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From the perspective of a downloader, there are two species of files roaming around the virtual world: the easy ones and the difficult ones. While the members of the first set of species are easy to handle – ‘Right Click’ then ‘Save As’ and they are all yours, the members of the second set of species appear to be impossible to download. Videos and other multimedia files usually fall into this second category.

You have to take a longer road to be able to tame those wild beasts but the task is still doable. There are several ways you can go to obtain these difficult files. The most common method would be using one of the online services or desktop apps to download online videos 18 Free Ways to Download Any Video Off the Internet 18 Free Ways to Download Any Video Off the Internet Video is the future, as it's now everywhere you look online. In this article we reveal how to download (almost) any video off the internet. Read More .


Safari to the rescue!

But if the difficulty level is increased – if the file we want to get is inside a member area and opens in a new-separated window, you’ll need a more advanced method: using Safari’s Activity Window (Menu: Window –> Activity or keyboard shortcut: Command + Option + A).

Here are the steps:

  1. Minimize the number of open tabs. The more is usually the merrier, but in this case, I guarantee you’ll be more confused later.
  2. Open the page with the multimedia you want to download.
  3. Open the Activity Window and look at each item on the list.
  4. Find the page which has the multimedia file. You’ll have no problem if there’s only two or three tabs opened.
  5. Search for the file with the multimedia extension (mp3, wav, flv, swf, etc.), or the one with the largest size.
  6. activity windows

  7. Double click the file while holding down the Option key (Mac) or Control (Windows).
  8. The Downloads window will open showing you the download progress of the file.
  9. download window

Note: You have to rename and add an “.flv” extension for each “get_video” YouTube file.

So far I found that this method is the best, but if you have any better options, throw them all in the comments below.

Extra Tips

Since some of the files we’re talking about here are in the ‘unusual’ format, there’s an extra file conversion step we need to take to be able to play them in an iPod or another portable player. Sure, you could use any file conversion application Top Online File Converters (Video, Audio, Images ...) Top Online File Converters (Video, Audio, Images ...) Read More available out there, but to save time and computer resources – especially for those who run the oldies, why not utilize an online service to do that? My personal favourite is Zamzar.

Alternatively, you can download one of the free video players that can play .flv (Flash) files (common format for online videos). VLC and Media Player Classic have this functionality.

All you have to do is:

  1. Right Click (Windows) or Control Click (Mac) the file in the download window
  2. Choose Copy Address
  3. copy address

  4. Paste that address in Zamzar’s window
  5. Pick the file format you prefer
  6. Provide an email address
  7. Click Convert and then OK to confirm
  8. Wait for the download link to arrive in your inbox
  9. Open the email and download the converted file

Note: Not all difficult files can be converted using online services, and YouTube videos can be downloaded by Zamzar directly.

Combine the power that you get from this article with these posts and you don’t have to worry about not knowing how to spend your spare time!

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  1. Zensaber
    December 24, 2009 at 5:15 am

    Thank you I was wondering how to do this!! So easy now!

  2. glen
    December 19, 2009 at 9:20 pm

    you are A genius!

  3. Melanie
    April 7, 2009 at 3:10 pm

    "Firefox to the Rescue"

    To download the file in Firefox go to the URL, then Tools Page Info > Then follow prompts select file then save as.

  4. rishabh
    July 3, 2008 at 6:23 am

    Safari rocks amn.. it's much better than firefox and other browsers.. it works smoothly

  5. venus
    June 27, 2008 at 7:09 am

    Safari browser was the best in this category as compared to others and now by this many people will surely gets disappointed. Hope people will soon find a problem for this

  6. Andrew
    June 25, 2008 at 3:33 pm

    How would you download those “difficult multimedia files” that open in another window without Safari?

    • Jeffry Thurana
      June 25, 2008 at 8:23 pm

      So far, using Safari is the only way I know to do that. I've tried several other ways (Firefox and Firefox's add-ons included) to download videos from a member area which open in another window, but failed. That's why I wrote this article. I've just tried this method to download Flash Games and the process went smoothly.

      Anybody can contribute different method(s)?

      • Aibek
        June 26, 2008 at 1:31 am

        You can also try OrbitDownloader. It lets you grab pretty much any video that can be streamed in your browser.