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I watched some YouTube videos in the Chrome browser hours ago, but now they have been deleted by YouTube... Is there a folder on my computer where recently watched videos would be stored locally?

I want to find and save the videos I had watched earlier but that are now unavailable on YouTube. Is there any way to do this?

System: Windows 7. Internet Explorer 8. Chrome is umm...17-something.

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

When you view a Flash video on YouTube (or most other sites), the video is not downloaded to your system; instead it is streamed to you so that you can begin watching it right away. However to increase performance and make it easier to jump around to parts that have already been “buffered”, it does cache the video to your system’s temp directory (%temp%) where temporary files are stored. Unfortunately there are a few problems preventing you from copying the video from the temp directory:

  1. The Flash Player locks the file so that you cannot copy it normally. However, using Unlocker’s copy function, you can work around that limitation
  2. In addition to being locked, the file is set to be deleted as soon as it is released (unlocked), so once you navigate away from the page (let alone close the browser, let alone reboot), the cached video is deleted
  3. Even if you manage to copy the cached video, it only works if you have copied the whole video. If you click in the time-bar to start playing somewhere in the middle, the whole video is not downloaded and most video players are unable to play a partial Flash video (you may have luck with a partial video that at least has the beginning, but even that may not work correctly)


The above information applies to older versions of Chrome. In newer versions (~21, 22 or so and up?) Chrome no longer uses locked-temporary files in the temp-directory. Instead, it now saves streaming videos to the regular browser cache folder in the User Data Directory (e.g., %localappdata%\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Cache) and the files can be easily copied from the OS (e.g., Windows Explorer). However they still have no descriptive filenames and must be identified first. This is easier if you first clear the browser cache before starting the video and then sorting the files by size.

Note however that this still only applies to certain videos like those on YouTube; sites that use other methods of streaming videos like RTSP will still not work as they still use “native files” in Windows (and presumably tmpfs in *nix/Mac). As such, they must still be “ripped” using the same stream-capturing tools as before.

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How do I find my "temp" folder so I can try "Unlocker"? I haven't closed the Chrome window in which I was watching the videos. – verve Mar 13 '12 at 8:49
Type %temp% into the address bar of an Explorer window or enter it into the Run dialog or enter it into the search box of the Start Menu. But like I said, simply closing the tab or navigating away from the page causes the file to be deleted, so even if you have the browser open but left that page, then it is gone. – Synetech Mar 13 '12 at 19:02
VLC media player can play partial Flash videos that has the beginning without any problems. – Peter Mortensen Apr 6 '12 at 16:07
@Peter, I wouldn’t say it plays “without any problems”. For one thing, seeking will not likely work well if at all. – Synetech Apr 6 '12 at 16:49
Also, no program can play a video that is saved from the middle because then it does not have the header (with the relevant meta-data about the video) at the start of the file, so it’s basically just a random pile of bytes as far as any program is concerned. – Synetech Jun 28 '12 at 5:17

No. They were streamed to your computer if they were from YouTube and will not have been copied to your computer.

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> if they were from YouTube and will not have been copied to your computer. Um, then how do you explain being able to rewind or skip forward without having to re-download? Yes, some sites do indeed stream without saving anything to disk, but YouTube is not one of them. There is a difference between the streaming of Flash videos that YouTube (and most other video sites) do and the RTSP streaming that some (few) sites do. – Synetech Jun 28 '12 at 5:19

Here is how to make it. In the following link there is seven steps to copy a streamed video from you tube.

Sincerely, Alaa Mohamed

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Welcome to superuser. In general, its preferable that you include the essential parts of the answer in your question rather than posting a link only answer. It may be a great idea to, as such, paraphrase (not copy wholesale) the essential parts of the answer. – Journeyman Geek Jan 23 '13 at 7:32

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