Changing a file extension - from .mp4 to .mov

I have to make h264 quicktime files for work, so they playback on as many devices as possible, especially iPads and Smartphones. For some reason that I now can’t remember, I decided to change the file extension for all the resulting mp4 files to .mov, probably so they’d play properly on my own local player of choice (in this case Media Player Classic).

As far as I can tell they play back fine on every device as .mov, but I have not tested every possible permutation. Am I wasting my energy? Am I causing more potential problems than I’m solving (if I’m solving anything at all)? Should I just leave them all with the .mp4 extension?

I use a PC, but am using Handbrake to compress them to h264.

They are different container formats, so it’s conceivable that some software may balk, but most software that can play one can play the other, and most software doesn’t care so much about the file extension.

That said, it seems really odd that your player was not working with the files with the MP4 extension, but would work if you renamed them. I can’t find any information that says that Media Player Classic can’t play MP4 files as long as you have the proper codecs.

Window Media Player did have that problem in older versions–but only in the sense that they wouldn’t show up in the File > Open dialog box–if you open them manually, they still work–again, if you have the right codecs. There’s a registry hack that can fix that, but I can’t remember it.

Thanks. I wish I could remember why I decided to change them. I’m sure it made sense at the time.

I did discover today that I don’t have Quicktime Player installed, but at one point had Quicktime Alternative then removed it.

What a mess my system is.

Maybe you hadn’t learned about file extension associations, and renamed them to force it to auto-open your player of choice?

Or you could just convert files to what you want with a free converter, “Any Video converter.”

I use this to convert huge .mov files out of my camera to .wmf. A 50MB file from the camera comes to about 3MB after conversion. Depending upon which conversion is selected, the time and size of the conversion can vary substantially.

It probably was something to do with file associations. I’ve found Win7 doesn’t play nicely with some older applications sometimes, and this may have been one of those glitches.

I have a converter. Handbrake. It works fine, but defaults to .mp4 extension. I just fear I may break something by changing it to .mov.

You mean .wmv? Be weary of any free video converters that claim to convert to/from .wmv format. Microsoft owns the .wmv format and doesn’t like to share it for free. Any free software that does it is the kind of software that might play loose with other laws/rules, including installing spyware and other possible undesirable effects.

No matter how unwieldy it may seem, it’s best to stick to Windows Live Movie Maker if you want to convert .wmv files for free.

Handbrake uses the container formats mp4 and mkv.

I believe Handbrake uses the open source x.264 rather than the h.264 which is proprietary.

You aren’t really converting any thing by simply changing an extension, but a lot of players will go by the codec and ignore the file container.

It’s usually wise to avoid changing formats as you are recompressing the video and each time you do that you lose some quality

Correction: To be more precise, I should have said “…if you want to convert to .wmv for free.” since I don’t believe you can convert a .wmv file to another format within WLMM. But you can convert other formats into .wmv and you can compress .wmv into smaller, phone sized files within WLMM.