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My mp3 files no longer being recognized by ANY program?

New to CNet with a problem I've never even heard of before.

I'm a voiceover and audio production hobbyist, and I spend a lot of my time recording or mixing sound files in Adobe Audition (1.5 / 2.0). For close to four years, I've never had this sort of problem:

Last night, I tried opening up one of my projects in Adobe Audition, and for some reason the program was telling me that it was not a readable format. I tried it in Windows Media Player, and even WMP said the following: "The file you are attempting to play has an extension that does not match the file format. Playing the file may result in unexpected behavior." However, when I force it to play the files anyway, it plays back perfectly.

I tried it in QuickTime, and they were incredibly distorted. Winamp wouldn't even load them into the Playlist Editor.

Now, the thing is... not every single mp3 has been affected this way. Only some, and there doesn't seem to be any apparent pattern or reason. There are some mp3 files that I haven't touched in weeks that were also affected by this somehow, so it isn't a faulty export of some kind.

The odd thing is... I had every single sound file backed up on an external HDD. So, I decided I would just do a destructive reformat of my computer and start all over again. I loaded up my basic software needs, and transferred over my sound files.

The problem did not leave.

So now, I am sitting here with months of work down the drain unless someone can come up with any clue as to how this came to happen? I've never heard of normal sound files suddenly becoming corrupt out of nowhere.

Please help.


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The reason is not in your post.

In reply to: My mp3 files no longer being recognized by ANY program?

While I have come across P2P users that get slapped by such, you didn't tell us about your backup system. Some have an USB HARD DISK with no write protection so the trojan or such goes and works that over too.

-> Last hurrahs.

1. Send a file to someone and see if it works on another machine.
2. Go get VLC PLAYER and test a file.
3. Tell me about that windows reinstall. It's rarely done right so tell all the dirty steps.

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VLC Plays Them.

In reply to: The reason is not in your post.

I'm sorry for the lack of information:

Explora GA32
3200+ AMD Athlon
Windows XP Home Edition
1GB Memory

I've already tried playing the file on another computer in my household, and no dice. I'd rather not risk infecting another person's computer if it is indeed a virus of some kind.

I downloaded VLC Player, and am surprised to see that it plays every single audio file I've been having trouble with just fine without any problems.

As for the reformat, it wasn't much work on my end. Took me awhile to figure out even how to do it on this system, but all I had to do was hit an F-key during boot-up, and confirm that I wanted it to do a destructive format and get rid of everything. I did. Once it was finished, I went about reinstalling all of the appropriate drivers and transferring back all of my files.

What I don't understand is how some files seem corrupt while others do not (and why out of every program I try, only VLC Player can play them?). I'm sure hoping it isn't a trojan, because I'm very strict about my firewalls and anti-virus restrictions. I was (and am) up to date with Norton's protection.

Then again, I'm running their 2005 version since my computer's reformat gave me a few months of service.

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Don't give up!!! The VLC Player is the clue I needed.

In reply to: VLC Plays Them.

Look at and while it's not your machine or OS it shows the VLC INFORMATION that we can use to find out how this file was ENCODED.

Armed with that we may find we need to update a codec or that some codec you installed is defective. Either way this is my next (baby) step to solving this.

Remember that Norton is not enough in today's world. Our forum members are reporting pests that get around that even with firewalls and Norton. I don't think it's a pest now.


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Bob, there is a program called Gspot

In reply to: Don't give up!!! The VLC Player is the clue I needed.

v2.52 b01
which will tell you which codecs you need/have etc. for almost any media type file

04 June 2006 - Though still labeled "beta", this version has remained stable and unchanged since it was last built 15 Sept 2004. This is still the latest version available.
Includes MPEG support
15 Sept 04: v2.52 beta 01 build 040915 : Downloads and all other info here

really excellent little program


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Excellent tool.

In reply to: Bob, there is a program called Gspot

But since we had VLC PLAYER already running I thought we could try using the tool in hand.

Gspot however has a feature "get the codec." Worth trying.

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Codec: mpga ??

In reply to: Excellent tool.

Tried Gspot, and while it would load my file, it couldn't determine any information further than the "Container", which was as follows:

File Type: ASF (.WMA/.WMV)
Mime Type: video/x-ms-asf

In VLC Player, it says the following:

Codec: mpga
Type: audio
Channels: 1
Sample rate: 44100 Hz
Bitrate: 128 kb/s

So, mpga?

By the way, I appreciate your responses, and I apologize that my own are a bit intermittent. I've been running errands all morning.

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Did you do ANYTHING with REALPLAYER recently?

In reply to: Codec: mpga ??

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VLC is magical! Thanks so much!

In reply to: Did you do ANYTHING with REALPLAYER recently?

Thanks for the responses and suggestions, Bob! I first downloaded the Cole2 media pack, and after uninstalling my K-Lite installation, ran it. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to have changed anything as far as the current files go. Hopefully it will help prevent this from happening in the future, though.

As for VLC Player, it seems to be exporting the MP1 files into workable MP3s just fine. Unfortunately it looks like it is going to take me some time to manually save all of these in order to get my work back, but it is far better than nothing at all, I greatly appreciate everyone's help with the matter!

If there are any further measures I should take, I am all ears. I know it was expressed that it probably wasn't a "pest", but I'm still wary of how this happened to begin with. Adobe Audition, as far as I know, does not allow me to export in MP1, and I've always been careful with my export settings.

The K-Lite Codec pack I installed had always worked for me in the past, and even then it wasn't for my audio files to begin with, but rather my video encoding settings.

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In reply to: VLC is magical! Thanks so much!

I wish I had read about your codec pack earlier. It's still a codec issue. We just didn't find the right one. If you want to try one more thing, install DIVX. Try to recall if you did such in the past and use the same version.

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Trying DivX

In reply to: Sorry.

I'd originally had DivX installed, yes. What version, I couldn't say. Definitely not the latest, though.

I think I should mention that I'd reformatted this computer once before in the past (about two months ago) in order to start over after clumping up my computer with so much crap that I could barely move around. After reformatting, the audio files worked perfectly without any codec installations. I'm sorry for going over the same thing again and again, but I'm just trying to understand how it became a codec problem to begin with.

In any case, I'll try the new DivX version and work my way downward from there and see if there's any change.

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Remember my note about Real?

In reply to: Trying DivX

I can't guess here but all the clues so far point to codecs, real, codec package choices and what we did with files after, during, and so on. I can't build a good forensic story or case but we know it's the codec choices.

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No dice.

In reply to: Remember my note about Real?

So far, no luck with DivX, unfortunately.

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