Microsoft released the first version of Windows Movie Maker in September 2000, responding to a growing need for approachable and free video editors, which at the time were expensive and complicatedmore
Microsoft released the first version of Windows Movie Maker in September 2000, responding to a growing need for approachable and free video editors, which at the time were expensive and complicated for untrained users. Since then, other free or cost-conscious video editors have become available, and Microsoft has gradually transitioned away from making free desktop software. Here are the alternatives to Windows Movie Maker.
If you are using Windows 7 or Windows 10, Movie Maker may not be preinstalled on your computer. If it isn't, be aware that it is no longer available from Microsoft as of January 2017, but you can download a version from us. This includes Movie Maker and Photo Gallery as part of the package, but you can choose not to install the other apps in the suite (which vary according to the version of Windows that the installer detects).
You need a 2.4GHz CPU (Microsoft recommends at least a dual-core chip for HD video editing), 1GB of RAM (2GB recommended for HD), a video card that supports DirectX 9.0C, and Pixel Shader 2.0. Because Movie Maker relies on a video card to function smoothly, Microsoft also recommends that you check Windows Update to make sure that you have the latest video card drivers.
Wax is one of the few free video editors that's widely recommended, and it has a reputation for being easy to use. However, like Movie Maker, it has not been updated since 2012. More advanced users can try Corel VideoStudio. The full version is a paid product, but it is much less expensive than Avid or Adobe Premiere, and easier to use.
Corel has many interesting features to its base unit, with added bonuses and effects in the Ultimate package. Though VideoStudio can certainly handle footage from more-advanced machines, professional users will probably prefer alternative options even if the price tag remains higher, because of the limitations of the workflow. VideoStudio is much better for casual or hobby users using nondedicated gadgets like smartphones and point-and-shoot cameras. At its reasonable price, it's close to hitting that attractive sweet spot for the right low-to-mid-end user.
CyberLink PowerDirector is a pro-level video production and editing suite that is well within the grasp of talented amateurs. PowerDirector specializes in speed, especially in 64-bit Windows systems. It creates themes, subtitles, slideshows, and 3D animated titles; supports end-to-end 4K and 3D; and bundles more than 100 video-editing tools and many extras, including unlimited free templates and other resources, in the DirectorZone. Version 13's improved MultiCam Editing auto-syncs more than 100 cameras. Other PowerDirector bundles are available, too.
On the Mac, Premiere Elements is more powerful than iMovie with a more traditional interface, but it's a bit slower and more intimidating as well. For Windows, if you're looking for a first video-editing package, Premiere Elements will have all the features you need, but expect to spend some time learning the ropes.