How to troubleshoot Windows Movie Maker has stopped working

Matthew Adams
by Matthew Adams
Windows & Software Expert
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  • Windows Movie Maker is a proprietary video editor developed by Microsoft.
  • Despite being officially discontinued in 2017, plenty of users still use it today.
  • However, there are plenty of third-party alternatives that you can use instead of it, such as Adobe Premiere Pro.
  • For more articles like this one, check out our dedicated PC Software Fix page.
Movie Maker Windows 10

How do I fix Windows Movie Maker issues?

  1. Use a third-party alternative to Windows Movie Maker
  2. Update Graphics Card driver
  3. Close other software when running Movie Maker
  4. Disable third-party video file filters
  5. Run Windows Movie Maker in Compatibility Mode
  6. Repair the Windows Live Essentials Suite
  7. Reinstall codecs
  8. Reinstall Windows Movie Maker

Movie Maker is video-editing software that was formerly bundled with older Windows platforms as part of the Live Essentials suite.

However, Microsoft stopped supporting Live Essentials in 2017. Nevertheless, some users still utilize Movie Maker to edit their videos.

Some users have stated on forums that Movie Maker stops working for them. Windows Movie Maker has stopped working and Windows Movie Maker does not start are two of the more regular WMM error messages that pop up on some users’ desktops.

The stopped working error message can pop up when uses try to open files within the video editor. Consequently, the software crashes and closes or freezes during playback.

Below are a few resolutions that might fix Windows Movie Maker’s stopped working error messages and occasional freezes.


What do I do if Movie Maker stopped working?

1. Use a third-party alternative to Windows Movie Maker

When it comes to editing videos at a professional level, Windows Movie Maker is indeed very outdated and lacking. The fact that it now no longer works on your PC should be even more of an incentive for you to shift to a better tool.

For example, Adobe Premiere Pro is a leading video editor that encompasses pretty much all the tools that you may ever need to compile the ultimate home video.

Cut it, bind it, add soundtracks and special effects, pretty much anything you want is achievable through this timeline-based video editor. More so, you can now test it out for free for a full 7 days along with all other Adobe products, so go ahead and give it a try.

Simply go to Adobe’s website, sign-up with an Adobe account, download Adobe Premiere Pro, and get started on your video editing journey!

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2. Update Graphics card driver

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Antiquated graphics card drivers can be another factor behind Movie Maker crashes and does not start error messages. You can quickly check if your video card driver needs updating with DriverFix.

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The program is very lightweight, as it won’t slow down your PC not even during scanning or downloading.

Speaking of which, this pretty much sums up what you can do with DriverFix since it scans your PC for faulty drivers, then downloads and installs them for you.

It can update older drivers, fix broken ones, or find missing ones as well.

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3. Close other software when running Movie Maker

  1. Right-click the taskbar and select Task Manager to open that utility’s window.fix audio buzzing
  2. Then close all software listed under apps on the Processes tab by right-clicking them and selecting End task.
  3. In addition, you can close some third-party software listed under background processes to free up more RAM for WMM.
  4. To remove startup programs, such as antivirus utilities, select the Startup tab. Then select software there and click the Disable button.

Movie Maker might stop working and display a crash error message when there is a lack of RAM on your laptop or desktop. There might be insufficient RAM for Movie Maker when you’re running lots of other software alongside it. That’s more likely if your desktop or laptop has a small amount of RAM to start with.

So make sure there are no other software windows open on your taskbar when you’re running Movie Maker. In addition, close third-party software in your system tray.


3. Disable third-party video file filters

  1. First, open Run by pressing the Windows key + R hotkey.
  2. Enter cmd in Run, and press the Return key.
  3. Open the folder that includes Movie Maker by entering cd followed by its path in the Command Prompt.
  4. Then enter the following line to open Movie Maker in its safe mode:
    • moviemk.exe /safemod
  5. Click the Tools menu.
  6. Select Options on the Tools menu.
  7. Then select the Compatibility tab on the Options window.
  8. The Compatibility tab includes a list of third-party filters. First, deselect filters that end with an .ax extension.
  9. If Movie Maker still crashes, deselect all the third-party filters on the Compatibility tab window.

The Windows Movie Maker has stopped working error message can often be due to incompatible video filters. So deselecting third-party video file filters listed on Movie Maker’s Compatibility tab (in the classic version) might fix the software.


4. Run Windows Movie Maker in Compatibility Mode

  1. Some Movie Maker users have confirmed that running the software in compatibility mode can fix the stopped working error.
  2. To do that, right-click a Movie Maker shortcut icon and select Properties.
  3. Click the Compatibility tab shown in the snapshot directly below.
  4. Select the Run this program in compatibility mode for check box.
  5. Select the latest Windows platform that predates your current OS from the drop-down menu.
  6. Press the Apply button.
  7. Click OK to close the window.

6. Repair the Windows Live Essentials Suite

  1. To open the Run accessory, press the Windows key + R hotkey.
  2. Enter appwiz.cpl in the Open text box and click OK to open the uninstaller window shown directly below.
  3. Enter Windows Live Essentials in the search box.
  4. Select Windows Live Essentials, and press its Uninstall/Change button.
  5. Then select the Repair radio button shown directly below to fix Live Essentials applications.
  6. Click the Continue button.

The Windows Live uninstaller window includes a Repair option that can fix the suite’s applications. So that’s an option worth noting when WMM stops working or doesn’t always run entirely smoothly.


7. Reinstall Codecs

If video playback freezes in WMM, there might be a corrupted video codec on your desktop or laptop. If so, reinstalling a codec might fix Move Maker’s playback freezing and other issues.

The freeware program Codec-Sniper provides an overview of the codecs and filters on your PC and their status. The program tells you if a codec is correctly installed or not with its Status column.

Codec-Sniper also includes a Delete button with which you can erase codes. Click the Download Now button on this page to save Codec-Sniper’s ZIP folder to Windows, which you can extract and then open the program from.

So you can remove video codes with Codec-Sniper. Alternatively, you can uninstall codec packs, such as K-Lite, via the Programs and Features Control Panel applet.

Then you can reinstall the codecs by downloading them from the codecs.com website.

This article includes further source links for video codecs.


8. Reinstall Windows Movie Maker

  1. Open the Run accessory in Windows.
  2. Input ‘appwiz.cpl’ in Run’s text box, and press the Enter key.
  3. Next, select Windows Live Essentials and click Uninstall/Change to open the window below.
  4. Then select the Uninstall option and click Continue to remove the suite.
  5. Restart Windows before you reinstall Movie Maker.
  6. You can reinstall Windows Live Essentials 2012 by clicking the Download Now button on this web page.
  7. To add the classic Movie Maker 6.0 version to Windows, click Download Now on this page.
  8. Then open the setup wizard you downloaded to reinstall WMM.

Reinstalling Windows Movie Maker is another potential resolution for the stopped working error. Then you’ll have a fresh copy of WMM. However, you can’t download Windows Movie Maker from Microsoft’s website anymore.

Nevertheless, you can still get the full Windows Live Essentials suite or separate Movie Maker application at Softpedia, which is a reputable download site.

Those are some of the best resolutions for fixing Movie Maker stopped working or does not start error messages. Remember, however, that WMM is an increasingly dated application that Microsoft no longer supports.

Thus, it might be worth noting some of the other freeware video editor alternatives for Windows, such as Lightworks, Shortcut, and DaVinci Resolve, that is regularly updated.


FAQ: Learn more about Windows Movie Maker

  • Can you still download Windows Movie Maker?

Despite reaching EOL in 2017, users can still download Windows Movie Maker for free.

  • What’s the latest version of Windows Movie Maker?

The latest version is Windows Movie Maker 2020, but if you’re looking for an alternative you can always try a different video editing tool.

  • What replaced Windows Movie Maker?

Windows Movie Maker was replaced by Video Editor, which is built-in with Microsoft Photos on Windows 10.


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in April 2020 and has been since revamped and updated in October 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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