Importing files into Windows Movie Maker: frequently asked questions

Here are answers to some common questions about importing files.

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What does importing files mean?

Importing files means bringing digital media files into Windows Movie Maker so that you can work with them in different projects.

Why would I want to import files into Windows Movie Maker?

You must import video, audio, or picture files into Windows Movie Maker before you can use them in your projects. In a project, you select, arrange, and edit clips, transitions, and effects until you have everything you want to customize your published movie.

It is important to note that Windows Movie Maker does not store an actual copy of source files; instead, a reference to the original source file is created and appears in Windows Movie Maker as a clip. So any edits that you make in Windows Movie Maker do not affect the original source file. You can edit audio clips, video clips, or pictures in Windows Movie Maker and be confident that the original audio, video, or picture source files remain unchanged.

What happens when I import files into Windows Movie Maker?

Windows Movie Maker creates a new collections folder and imports the resulting clip (or clips) directly into the folder. If you want to import the files into an existing collections folder, make sure the Collections pane is displayed, and select the folder you want.

What kind of files can I import?

You can import files with the following file name extensions into Windows Movie Maker to use in your project:

  • Video files: .asf, .avi, dvr-ms, .m1v, .mp2, .mp2v, .mpe, .mpeg, .mpg, .mpv2, .wm, and .wmv

  • Audio files: .aif, .aifc, .aiff, .asf, .au, .mp2, .mp3, .mpa, .snd, .wav, and .wma

  • Picture files: .bmp, .dib, .emf, .gif, .jfif, .jpe, .jpeg, .jpg, .png, .tif, .tiff, and .wmf

If you want to import a file into Windows Movie Maker that has a different extension from the ones listed above, in the file type list, choose All Files. Windows Movie Maker can import most file types, but not all file types will work when you try to use them to make a movie.

Microsoft Recorded TV Show files (with a .dvr-ms file name extension) that are not protected using digital rights management can be imported into Windows Movie Maker if your computer is running Windows Vista Home Premium or Windows Vista Ultimate.

Certain features in Windows Movie Maker, such as AutoMovie, require imported files to have both read and write permissions.

Where can I import files from?

You can import media files from any location that your computer can access: your hard disk drive, a CD, a shared network location, or removable media such as a USB flash drive.

How do I import files?

  1. Click File, and then click Import Media Items.

  2. Navigate to the file you want to import, and then click Import.


  • You can import several files at one time. For consecutive files, click the first file in the list, press and hold down the SHIFT key, and then click the last file in the list. For files that are not consecutive, press and hold down the CTRL key, and then click each file that you want to import.