How to save YouTube videos to your computer

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YouTube has a huge variety of videos.  Some funny, some bizarre, and some are actually educational and entertaining.  Sometimes you might even want to watch a particular video more than once.  One option is to just save that video page as a Bookmark (in Firefox) or a Favorite (in Internet Explorer).  However, this doesn’t always work – you might go back to that page a week or a month later and find that the video has been removed from YouTube.  There’s a better way.

Save YouTube Videos to your computer

What you need to do is actually download the video and save it as a file on your computer.  Of course, if you look around on the video page, you won’t see any instructions about how to do this.  Fortunately, you are a reader of this blog so you will know the secret!

Here’s how you do it:

Let’s say you have viewed the video of Paul Potts’ first television appearance, in which he stunned the audience with his incredible operatic voice.  If you have not seen the video, here it is (

So you want to save that video to your computer, as a file that you can play any time without having to go to the YouTube website.  First, you go up to the address bar and copy the URL (highlight the address, then right click and choose Copy):

YouTube site

Next, you go to a website called Save YouTube (  There you will see a place to “Paste” the URL of that video:

Save a YouTube video

Paste the address in that field, and hit Download.  The first time you do it, you might get a warning – if so, just select “Run”.  No software is being installed on your computer.

You will see a list of download links – these represent different file formats for the video.  You can experiment with the various file types, but usually MP4 should work fine on most computers.  Choose where you want to save the file, and it will be on your computer in a very short period of time.

For a larger variety of filetypes and better video quality, you can download and install the free program “YouTube Downloader” at the YouTube Downloader site.  This is also handy if you are on a slow internet connection, but want to view a video – you can let the video download and when it is all done, you can watch it without having the problems of buffering starts and stops.

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