Corrupt MP4 Files? Fix Them for Free With This Great Trick
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Are you struggling to get that video file to play? Whether you’ve recorded the video on a phone or on a standard video camera, playback can sometimes be a problem.

Often, it’s simply a case of installing the right video codex, but what if the video file isn’t working? In this article, we explain how to fix a corrupt MP4.

How to Fix a Corrupt MP4 File

I recently ran into a problem with a corrupted MP4 video file.

Sitting at 1.29 GB, the newly created file refused to play back in any of the apps on my phone. My first reaction was to transfer it to my PC and try it there.

A corrupted video file will not play

Apps that fix dodgy videos are not exactly plentiful. They don’t come pre-installed on Windows or other operating systems and they’re not included with video editing tools. The reason is simple: repairing videos is not easy.

As such, we tend to discard videos that don’t work. What tools are available to help repair a corrupted MP4 video? You should try these two strong options:

Of these, if you’re repairing videos on Windows, it’s worth considering Video Repair. The trial has a cut-off point, which means that only the first 50 percent is repaired. Would you want to pay for an app that might fail to repair the video?

Probably not. Fortunately, there is a workaround.

Fix a Corrupt Video File with VLC

VLC Player is an incredibly versatile app that can play video files that are only partially downloaded. If you think that’s impressive, you should check out the other amazing features of VLC Media Player 7 Top Secret Features of the Free VLC Media Player 7 Top Secret Features of the Free VLC Media Player VLC should be your media player of choice. The cross-platform tool has a bag full of secret features you can use right now. Read More .

As such, it is ideal for attempting to play a corrupt video. If playing it doesn’t work, don’t worry, as you may be able to convert it to a working file format.

First, download VLC Player using the link above and install it. Run the app and open the Media menu. Select Convert/Save then Add and find the corrupt video file.

Next, click the Convert/Save button then Convert and choose a Profile from the dropdown menu. Click the Edit Selected Profile button (a spanner) then name your output file. When you’re done, click Start.

Use VLC Player to fix a corrupt MP4 file

If VLC can repair your video file, it will create a new, watchable file.

How to Repair a Corrupt MP4 With Video Repair

First, download and install Video Repair. Next, make sure you have the corrupted MP4 and a similar file, recorded with the same camera and app. It should also be of the same subject, as it will be used as a reference.

Run the app and select your language, then browse for the corrupted video file in the Choose movie box. Next, select the reference file in Choose reference movie. MP4 and MOV files are compatible with this app.

Click Scan to repair the corrupt MP4.

Repair MP4 video file

If successful, Video Repair will provide a list of fixes it employed to make the movie watchable. But if no list of fixes is provided, Video Repair cannot fix your video.

An Expensive Way to Repair Corrupt MP4 Videos

Say, for example, that you have just one corrupt video you want to repair. Video Repair would be the sensible choice now you’ve been introduced, but there’s a problem. It’s expensive. Purchasing the app will set you back €29 (around $33) and this only provides FIVE repair jobs. For an unlimited license, the price is €99 ($114).

If you find that you regularly have videos that turn out corrupt, this might be an option; however, finding the underlying causes of your corrupt clips might be a better strategy.

So, what do you do to repair the entire video? Well, you can pay the fee and buy the full version, or you can use some totally legal trickery to get the video restored in its entirety…

Double Up and Repair Your MP4

As demonstrated by YouTube user R3DLIN3S, it’s possible to trick Video Repair into repairing the entire video. The idea is simple: we make a video file that is twice as long, and still convert just 50 percent of it. Because we doubled the video length, the file that is converted is our entire original file.

But how do we do this?

Choose a video to repair

Create a new folder (perhaps labelled “Corrupt File”) then move the corrupt file into it. Copy the file so that you have two identical corrupt MP4s. This may take a while for larger files.

Once copied, rename them; it’s best to use sequential names, like VID1 and VID2.

Combine video files

Next, open the command prompt. Hit Win + R and enter cmd then click OK. Use cd to navigate to the Corrupt File directory and enter the following:

copy/b VID1.mp4+VID2.mp4

This command stitches the two files together into a single MP4, in place of the first file. You’ll need to wait a while, but by the end VID1.mp4 and VID2.mp4 will be merged into VID1.mp4.

Repaired video file

Confirm this by checking the file size of VID1.mp4. If it is now twice as long, you’re ready to use the repair tool, as demonstrated above.

If Video Repair Works Consider Paying for It

Corrupt video files are frustrating. It seems that clips you record by mistake and no longer need never end up corrupting. Rather, it tends to be the ones that you want to watch.

Whatever tool you opt to use to repair corrupt video files, it’s important to be honest about using them. Should VLC work for you, then great. If not, while we’ve presented you with a workaround for completely fixing a corrupt MP4 using Video Repair, consider it a one-off.

If the tool works for you and you expect to use it again, it is appropriate to pay for the software rather than using this trick over and over.

With your corrupt MP4 video fixed, it’s time to edit it into shape. Not sure which app to use? Try one of the best free video editors for Windows The Best Free Video Editors for Windows The Best Free Video Editors for Windows Everyone takes videos these days. Yet powerful free video editors remain rare. We present the absolute best free video editors available for Windows. Read More .

Explore more about: MP4, Troubleshooting, Video.

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  1. Damian PL
    September 18, 2018 at 6:53 pm

    Thank you for sharing this program! I've recovered my daughter's first steps, cause F@^#&N camera didn't save just that one video :D Cheers!

  2. Denis Vasquez
    June 22, 2018 at 7:28 pm

    1/2 of video is showing but with out sound.

  3. Leon_ID
    June 6, 2018 at 8:31 pm

    123

  4. Leon_ID
    June 6, 2018 at 8:31 pm

    These tools are not free anymore. E.g. grauonline charges a fortune, and I wasn't satisfied with the result. Among similar tools, the only option I can think of is Restore.Media online service https://restore.media/ - worked like a charm for me. They have been free back in March, 2018 - maybe they charge something now

  5. chris
    January 2, 2018 at 9:36 pm

    Not working anymore in v3.1.0.1
    The tool knows it's two files and recovers half of it two times.

  6. Faith
    December 18, 2017 at 2:42 am

    Mine some clips running wont. Either uploaded place in one playing doesnt.

  7. RonaldDKTrump
    December 5, 2017 at 7:24 pm

    Why the output file only have 70 kb if my original corrupt file has around 900 mb??

  8. another way
    September 10, 2017 at 9:23 pm

    you could also try what I do sometimes:
    dump it into a few players first (I use GOM player)
    then try vlc player. A lot of the time this will work

  9. Praveen
    September 1, 2017 at 5:39 pm

    I tried this. But the app is creating two files, both of the same length, which are half the length of the original. I used version 3. Maybe the developers know the trick now, and the new version is still repairing 50% of the original. I cannot download the older version from anywhere. Please help.

  10. Praveen
    September 1, 2017 at 5:36 pm

    I tried this. But the app created two repaired files, both of same length, which are half the length of the original. I used version 3 . I think the new version knows the trick. I cannot download the older version from anywhere. Please help.

  11. Joe R
    July 19, 2017 at 11:41 pm

    Worked great. Well worth the about $35 US dollars. Pay people their fair wage. I had to turn on the option called NO ctts. Thank you to the software engineers who saved an important family video. Remember, read the help tips. The free demo mode worked great, and that allowed me to experiment with several options. My first demo try failed and then my second attempt with CTTS off worked great. Then once I knew it would work I made the purchase.

  12. JerryV
    July 3, 2017 at 10:48 am

    Thank you so much for this. I had a video file that had been corrupted on recording and thanks to you I was able to recover all the footage.

  13. Ganyman
    June 26, 2017 at 9:35 pm

    Perfect ! It works very well !

  14. Joyvel
    April 23, 2017 at 6:55 pm

    Thanks so much!!!

  15. Aaron
    January 24, 2017 at 5:16 am

    Doubles the file size of my mp4 but did not double the length, so it still only processed the first half of the file. :(

    • Dex
      April 15, 2017 at 6:36 pm

      I tested the trick several times and can confirm that by simply merging video files, the tool repairs 50% of the first video and 50% of the second video, even if they are one merged file.
      Then I removed the header of second video file before merging, using HxD binary editor. This is actually quite easy. Just start selecting bytes from beginning until you reach unrecognizable stuff (most likely video stream). My MP4 files had headers of about 450 bytes. You can recognize header by clearly visible words between lots of zeroes.
      I guess that this way the tool thinks that this is one big file.
      Removing the header of the second video file does not matter, because the second 50% is not recovered in demo mode, so the first 50% (first video file) is properly recovered.

  16. Audi
    January 15, 2017 at 7:56 pm

    Man .. This is just awesome :-* I love you :-)

  17. YouTube/JonnoPlaysCoC
    December 17, 2016 at 6:14 pm

    Thank you so much. This just saved me.

  18. Dalton
    December 13, 2016 at 2:42 am

    Haha.. if they didn't want you to come up with a way to trick it, they shouldn't have made the app so pricey. Great thinking and thanks!

  19. alan
    November 15, 2016 at 11:31 pm

    you da man! thanks for tutorial!

  20. Mitchell
    August 5, 2016 at 4:35 pm

    Worked for me! Thanks a bunch.

  21. Maximilian Kern
    August 2, 2016 at 8:05 pm

    Further Info: It indead doubles the file size but not video length

  22. Maximilian Kern
    August 2, 2016 at 8:04 pm

    The command copy/b file1+file2 seems not to double the length of the video as expected/explained. Atleast for corrupt videos ;(

  23. Venom
    June 15, 2016 at 5:36 pm

    Output video seems like slow motion

    • DonL
      August 9, 2017 at 7:58 pm

      Try change the frame rate