GoPro Recovery


How to recover deleted GoPro MP4 video files from SD memory cards that will actually work

Very few programs can do this, though many claim they do

Hero, Hero 3+ Black, Hero 4, Hero 5 etc

CnW Recovery software tool will recover deleted GoPro video files


The GoPro camera is a popular device for action filming.  High quality video and photos recorded onto FAT32 memory chips. Recovery is very complex, but very easy with CnW.  Probably the best GoPro recovery software package. Demo download. CnW is the solution to your deleted GoPro recovery problem from the SD or SDHC memory card.  CnW has an extremely high success rate for video recovery.

Simple explanation of recovery issues

    GoPro files are not stored in sequence, and often multiple files are intertwined with each other.  Almost all location information is lost when a FAT32 chip is deleted.  CnW can still decode this fragmented video - while many other recovery programs fail.  The CnW Solution is a simple MP4 Wizard function.

Technical description of recovery issues

    When deleted, being FAT32 all the fragment details are lost so GoPro recovery has three major problems

    • Video not recorded in sequence in the first place - ‘ftyp’ atom is stored after the ‘mdat’ atom.
    • JPEG pictures can be embedded in the sequence
    • High and low resolution can be multiplexed (ie recorded at the same time)

    The CnW Recovery 3GP/MP4 Wizard function has been written to recover such files - even with the 30 day licence version will give file thumbnails.  The wizard starts with a scan of the memory device, and then goes goes through several processes to recover the data.  The first part of the scan will display the number of ftyp, moov and mdat atoms that have been found.  These are key parts of the video and for a successful recovery one expects roughly equal numbers for each atom.  If none of these tags are found, then recovery will not be possible, but otherwise recovery is highly likely.  One interesting twist is that on some GoPro camera the mtyp atom is stored at the start of the mdat cluster (making it easy to find) and other camera the mdat is stored at the end of the moov cluster.  The moov cluster is often many MBs aways from the start of the mdat so some clever routines are required to find the correct data.

    The second stage is to try and reconstruct files in the expected sequence.  This is quick, but will fail when there embedded photos, or multiplexed video streams.  The final stage is complex analysis and select of clusters to match data from the correct video stream.  The result is the original video recovered and can be viewed.

Many recovery programs do not work with deleted GoPro memory chips

    Most recovery programs just perform a process of simple data carving which finds a file header and expects the file to be sequential. On the GoPro camera memory, for almost all of the files, this is not the case.  If the video has been copied to a hard drive, simple data carving will often work, but on the original GoPro memory chip it will always fail.  CnW Recovery is probably the only general recovery program to process GoPro and other video camera files.  ie Even if the video file is fragmented, CnW will recover the video.

    Comment form a customer : “I paid for other software but after recovery I was still unable to view videos. The videos show as all black with no sound. They do seem to have adequate file sizes and show a duration at playback, but just a black screen”.  The chances are this other software just looked for headers. The first header will give video duration but not the video. With CnW Recovery software the videos are recovered correctly and can be played, with sound.  Many of the files in the customer sample had over 80 fragments - ie non sequential data.

    Some programs claim to Undelete.  This is an extremely dangerous operation as they want to write data to the memory chip without knowing where other data is stored.  This can be a very quick way to deleting files / video permanently.  Data recovery must ALWAYs store the recovered files on a different storage device.

GoPro Hero versions

    The Hero 3 and Hero 4 are similar, but actually store the files in a different sequence on the camera memory chip.

    The base GoPro Hero has a different structure of data and is supported in V4.79 and later.

    CnW will always try and keep up with new releases.


    Download the demo and determine if data is still on the memory chip. If a thumbnail of the video is displayed (even with the demo), the video will be recovered.  If not contact CnW Recovery for assistance.

Recovery process

    The best way to recover videos is to process the memory chip directly, ie from a chip reader, rather than reading from the camera.  For best speed it is often fastest to create an image of the chip (using disk image function) and then processing the file as an image file.

New Development

     CnW have launched a simple program just for GoPro SD memory cards. Go to website for more details and a download a copy of GoPro Recovery

Recovery Service

    If you do not want to do the recovery yourself (or do not have a PC), CnW will offer a recovery service.  Typical no fix, no fee cost is 40 - 50.  Either the memory chip can be posted to CnW, or it is possible to upload an image to the CnW server for processing.  For more details contact CnW or visit the website CnW Recovery.


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