Windows Live Movie Maker: Burn a DVD

Returning to our long running Windows Live Movie Maker series (these posts and corresponding screen videos will be gathered into an online, self-paced workshop for next semester) here is the final in the series, how to burn a DVD from your Windows Live Movie Maker project.

Windows DVD maker comes with Windows 7 Home Premium, Ultimate and Enterprise editions and can be invoked from within Windows Live Movie Maker.  After performing your edits, adding title and credit screens, text overlays, background music, transitions and video effects—in short, after completing your Windows Live Movie Maker project and saving it as a wlmp file—click on the Movie Maker tab, hover over Save movie and select Burn a DVD.

Burn DVDFigure 1 Burn DVD

Note that the aspect ratio of your project will be used by DVD maker.

Movie Maker will first prompt you to save a WMV version of your project somewhere on your file system.  It will name it the same as your project file, but the name can be changed if you wish.  Navigate to where you wish to save the file and click Save.  If you have a large project the save can take some time.
Next Windows DVD Maker will be invoked, containing your project video.  Note that DVD maker will report the 1) duration of your video; 2) the amount of time it will consume of the total time available on a standard DVD-R or +R disc; 3) the DVD title, which by default is the date on which you created it, but you should change this, because it is the title that will appear in the DVD menu (only 32 characters are allowed); 4) the drive on which the DVD will be burnt; and 5) the option to add other items to the DVD,
video, audio or pictures in its supported formats.   For purposes of this description we will assume you have already added all your project assets in Movie Maker, and do not need to add any more, but note that assets can be added to this program as a stand-alone application.

DVD Maker Add AssetsFigure 2 Add pictures and video

Note that the Options link in the lower right corner of the illustration above will open a dialog that will allow you to change some basic options, like how the DVD starts and loops (if at all), aspect ratio, either 16:9 or 4:3, Video format (NTSC or PAL – and always choose NTSC for American equipment), how fast it is burnt, and the location of the Temp file DVD maker will use.  You usually will not have to change these settings.

After changing your DVD title, click Next.

DVD maker will respond by showing a sample DVD title screen with a scene from the video chosen at random with the DVD title in a large font and Play and Scenes options in a smaller font.  DVD maker will auto generate scene divisions.  This dialog box contains options to 1) Preview the menu; 2) Modify the menu text (and add a Notes section, which is a good idea for future reference); 3) Customize the menu (discussed below); 4) options for creating a slide show (DVD maker can be used in place of Movie Maker to create slide shows from photos with background music, transitions, and zoom and pan effects, but does not contain other more sophisticated effects editing capabilities).  Most importantly it contains a (5) Style gallery from which you can pick a very sophisticated looking menu for your project.

DVD Maker Menu ChoicesFigure 3 Configuration Choices


Selecting preview will place your project in a small preview window with the options chosen from the previous screen in effect.  For most projects this will mean the menu will be visible. You can test its functionality from the preview screen.

Menu Text

Menu Text will allow changes to the DVD title, the text of the onscreen menu buttons, and the addition of a Notes feature, with a text box where notes can be entered.  Only 32 characters are allowed in the DVD title, Play button, Scenes button, and Notes button fields.  256 characters are allowed in the Notes field.  The font family used on the menu can also be changed to any of the True Type fonts available on your system, and font properties like color, bold and italics can be set.  Font settings apply to the entire menu, and selective parts cannot be controlled individually.  Be sure to click Change Text after making your changes.  Note that you can preview the changes from this dialog box.

Change Menu TextFigure 4 Change DVD Menu Text

Customize Menu

The Customize Menu selection allows for similar font changes, configuration of separate independent foreground and background menu videos, custom menu audio (be sure the menu audio is set to the same volume as the project audio, or else you are liable to have extremely loud or soft audio for your menu and have to adjust the volume once the video begins playing).  You can also select from a wide variety of screen button styles from the Scenes button styles drop-down.

If you change the style, be sure to click the Change Style button before proceeding.  If you wish to Save the style for future use you may with the Save as new style button.

Customize MenuFigure 5 Customize DVD Menu Style

Menu Styles

The Menu Styles gallery contains a number of very polished looking menu formats.  Select the one you want by clicking on it.  As you click on the various styles they will be previewed in the video window.  To see them in action click the Preview button.  Even menus styles that include video within video will display properly in thumbnail in the preview window.

Select Menu StyleFigure 6 Select Menu Style and Burn

Burn DVD

Once you have configured your DVD, click the Burn button.  If you have not inserted a disc in the proper drive, you will be prompted.  Note that if you have Windows auto play turned on, you may see a Burn dialog box appear.  Just cancel it. Windows DVD burner will start to burn the disc automatically once a blank one has been inserted.  Since burning is a background activity, you can use the computer while burning is occurring, but if you do it will slow the process.  For large projects the burn can take a significant amount of time.

Burn DVD Progress Figure 7 Encode and Burn

That’s it.  You now have a disc that can be played on any modern DVD player.  When it is finished, Windows DVD Maker will offer to Make another copy of this DVD.  If not, click Close.

Make Another CopyFigure 8 Additional Copy Option

When you exit DVD Maker you will be given the option to save your project, which you should do.  It will save you the work of reconfiguring the menu elements again should you decide to burn another copy at a future time.


If Windows DVD Maker stops responding or refuses to burn the DVD, check the Compatibility tab of the Options selection on the “Add pictures and video to the DVD” screen illustrated as Figure 2 above.  If you find any video or audio filters listed there, clear their check box to disable them, and then try again.  Other audio and video programs on your computer may have installed these filters.  Disabling them in DVD Maker will not affect the other programs.

If your DVD burns but will not play on a DVD player, be sure it is not a really old DVD player.  Also be sure that you did not inadvertently choose PAL format if you live in North America, or NTSC format if you live in Europe.

If playback of the DVD is uneven or missing elements, try burning again and do not do anything else on your computer while encoding/burning.  DVD Maker is set by default to burn in the background, but encoding and burning are processor intensive activities, so it is best to give your project as much computing power as possible.  Disconnecting from the Internet during this process and being sure that backup or other processes are not running can also be helpful.  Your Task Manager will indicate what is going on.

2 thoughts on “Windows Live Movie Maker: Burn a DVD

  1. Hello Terry,
    Thanks you for your post, I have successfully made a movie on windows live movie maker. however, there is no “burn cd” tab on the “save movie tab.” I even tried ti burn my movie on windows media player, which successfully burns all my audio cd”s. All to no avail. Please help! I really can”t understand why there is absolutely no burn tab on my windows live movie player. Thanx.
    BTW great blogpost

    1. Probably because you do not have one of the version of Windows 7 with which Windows DVD Maker is distributed, Home premium, Ultimate or Enterprise. If you do have one of these versions but don”t see the program, be sure you are using the latest version of Movie Maker from Also, you might check your Control Panel > Programs and Features > Turn Windows features on or off and under Media Features make sure Windows DVD Maker is installed.

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