-start services, and much more. Autoruns goes way beyond the MSConfig utility bundled with Windows Me and XP.

Vista Corner

Rev 2 of the Windows Movie Maker and Windows DVD Maker SDK was published on 4/5/07. It has

documentation and code samples for creating custom effects and transitions in Windows Movie Maker and Windows DVD Maker for Windows Vista.

Sticky Note... Making Movies with Vista! a six page article in the Spring 2007 Special Edition of MaximumPC, on bookstands now to May 29, 2007. Starting on page 78... the article covers the movie making process from camcorder tape to viewing it on a standard video DVD.

.... back to the main topic...

File Comparisons... MM2.1 and 2.6

My first check was to compare file names and sizes to see if v2.6 aligned with Vista's or XP's version of Movie Maker. It aligns with MM2.1.

It's been stripped of some features. For example, there's no option to import video from a DV camcorder. And there are only two options when saving a movie... to the computer or to a DV camcorder. The file sizes reflect the changes.

  • The main executable has been pared down a bit.
  • WMMFILT.dll is larger
  • WMM2EXT.dll is much much smaller
  • WMM2ERES.dll is half the size
  • WMM2DVR.dll is gone

File Comparisons

Running Movie Maker 2.6 on Vista

There will be issues if you run both versions 6.0 and 2.6 on Vista.

After opening v6.0, v2.6 might erase the collection database as it opens, saying it's possibly corrupt. This same issue happens when trying to run both v2.1 and v2.6 on XP.

The feature to capture video from a camcorder is gone... you need to use the Vista import wizard.

Copying my full sets of hundreds of custom effects and transitions to the Shared folders of v2.6 showed that some worked in the Vista environment, but most didn't. Custom title overlays worked OK.   

Saving the movie gives 2 choices.... My computer and DV camera. The full list of choices for 'My computer' are the same as in MM2.1 on XP.

Running Movie Maker 2.6 on XP

Although copying the folders and files from the Vista installation to XP shows it can work there. But I had no interest in registering its DLLs to verify it didn't introduce issues when on the same system as v2.1, which has identical and more features.

On XP, MM2.1 and 2.6 can be in different folders.... 2.6 will open, and preview clips in the collection OK... and open a project file. But when trying to preview clips on the timeline, it'll act flaky, or give an error message of 'Class not registered'. This would probably be resolved by registering the DLLs.

After opening v2.6, v2.1 might erase the collection database as it opens, saying it's possibly corrupt. This is typical when using the same collection database in a newer version of Movie Maker, and then trying to use it in the previous one. 

The Video Effects and Transitions showed the Adorage01 package but none of the other add on ones. The Titles showed only the built-in ones. But copying all the files from the MM2.1 Shared folders to equivalent ones in v2.6 effectively brought them in.

Clips imported with Vista don't work on the timeline... they work OK in Vista with the same v2.6. This again may be a DLL registration issue.

Saving the movie gives 2 choices.... to My computer or DV camera, versus the 6 choices I have in MM2.1.

Unplanned Positive Uses of v2.6

UImported Collectionsnplanned but not unexpected... everyone knows that good hackers will find things to do with v2.6 well past and beyond it's intended features and useful life. That's part of the fun of using computers.

Collection Databases

For myself, v2.6 provides the easiest way to make my library of MM1 collection database files usable in Vista.

The picture at the right shows the collections in v2.6 after importing one of the MM1 collection databases from our recent trip to Europe. The feature to import MM1 .COL files was dropped in the Vista version, but left in v2.6. And it works as usual. In Vista, as soon as I close v2.6 and open v6, the collection tree is in it, as v2.6 and v6 share the same collection database file.

Since Movie Maker first came out, I've been changing my methods of managing collections. Initially it seemed like a good idea to build the complete library of clips for movie projects as one big collection database.

When I passed the level of having 11,000 clips in it, and Movie Maker was taking 5 minutes to check them over each time it opened, I switched to something more modular. Today I have topical collection databases in MM1 format which I import as needed for MM2 projects. I hadn't decided how best to go forward in Vista, with Movie Maker not having the import feature. v2.6 provides a path.

Custom Transitions, Effects, and Title Overlays

Many users who enjoy making new custom items are faced with having to do major re-writes of their xml files to get them functional in Vista. v2.6 may provide a bridge for them.

Here's a forum quote from one of those users...

...This is wonderful news as it means the missing features of WMM2 are now available on Vista (albeit in a different program). So the gradient based wipe transitions and other such tricks are now on again...

Conclusion and Closing... and What's Next?

As surprised as I was to hear about Movie Maker v2.6, I'm more surprised at the mild community reaction since then... I've not seen any newsgroup or forum posts beyond the first few when it was released.

I just did another review of the first 20 items that showed up in an internet search for Movie Maker 2.6, and in total saw only two mildly critical comments, mixed with many positive ones.

....some users are quite annoyed that they have bought and installed an upgraded version of Windows, only to find they need to downgrade a component because it doesn't work properly....

It's still too bad that Vista Movie Maker won't run on those systems but Movie Maker 2.6 is capable enough.

Have a great week and enjoy your video work...


I look forward to comments and discussion about this and other newsletters on the forums at:

Windows Movie

Have a great week...


Movie Maker and Photo Story 3 -
Photo Story 2 -

Products and Services

I'm involved in anything and everything that supports the users of Movie Maker and Photo Story, and adding more regularly. Some are free and others reasonably priced.

Radio and Podcasting

theDVShowTheDVShow is the only weekly Podcast having more useful information about desktop video editing and production than anywhere else on the Web. Digital video editing, nonlinear editing, streaming media, software releases, tutorials, business tips, technical help, download of the day and news on the latest products to make everything easier. It's where professional and consumer desktop video users go to stay on the cutting edge. 

Call the phone mail machine to get your technical question answered on the air... call (206)-203-3516

The radio broadcast is from Boston, and the website has downloadable podcast files. The June 19th 2005 podcast was the first 'bi-weekly' show with a segment about Movie Maker 2. The frequency of radio Q&A sessions about Movie Maker has fallen off as submitted questions are minimal.  Maybe Vista will perk it up a bit.

Do Amazing ThingsBooks

Movie Maker 2 - Do Amazing Things (with its online companion on ), published by Microsoft Press...

Movie Maker 2 - Zero to Hero - with support on the publisher's forum -  Friends of Ed

Learning VirtualDub - published by Packt Publishing in April 2005, is the first book about VirtualDub software. I wrote the introductory chapter about downloading and setting up the software: VirtualDub, VDubMod and AVISynth.

Virtual Dub

A large percentage of book sales are of electronic copies. The Packt Publishing Website page  for the book provides a full table of contents and chapter summaries... and a link to a full free online copy of Chapter 3, Capture Preprocessing.

Magazines - MaximumPC

A six page article Making Movies with Vista is in the Spring 2007 Special Edition (page 78), on bookstands now until May 29, 2007. It covers the movie making process from camcorder tape to viewing it on a standard video DVD.

The 2006 Summer Special edition included a 7 page tutorial about Photo Story 3.

The November 2005 edition had a well done reworked 6 page reprint of the article about Movie Maker, starting on page 42 after the Happy 20th Birthday article for Windows.

The Winter 2005 quarterly special had a 7 page tutorial Make a Killer Home Movie with Maker 2. The special edition of the video made for it is  on my website as a file download.


Movie Maker and Photo Story - - the site's goals are: doing amazing things, providing a detailed tutorial for PhotoStory 3, and helping you solve Movie Maker problems.

It's been expanded to include the version 6 of Movie Maker in Vista, along with the new Photo Gallery and DVD Maker apps.

PhotoStory 2 - - a detailed tutorial about using the earlier version. It's been a long time since I've updated anything on it, but it still gets pretty good viewer traffic.

Online Support - Forums and Newsgroups

I'm a regular or moderator on many online forums and newsgroups, the key ones being:

Forums are open to all for viewing, but require registration of those who want to post. Moderators actively participate to ensure the forum discussions move forward and stay on track.

Movie Maker and Photo Story forums at Windows Movie Makers

Movie Maker 2 forum at

Newsgroups are wide open for all to view and post... moderation is collective by the participants.

Windows Vista newsgroup -

Windows XP Movie Maker newsgroup - microsoft.public.windowsxp.moviemaker

Photo Story 2 newsgroup -

Photo Story 3 newsgroup -

Weekly Newsletters

Movie Maker/Photo Story newsletter. The subscription is $20 for 52 issues, and a link to subscribe is on the main page of or the Products and Services page.

Topics for upcoming newsletters (always subject to change):

#146 -  April 21 (open)

#147 -  April 28 (open)

#148 -  May 5 (open)

Newsletters issued more than 6 weeks ago are posted by Rob Morris to an Archive Site on his Windows Movie Makers' website. Links from my website pages to specific newsletters make it easier for viewers to see the content of both while browsing a topic.

Drop an email to suggest a newsletter subject...


Add-On Transitions and Effects

Transition Maker 2  (TM2) is a utility for the ultimate in making your own personal and custom transitions for Movie Maker 2. It's a joint product from Patrick Leabo, the programmer, and myself.

I've beta tested some of the Pixelan packages , including the new packages for Vista, and think very highly of their people and products.

ProDAD's Adorage packages for Movie Maker 2 are additional sources of very professionally developed transitions and effects. Here are links

TransiitonsEffectsPackage for Movie Maker - Volume 1 

PapaJohn's Transitions - Volume 2

PapaJohn's Video Effects - Volume 3


I use a lot of professional background music for movies and stories that was created by Randon Myles, and act as his agent in selling tunes individually. 

There are 62 tunes available from 4 of his many albums... at 99 cents per tune (MP3 or WMA format). Here's a Sample - 45 seconds from 'Groove 2'. The 4 albums are: In the Fields of the on-Feretin , Music for Film Volume III, the Emerald Way, and the Fourth Door.

I don't have a full set of online samples yet, but if you hear something you like in one of my videos, there's a good chance it was done by Randon. Send an email if you are interested.

Personal Database

With more info to manage, consider additional tools that help.

My personal database has been an ongoing project over many years, and is now available to others. A tutorial about using it is on the Managing > Personal Database page of my site, and more info is in the database package itself.

It's free for the asking to regular newsletter subscribers... send an email request and I'll return it with the zipped file, which is less than 1 MB.

To others it's $10. To order, use the button on the top of the Managing > Personal Database page.

On my list of things to do is a video tutorial about how to use it.

Online Galleries Neptune Gallery

neptune Mediashare is the preferred file download service for Movie Maker users... there's a  'PapaJohn Expert Zone' where I keep many of my samples and personal videos. 

Check it at N eptune and the Distributing > Neptune page of the website, where there's a developing tutorial about how to use the service.

Mydeo... and mydeo is the preferred video streaming service. Many of the video samples for newsletter are on it.

Normal sized photo stories stream as well as or better than movies.


In conjunction with the Portage, Michigan library , I offer free training sessions about Movie Maker and Photo Story, an intro session and a workshop. Upcoming classes are 7-8:30 PM on:

April 19 and May 17

The classroom has a large screen overhead projection system... and individual laptops for each attendee. You learn by doing, with some coaching.

Other fee-based services

If you can't save a movie because your project has become too complex, e-mail a copy and I'll divide it into manageable sub-projects, and provide detailed instructions about how to render the parts and assemble them into your final movie. $49.95 (no cost if it's not the right solution or doesn't work) - for details, see the sidebar on the Problem Solving > Can't Save a Movie page of

Movie Maker 2/Photo Story training and support services start at $75 per hour - send an email - and I'll help you determine your needs, and work with you to plan and implement them.

Wedding combo website/video packages - check the Living Projects section of the website for samples of what you can expect for the online portion of a package.

© 2007 – PapaJohn; Microsoft is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.


About John 'PapaJohn' Buechler from
John 'PapaJohn' Buechler John "PapaJohn" Buechler, of Kalamazoo, Mich., goes by PapaJohn online. An avid user of Movie Maker since its first release, and a regular supporter of the community of Movie Maker users, John received a 2003 MVP award from Microsoft for that support. In March 2003, he started a comprehensive website about Movie Maker 2 at He maintains the website, writes books and articles, teaches, and provides support services - all for the community of Movie Maker 2 users. An engineer by formal education, John is a computer database and multimedia expert by business and personal experience. He co-authored the first book about Movie Maker 2 and is actively working on a second one. You can find his advice in the Windows XP Movie Maker newsgroup and in the Windows Movie Makers Forums.

This newsletter is republished with permission of John "PapaJohn" Buechler.
Please note that this is an archive of newsletters and some information may become outdated. PapaJohn, and the webmaster of this site, provides this information "AS IS" with no warranties.

Visit - PapaJohn's Movie Maker 2 and Photo Story 2 Newsletter Index



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