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Repairing damaged MP4 files

Posted on 2016-09-09
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Last Modified: 2016-09-14
After recovering 4 MP4 videos from a damaged disk, we found that we can't open and play the videos.  They appear to be damaged; looking for recommendations and software tools to repair them.

I did try importing into iMovie, which reported that it can't open files of that type, and opening in VLC, QuickTime, and Windows Media Player.
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Question by:RobertAtFox
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Dr. Klahn earned 2000 total points
ID: 41792152
My guess is that the recovered files contain trash.  This is based on "can't open files of that type" which suggests that the 4CC code is wrong, which then says (to me) that the file's internal codec info block contains gibberish.

If that's the case, then it's probable that the recovered files contain random disk blocks and the file contents have been lost.  In that case there's no repair possible.  The files will have to be restored from a backup.
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Expert Comment

by:Serena Hsi
ID: 41792243
VLC can repair some damaged video files, but if the file is badly damaged, you'll need a video repair tool such as:
https://sourceforge.net/projects/mp4-video-repair-tool/

To do a basic repair using VLC:

Copy the file and rename its extension to .AVI
Open VLC
Goto VLC > Preferences > Input/Codecs > "Repair AVI Files" > "Always Fix" > Click save
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Author Closing Comment

by:RobertAtFox
ID: 41795254
Thanks very much. I had a feeling that would be the case -
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Expert Comment

by:Magdalena Maciejewska
ID: 41797593
As @Dr. Klahn said probably the MP4 metadata are corrupted. Still it may be possible to recover some video from the files. The mp4 metadata are usually stored at the very beginning of the file or at the end. If your file got truncated there is a chance that it contains video data but just codec metadata are missing.
In such case it should be possible to recover at leas part of your videos.

If you have some Android device handy try MP4Fix Video Repair Tool app (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.smamolot.mp4fix&referrer=utm_source%3Dwww.experts-exchange.com%26utm_medium%3Dlink).
You'll need another video file recorded on the same device with the same settings so that MP4Fix can copy a missing metadata.
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