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I have an SD card with pictures and video which malfunctioned. I was able to recover the files with Photorec. The pictures are OK, but wen I try to open the vide files (*.mov extension) in get the following errors when I try to open them in the following programs

  • Windows Media player: "Windows Media Player encountered a problem while playing the file"
  • Quicktime: "Error -2048: Couldn't open the file because it is not a file that QuickTime understands"
  • VLC: it shows the first frame of the video and the sound is just white noise

The filesizes look correct so I presume the data is still in there. Is there any way to fix these recovered video files?

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Chances are the files are marked as recovered but some parts are still irreversibly damaged. You can't magically fix a broken file – any chance you can supply a sample file here? – slhck Dec 14 '12 at 16:53
up vote 3 down vote accepted

As per the link you provided, PhotoRec ignores the file system.

That's an advantage in some cases, since it can attempt to recover media even from badly damaged devices. However, it won't take file fragmentation into account. This explains why the smaller files work, but the bigger ones don't.

I suggest you try another file recovery software to attempt to recover the video files. I've used Recuva in the past and got good results with it.

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I just ran into this exact same problem and found a fix:

  1. Sort the list of recovered files alphabetically

  2. If a file ending in .mov is immediately followed by a much smaller file ending in, it can likely be fixed; the file apparently contains header information

  3. To fix the video, combine the two files, placing the header file first. For example:

    • Linux/OS X:

      cat >
    • Windows:

      copy /b +

For reference, here's the information the file command gave me on the two recovered files and the combined file:

$ file ISO Media, Apple QuickTime movie
$ file Apple QuickTime movie (unoptimized)
$ file ISO Media, Apple QuickTime movie


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This worked for me on a 1gb+ .mov file recovered by testdisk. Thanks – Ken Nov 30 '15 at 19:55

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