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Windows Vista hints and tips

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Save streaming video clips

There are lots of video sharing websites and they have some great clips on them. You will only want to watch many video clips once and they are interesting, but not worth a second viewing. Some video clips you will want to frequently watch though and music videos fall into this category. Not the commercial music videos that are put out by record companies, but ordinary folk playing their guitars and other instruments, and singing. There are lots of other types of video that you might like to watch repeatedly too - it all depends on your interests.

Of course, you can bookmark your favourite online videos at YouTube and other places, but it means that you must stream the video every time you want to play it. Video streams contribute to the congestion on the internet and have ISPs tearing their hair out in frustration at all the bandwidth used. It would be much better to store often played clips on your computer. You can then play them whenever you want without having to download them all over again. In addition to reducing internet traffic, videos will play more smoothly from the hard disk drive too, and there won't be any of the jerkiness and pausing that you get with online video clips.

There are utilities that can save video clips that appear in web pages, such as SaveTube, KeepVid, and SaveVideoDownload, but you don't actually need any special tools. You can simply copy the video out of the web browser's cache when it has finished playing.

Here's what to do: Watch the video clip in the usual way in Internet Explorer. When it has finished, select Tools, Internet Options. Click the Settings button in the Browsing History section and then click View Files. Select View, Details if it is not in Details view and then click the Size column header twice. The first time the files are sorted into ascending size order and the second time they are in descending order, which places the biggest files at the top. Video clips are big files so sorting by size makes them easy to find. You can easily see which files in the browser's cache are videos because they have a .flv file extension, which is used by most video sites. (Sometimes they have another extension, but they are really just .flv files, as you'll discover if you rename them.) Right click the .flv file and select Copy. Now you can right click the desktop or in an Explorer window and select Paste to save a copy of the video clip.

Windows cannot play standalone .flv video clips, but there are several free players that you can download and install. For example, FLVPlayer4Free, Sothink FLV Player, and FLV Player.

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