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Treasured's Movie Repair Guide -- QuickTime Errors Messages

Tired of seeing that error message?


Below we explain how some of these errors may occur and their accompanying solutions.

Errors when opening video files with QuickTime or compatible software are often cryptic. We don't pretend to give 100% clear and accurate answers here, because in any complex system many different causes can lead to one error message. But rather to give an orientation and most frequent cause for each error message.

QuickTime Errors

The document could not be opened. The movie's file format isn't recognized.
This message indicates that the video file is corrupt (or maybe a video or audio codec is missing). Probably a reindexing is needed, but sometimes a container correction can fix. In both cases, we are talking about repair techniques that require professional expertise.
The movie could not be opened.
The file is not a movie file.
This message indicates that the video file is corrupt. Probably a reindexing is needed, but sometimes a container correction can fix. In both cases, we are talking about repair techniques that require professional expertise.
The movie could not be opened.
An invalid public movie atom was found in the movie.
This message indicates that the video file is correctly structured, but some parameters inside the movie atom are invalid. If sample tables are OK, a container correction can fix the files. Otherwise, a full reindexing is needed. In both cases, we are talking about repair techniques that require professional expertise.
This media may be damaged.
This message indicates that the movie atom is good, but the media sample tables indicating where video and audio frames are located, have errors. A full reindexing is needed.

QuickTime Errors with error number

Example:
Error message: -2046: couldn't open hello.mov because is is not a file that quicktime understands.
-50 paramErr
Parameter Error
Something is wrong in the export settings. Try different export format, bit rate, or resolution.
-108 MemFullErr
Memory Full
If you close documents and applications or reboot to free memory, this error message should no longer show up.
-2000 couldNotResolveDataRef
Could Not Resolve Data Reference
QuickTime doesn't manage to locate the file that contains the video or audio media. In QuickTime files, media doesn't have to be inside the movie file, but can be referenced from external files. When QuickTime opens the movie files, if it cannot locate those files alone, sometimes you are prompted to help locate them.
-2002 badPublicMovieAtom
Bad Public Movie Atom
When QuickTime detects some inconsistency in the moov atom (data describing how the movie is made), this error message is displayed. This can sometimes be solved by container correction, but often a full reindexing is required.
-2010 invalidMovie
Invalid Movie
When QuickTime detects some inconsistency in the moov atom (data describing how the movie is made), this error message is displayed.
-2014 invalidDuration
Invalid Duration
QuickTime reports invalid duration when media duration doesn't match timeline specified by track edit list. This is almost always to due the last frame display time being different from frame decode time. Applying a correction to last frame display time usually fixes the problem.
-2015 invalidTime
Invalid Time
QuickTime reports invalid duration when first frame time doesn't match timeline specified by track edit list. This is almost always to due the first frame display time being different from track first frame time. Applying a correction to first frame display time usually fixes the problem.
-2041 invalidSampleDescription - "An invalid sample description was found in the movie."
QuickTime reports an inconsistency in the sample description. Sample description is data that specifies what codecs and decoding parameters to use. Such damaged movies can often be fixed by container correction.
-2046 endOfDataReached
End of Data Reached
QuickTime reports this error when the movie index (moov atom) is referencing footage located beyond the end of the file. For example, if you copy or download a video file but it stops before completion, some footage will be missing. In case that the file cannot be completed, a container correction should fix it.
-2048 noMovieFound
QuickTime reports no movie found when only media data (video, audio) is found inside the file. Without a moov atom describing how to organize media data, the movie is unplayable. Probably a reindexing is needed.

File Errors

Those errors are not specific to QuickTime, but to file handling. Any problem while QuickTime tries to read or write data will end with a file error.
-34 dskFulErr
Disk Full Error
QuickTime needs more disk space to complete operation.
-36 ioErr
I/O Error
File is not readable. A scratched DVD, a hard disk or memory card with bad sectors will give I/O errors. The operating system tries to read a file but it contains unreadable data. If you try to copy this file to another location, you should also get the same error. You can try to clean the media, use a more tolerant card reader, but chances of success are low.

If only a small amount of data in the file is unreadable, you can use dd utility (or dd for Windows) to copy the file but as unreadable data is ignored, the file is corrupt and needs to be repaired.
See also How to copy a file with I/O errors?
-43 fnfErr
File not Found
Other QuickTime Error Numbers
  badImageDescription           = -2001,
  cantFindHandler               = -2003,
  cantOpenHandler               = -2004,
  badComponentType              = -2005,
  noMediaHandler                = -2006,
  noDataHandler                 = -2007,
  invalidMedia                  = -2008,
  invalidTrack                  = -2009,
  invalidSampleTable            = -2011,
  invalidDataRef                = -2012,
  invalidHandler                = -2013,
  cantPutPublicMovieAtom        = -2016,
  badEditList                   = -2017,
  mediaTypesDontMatch           = -2018,
  progressProcAborted           = -2019,
  movieToolboxUninitialized     = -2020,
  wfFileNotFound                = -2021,
  cantCreateSingleForkFile      = -2022,
  invalidEditState              = -2023,
  nonMatchingEditState          = -2024,
  staleEditState                = -2025,
  userDataItemNotFound          = -2026,
  maxSizeToGrowTooSmall         = -2027,
  badTrackIndex                 = -2028,
  trackIDNotFound               = -2029,
  trackNotInMovie               = -2030,
  timeNotInTrack                = -2031,
  timeNotInMedia                = -2032,
  badEditIndex                  = -2033,
  internalQuickTimeError        = -2034,
  cantEnableTrack               = -2035,
  invalidRect                   = -2036,
  invalidSampleNum              = -2037,
  invalidChunkNum               = -2038,
  invalidSampleDescIndex        = -2039,
  invalidChunkCache             = -2040,
  dataNotOpenForRead            = -2042,
  dataNotOpenForWrite           = -2043,
  dataAlreadyOpenForWrite       = -2044,
  dataAlreadyClosed             = -2045,
  dataNoDataRef                 = -2047,
  invalidDataRefContainer       = -2049,
  badDataRefIndex               = -2050,
  noDefaultDataRef              = -2051,
  couldNotUseAnExistingSample   = -2052,
  featureUnsupported            = -2053,
  noVideoTrackInMovieErr        = -2054,
  noSoundTrackInMovieErr        = -2055,
  soundSupportNotAvailableErr   = -2056,
  unsupportedAuxiliaryImportData = -2057,
  auxiliaryExportDataUnavailable = -2058,
  samplesAlreadyInMediaErr      = -2059,
  noSourceTreeFoundErr          = -2060,
  sourceNotFoundErr             = -2061,
  movieTextNotFoundErr          = -2062,
  missingRequiredParameterErr   = -2063,
  invalidSpriteWorldPropertyErr = -2064,
  invalidSpritePropertyErr      = -2065,
  gWorldsNotSameDepthAndSizeErr = -2066,
  invalidSpriteIndexErr         = -2067,
  invalidImageIndexErr          = -2068,
  invalidSpriteIDErr            = -2069

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Version 4.1 • June '17 • 10 MB • Mac OS X