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.

Jan 13,2020 • Filed to: Photo/Video/Audio Solutions • Proven solutions

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All files on your system are fragments of electronic data with specific structures which are defined by the types of files. The video file continues to function normally as along 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 along 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. In the event that 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 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 carless 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 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 VLC media player is not limited to playing videos only as it also has a highly efficient module for repairing video files.

There are basically two methods that can be used to repair corrupt video files with 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 Convert/ Save tab.

play corrupted video 1

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

play corrupted video 2

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.

play corrupted video 3

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

play corrupted video 4

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.

play corrupted video 5

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 in order 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.

play corrupted video 6

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

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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.

play corrupted video 8


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

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

It is a light weight 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 of the severity of the file damage. The quick repair mode is used to repair simple errors while the Advanced repair modes is 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 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 really 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 is 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.

MP4

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.

AVI

As one of the first video file formats to be developed, .AVI has a wide variety of codecs which allows 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 have 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 in order 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 in order to prevent infection of your systems and consequent corruption of the files.

Termination of Activities

It is very important that all activities such as playing videos are stopped before the shut-down process is initiated in order 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 with 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

It is important that you should always use the “Safe to Remove Hardware” option when ejecting external storage devices from systems in order 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 to 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 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 use of the right software such as Recoverit.

Eleanor Reed

staff Editor

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