Everything about Windows Movie Maker

Wednesday April 28, 2021 3:06 PM PDT by Karen Greene

Microsoft woke up to the need for a free video editor for their OS when Apple started shipping iMovie with macOS. The idea behind it was simple, to have a video editing utility in the essential media package. Consumers wouldn’t have to look elsewhere to meet their standard video editing needs.

Windows Movie Maker was first included with Windows ME, commonly known as Windows 2000, the successor of Windows 98.

First Look of Windows Movie Maker

First Look of Windows Movie Maker

MS was quick to realize that what they offered on the WMM was not enough compared to iMovie.

Windows Movie Maker 2.0 and Beyond

The veteran editor’s version 1.1 release coincided with the release of Windows XP, which was a leap forward in their OS lineup. Windows XP emphasized a new user interface, modern tools, and accessibility.

It was only fitting to release the movie maker with significant upgrades with the tech giant’s new operating system.

Consequently, with minor updates, the newer version 2.0 was shipped along with Windows XP Service Pack 2 as a part of the media bundle.

Windows Movie Maker 2.0 and Beyond

Windows Movie Maker 2.0 and Beyond

Version 6.0 – A Refresh on Vista

Windows Movie Maker 6.0 released along with Vista. The focus was on new features, which included

  • Support for Xbox 360
  • Variety of new effects and transitions
  • Capture from HDV sources
  • HD, quality textures support

The new version encountered problems as it could not run on older systems. This prompted MS to release version 2.6, which ran exclusively on Vista, featuring older transitions and effects.

Version 6.0 - A Refresh on Vista

Version 6.0 – A Refresh on Vista

Like Vista, version 6 had a short stint, which ended with the underwhelming operating system.

Brief Appearance – Windows Live Movie Maker

As a part of the Windows Essentials package, the new version named Windows Live Movie Maker was released.

A standalone application, laced with a modern user interface, including the ribbon toolbar, similar to what was offered on Office 2007. Video projects of older versions were not compatible with this one.

Amongst the most notable features of the new addition was the auto movie. It created slideshows and videos automatically from your video clips, images. The created movie included effects, music, and much more.

The wagon did not stop there; you could also directly export movies to DVDs, YouTube.

Windows Live Movie Maker

Windows Live Movie Maker

The Comeback

With the discontinuation of Windows Live, the conventional editor made a comeback as Windows Movie Maker 2012. It came bearing gifts in support of H.264/MP4, which became the default export format.

That’s not all; it added support for direct upload to Vimeo(and other sites in Windows 8.1 release), along with hardware video stabilization.

See you, Windows Movie Maker

When the world was welcoming 2017, Microsoft decided to pull the plug on its long-running video editor. It is no longer available for download from any official source.

Industry experts have attributed the move to Windows moving into the next generation of user interface and accessibility. WMV provided the utility, but it felt out of place in the new scheme of things.

What’s Next for Windows Movie Maker Users?

Microsoft introduced Story Mix App, which was concise as the actual movie maker replacement. They filled the gap after a period of two years with a cloud-based editor that kept on giving.

The focus has been the new age of content creators who want to quickly create videos with soundtracks, neat effects without requiring gruesome efforts.

After a short stint, the Story Mix app was replaced by the Microsoft Photos app, which included a video editor. Users can rely on the Photos app for their standard video editing needs while experiencing the streamlined user interface.

Where can I still get Windows Movie Maker?

The short answer is no; you cannot get the movie maker from an official source.

Installation files of Windows movie makers are available on various download sites, portals. The bad news is that they cannot be trusted and may contain the risk of viruses, malware, amongst other things, with nefarious intentions.

Take a step back and cancel your plan on downloading it again from the Internet.

There is a way for you to use it, but it involves installing older versions of Windows, such as XP, 7 for that matter. The legacy software support for these versions of Windows has ended, and therefore we would advise you to tread with caution while going down this road.

Let’s Meet Microsoft Photos

To an average joe, the Photos app looks like just another photo viewer. However, it packs an experience and more utilities in its bag. The powerful video editor on it can be used to create slideshows, videos automatically or from scratch with effects, texts, and more.

Microsoft Photos

Microsoft Photos

You can access the video editor app by clicking on the Video Editor button. Or, you can right-click on any video and start editing the video with the photo app.

Similar to Windows Movie Maker, the photos app comes as a free utility with Windows 10. You can always download it from the MS store when you cannot find it on your PC for some reason.

It was first released in 2012 as a generic photo viewer before getting the upgrade with a capable video editor. The Story Mix app was merged into Microsoft Photos, as we have discussed earlier.

People were apprehensive at first, but the constant features update made it difficult to ignore.


  • Modern and Easy UI

The user interface on the Photos app is miles ahead of what was offered on Windows Movie Maker. Integration with the video editor is sublime, and you wouldn’t notice a knot.

  • Editing Shortcut

Open it directly in the Photos app from the right-click menu. Start editing right away by selecting an option from the Get Creative with This Video button.

Editing Shortcut

Editing Shortcut

  • 3D Effects and Animations

Add different 3D effects and animations alike for saving on the visual effects designer. Search for the right element from the library and apply them right away.

3D Effects and Animations

3D Effects and Animations

  • Sync Videos and Projects to the Cloud

Auto backup all your video projects and data to the OneDrive cloud account. The automatic backup feature has been phased out while you can manually configure it to back all your projects.


  • No Transitions

There are no transitions for you to use in the Photos app. Transitions are used to tie two scenes, clips together. Often used to open or end a video, transitions provide a segue for the content.

  • No Output format choice

You cannot export videos in a media format of your choice. Photo apps only support output in MP4 format.

Windows Movie Maker vs. Photos

Microsoft Photos Windows Movie Maker
User-interface Modern, minimal Classic, conventional
Compatibility Windows 8, 10 Windows ME, XP, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1
Release year 2012 2000
Transitions Not available Available
3D Effects Available Not available
Cloud Backup Yes No


Windows Movie Maker is the past, and the Photos app is the present, perhaps the new future. We wait for what Microsoft has in store with their next OS installment.
Meanwhile, you can use the Photos app for basic editing while trying other feature-rich Windows Movie Maker alternatives that hit it out of the park.

Karen Greene

Karen is a professional writer with a background in column writing who enjoys resolving complex topics and explaining them in interesting ways.