After you installed the DownloadHelper extension, you should see a new icon in your toolbar.
However, it may happen that this icon does not install automatically or simply disappear. This is sometimes the case after an update of Firefox or of the extension itself.
If you don't see the icon in the toolbar, you should install it, it's easy: Go to menu View/Toolbar/Customize and drag the DownloadHelper icon to your toolbar
Using DownloadHelper is simple. Just use your browser to visit video sites, when DownloadHelper can do something for you, this icon is animated:
It is possible to switch to a colored still icon through preferences:
When the icon is animated, you can see a small triangle at the right of the icon. Click on this arrow to open the download menu. You can now select directly a file to download.
Alternatively, download offers are also available from the context menu:
And the Tools menu:
If you press the CTRL key while selecting a file to download, the actual URL of the file is copied to the clipboard. You can paste the address to an external download manager if you want to.
When DownloadHelper notice links to image or movies files, moving the mouse over the items may highlight the corresponding links in the Web page:
Clicking on a particular item starts the download.
By default, the downloads are queued and done one by one. That keeps the bandwith usage to a minimum and allows you to browse other page to select new downloads. The screenshots below shows the number of files in the download queue. The number disappears when there is no more download in progress.
It is also possible to download several video files from YouTube at once, without even opening the video pages. Just select a region in a YouTube page containing links and right-click to display the context menu. A new entry offers to download all video files.
You can also right click on a single link without selecting a region.
Converting downloaded videos
Check our Video conversion guide page.
Where to get videos from ?
If you are looking for places where to find videos to download, you may click on the DownloadHelper icon. It opens a dialog window showing a list of selected video sites.
The sites listed here have been selected for their quality (limited ads, hosted content) and are updated daily.
You can click on the column headers of the list to change sorting.
Double-clicking on any entry takes you to the corresponding site page at www.downloadhelper.net, another click on the button Visit VideoSite opens the actual site.
You can configure the extension by right-clicking on the icon, or from the Tools menu, and select Preferences:
For Video DownloadHelper 4.0 (and above) configuration, please check this page for more relevant information.
The Preferences panel allows to setup various things:
- Download mode: decides whether downloads should start immediately after being initiated or are queued and executed one after the other to save bandwidth. If you have the FlashGot extension installed, you can also choose here to use this download manager.
- Icon animation: normally when DownloadHelper detects a possible download, the icon in the toolbar starts spinning. Some people found this a bit too distractive. You can choose here to simply color the icon instead of the full animation.
- Disable download count cookie: use this to prevent the extension setting-up a cookie that represents the number of downloads you performed using DownloadHelper. If you do so, the number of downloads won't be shown on the www.downloadhelper.net site.
- Enable plugin signature method (from v2.3): unclick this checkbox if you don't want to use this media detection method, in case it would generate too many hits for you.
- Preserve YouTube file names (from v2.3): normally for YouTube downloads, the name of the file is deduced from the video title and prevents possible encoding issues with filenames. This does not work very well with some languages, like chinese (CJK). Check this option in order to keep the original movie title. Be aware that this option might cause DownloadHelper to fail saving some files with special characters in the name. So please, check this option only if you know what you are doing.
- Display in context menu: If checked, the DownloadHelper is also available from the context menu (right click on the main window).
- Storage directory: allows to setup the default directory where downloaded files are saved.
- Menu entry expiration: for some detection methods, there is no obvious way to determine that an entry in the menu should be removed. This time-out is used to control the time an entry stays in the menu.
The MediaLink feature allows, when enabled, to capture a set of media files from some gallery pages. Disable this feature if you have a slow computer and you don't capture galleries. You can add additional file extensions to be recognized by DownloadHelper by entering the file extension in the text field and click the Add button.
The MediaReq feature allows to capture media files received by your browser by examining their file extension. You can add additional file extensions to be recognized by DownloadHelper by entering the file extension in the text field and click the Add button.
The MediaWeight feature allows to capture media files received by your browser by examining the size of the received file. You can enable/disable the feature and adjust the size threshold from this preference tab.
The History is a beta feature that allows to keep track of some videos you watched (or started to watch) from the Web. If you enable this feature, you will be able to browse easily those videos and select the ones you want to download. Checking parameter Clear history on exit removes the history entries as soon as you leave the browser. If you enable the feature, you will be able to access the history by right-clicking on the DownloadHelper icon and select History.
Monitoring the download queue
You can access the download queue by right-clicking on the DownloadHelper icon and selecting Download Queue. If you set the download mode one-by-one (the default), you can see from this dialog the list of downloads that have not been started yet. This gives you an opportunity to cancel them before they start.
Using the history
To have access to the history, you first need to enable the feature from the preferences and visit some video pages. Then, right-click on the DownloadHelper icon and select History.
From the history window, you can quickly see the videos you watched. Double click the history entry to start viewing the video. You can also go directly to the original page containing the video.
Use the CTRL key to select multiple entries. You can then remove or download them as a whole.Note: This is a beta feature currently limited to FLV videos and recognized as such by DownloadHelper.