How to Recover Corrupted MP4 Files for FREE

Recovered File

This guide will be helpful if you have a corrupted MP4 file and cannot play it in any media player. I'm going to walk you through the video file recovery process step by step with a small but incredibly effective MP4 repair tool.


The best part is that it's completely free and if you follow the instructions correctly, you can fix corrupted MP4 files in just a few minutes!


As someone who loves shooting sports videos, I can't help but notice how much the quality of shooting action cameras has improved over the past few years.

The camera I take with me more often than others is the GoPro. Thanks to its ruggedness and convenient accessories, shooting with the GoPro is a pleasure.


Unfortunately, despite how durable and good these cameras are, no one is immune to the loss of footage as a result of bad luck. For example, at the most inopportune moment, the battery may be discharged. Or you may forget to stop recording and turn off the camera. As a result, the MP4 file may not be saved correctly.


This is all the more important when you are not just filming from the side, but also at the same time you are a direct participant in a sporting event. In such conditions, it is very easy to make a mistake that can lead to the loss of the captured video.


So, during my last mountain biking training session, I strapped the GoPro to my bike helmet. But, as is usually the case, before shooting, I forgot to charge the camera :(


During 3 hours of shooting, the battery was nearly depleted. But I decided to record as much as the charge was enough. As a result, when I finished the track, the battery was already completely depleted and the camera turned off.


Later, when I downloaded the recorded video to my laptop, I found that one of the MP4 files was not playing. The file was 1.3 GB in size, and clearly contained a recording, but I could not play it in any player.


I was not ready to give up this recording, so I went online and started looking for something that could save the day. After looking at a few paid options and trying a few free ones without success, I stumbled upon a tiny free MP4 video recovery tool called recover_mp4.


This tool is not as user-friendly as some of the paid alternatives that you could use to recover corrupted MP4 files, but there is always a trade-off, right?


After studying a couple of guides, it turned out that repairing MP4 files is not such a difficult task. And in this article, I have prepared a small instruction on how to fix a corrupted MP4 file using the recover_mp4 tool. So, let's do this:



1. Download the tools


The first thing you need to do is download the recover_mp4 tool. You can simply search for it on Google by its name. There are many sites where you can download it.


You also need to download one more tool – FFmpeg. This is a popular utility that allows you to process video files. It's also free, supports an incredible number of formats, and is rich in functionality. Later I will explain why it is needed when recovering damaged MP4 files.



2. Unzip them to your local drive


After you have downloaded these two tools, you will need to unpack them.


Unzip FFmpeg first. Then go to the folder where you extracted it and find there a folder named "bin".


Now extract recover_mp4 to this "bin" folder.



3. Prepare the files


For the tool to be able to repair your corrupted MP4 file, you need a good sample file. It can be any playable video captured with the same camera and with the same settings as the damaged video file.


Once you find a suitable sample, make a copy of it and rename the file to "good.mp4".

When recovering an MP4 file, I recommend using a copy of the sample file so that the original videos remain safe if something goes wrong.


Next, rename the damaged MP4 file to "bad.mp4".


Then copy both files ("good.mp4" and "bad.mp4") to the "bin" folder where you extracted the recover_mp4 tool.



4. Checking files


At this point, you need to run the command line. To do this, click the Start button, type "CMD" in the search box and press Enter.


You will see a black window with white text and a command line.


On the command line, navigate to the "bin" folder where you saved the files. To do this, type "cd" followed by the address where the folder is located. For example, if you saved a folder on your local drive (C:\ffmpeg\bin), you would need to type:


cd c:\ffmpeg\bin


… and press Enter.


Now enter the command:


recover_mp4.exe good.mp4 --analyze


This command instructs recover_mp4 to parse the sample video and extract the metadata needed to recover the damaged file.



5. Fix the corrupted MP4 file


When the program finishes analyzing, it will present you with two commands. I suggest you copy the second command into Notepad or write it down – you will need it later.


Once you've done that, copy the first command and paste it into the command line. It should look like this:


recover_mp4.exe bad.mp4 recovered.h264 recovered.aac


With this command, we tell the recover_mp4 tool where to find the corrupted MP4 file and where to output the recovered files.


After executing this command, the tool will save two separate files: one with the recovered video stream (recovered.h264) and the other with the recovered audio stream (recovered.aac).



6. Merge the recovered streams into an MP4 file


After that, the last step is to merge the two recovered streams into one MP4 video file, which requires the command we copied earlier. It should look like this:


ffmpeg.exe -r 30 -i recovered.h264 -i recovered.aac -bsf:a aac_adtstoasc -c:v copy -c:a copy recovered.mp4


Press Enter and FFmpeg will merge your video and audio streams into one recovered MP4 file. It wasn't that hard, was it?


How to avoid problems with MP4 files in the future?


To avoid situations where the recorded video turns out to be corrupted MP4 files, I recommend following simple rules.


The main thing here is to avoid incorrect shutdown of the camera during video recording.


To do this, make sure that the camera's battery is fully charged before important shooting. Do not shoot video with only a few percent battery remaining.


Charge indicators do not always display correct data. At some point, the camera may simply turn off, and in this case, the recorded MP4 file will almost certainly be damaged.


If you're going to shoot for a long time, I recommend bringing a spare battery or two with you.


Also remember, before you turn off the camera, you must press the stop button to stop recording. Then the camera can save the file correctly.


It is also important that the memory card (most often it is an SD card) is fast enough to record video at high resolution and frame rate. Otherwise, at some point, the card may not cope and you will receive a damaged MP4 file.


I hope you find this article helpful and you can fix your corrupted MP4 files. Also note that the program described in this article, besides MP4, can also recover other types of video files.


Good luck!

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