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help me fix my broken(?) video files

By stratocasted ยท 15 replies
Jan 4, 2006
  1. Hi there everybody. I wish I could offer as much help as I ask for, but we all have to start learning somewhere. I'm having a problem with a large number of video files I've had for ages. Suddenly many of my vids have a Length of 00:00, but the data is still there.

    The properties behind each damaged video indicate that the video's length is zero seconds. I can play each video in any media player and view thirty seconds of it properly. I'm guessing this is something the media players default to if a file's length is 'zero seconds.'

    Using the slider position indicator in various media players, I can make the file display some of its 'missing' contents. The total play time of each video is still thirty seconds however, when it used to be ten minutes or an hour or whatever. In other words, playing with the slider displays the real, correct scene relative to its position, but only plays for the remainder of thirty seconds. This & the fact the filesize stayed the same indicates the data is still present but can't be viewed properly.

    If anyone knows why this is happening, I'd like some insight. Is it a virus? I know for sure it affects mpeg videos, and might affect other filetypes too. I was horrified to find this problem had spread to about one fourth of my video library. This includes home movies and funny clips from the internet, vhs titles i've put on the hard drive and anything else I've collected over the years. I'll leave you with my computer specs & relavent info.

    XP pro, service pack 1 (not 2)
    Windows Media Player 10 (only cause it wont let me roll back to 9)
    Creative Labs soundcard, GForce vid card
    Direct X is up to date, so are my relevant hardware drivers, etc.

    please tell me somebody knows what I should do..?
  2. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    First, is it really DivX what your "damaged" files are encoded in? Maybe you installed XviD and it kindly hijacked the DivX content? Have you tried another media player?

    How about trying to play some of the broken files on another computer?
  3. stratocasted

    stratocasted TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 19

    i'm unaware of whether every single messed-up file is divx-encoded. i was hunting a messed-up .avi and didn't find any, although it's possible there are some. For the sake of arguing, lets assume it's a divx-only issue. (mpeg, right?) I haven't gotten any video software period since long before this issue arose. I even went so far as to attempt a sytem restore to a much earlier date when perhaps the vids were working correctly but I couldn't roll it back that far. If no one here can help me then I'll try these videos on another computer, but I'd be going out of my way a great deal to do so. I'd love to understand why it's happening as well as fix it on my system.

    I've tried RealPlayer, WMP10, MusicmatchJukebox, & winamp & always experience the same time-shortage issue. Many of my DivX videos are working perfectly, but a great deal of them have a length of Zero. Logically, it seems like if I could manually adjust the length in the messed-up files' properties, maybe the players could play the entire file normally. I'm at a loss of what to try though, since I experience the same thing across several media players.

    Maybe you could tell me how to ensure I have all the proper DivX codecs and licenses and whatever else I need to ensure it 'should' work properly. That would narrow my search but I'm ignorant about updating such things so I need some directions.

    Thanks Nodsu!
    Thanks anybody else!
    help meee
  4. Samstoned

    Samstoned TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,018

    divx strictly is an avi format not mpg
    though it will play avi mov and mpg movies
    I have noticed the same thing with wmp not showing the currect time line and also not playing the whole movie
    try dwnld a better movie player like power dvd
    see what happens
  5. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    In order to report the movie length, Windows has to decode the video file. SO if you have a broken codec, then Windows cannot know how long the movie is since the codec returns gibberish.

    Download a program called GSpot or AVIcodec - they will tell you what format the movie is encoded in (even .mpg).

    Please try to play a broken vid on another computer - you will get your sleep back after you know the videos themselves are OK.
  6. stratocasted

    stratocasted TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 19

    I dont mean to ask too much, but could you give me a resource for repairing/updating my missing/broken codecs? I don't know enough about such things to check my current version(s) or know where to go for updates.

    thanks nodsu & samstoned

    i updated my codecs from a freeware site that I felt pretty good about trusting and its the same story. i won't be able to test with another machine for a few weeks, so if anyone's got a bright idea, lemme hear it

    thanks much
  7. SultanGris

    SultanGris TS Booster Posts: 158

    how many ages have u had said files? were they on a cd or HD?

    info on a CD will not last forever, if you used cheap cd's, improperly stored them, it could cause data loss.

    i too have had multiple codec problems, and still do not fully understand them, but i downloaded a couple things that have seemed to eliminate most of my problems,

    go to and search for and install these two things, and see if it helps.



    they are both free, so if u run into a site that wants u to pay for them, keep searching down googles list, u should find them for free without a problem. let me know if it helps ya or not, or if u want i can email them to ya.
  8. stratocasted

    stratocasted TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 19

    thanks so much to everyone who replied & i invite more responses before my thread dies. I got both things you told me to sultangris, however I still have this problem.

    To recap what I know for a fact..
    I have some mpeg video files which are the same filesize they were when they worked, but now only play for thirty seconds. The position slider zips across the screen as if it were a thirty second video, but manually repositioning it causes the correct scene & audio to play for the remainder of thirty seconds. Also, after thirty seconds, when the position slider is at its final extent, audio continues to play. After paying close attention I realized that it's the file's audio track, in its entirety. I've tried several media players & codec updates

    But my files have to be okay.. cause the data is still there, it just won't play the video track properly. Its really confusing to me & I don't know where to turn for help because Gateway won't tech support for me, they dunno what they're doin half as well as some of the people here at Techspot.

    My thanks to everyone willing to help!
  9. SultanGris

    SultanGris TS Booster Posts: 158

    i have had that exact same problem, except that they never worked in the first place, i just figgured they were bad/corrupt files, and i gave up trying to get them to work. if you ever figgure out what the problem is, post it here, as i am curious.
  10. stratocasted

    stratocasted TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 19

    I thought I would bump this post for another day or two to see if anyone else has any insight.
  11. scb

    scb TS Rookie

    I'm having the exact same problem. What's interesting is this happened to me once before, on a larger scale. I ended up replacing the hard-drive to this day, I am still experiencing problems with a few of my video files. The videos will play approximately 10% of the original, from the beginning. Also, adjusting the slider will cause the video to jump to different parts however never being able to see the entire thing. I don't know if it makes a difference, but under file details I noticed one of the files states that compressed it is around 50mb and uncompressed is about 78.
    Specs: P4 3.0 HT Northwood
    Soundblaster Audigy ZS
    ATI Radeon 9800 Pro
    WMP 10
    SP 2
  12. stratocasted

    stratocasted TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 19

    I'm glad to see somebody else is experienceing the same thing. Your description of the problem matches mine so much that it has to be the same thing. I see you only made one post and I'm guessing that means you searched for a way to fix it and found this thread. Please post here or email me if you EVER figure it out.. Half my mpeg videos play only 10%.

    Check this out. I re-downloaded one of the files that was messed up, right? So I got the original file. It did the same thing. Just 10%. That all but proves that it is a local problem. Anybody with insight, please post here, this is so frustrating.

    Thanks for your interest SCB, I wish I could figure it out. I'll make sure to personally let you know if I ever do.
  13. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,666

    Check out the site This may be the site you mentioned earlier.

    They have umpteen codecs and utilities for figuring these things out.

    Download VideoInspector from

    Use it to open up one of your messed up files. It should give you loads of useful information, including whether the file checks out as a "valid" file, and what codec it uses. You can also view all your installed codecs and see if you can spot any problems.
    The free-codecs site has many many codecs you can download and install to fix any you suspect are causing issue.
  14. stratocasted

    stratocasted TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 19

    SCB, if you check this thread again, go get this. I installed it and now all my mpegs work again! whee!

    thanks very much vigilante, I had already installed several so-called all-inclusive codec packs but this one did the trick. thanks again, you just cured my chronic video headache!
  15. scb

    scb TS Rookie

    Yes! it worked; thank you so much!!
  16. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,666

    Hey guys that is awesome!

    I tell you what, the K-Lite Codec Megapack is one of the first things I load on my PCs when I reload XP. Beats having to load ALL of Real software, Quicktime, Divx, Xvid, etc... Everything in one and it works with Winamp or Media Player Classic, which it comes with.

    Have a nice day!
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