How to Play Corrupted Video Files?

How to Play Corrupted Video Files

A critical examination of the causes of video files corruption and a detailed step by step instructions on how to repair and play corrupt video files.

Wondershare Recoverit Authors

Nov 23, 2020 • Filed to: Photo/Video/Audio Solutions • Proven solutions


All files on your system are fragments of electronic data with specific structures that are defined by the types of files. The video file continues to function normally as long as those structures remain intact and as originally specified; but once those structures are disorganized, the video file usually becomes corrupt.

Part 1: Can You Repair Corrupted Videos?

It can become quite frustrating when you try to play a video and for one reason or another, the video simply refuses to play. This is usually an indication that the video file has become corrupted. Fortunately, in most cases, those files can be repaired as long as the right tools are used and the correct procedures for such repairs are adopted.

1. Causes of Corrupted Video Files:

The factors that could cause corruption of video files are explained below:

Premature Shut-downs

Video files can become corrupt when systems are shut-down while videos are still being played. If the video is not stopped before the shut-down process is initiated, a critical element of the video file can become damaged causing the file to become corrupt.

Use of Sub-standard Third-Party Video Players.

A third-party video editor or player that does not have the requisite properties needed to effectively process video files can sometimes cause your files to become corrupt.

Damage to Storage Medium.

Physical damage to hard drives or memory cards caused by the careless handling of such devices can affect the viability of a video file.

Malware or Viral Attacks.

A video file could become infected with either viruses or malware making it almost impossible for video players to process the files.

Alteration of the Files Structures.

Video files can be damaged if the file's header, metadata, or other modules are tampered with and are not reverted to their original status.

2. Is it Possible to Play a Corrupted Video?

In most cases, it is possible to recover and fix corrupted video files using video repair tools such as VLC media player or Wondershare Video Repair tool.

It should however be noted that when the damage to the files is extensive, the likelihood of file recovery is very slim.

Scroll down for detailed information on how to repair corrupt video files.

Part 2: Play Corrupted Video with VLC Player

The versatility of the VLC media player is not limited to playing videos only as it also has a highly efficient module for repairing video files.

Two methods can be used to repair corrupt video files with a VLC media player which are explained below:

Solution 1: Repair Corrupt Videos using VLC Media Player

Step 1- Launch VLC Player and select the tab then select the Convert/ Save tab.

convert or save corrupted video

Step 2- In the new window that opens, click the Add tab to add the files that need to be repaired and then press the Convert /Save tab.

add corrupted video

Step 3- In the Convert window that appears, provide the file name for the destination file and select the preferred input Codec from the profile list.

select the preferred input codec

Step 4- Click the "Edit Selected Profile" button (the button with the spanner and screwdriver image) to confirm or edit a specified profile setting.

edit selected profile

Step 5- Select the destination for the repaired file to be saved, give the file a new name, and click Start to commence the repair.

save corrupted video

Solution 2: Repair Corrupt Videos using VLC Media Player (Gain Accessibility Method)

If the first method fails, you could try using the second method which relies on replicating the file to gain accessibility. Follow the instructions below to repair the file using this method:

Step 1- Create a copy of the original MP4 or MOV files and rename to it AVI.

rename the mp4 mov to avi

Step 2- Launch the VLC media player and click the Preferences tab.

click the preferences tab

Step 3- Click on Input/Codecs option and then select the Always Fix option next to ''Damaged or incomplete AVI file''. Finally, click on the "Save" tab.

save avi file

Part 3: Repair and Play Corrupted Video Files with Wondershare Repairit Video Repair?

Before we lose all hopes of seeing the corrupted videos in running condition, wait for a second and allow us to bring you another workable solution. Wondershare Repairit Online Tool has expertise in repairing the corrupted videos and make them operational for free.

How does it work? What are its benefits? And its comparison with Wondershare Repairit for Desktop Version. Stay with us to have the answers.

Following are some benefits of Wondershare Repairit Online Tool which are quite convincing and workable in the long run:

If you are not familiar with the steps of using this software, we have designed some instructions for you. Following these guidelines can help in repairing videos effectively and efficiently.

Step 1-Inserting the Video

Locate the video on your PC and know its exact position. Launch the software where you will find a (+) option. Tap on it and browse the video that you need to repair. This will start the uploading process to the software.

upload corrupted videos

Step 2-Repairing in action

As the software receives the corrupted video, it starts the repairing process on its own, offering efficiency.

Step 3-Final Process

In the last process, the software sends the repaired video. You can save it and also continue to repair the next damaged video in your system.

save the repaired videos

Using Wondershare Repairit Online Tool and Wondershare Repairit for Desktop Version has to be a wise choice depending upon the details of your video.

If your video length is less than or equal to 200MB and includes three video formats as mentioned above, then you should go for online tool. The Wondershare Repairit for Desktop, on the other hand, offers more than ten video formats and has no video length limit.

Millions of users all over the world trust Wondershare Repairit Video Repair to help recover and repair corrupt files.

It is a lightweight application at just about 52MB but it is quite effective at repairing corrupted video files.

It is a highly efficient repair tool with advanced features that is well suited for the repair of Videos caused by errors such as Storage medium error, File transfer errors, Improper shutdown process, viral /malware attacks and so much more.

Recoverit has a simple user interface and supports multiple file formats.

It can also repair most errors in videos downloaded from streaming services such as YouTube and Vimeo.

Follow the steps below to use Wondershare Video Repair in simple repair mode.

Step 1-Add Corrupted Video

Open Wondershare Video Repair and then drag and drop the video you want to repair into the specified area.

add videos

Step 2- Initiate Repairs

Click on the repair tab and simply wait for the repairs to be completed.

scan videos

Step 3- Preview and Save Repaired Video

A new window would open once the repair is completed.

Play the repaired video to confirm if the error has been rectified.

Click ok to save the repaired file.

preview videos

Files can be repaired with Wondershare Video Repair using any of its two repair modes depending on the severity of the file damage. The quick repair mode is used to repair simple errors while the Advanced repair modes are reserved for more complex errors.

The Advanced Repair Mode works by studying the internal structures of sample files that are uploaded to Wondershare Video Repair. The sample files should be from the same device as the corrupted files and similar to the corrupt files that would be repaired.

By comparing the data in both files, it can repair even the most complex of errors that comparable systems would find impossible to handle.

Follow the instructions below to repair your video in this mode:

Step 1-Add Sample Video

Open Wondershare Video Repair and add a sample video that is of a similar format to the video to be repaired.

add sample videos

Step 2- Saving the Repaired Video

After selecting the sample video, click the save tab.

save videos path

Part 4: How Video Files Are Played on a Computer?

You might have wondered what magic always goes on inside your computer whenever you press play on your media player and the video mystically comes to life. Well, you see, it's not magic but a bit of clever computing.

All videos consist of 2 components: a codec and a container. A codec is a program that encodes and decodes multimedia data, e.g. audio and video streams. Audio is processed with audio codecs (AAC, AIF, AU, MP3, RA, RAM, WMA, FLAC) and video - with video codecs (DivX, AVI, H.261, H.263, H.264, MPEG, RM, RV, WMV). If a file contains both the sound and video image, then both codecs work on it.

The other component of the video file, which is the media container, is a file format where video, audio, subtitles, and other data are stored.

Your computer utilizes both the video and audio codecs to decode and process all the elements of the video stored in the video containers. The results of all these computations are what we see as video and hear as audio whenever we play a video file.

Although there are well over 20 types of file formats, only the five most common formats are going to be discussed here.


This is undoubtedly the most popular video file format currently in use and as close to as a universal standard format for videos can get. It is compatible with a vast range of players and videos utilizing the.MP4 format usually have comparatively small file sizes at acceptable levels of video quality.


As one of the first video file formats to be developed, AVI has a wide variety of codecs that allow it to be played on multiple video players. Video files in the.AVI format however tend to be quite cumbersome and as such, they are not suited for streaming services.

FLV (Flash)

The .FLV file format was specifically developed for Adobe's Flash player and made popular due to its reasonable size and support for a wide range of browser plugins and third-party Flash video players.

WMV (Windows Media)

Videos in the.WMV format have relatively small sizes and this makes them ideally suited for sending through emails. This inherent advantage however comes at a cost of video quality for files in the.WMV format.

MOV (QuickTime)

The .MOV format was developed by Apple for use with its proprietary ''QuickTime'' player. Although videos using.MOV format usually has very high quality, they seem to be quite large and they are also supported by a limited number of players.

Part 5: How to Prevent Corrupted Video Files?

As the saying goes '' An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure''. This is especially true because you could save yourself the troubles of repairing corrupted videos by ensuring that the videos do not become corrupted in the first place.

Take note of the preventive measures below to prevent your files from becoming corrupted:

Infection by Viruses/Malware

Viruses and malware are a common and major cause of video files corruption, they can wreak havoc with your files by distorting the internal structures of the files and rendering them invalid. You should ensure that the Anti-virus software installed on your systems are reliable and up to date to prevent infection of your systems and consequent corruption of the files.

Termination of Activities

All activities such as playing videos must be stopped before the shut-down process is initiated to prevent internal file structures from becoming distorted. Video players should be closed while file conversions should be completed before the system is shutdown.

Proper System Shut-downs

It might come as a surprise to some that something as mundane as a proper system shut-down can save you a lot of headaches. Well, think again! because in the event of abrupt power outages, all those unsaved data and programs already running can lead to data corruption. So please, take your time to always properly shut-down your system.

Check Your Hard Drives Regularly

Hard drives can easily be affected by errors related to bad sectors. These errors can lead to file system damage and consequent corruption of files.

It is therefore advised that you should check hard drives regularly and repair such errors by using Disk Utility and CHKDSK in Macs and Windows respectively.

Safely Remove Storage Devices

You must always use the "Safe to Remove Hardware" option when ejecting external storage devices from systems to avoid corrupting files in the storage device. It is equally important that you should patiently wait for the system to acknowledge the completion of all tasks before the storage device is removed.

Avoid Use of Unlicensed Third-Party Media Players and Converters

Even healthy Files can become corrupted when third party software from dubious sources are used either for playing videos or for conversion to different formats.

You are accordingly advised to always use software from reputable companies and you should endeavor to avoid the temptation of downloading free software from the internet unless you are sure of its actual source.

Closing Words

Files get corrupted all the time; it seems to be part of modern computing. As common as it has become, however, it is undoubtedly a very frustrating experience but as with all problems, there is always a silver lining in the cloud. Video files that become corrupted can easily be rectified with the use of the right software such as Recoverit.

Recoverit author

Eleanor Reed

staff Editor

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