Fix Your Damaged MP4 Video Files with Restore.Media

The most common reason why MP4 files can’t be played is missing metadata and broken indices. Metadata includes important details about video and audio streams contained in the video file, such as bitrate, codecs, etc. When you try to open an MP4 file, media players need to read the metadata in order to play the video. If the metadata is missing, you get an error, such as “the file cant be played” or similar.

If you’ve got a damaged, unplayable MP4 video, don’t panic – there are options to fix it. In this article we will talk about how to repair corrupted MP4 files with free and paid tools developed by Restore.Media.

Case 1. Fixing MP4 files corrupted due to unfinalized recording.

When recording a video, most of the cameras keep metadata in their internal memory. The metadata is then saved in the end of the video file when you stop the recording. However, there may be cases when the recording process is not terminated properly (e.g. your camera’s battery ran low on power, or your phone’s recording app crashed suddenly). As a result, your camera may fail to save the metadata in the recorded MP4 file. Such a broken MP4 video can’t be played in media players, even though the file contains video and audio data.

Similar issues may also occur when a video conversion tool crashes while compressing your video files. Or, when you copy your MP4 files from one device to another and some glitch interrupts the process unexpectedly.

Fortunately, unplayable MP4 files can be fixed simply by adding missing metadata into them. There are two options here. First, you can try to download and use a free tool developed by Restore.Media, called Recover_MP4. It is designed specifically for repairing damaged video files. Please note, that the tool works on Windows PCs only. Also, it doesn’t have a GUI, so you will have to run it via Command Prompt, which may be a bit tricky if you’re not that tech savvy.

To repair your MP4 files with this free tool, you will need a reference video recorded with the exact same camera and settings, as the corrupted file. For the reference, you could record a new video of about 1 minute long, or take any valid footage you’ve recorded with the camera earlier.

If you’re a Mac user, not familiar with Command Prompt, or don’t have any reference video – there is a more recent version of the video repair tool developed by Restore.Media. Essentially, it is an upgraded version of the Recover_MP4 tool, that works online, supports more cameras, has an easy-to-use interface and can fix your MP4 files without any reference files (provided that your camera is supported by the tool). The downside here is that the online version of the tool is not free.

Below are just a few of the benefits you get when recovering your MP4 with the online version of the tool:

  • Support for many different types of cameras and devices, including GoPro, Sony, Canon, Nikon, Panasonic, DJI, iPhone, Android, etc.
  • A database of reference video files needed to repair your MP4, which would be very helpful if you don’t have any valid sample files.
  • Platform-agnostic. You can run Restore.Media from iPhone, Android, Windows and macOS.
  • Easy-to-use interface that guides you through the recovery process.
  • Free full-time preview. This allows you to check if your MP4 video has been fixed prior to paying for the tool.
  • Manual recovery option. If you can’t fix your MP4 files yourself, you can ask Restore.Media’s engineers to review and process the files manually.

For a complete guide on how to use both of the tools, please see this article.

Case 2. Repairing MP4 files deleted from a storage medium.

The other case is if you’ve accidentally deleted your MP4 files and then restored them with some data recovery tools. Even if such a tool reports that the files have been recovered successfully, in reality this may be far from the truth. As a result, you may get corrupted and unplayable MP4 files. Why?

deleted_mp4

Usually, video files are not stored as a continuous sequence of data, but are divided into numerous small chunks and scattered all over the storage due to fragmentation. When restoring such deleted video files, generic data recovery tools may miss some chunks of the video files or, contrary, inject junk data taken from other files on the storage. As a result, your MP4 video may contain artefacts, or glitches, miss metadata, or some frames/audio streams, etc.

So, how do you repair such video files?

To recover a deleted MP4 file, one would need to analyze the entire storage medium to collect all the file’s fragments and then combine them into a single video with the correct sequence of frames. So far, we’re not aware of any software that could do this automatically. However, you can create an image of your entire memory stick (SD card) where you’ve deleted the video files from and then send it to Restore.Media for manual processing.

Please note that the image file should be in the .IMG format. Restore.Media’s engineers will analyze data on your SD card’s image cluster by cluster to retrieve individual bits of the MP4 files.

As you can imagine, this is a painstaking task that can be done by professional video engineers, something you won’t probably find in YouTube tutorials. It’s really a task that is best left up to the experts.

Rarely are there instances when corrupted MP4 files can’t be fixed at all. However, this may happen if there is too much fragmentation on the storage medium. If these professionals can’t get your video file recovered for you, it’s time to make peace with your loss and move on. But don’t make peace with your loss before finding out if someone can help you fix your damaged MP4 files. You just might need a little help. Just because repairing a broken video is not your specialty, it doesn’t mean that it can’t be done.

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