Sunday, March 7, 2010

Not Feeling the Love For Magix Family Movie Creator

There are times when you try a software product and it does not work. I was in Target. I saw a $19.95 software program called Magix Family Movie Creator. I'm thinking I'll give it a test spin because a lot of people do need an entry level functional video editing program. You never know when you might find a gem. This wasn't it.

The short version: Resist impulse software purchases. Don't buy cheap without research. If I had known what I know now I would have not spent cash money on this mislabeled product. You should not purchase this software. Nope, nada, and heck no. There are better ways to spend your dollars.

I did stifle my impulse long enough to read the specs at the bottom of the package:
  • Pentium IV or AMD Athlon 700mhz and higher
  • 512 MB RAM
  • 1 GB hard drive space
  • Windows XP/Vista/7
This is what I have on the laptop:
  • AMD Turion 64 Dual Core Mobile
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 160 GB of hard drive space
  • Vista
In other words, what I have on my laptop far exceeded what was needed for installation. There should not have been a problem. Listen to my brief tale of woe on installation problems and my attempts at a solution.

Installation - Not

Before I install any software I do back up my system. You should do this anyway at least once a week. Terabyte drives are starting to dipping below $100 so this is one investment you have to make; especially if you are working with photos and video.

I get to the installation menu screen and click Install. That is when the triumph music plays and plays as the green bar moves cross the screen. The minutes go by. My DVD drive churns. It is not a pretty sound.

After five minutes I know I have got a problem. I pop out the disk. The music eventually stops but the green progress bar is still moves across the screen.

I try to shut down my system and it won't. I Control+Alt+Delete the heck out of it. After 10 minutes I pop the battery out.

Try, Try Again.

Now I've had issues with my DVD drive so I wasn't blaming the software just yet. I attach a USB DVD-Rom drive and try again.

Same thing. A wee bit of grinding this time but no installation and no stopping that dang music.

I'm thinking, "Well maybe I have to be connected to the Internet to make contact with the Registration server?" This should not be the case but some software vendors do have that practice. Just not before the software is installed.

I jack in to the DSL modem and find other things to do. When I come back 10 minutes later, yes, the musical triumph of non-installation is apparently holding to form.

The Invisible Product

I'm stubborn. I don't give up. No sir, I head for the manufacturer's web site. I go looking for the product in the menu. It isn't there. As of March 7, 2010 this is what I see:

Magix Product Screen 3-6-2010
No listing for Magix Family Movie Creator. Am I deterred? Heck no, I'm just warming up. I re-check the box thinking maybe I bought an outdated product. No, Vista and Windows 7 compatible.

I dive into the Support page Which is of little help because I can't register if I can't install the product.

Knowledge Base. No mention of the product. At All.

Typing in the Search box with the product name brings up other products which may or may not be the sucker I'm having a problem with.

Did it use to be called Movies to CD & DVD? Video Deluxe? Video Easy?

I don't know. There does seem to be a common issues with installation under Vista and there is a solution of sorts:

1. If your program is Vista compatible, then please use Windows Explorer to explore the CD so that you can access the contents. To do this:

2. Right click on the Windows "START" button (bottom left of screen).

3. Click "Explore"

4. Right click on your CD/DVD drive and click "Explore"

5. Then right click on the file called "Start.exe"

6. Choose "Run as administrator"

Attempting installation once more. It is honking instead of grinding. Still better than the music.

Three minutes - well, there is no music or green bar. That is an improvement right there.

Five minutes - the honking has stopped. Encouraging, but I still have an hour glass. I just noticed that the Setup.exe has the name Movies on DVD.

I re-re-check the software box. Front of the box it is called Magix Family Movie Creator. Inside the flap of the box is the name Magix MovieShow Maker. WTF?

I'm thinking this poor thing has an identity crisis.

Hmm, if those words had appeared on the front of the box I wouldn't have purchased the product. I got DVD makers up the wahzoo. I wanted a to test out a basic level video editing software.

10 minutes - Nothing.

15 minutes - my screen has just gone white or pearl gray. Still have the hourglass. I head back to the web site because there was a listing for Movies on DVD. It has no resemblance to the box before me but it does specifically state that it is for the creation of DVDs.

20 minutes - I have a "Not Responding" message on one pearl gray window but another window popped up with an installation for Movies to DVD7.

Well, in for a penny and a pound. It is chugging away. I did get to a set-up screen for program, users and templates.

I hit Next and it has been chugging away like the train from Petticoat Junction. For those of you who have never seen Petticoat Junction a brief interluded a more pleasant train chugging sound set to music:

Well, I'm calling time at 11:45am. I just got another lock up "Not Responding" message. I have now officially been stiffed $20 plus tax. I can't take it back because I opened the package and I don't know where the receipt is if I could. Which would do no good because once you open software you are toast.

I've put in almost 2 hours trying to get this program to install on two separate computers. I'm ticked off but if others can learn from my irritation it is worth the effort.

Oh, cute. A new information window: Internal error, installation aborted.

And the added kicker from another screen:

Setup.exe Bad Image

GLK44ED.tmp is either not designed to run on Windows or contains an error. Try installing the program again using the original installation media or contact your system administrator or software vendor for support.

Imagine, if you will, a grown woman hitting her head against a desk.

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