Helping Chris Pirillo

I managed to come across Chris Pirillo's post where he said he was breaking up with Vista. Well his number 2 reason was that Windows Movie Maker crashes on a regular basis. Well I couldn't let that statement go without saying something :-), so I posted a comment offering help.

Chris replied and with some more information from Chris and by utilizing the Watson crash reporting service I managed to track down the crashes to some third party codecs which were installed.

I'm not sure if he ended up uninstalling the codecs or disabling them with the compatibility tab, but he reported that Movie Maker is now working fine.

So although he has other reasons, I'm happy to report that number 2 is no longer one of them 🙂

Comments (13)
  1. I appreciated the help. I still don’t understand how the codecs that I had fully disabled were somehow reenabled… but when I first turned ’em off, I never thought about checking back.

    Problem is: Windows Movie Maker should have done a better job at telling me what was wrong. What if someone else out there is having the same problem – and they don’t know what to do, or where to go?

    WMM *SHOULD* show (somewhere, possibly in another tab) information about what codecs are being called or are necessary for the proper rendering of any given video/audio file.

    Then again, I’ve been providing this kind of feedback to WM for years…

  2. Dean Rowe says:

    I’ll get someone to look at the re-enabling issue to see if we can repro on this side.

    There certainly are various ways that we’ve talked about improving the filter resiliency, so that we can automatically inform the user if a certain filter has caused a crash.

    Unfortunately it’s not always a straightforward process to identify the offending filter(s). A filter can corrupt memory or start doing extra releases on DirectShow interfaces and cause some other part of the code to crash and we certainly don’t want to blame the wrong filter.

    You could try running filters in isolation with each other, but you can’t really do that without impacting performance and when you’re talking about a multitude of video frames every second you certainly don’t want to do anything to impact performance.

    However we do monitor the Watson data and we can then inform people of solutions if they run into particular crashes as they report them.

    Please don’t stop sending the feedback and you’re more then welcome (as anyone else is) to also send me the feedback directly and I’ll ensure the right folks see it.



  3. glow says:

    I had the opportunity to play with vista movie maker and DVD maker on my dad’s brand new hp dv2222tx laptop.

    I didn’t exactly break up with Vista and WMM but let’s just say we didn’t hit it off right away.

    First time I tried to make a quick movie with Automovie it crashed complaining about but I couldn’t find this in the compatability tab nor could I find it by searching the hard disk. Given that this was a brand-new laptop with pre-installed configuration, I think this would put off many first time users and would give WMM a bad reputation. How does one find/disable such codecs in a Vista system?

    I also tried to import a sample recorded TV clip "Apollo" (Seemed to be a pre-installed sample) but there was no audio in WMM (played fine in media player).

  4. Dean Rowe says:

    Yes unfortunately (the DivX filter) has certainly caused crashes before in Windows Movie Maker and Windows DVD Maker. This filter doesn’t come with Vista, but it could be that HP are installing it on their systems.

    Normally people install it by going to, so it’s worth going there to make sure you have the latest version of their software.

    Some of these filters register themselves in the old "Video For Windows" way so you may have to turn off something called "AVI decompressor" to disable it. Yes, clearly this should have a better name 🙂

    If you happen to read this and you work at DivX, please feel free to contact me and I’ll be more than happy to try to help you fix the filter so it doesn’t crash when used in Movie Maker, DVD Maker etc.

    Did you get no audio on preview or publish? I just tried importing the Apollo 13 file on my machine here in Windows Movie Maker and it worked fine. These definitely should work, try it again after turning off "AVI Decompressor" and any other filters that you see in the compatibility tab.

  5. glow says:

    Thanks for the feedback Dean.

    With the Apollo 13 file I didn’t get any audio on preview.  I didn’t get around to publishing.

    I’ll try out your suggestions about disabling the filters next time I visit my dad.

  6. glow says:

    I had a play with an hp dv2222tx laptop on display in a computer store just to make sure that it was a problem with an out-of-the box system not just my dad’s one.

    I tried the Apollo 13 sample – again it didn’t play the audio in Movie Maker preview.  

    I played around with the filters and found that the audio was ok if I disabled the "Cyberlink Audio Decoder" version  The was in a path which suggests that it is installed as part of the HP Quickplay feature – it’s a media player that can play DVDs and other media even when Windows hasn’t been booted.

    As this is the standard configuration of an HP laptop you might like to add this codec to the default disabled list.

    I didn’t have the source files nor the time to check out the divx problem just yet.

  7. Dean Rowe says:

    Thanks a lot for trying this. I’ll let the team know this and we’ll see if we can get in touch with HP/Cyberlink about this.

    Thanks again.


  8. glow says:


    Is there a utility to convert custom XML files from the WMM 2.x syntax to the Vista one?

    I have over 150 such files in my XP system and if I were moving to Vista I’d like some way of converting the files without a lot of manual work.

  9. Dean Rowe says:

    Sorry I’m not aware of one.



  10. Chris says:

    I was wondering if anyone knows of a way to delete the sample clips from the vista winxs folder? i am running vista on my laptop and i am running out of room on my internal disk and i wanted to free up some space. the samples take up about 150mb on the disk and they are never going to be watched by me. when i try to delete it says i need administrator priv and wont let me. i did not set up an admin account in the set up however my account is an admin and there is only one account on the system.



  11. Dean Rowe says:

    You can always right click the file (or folder if you want to do the entire folder), then click Properties. Then go to the Security tab and click Advanced. From there you can go to the Owner tab and change the Owner from SYSTEM to yourself. Once you’ve done that, you can then click on Edit from the first Security tab and give Administrators Full Control and then you should be able to delete the file(s) fine.  You will get warnings, so make sure you don’t delete other files 🙂

  12. Ken Zuk says:

    I have the same problem. I cannot publish anything from WMM in Vista (not even a series of photos). I found other suggestions to remove Nero and uncheck the vid filters in WMM. I have done all of that, but WMM still crashes everytime I try to publish anything. Is there any other solutions? Is there a way to reinstall WMM from the Vista DVD??

  13. Dean Rowe says:

    Did you try unchecking all the filters, including the one marker "AVI Decompressor" if it showed up? If so, you can send me the bucket number of the crash (after you send the report to Microsoft). You can find this in the Event Viewer. Send me an email if you have problems finding it.



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