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PowerPoint 2003 sound embedding tanked

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I am using a custom-built pc with 4 gb of ram, XP Pro, all current updates and Office 2003.

After successfully embedding mp3 sound files in four PowerPoint 2003 slide shows consisting of a total of 87 slides, 4 slides into Show Five, the embed function quit working. No file name appears in the file name field when I select a file. If I click OK, an icon appears on the slide, but it won't play. No error message appears, it just won't play.

I have tried mp3 files from many different folders to no avail. My previously inserted files play fine.

I tried inserting a .wav file. The same missing file name situation occurred, but the file did play.

As a truly bizarre twist, when I turned to my laptop (Vista, updated, Office 2003), I discovered the same problem, not just with the existing files, but new ones. It also embeds wav files.

The next thing I tried was OpenOffice Presentations. I can embed the mp3 files and play them there with no problem.

Since I have to finish this presentation within a couple of days, I'm pretty much at my wits end. I do not want to switch to OpenOffice, because I don't know how to use it as well, i.e. hiding the sound icon.

HELP! Please!

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