PowerPoint picture placeholders exhibiting erratic behavior

Our corporate PowerPoint 2003 template makes extensive use of picture placeholders.  Someone came to me with the attached slides and the complaint that after placing pictures and saving the file, the next time they open it, the pictures are not visible or have changed positions seemingly at random.
The missing pictures are in fact hidden behind other pictures, in the case of the second slide all three are in that first position.  First thing I tried was right click, Reset Slide.  That causes the pictures to jump into the three positions, but when you save and re-open, they are stacked again.   When I reset the first slide, I'm seeing the three images, but also the placeholder with "click icon to add picture" in one case on top of the picture, which I've never seen.
Is the problem the fact that the placeholders are overlapping on the slide, so PowerPoint can't keep them straight?    When I recreated this same layout in a fresh presentation, it behaves fine.  Is this file somehow corrupt?  Or are picture placeholders just unreliable?   Any suggestions for a workaround or fix?
Thanks.

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Look at this thread. Maybe this information will help you.

https://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/c835c795-a94c-48ec-b5a7-3313f80078ad/how-to-handle-with-corrupted-ppt-2003-file?forum=officeitprolegacy

I have seen this happen before, but not quite to the extent of the issues you're seeing. I've also not seen it happen when you close and reopen a file. But I have seen it happen when you hit RESET, and I've seen it with text placeholders as well as with picture placeholders, and I've even seen it happen before the template hits the wild.

I believe it's got to do with the idx setting in the XML. In the case of your file, the picture placeholders all have the same IDX value (19). I think this is confusing PowerPoint and causing it to reapply the settings from the first picture placeholder with IDX value 19 -- which is why they all end up stacked on top of each other. (In one of the problem files I saw, the idx value kept switching -- it was the most bizarre thing, and I think it was actually a bug.)

solved already!)))

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