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I know there are plenty of ways to download Flash video files (.flv) from the video sites like YouTube, etc. But if the site changes the procedure of download, most of the time, it will break.

Is there any generic way to download without depending on a particular site/software?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

You can use a HTTP sniffer to grab the URL of the FLV file that the Flash Video player calls. I've outlined it here:

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I am using Firebug to trace all XMLHTTPRequest calls to the server and able to filter out the actual file. – ukanth Sep 15 '09 at 9:47

Use Firefox with this fantastic add-on: Video DownloadHelper. It works for me on almost all the sites I go to.

alt text

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Argh! Not the JPEG!!! – Josh Hunt Sep 15 '09 at 8:28
@joshhunt : dude... you need to surf the web with lynx. ;) – caliban Sep 15 '09 at 8:38


I made an animated GIF for you to illustrate:

alt text

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I just lost about 30 minutes of my battery life watching this. :) – caliban Sep 15 '09 at 4:15
LOL Sorry :P – Chris Tarazi Sep 15 '09 at 4:44

Look for screen recorder software, and however a video is playing you can capture it :p (this is universal for sure.)


If you are using Firefox type about:cache in the address bar and you will get a list of all the files you have seen in the browser (the cache, like John_T say.)

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without depending on a particular site/ software – John T Sep 15 '09 at 2:43
humm , okay ... – user8228 Sep 15 '09 at 2:52

Check your browser cache, no matter how much they change, the file will usually end up there.

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Here's a tool which can scan the browser cache for you and find FLV video files: – Matthew Lock Sep 24 '09 at 2:35

There is free version of ImTOO DVD Ripper and it works great.

I use Internet Download Manger.

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If you're using Internet Explorer, search for *.FLV in 'temporary internet files'.

With Firefox it's a bit trickier. The default cache location is:

C:\Documents and Settings\\Local Settings\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\xxx.default\Cache

Now you won't find FLV files in this folder (in fact, NO file in this folder has an extension). But if you sort by size and check the date/time -stamp, you'll get a fair idea of what you're looking for. Copy the file to another location and add the extension FLV.

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FlashGot addon for Firefox is even better that DownlodHelper in my opinion, because it allows setting custom downloaders like IDM (win) or Axel (linux) for different actions. Not limited to flv.

enter image description here

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