Anyone who enjoys movies or TV shows or works with videos regularly has likely come across files under the MPG format. After all, they’re among the most popular video file types around. Files like these often sit on an external storage medium, which can be prone to various forms of data loss.

But just because you lose some MPG files, doesn’t mean you can’t get them back. In this article, we’ll give you a brief explanation as to what MPG files are, and we’ll discuss the best ways to recover them in case they somehow disappear.

What Is MPG?

MPG, also known as MPEG, is a type of video file that was created by the Moving Picture Experts Group – hence its name. This group of people was responsible for setting the standards for media coding and were the same guys behind the incredibly popular MP3 and MP4 formats.

MPG files utilize one of two different kinds of compression – either MPEG-1 or MPEG-2. MPEG-1 was created for the compression of low-resolution video files like the ones used in cassette tapes, as well as sound files from audio CDs. It compresses these files down to 1.5 Mbps without taking too much of a hit in quality, and it usually sports a resolution of 352×240 and is locked at 30 frames per second.

MPEG-2 compression, on the other hand, is for much higher quality videos and is a lot more commonly used today. It’s the preferred compression method for digital TV, DVD videos, and other forms of over-the-air video playback. Typically, MPEG-2 files boast an audio bitrate of approximately 6 Mbps and a video resolution of 720×480. The resolution is the same as MPEG-1 at 30 fps.

How to Recover Deleted MPG Files

There are multiple methods available that you can use to try to get your deleted MPG files back, some of which work in a variety of situations while others are more geared towards specific scenarios. 

How to Recover MPG With Software

Of all the methods you can use to rescue your missing files, quality data recovery software is usually your best bet since it’s capable of retrieving files from a multitude of data loss scenarios. 

Disk Drill is one of the best in the business when it comes to information recovery, offering some great features, an unbeatable recovery rate, a newbie-friendly user interface, and a solid free model. To use Disk Drill to get back your MPG files, just follow these easy steps:

  1. Head to the official Disk Drill website and download the installation file.
    mpg disk drill download
  2. Double-click the downloaded setup file to kickstart the installation process and follow the onscreen instructions until the program is successfully installed.
    mpg disk drill download
  3. Once you launch the app, you’ll immediately be taken to the home screen where you have to select the storage media you’ll be recovering from. Once you’re ready, click the Search for lost data button to begin scanning.
    mpg disk drill homescreen
  4. The duration of the scanning process depends primarily on the read speed and overall size of the storage medium you’re searching through. While it is recommended that you wait for the scanning process to complete entirely, you can click one of the category icons on the scanning screen to go to the results page while Disk Drill continues its search.
    mpg disk drill scanning
  5. On the results page, you’ll find potentially recoverable MPG files in the Video category. Just uncollapse the Found Files arrow and navigate to the lost location your files were before they were lost or accidentally deleted.
    mpg disk drill results
  6. Make sure you tick the checkbox next to the file you want to retrieve and then click the Recover button when you’re all set. You’ll get a pop-up window asking you to set the storage location for your recovered files. Keep in mind that this location has to be on a separate storage medium from the one you’re recovering files from, or else you might end up with overwriting problems.
    mpg disk drill select destinatio
  7. When you’re done setting your recovery location, just click the OK button and you’ll finally start recovering your lost MPG files. Once this process is completed, you’ll be offered the Show recovered data in Explorer option that will take you directly to your rescued files.
    mpg disk drill complete

Recover MPG from Windows Recycle Bin or Mac Trash

Another thing users can do to get back their lost information is to check the Recycle Bin if they’re using a Windows OS, or the Trash if they’re sporting a Mac. Keep in mind, however, that this method is for deleted files and will only work if the user didn’t use the Shift + Delete command on a Windows platform which completely deletes files from the operating system.

Windows Recycle Bin

  1. You can normally find the Recycle Bin somewhere on your desktop and you can open it with a simple double left-click. If you’ve removed it from your desktop, you can access it through the Run command window. Just press Windows + R, type in shell:RecycleBinFolder, and then hit the Enter key.
    mpg recycle bin run
  2. If your MPG file is in the Recycle Bin, right-click it and select the Restore option. This will return the file to the location it was deleted from.
    mpg recycle bin restore

Mac Trash

  1. Locate the Trash icon in your dock and then click it.
  2. Select any MPG files that you want to recover, then right-click any of them and choose Put Back. This will send the deleted files back to the place they were in before deletion.

Restore from File History

Windows has a nifty little feature called File History that backs up files in certain locations so you can restore them later in case they are lost or compromised for whatever reason. It does come with a few caveats, though. The feature has to be enabled before any data loss has taken place, and it requires a second storage medium to back up files on. To use this feature, just follow these instructions:

  1. Look up the term Control Panel in your search tool and select the top result.
    file history control panel
  2. Navigate to System and Security > File History
    file history system security
    file history file history
  3. Click on Restore personal files in the top-left corner of the window.
    file history select folder
  4. Had to the folder where the file was last located in
    file history recover
  5. Highlight the MPG file and click the green arrow button along the bottom of the window to restore it.
    file history recover

How to Open MPG Files on Windows and Mac

Windows operating systems natively support MPG files through its built-in Windows Media Player app. All you have to do is double-click the file and it should open. However, Windows Media Player is a bit finicky when it comes to video files and it could refuse to open one if it’s compressed a certain way or requires a specific codec.

As for Apple computers, the built-in QuickTime player they come with is hit-or-miss with MPG files, so you’re better off enlisting the help of a different program. Whether you’re a Windows or Mac user, VLC player is a nice, lightweight, and easy-to-use app that can effortlessly play all sorts of MPG files. Here’s how you can use it to open your MPG files:

  1. Navigate to the official VLC player website and download the version for your corresponding operating system. For this guide, we’re using the Windows version, though the ones for the other platforms should be fairly similar.
    vlc download
  2. Once selected, the download should begin momentarily.
    vlc download starting
  3. Head to the location where you downloaded the file and launch the setup. Follow the onscreen instructions until the program is installed.
    vlc download installation
  4. Launch VLC and go to Media > Open File.
    vlc download open file
  5. Find the folder where your MPG file is located and double-click the file to open it. Your file will play automatically.
    vlc download select file

Other Programs That Can Open MPG Files

VLC is great, but there are lots of other video playback solutions that are capable of playing MPG files. Here are a few:

  • KMPlayer
  • Media Player Classic
  • FX Player
  • MiniTool MovieMaker
  • HD Video Player

Tips to Avoid MPG File Loss

Getting back lost, deleted, unsaved, or compromised MPG files aren’t all that hard, but it’s still better if you didn’t have to recover them in the first place. After all, data recovery solutions aren’t 100% effective, especially if the loss was due to a situation that’s out of their scope. Here are some tips to keep your files safe from harm:

  • Create backups regularly: Both Apple and Windows operating systems feature built-in backup tools, so you have little reason not to create backups of your important files now and again. Consider purchasing a separate storage medium exclusively for backed-up files, so you can restore the files and resume working on them if ever need be. 
  • Make sure you have quality antivirus software: Viruses can do some serious damage to your hard disk and could end up causing data loss or complete hard drive failure. That being said, make sure your computer is constantly protected with the leading antivirus software.
  • Keep your computer or laptop in good shape: Performing regular maintenance on your PC or laptop is vital to ensuring that your information remains as safe as can be. Slack on cleaning out the dust and debris every so often and the inside of your machine can heat up significantly. This may lead to your hard drive being damaged and you might lose information that you forgot to save via backup.
Emma Collins

Emma Collins is a content writer who has been writing tech tutorials & how-to guides relating to her wide interests in technology. She's been writing articles on Windows, Android, iOS, Social Media, Gaming, and more a...

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Approved by
Brett Johnson

This article has been approved by Brett Johnson, Data Recovery Engineer at ACE Data Recovery. Brett has a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Systems and Network, 12 years of experience.