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Windows Movie Maker Pictures Disappeared - Only Red Xs Show Now

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Question: Windows Movie Maker Pictures Disappeared - Only Red Xs Show Now
A recent question from a reader:
"I started my project in Windows Movie Maker and had pictures and music. I saved it as a project and as a movie. When I went back to work on it, I had the music but a red X was in place of each picture. What did I do wrong and how I can I fix it so I can continue working on my project."
Answer:

Movie Maker is finicky. It does not like it if you change things. Movie Maker does NOT embed the pictures (or music) in your project -- only in the final movie.

Why Do Red Xs Appear Instead of Pictures?
When you reopen your Movie Maker project and see the red Xs where pictures should be in the storyboard, this means that you have moved the pictures, or the computer is unable to find them. There could be three reasons for this scenario:

  1. If you are creating your movie at work, on a network where the pictures reside, and then try to continue working at home, the program is looking for the picture files on the network.
  2. If you used a USB flash drive (or external hard drive) which contained the pictures and now the flash drive is not available.
  3. You used the flash drive at work and it was called Drive E: but at home, your computer calls it Drive F: Movie Maker will still be looking for the pictures on Drive E:.

How Can I Fix This Problem?
If you have duplicates of the pictures saved in a different location, the quick remedy is to click on one of the red Xs in your project and tell the program where the pictures are located. More than likely all the pictures will suddenly reappear if they are all located in the same place.

How Can I Avoid this Problem in the Future?
The BEST method of creating your project is this:

  1. Create a new folder right from the get-go.
  2. Copy all the components you need for your movie (pictures, video clips, sounds) to this same folder.
  3. Save the project to this folder.
As a result of following this practice in future, all of your "ingredients" for the movie will be in the same place. You can then copy the whole folder to another location (network, flash drive) and continue to work on it at a later time, as Movie Maker will find all the components for the movie in the same folder as the working project file.

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