How-To Geek

How to Make/Edit a movie with Windows Movie Maker in Windows Vista

In this tutorial I’ll show you how to use Windows Movie Maker (a highly video-editing software in Windows Vista) to edit and create movies.

In order to create or edit a movie, you must have a video file to work with. Let’s assume you imported 2 clips from your video camera and you’d like to join them together and add background music and transitions.

Open Windows Movie Maker by clicking on the Start orb – All Programs.

Click on the Import media button and select the two movie clips you want to work with.

Right click on the clip and select Add to timeline – do this for both clips.

Now that your clips are added to the timeline we can start modifying them. Note: to change the order of the clips on the timeline, left click on the clip and drag it whenever you wish.

Let’s add some background music. Click on Audio or Music in the Import Section and select an audio file.

Right click on the audio file and select “Add to timeline”.

Not what the audio file is added to the timeline, we can synchronize it with the two clips. To accomplish this, position your mouse at the beginning/ending of the audio file (2 red arrows should appear) and drag it to the desired position.

Next, let’s add a transition. Transitions make the passing from one clip to another look more aesthetic and professional. Click on the Transitions button, select a transition and preview it.

Once you find a transition that you like, left-click on it and drag it on the last clip in the timeline. You should end up with something similar in the picture bellow.

Besides adding a background sound and a transition, you can take this further and add Narrations, Credits and titles and other cool effects to your movie.

The last step in creating the movie is actually publishing the movie. Click on the Publish Movie button, select where you want to publish it and…you’re done!

  • Published 05/29/07

Comments (72)

  1. Mr Linux

    Looks like iMovie. :-)

  2. Brook

    Looks like the same old Movie Maker as in XP, only using different color schemes and a little slicker interface. Does it work any better. I like Movie Maker OK for a beginner, except it tends to freeze sometimes.

  3. qtee

    hi geek im very thankfull for all your vista tweaks!! can i ask how do i enable my tv buttons on the acer arcade im using a 5050 series acer laptop.any ideas would be much appreciated…thank you.

  4. melissa

    Im using windows movie maker on vista and i cant publish nothing. as soon as i go to publish, the end step causes an error message to come up saying windows movie maker has stopped working close program

  5. tom

    Im having the same problem as melissa, when i go publish movie, the screen fades and WMM restarts. Iv been trying to fix this problem for ages. I deleted some stuff in regedit that i thought was responsible but that didnt work. I downloaded a vista codec package but that didnt work…. HELP

  6. Esther

    I am having a problem with windows movie maker and have not been able to get this problem resolved. Why does it keep shutting down when I try to play the movie?

  7. vinny

    I am having problems publishing when the video is published on reccommended it leaves 3 layers, black then the movie and tghen a green colour which is the colour of my text background
    Another problem is when i publisht to AVI the video plays perfectly but the music is stops and repeats certain lines during the movie

  8. kaihean

    My Movie Maker ver 6 for Vista has stopped working. I can open the program
    alright, I can import the video media and also visualise it. but when I drag
    the media to the storyboard the icon does not stick or stays there. I am not
    getting any error messages when this is happening. It is very frustrating.
    Please help.
    Many thanks

  9. sabrina

    what if my camera has sound on it when you view it off the cameria but when i put the clips on the windows movie maker it doesnt have sound anymore?

  10. Shellz

    When i try and publish my movie, Everything comes out black.
    The sound is still there, but when i go to watch my movie its all black.
    The clips are there when i watch it in windows movie maker

  11. bill

    im having the same problem with vinny. when i export, the video strecches up to the half of the screen and the other half is a greek background with the text layers i’ve used (or only the green background). any help? thanks!

  12. Vinny

    I managed to do it, you have to export uyour movie without sound and then go back into movie maker with the video which has been exported and then add sound to it, this got rid of the layers

  13. Ian

    How come when I drag a video clip onto the timeline, it doesn’t allow me? It just puts it on the audio timeline instead. It’s annoying!

  14. Josh

    I need help, when I try to publish my movie, everything just comes out black. The sound is still there, but when I go to watch my movie like… Some of the clips are black, but some of it shows. And when I watch it in the windows movie maker it is all still there… -.- Any suggestions?

  15. Crystal

    how come when i put a video on windows movie maker its black?

  16. Frankie

    I have a problem with Windows Movie Maker Vista.
    Ok i am making a video with sound effects.
    Then i try to add backround music with
    the sound effects. Then when I drag the music
    i want, then it pushes the sound effects away.
    So basicly what im trying to do is gun shot
    sound effects with backround music..Help!

  17. BlahBlaj

    Okay hi… How do you get both music & narration to play at the same time? Thanks!

  18. Niki

    Um, when I publish my video I made, I intend to put it on youtube.
    But when I watch it back on my computer I can’t see anything, it’s all black.

    Can you help? :S

  19. Edward

    how do i add the the text+pictures together? i need to know because i well need it for a homework…….
    please help :p

  20. steven

    Hi, so i am having trouble myself with Vista’s windows movie maker, when i add the clips onto it i can play each clips individually but when i add them to the timeline and piece them together and then i push play it does not play anything. Any suggestions? Help? Thankyou

  21. Rosmy

    I’m having the same problem as Ian!!!

    & I need to do work for this it’s messing it up!

    I’ve tried evetything, converted the file into a different format and whotnot, nothings working!!! PLEASE HELP!!!!

  22. Jesper

    nice, thx for the help

  23. Jesper

    the music wont play when i am done whit the video

  24. Dani

    Hey, Right im having the same problem as another who has posted here, everytime i import my .AVI file to WMM it doesnt put it into the video timeline, but pushes it down to the audio timeline instead, but i know it works fully for i was just watching it on WMP im trying to import it becuase i need to put caption and sub-narrative to it for a work tutorial program, so please someone help me soon, it is kind of desperate!

    Dani x

  25. Johann

    i put my videos on movie maker and it worked yesterday but now when i play the movie i all i see is a black screen and i hear the music i put on it how can i watch the video again?

    please help

  26. BRIAN

    how can you get video either then your video camera like the internet in order to make mintages and stuff. and i made a video using a cd contaning film but when i upload it on youtube it wont let me play it

  27. kerryj18

    I’m having trouble publishing a movie….sticks at a certain point then the time remaining increases rather than decreases so annoying!

  28. whs

    It should be noted, that WMM is not the best choice for many applications.

    1. The default quality is dismal
    2. If you choose a better quality setting, you get very large files
    3. Publishing takes forever
    4. Your movie ends up 640×480, regardless of the input
    5. For a non-action movie (e.g. a tutorial with text pages), WMM is completely useless. You will be unable to read the text (in the default setting).

    WMM does, however accept many formats provided you have the corresponding Codec. There are many options on the web that can do a better job for many applications. Some of the better ones are not free though.

  29. cathy

    When i try and publish my movie, Everything comes out black.
    The sound is still there, but when i go to watch my movie its all black.
    The clips are there when i watch it in windows movie maker

  30. cathy

    iam doing what is done above but when iam trying to play it on dvd it doesent work, some times only songs sound come sometime photos are only played

  31. josh

    When I try to put a video from my digital camcorder on movie maker, all it gives me is the sound, yet no video. How can I fix this? Oh, it works fine with pictures and when I right click on the clip, and put it on the timeline, it puts it on the audio, and I noticed when I made a video from pictures that it has a little film box around it, so I experimented with it and it works fine and gives me the video, so I think that has something to do with it. I hope you can answer this question…… thank you very much!

  32. pogo

    When I impoted my video all i got was a black screen and the sound, please i need the entire video.

  33. cathy

    i have smae proplem as pogo can any one help me please? when i impoted i wnat to watch my clip on dvd it doesn’t work on a black screen and the sound came no pictures.

  34. darlene

    i was sent a video through movie maker, when i click download and open the movie maker comes up but a message comes up saying the project file is in use by another program and i cant view the video that was sent.can u tell me what i’m to do to see it.

  35. Anderson

    i have the same problems with melissa and tom
    when i try to publish my videos
    the screen goes grey and say there are some problems
    help?? i got a project to turn in!!!

  36. Lev

    How do u make a videos without sound in it??!! :(

  37. Manikant

    I was trying to edit one movie (.avi)After adding it to the time line only audio part is getting added not the video. When i am playing the time liner only audio is working. Pls help me

  38. Julia

    everytime i try to make a movie on Windows Movie Maker on my Windows XP it usually comes out black. but when i just make a slide show, it work perfectly fine. if anyone knows how to fix it, please email me at cutiegirl108 at hotmail

  39. Graham


    When i try and publish my movie, Everything comes out black.
    The sound is still there, but when i go to watch my movie its all black.
    The clips are there when i watch it in windows movie maker.

    Any help would be very much appreciated.

  40. Sergio Estrada Vargas

    Como hago para hacer los cortes de ecenas que no me gusten, en Wuindows Movie Maker Wuindows Vista

  41. Rita

    Odd, whenever I try adding on transitions or edit the movie itself with titles, it closes automatically.

  42. P Diddy

    I have a question…. If you intend the music to be quieter at spots, how do you do that?

  43. marcopolo

    i need this program
    you can help me please
    i dont have

  44. keniia

    When i try to make a video timeline on windows movie maker on windows vista, i add the clips but they have and x and it says that they cannot show or that the format is invalid, what can i do to fix this?HELP!

  45. a.j.

    help please im trying to edit two individual clips together like ill put them both on the timeline and and then it will be like and now onto blah blah blah blah and before it goes to the next clip it sort of goes black for a minute like the video screen will how do i fix this?

  46. Sherry

    Movie live maker has been wonderful up until yesterday…I tried to edit, change and add new captions and titles… it won’t allow in, it’s will add a caption box and title page, but not allow me to write or even give me the box to write in…the project is due in 3 days

  47. Mich

    I am really bad with editing, so i dont know how do you put a video while the credits is playing. An added headache is its in CHINESE.. how do you get the english version? someone please help me =]

  48. Danny

    when i make stop motion video my picures end up big xs

  49. Zoe

    When i publish a movie my video clips don’t play they just come out as a picture and it shows the first frame.

  50. Leah

    Every time I import a picture, Windows Movie Maker stops working completely and then restarts. Let’s just face it. Very few people can even get it to work. I found something better and easier to use for free online. Windows Movie Maker simply sucks. They need to step up and fix it.

  51. masyiah

    still cant do it

  52. Seani

    okay so ive spend a few days making this great trailer for my mother and i get everythng ready and try to send it to others through hotmail and everytime it downloads i get “the project file is in use by another program.” I tried shutting off my computer, Ive tried finding different settings. How can i fix this so when i send it to the people who need it they dont get the same msg.

  53. Jenni

    I have spent about 5 days on my movie I wanted to produce from my holiday photos and when I play it back to to review it, it freezes, and I have to do the “control alt delete”, go to task manager, end the task because the msg is movie maker has stopped. Often the music is playing and then the picture goes black, the titles mix up. AH! it is so annoying. After ending the task (movie maker) I then start again but it takes about 30 + mins to reload. The last straw was I did got to the stage where I thought I will just complete it by following all the instructions of saving the movie to computer. So after all the that, the final stage came when I could view the movie, it started off ok, but about 8mins into it the music kept playing but no pictures. I went to a trouble help site, the one that popped up to fix, followed all instructions and that then totally stuffed up whole computer putting a safe mode message up and I couldn’t use anything. My son somehow fixed and reversed that. But I still want finish my movie off and can’t. Any ideas?

  54. LoLoz

    … okay this helps me but i just downloaded 2.6 and i just says import movies. i want to capture one not import. my friend has the same movie maker and it lets her capture the movie. what can i do to let me make one

  55. WAQAS

    i hav a same problem

    the problem is that
    after importing video clip (.AVI) in windows movie maker it plays properly, but when i drag it in to time line and than play it from there i only see a black screen with sound

    any one there to solve this out ?

  56. Rikki

    i’m haveing a problem saving my movie. I am able to save the project but when i click save movie it starts to save and then an error message saying that windows cannot save this movie, verify that the original source files are still available, that the saving location is still available, and that there is enough space on the storage device, and then try again. i have made sure that all of the problems have been resolved and still it won’t save. any ideas anyone?

  57. Tammy

    I get movie maker vista to work but when i try to put it on a disc it kicks it out and says error try another disc it will go to 97% that’s all need help

  58. Marti

    How come when I right click the clip it says ”Add to Storyboard” Not ”Add to Timeline”?

  59. madi

    everytime i click on a video, it loads then says it cant be put in my movie? ii took the video with my nikon camera then put it into my HP… dont know why it isnt working:/

  60. Sherry

    Please email me.

    Can you make a movie with Windows Movie Maker in which you have two audio files… being a someone talking…and one being music?

    If so, please tell me how.



  61. Linnea

    When I watch the movie the sound works but when I upload it on
    Windows Movie Maker the sound doesn´t work at all !?

    Please help me, thanks!


  62. Anna

    I keep getting an error message saying the music starts after the last video. No matter what i do I can’t add music. What do I do?

  63. jm

    I brought pictures into a movie I’m making, some transferred perfectly, others show up on the preview reel fine but when I play the movie, the clip is completely black…any thoughts? Thanks

  64. Stephanie

    Hey, what if I just want to add one video clip? I don’t understand this whole thing, this is my first time ever using ” Movie Maker “

  65. Miss.Andrea Borman.

    There is also Windows Movie Maker 2.6 for Windows Vista which also works on Windows 7. Windows Movie Maker 2.6 is easier to use than Windows Movie Maker 6. So why not try 2.6 if you are having problems with version 6? Windows Movie Maker 2.6 can be downloaded from the Microsoft website. I am using 2.6 and I could not be without it now. Andrea Borman.

  66. Abby

    i am trying to make a video with just titles and whenever i put one in it turns black and i cant see any of it but the music i imported still plays…..PLEASE HELP MEEEE

  67. Hanna

    I am making a movie for class in movie maker and I put it on a flash drive so I could work on it @ home, but instead of the background picture showing up in the storyboard, I have an x over the frames in the story board and I can’t edit anything. This also happened when i tried to open the file on my partner’s account. How can this problem be resolved?

  68. Miss.Andrea Borman.

    I have just installed Windows Movie Maker 6 for Windows Vista on my Windows 7. And it is working alongside my existing 2.6 the clone of the XP version. So you can run both Movie Maker 6 and 2.6 for Vista side by side each other on Windows 7.Andrea Borman.

  69. Karrah J

    I have the Windows Movie Maker 2.6 and when I make a video at some parts it’ll black out in the Movie Maker, but if I close it and re-open it it plays fine. Then when I went to publish it, parts of it were all blacked out, but I could still hear the music. How do I fix this?

  70. vinod

    i want windows movie maker 2003 i can download plz gve information. thank you.

  71. tattoo

    I have an old camcorder that use mini tapes . How do i get the videos to my pc using windows movie maker 2.6

  72. audrey

    okay im makeing a slide show. and i hit a button now it wont like me see any of the pictures, and i wasnt done editing it still need to add another song and move pics around.. please help make a slide show for my grandpa he just passed.. :( thanx

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