Can you download Youtube videos to your harddrive?

I’m probably being dense but is there any way to download a Youtube video to store it on your harddrive?

Its a bit irritating when a favourite video is removed and no longer accessible.


YouTube Downloader works well and is free. As far as I know there’s nothing illegal about downloading their content, though YT doesn’t like you to (reduces their plausible deniability regarding piracy). May be a violation of their user agreement, never looked it up. Consequently they sometimes makes changes to mess up downloader program. Plus your download speeds can vary wildly, but generally I’ve found this app very useful…

No program needed, actually.

  1. Use Safari as your browser.

  2. Start up a YouTube video as you normally would.

  3. Go to Window, and choose Activity.

  4. Mark the largest file there, which is the video file you want, and copy it (Ctrl+C).

  5. Go to Window, choose Downloads, and paste it. (Ctrl+V).


You could also use (the free version of ) RealPlayer.

Wouldn’t “Safari as your browser” count as a program?

If you have Firefox, get the DownloadHelper extension. Super easy to download videos from YouTube and most other video sites.

This is what I use. I download videos to use in my manufacturing engineering classes that I teach. Since most of the videos are (basically) infomercials produced by people selling products, I doubt they would have a problem with me increasing their viewership.

Yep, this is what I do as well. In fact, it works on other video web sites as well.


What I meant was that no specific “YouTube-downloading program” is needed (this in reference to Hail Ants recommendation of YouTube Downloader), but that the whole thing can actually be done right there in your browser (if, that is, you’re using the right browser).

A real bare-bones way to do this is once the whole video has cached (i.e. the play-ahead progress bar is full) open Windows Temporary Internet Files folder, sort by size with largest at the top, and look for a matching name and/or file extension (.mpg or .flv etc.) or internet address. Can be a little tricky as the file names will often be hugely long and cryptic.

The folder will be called something like: C:\Users*username*\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files

Windows considers this folder semi-protected and hence will complain that bad things can happen if you mess with its files, but I’ve never had any problems. In fact I keep a shortcut to it on my desktop just for finding cached videos in it.

Hail Ants, that’s really cool. O.O

I clicked on your link, downloaded the file, and my NOD32 Antivirus found “a variant of Win32/Adware.toolbar.dealio application”
It then notified me: “connection terminated–quarantined”

The object that caused the virus warning is 7811/youtubedownloader Toolbar.msi”

That’s not a virus, but merely adware. And, if I remember correctly, installing that adware is optional.

Though if you want a downloader that doesn’t have this problem, I’d suggest the Firefox extension I use: Flash Video Downloader.

Also, I’ll assume you’re only doing this on videos for which you have the rights to do so. Technically you are not legally authorized to store permanent copies of YouTube videos per their EULA, without the original uploader’s permission.

Not because I really care, but just to make sure someone doesn’t report the thread for encouraging illegal activity.

Great, thanks everyone!

There are a few websites that allow you to put in the video’s url and then will convert it to a downloadable format for you.

The easiest way I found to do this is using the Keepvid website. You can past paste the Youtube URL into the address field on the page. But I found it more convenient to drag the little bookmark box at the top of the page onto my bookmark toolbar. Then whenever you see a video you want to keep, just click on the “Keep it” bookmark.

The other advantage is that it will show you a list of the file formats and screen sizes that Youtube has available for that video, and you can download the particular one you want.

I did run into some compatibility issues with transferring them onto my iPod, which were solved (at the expense of a somewhat memory hoggy file conversion process) with the help of Dopers here.

If you;re interested in the audio tracks only of DVDs or music videos or any other streaming media, I suggest another free program call Audacity. The problem you may run into, though, is that your sound card may not support recording streaming audio. Quite a lot of them don’t, and RealTek is notorious for problems with this.

Note that Keepvid has an option to download only the audio track from a YouTube video.

I use One tech reviewer mentioned that there ought to be a “save to iPod” button on YouTube, but that neither company wants that to happen. Apple wants you to buy stuff from their store and Google wants to keep serving up ads. It’s getting harder to download stuff from photo sites too. Webshots you need to view the HTML source and find the original image name; Flickr if the owner has disabled downloading the only way I’ve found to do it is a screen capture.

Replay Media Catcher 4 is the best web video capture I’ve found. It works on most Flash video. There’s a trial version.

Firefox Download Helper only seems useful on youtube. Its useless anywhere else.

I tried this but I don’tsee the file, I’m using IE9 on Windows 7 if it matters.