Why won’t some video files play on my PC?

Anonymous August 15, 2014
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A virus virus was detected in a hidden video file on my PC. I had to unhide the file to view it. As per my antivirus (Norton Internet Security 2014) I followed the steps to remove it. The virus was removed successfully, but some video files on my computer stopped working. These files have extension of .mp4, .avi. Other video files are working apart from 10 or so videos. And yes, the working video files also have .mp4 extensions. I get an error while playing defected video files i.e. “cannot determine type of stream” on both windows 8.1 (on every video player) and Linux (Ubuntu 12.04 LTS) on VLC and Movie Player. I need a way to play those prolematic video files.

  1. Mohmmad A
    August 21, 2014 at 4:06 pm

    OK, I have successfully removed the virus from my computer and I'm sure that i have that there are no viruses in my PC, But I still can't play those videos! @Oron I think those videos are corrupted. Is there any way that i can get those videos back, without downloading them again? @Bruce I have installed "media info" and it is not showing any info of those videos. It is just showing the file size and name of the video files and it shows the complete information of working video file.

    • Hovsep A
      August 21, 2014 at 7:22 pm

      you can check some software to repair mp4 if possible, or you can use a software to convert them like handbrake.

      File repair

      Digital Video Repair

    • Bruce E
      August 22, 2014 at 6:06 am

      MediaInfo pulls data from the file header to determine codecs used, frame rate, length, bitrate, etc. If it can't get that information, the header itself is corrupt and would need to be rebuilt. I don't know if there are any tools that will attempt this type of repair, so it may be easier to just download them again.

  2. Mohmmad A
    August 17, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    Sorry guys, I couldn't try the above suggestions due to lack of time. But another video file is affected with the same virus i.e. " W32.fypzserv!inf", if i remove the virus; I'm afraid some more video files will stop working.

  3. Bruce E
    August 17, 2014 at 7:40 am

    You may want to look at MediaInfo. It will analyze the files and tell you what audio and video codecs your video files need in order to be rendered. It will also indicate how it is packaged. For example, some files that have the .avi extension may still play properly even though they are using the .mp4 format while an .avi file normally will not play properly if it is carrying the .mp4 extension.

  4. Oron J
    August 16, 2014 at 8:39 am

    Your description suggests one of two scenarios:
    1. The file extensions (.mp4, .avi) were changed by the virus
    2. The files are corrupt

    You can test the first possibility by using a file identification program which looks at the contents of the file, rather than it's extension, such as TridNet (http://mark0.net/soft-tridnet-e.html) or File for Windows (http://gnuwin32.sourceforge.net/packages/file.htm).

    You can also identify the internal format using G Spot (http://www.afterdawn.com/software/audio_video/codecs/gspot.cfm), which may help to shed light on the problem.

    If these steps do not help, your files are probably corrupt.

  5. Hovsep A
    August 15, 2014 at 7:58 pm

    can you play the questioned videos with vlc? or convert them to another format if possible

    You receive a "Cannot play back the video stream" error message in Windows Media Player

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