QuickTime Error 2041 — an Invalid Sample Description Was Found in the Movie

Recently, while playing a video file in QuickTime 7 on my Windows PC as well as on my Mac, I’ve encountered the QuickTime error, “Error 2041 – an invalid sample description was found in the movie.” I was stumped. Can anybody suggest a fix? Thanks in advance.

QuickTime error-2041 throws a peculiar message “an invalid sample description was found in the movie.” This error suggests that the QuickTime Player installed on your computer (Mac or Windows PC) can’t play the video file (say MP4, MOV, etc.).

QuickTime Player is a multimedia framework that allows you to play, edit, share, record, or encode/decode numerous formats of video, picture, and audio files. Through this blog, we’ll try to figure out more about this error and its resolution.

Reasons behind QuickTime error 2041

The QuickTime error 2041 could occur due to several reasons:

  • Virus on your Mac can affect your QuickTime’s normal functioning.
  • Incompatible video codec may result in an unplayable video in QuickTime.
  • Incompatible audio codec may show a picture of the video without sound.
  • Apple’s no support for Windows version of QuickTime 7 from 2016.
  • Apple’s no support for QuickTime 7 & QuickTime 7 Pro on macOS from 2018.
  • QuickTime Player 7 generated media files won’t work in macOS Catalina.
  • An incompatible video file format won’t open in the installed QuickTime.
  • Corruption of a video file (say the header part) that makes it unplayable.

Solutions for QuickTime error 2041

Try out the following methods to eliminate QuickTime error 2041:

Method 1: Scan your Mac by using an antivirus software

If you are facing QuickTime error 2041, ensure your Mac doesn’t have any malicious software or virus that is affecting the QuickTime Player. Scan your Mac then delete or quarantine any harmful program. Once your Mac is free from malware, try playing the video file by using the QuickTime multimedia player.

Method 2: Download codecs for QuickTime

Sometimes incompatible codecs may throw the QuickTime error. For instance, if the video codec is at a conflict, the video file won’t play and throw the 2041 error or would play the sound without video. If the audio codec is unsupported, QuickTime shows a picture of the video without sound—the video doesn’t play. So to fix the issue, download relevant codecs from its official website and re-run the QuickTime application. Your video file will hopefully play without throwing any error.

Method 3: Update or upgrade QuickTime

Ensure your QuickTime Player is up-to-date with the latest release. Maybe, the version of QuickTime you are using has bugs. So, the QuickTime Player may not play some of the video file formats. Once you’ve updated or upgraded your QuickTime, check if the error persists.

Note: macOS Mojave is the last version to support 32-bit applications. As a result, the 32-bit QuickTime Player 7 won’t work in macOS Catalina. In this case, Catalina’s 64-bit QuickTime app is useful. But, only compatible versions of videos will open. For the Windows version of QuickTime 7, there is no support from Apple. This version has security vulnerabilities that can affect your PC; so, uninstall it and use its alternative.

Method 4: Convert the affected video file to QuickTime compatible format

Some users have experimented by changing the extension of the mp4 file to MOV, M4V, or 3GP. This renaming of file extension helped them play the video file on their QuickTime Player. If you desire to do the same, first create a copy of the video file to avoid chances of any damage to the original file. Then, rename the extension. Check whether the app can play the video. Probably, it won’t.

You need to convert the erroneous video files to QuickTime compatible format by using QuickTime or another app. If you are upgrading to macOS Catalina, ensure you do the conversion process before you renew your macOS. This preemptive conversion guarantees that the 64-bit QuickTime Player can play the affected video files when you finish installing the latest macOS.

Method 5: Use QuickTime alternative

You can use a different media player to play your QuickTime 7 generated video files (viz. MOV, DivX, WMV, etc.). One option can be to use VLC to play your video file. It is also a cross-platform software, meaning you can use it on Windows, Mac, Linux, Chrome OS, Android, etc. Another option is to use 64-bit 5KPlayer. It will work in both Windows 10 and macOS Catalina.

Method 6: Repair corrupt video file by using a video repair software

To fix corrupt video files, use Stellar Repair for Video software. This software can resolve corruption issues in video files and bring them back to a playable condition, without any data loss. The rich GUI-enabled software will help you to resolve the error quickly and conveniently.

Video Repair Video Repair Mac

Watch this video to know the steps to repair corrupt video files:


We hope the troubleshooting methods shared in this blog will help you to resolve QuickTime error 2041 and restore your unplayable videos. Manual troubleshooting methods may or may not work in this error situation, but in case of severe video file corruption, it’s best to use expert software for QuickTime video repair.

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