Windows 10 to dump Paint and Outlook Express in the recycle bin

We’ve talked a lot about the smart new features coming with the Fall Creators Update, but it has just emerged that Microsoft is cutting some of Windows 10’s capabilities with the upgrade, too, and that includes the likes of Microsoft Paint and Outlook Express.

As Microsoft explains in a support post, some of these features are being completely removed, while others have been marked as ‘deprecated’, meaning they aren’t being developed at all anymore and will be removed in a future version of Windows 10 (i.e. they’re effectively dead, just not buried, as it were).

As mentioned, Microsoft Paint, the simple graphics app which has been a part of Windows since the very beginning, will be dumped. Of course, that’s mainly because it’s been superseded by Paint 3D, but still, some folks might shed a nostalgic tear over the lightweight program.

Living on the Edge

Outlook Express also gets the push with Microsoft explaining that it is non-functioning legacy code, and the Reader app is gone – mainly because in the latter case it’s been integrated into the Edge web browser.

Screensaver functionality has been removed from Themes, and it’s deprecated elsewhere (such as in the Control Panel). Also, the 3D Builder app is no longer installed by default in Windows (although you can still grab it from the Windows Store should you wish).

There are a multitude of other capabilities being dropped: for example, the use of the Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET) will be blocked (Microsoft suggests that Windows Defender Exploit Guard’s exploit protection feature should be used instead). For the full list of cuts, check here.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that while it hasn’t been dropped, we recently heard that Microsoft’s smart Timeline feature, which was originally planned to be part of the Fall Creators Update, won’t be ready in time. It will be in a future update though (the first one of next year, almost certainly).

Lest we focus all our attention on what won’t be in the next major update, you can check out all the new goodies Microsoft is bringing to Windows 10 this fall right here.

      

Firefox’s blazing speed with huge numbers of tabs leaves Chrome in the dust

As you may be aware, Chrome has something of a reputation for being a resource hog, and rival Firefox is aiming to hit Google’s browser in this potential Achilles heel with news that it has hugely streamlined memory usage when lots of tabs are open.

And we mean lots of tabs. As Mozilla developer Dietrich Ayala explains, he did some testing with Firefox having 1,691 tabs open – yes, 1,691 – and found that while the current version of the browser (54) was very sluggish to start up and used a lot of system memory (unsurprisingly), Firefox 55 (currently in beta testing) and 56 make massive strides on both these fronts.

According to Ayala’s benchmarking, Firefox 54 took over four minutes to start up with this massive-multi-tab configuration open in the browser, but with Firefox 55 that time has been reduced to just 15 seconds.

Perhaps even more importantly, with all these tabs open Firefox 54 used up just over 2GB of system memory, whereas with Firefox 55, memory usage is less than 0.5GB. That’s obviously a startling improvement at just a quarter of the previous figure.

Image Credit: Dietrich Ayala

Quantum tricks

All this is down to the new ‘quantum flow’ project in which Firefox engineers are seriously trying to optimize the browser’s level of responsiveness, clearly with a good deal of success.

As mentioned, Chrome has something of a reputation for using up a lot of system resources, particularly with a lot of tabs active, and we’ve certainly experienced our PC having serious issues with large numbers of tabs open.

Mozilla will be hoping to attract power users with this freshly streamlined operation and added nippiness, although it isn’t just those of us who have hundreds of tabs open simultaneously who will benefit.

Obviously, the overall leanness of memory usage will be a good thing for everyone, even folks who only operate with a small collection of tabs.

Firefox does, however, have a lot of ground to make up, only having a 12% slice of the desktop browser market according to Netmarketshare’s figures for June. That’s behind Internet Explorer which is on 16.8%, and Chrome is by far the dominant force with 59.5% of the market.

Via: On MSFT

      

The best free overclocking software 2017

It’s all well and good splashing out for a pre-built PC or putting together a bespoke tower yourself, but what’s the point of sinking all that money into it if you’re not getting the very best performance out of each component? That’s where overclocking comes in.

Once thought the pastime of acne-ridden, basement-dwelling tech nerds, overclocking has now become one of the most widely used avenues for getting your PC firing on all cylinders.

We’ve included some of the best free pieces of overclocking programs available right now, from mainstream utilities that anyone can pick up and use to complicated tools that enable you to tweak even the smallest of elements in pursuit of even more gaming performance.

1. MSI Afterburner

Intimidated by overclocking? MSI Afterburner makes it easy for even complete beginners to wring extra power from their hardware

One of the oldest overclocking tools out, but still one of the best, MSI Afterburner has become a mainstay on the PC overclock scene. So why is it still so popular?

Well, for a start it’s very easy to use, making it ideal for newbies and those with an intermediate level of knowledge to push your graphics to their designed limit. Also, unlike EVGA PrecisionX (mentioned below), it supports both Nvidia and AMD processors.

The current version of MSI Afterburner includes a still decent number of utilities, including GPU/shader/memory clock adjustment, the power to adjust advanced fan speed, and the ability to tweak GPU voltage control.

We also like the bespoke hardware monitor included as part of the interface, which effectively tracks the performance of your rig and shows frame rates, etc while you’re playing a game.

Sure, it’s not the most comprehensive of packages, and certainly won’t appeal to the hardcore among us, but it’s still a robust suite that will help transform your games if you’re relatively new to the scene.

Download here: MSI Afterburner

2. AMD Overdrive

If you have an AMD GPU, this is the only overclocking software you need

Unlike MSI Afterburner, AMD Overdrive only supports AMD’s own branded GPUs, but it still manages to offer one of the most impressive ways to get your PC running at an invigorated pace. As long as your CPU is of AMD origin (including its chipset), you can start pushing those components like they’ve never been tested before. Best of all, the attractive interface provides convenient access to an impressively in-depth set of tools to make this ideal for both relative newcomers and seasoned overclockers.

So what does this brilliant little free overclocking tool offer? For a start, AMD Overdrive enables you to change the clock speed of your RAM and adjust the overall speed of your fans (an incredibly useful utility, especially if you’re currently having overheating issues).

The built in status monitor lets you see the state of your processor in real time as you overclock it to the hilt, and with streamlined interface (one that’s markedly improved over the years), you can easily and confidently tweak the voltage or clock speeds by simply moving a slider.

Okay, there’s a little more to it than that, but we like how cleanly it can distill its utilities down to simple actions.

Download here: AMD Overdrive

3. EVGA Precision X

Free, convenient overclocking software for Nvidia graphics card owners, with support for up to 10 custom user profiles

Easily one of the most popular overclocking tools on the market today, EVGA PrecisionX has become a must for gamers looking to give their rig or gaming laptop a decent push in the hardware performance stakes.

Unfortunately, EVGA PrecisionX only works with Nvidia graphics cards (sorry, AMD users) so you’ll need to have something like a GeForce GTX TITAN, 900, 700 or 600 installed.

The latest version supports Microsoft DirectX 12 API, as well as enabling you to change your GPU’s clock offset and its memory clock offset. As if that wasn’t good enough, EVGA PrecisionX also presents you with the power to overclock your refresh rate and establish up to 10 individual overclocking setups. You can even seamlessly switch between them at will!

This being a free overclocking tool aimed at gamers who want better performance with the minimum of hassle, the freeware offers an easily navigable interface that won’t drown you in too many options or utilities.

It might not be as comprehensive as some of the more advanced tools out there, but if you’re looking to squeeze out better clock speeds overall, EVGA PrecisionX is an ideal addition to your machine.

Download here: EVGA PrecisionX

4. CPU-Z and GPU-Z

Two free programs that will give you an in-depth look at your hardware, helping you see where there’s room for improvement

Not all free overclocking tools give you the kind of data you really need to see where you machine can be tweaked or adjusted. That’s where tools like CPU-Z and GPU-Z come in, offering an in-depth look into exactly how your PC or laptop is performing.

CPU-Z enables you to track processor name and number details, determine codenames, identify processes, packages, cache levels and more. It can test the performance of your mainboard and chipset, as well as instantly bringing up memory types, sizes, timings and module specifications (SPD). It can even offer real-time measurements of each core’s internal frequency and memory frequency.

Then there’s GPU-Z, which supports Nvidia, AMD, ATI and Intel GPUs (so you’ll definitely have a card that’s compatible). The free tool displays adapter, GPU and display information, and provides all the information you’ll need for overclock, default clocks and 3D clock shenanigans.

Both GPU-Z and CPU-Z work brilliantly alongside all of the overclocking tools in this list, so grab them both and take a peek deep inside your PC.

Download here: CPU-Z
Download here:
GPU-Z

5. SetFSB

One for the experts, SetFSB lets you tinker with your PC’s front side bus

We’ve shown you some of the most popular tools and utilities in the world of overclocking, but what if you’re a seasoned PC builder who wants to squeeze every ounce of juice your machine has to offer? Sounds like you need something in-depth and comprehensive that’s been designed with overclocking pros in mind – say hello to the brilliant little tool that is SetFSB.

Unlike some other overclocking tools, SetFSB is all about making adjustments to your system’s front-side bus (FSB), which connects the CPU to the main memory. Its speed is measured in MHz and can vary from 60 to 400 (it can go higher if you’re lucky/slightly mad), so the higher the speed, the better the performance. Think of it as plugging yourself directly into the Matrix.

One quick word of warning, though. SetFSB is not for the faint of heart and should only really be used if you’re an experienced PC tinkerer and overclock pro. You’ll need a strong knowledge of the limits of your motherboard and CPU before tinkering with its settings, otherwise you could end up cooking your machine due to the unbridled precision at your fingertips.

Download here: SetFSB

      

Hundreds of companies spilling data via Google Groups configuration mistakes

Data leakage is an increasing problem these days, but it’s not always hackers who are to blame for the spillage of confidential information, sometimes it’s directly the fault of the company itself – as is the case with misconfigured Google Groups settings affecting an alarming number of firms.

This is according to security outfit RedLock Cloud Security Intelligence, which has highlighted the errant sharing settings apparently used by hundreds of organisations including The Weather Company (which operates Weather.com), Freshworks (helpdesk software), SpotX (video ad platform) and Fusion Media Group (parent of Gizmodo, Lifehacker and more).

Going public

Google Groups facilitates the creation and management of online forums and email groups, but when configuring a group, RedLock observes that some companies have set the sharing option for ‘outside this domain – access to groups’ to ‘public on the internet’.

This mistake unfortunately means that all the contents of the messages can be accessed by anyone on the web, and it exposes information including names, addresses, emails, and unfortunately customer passwords and even figures for the salary of staff members.

Hopefully any affected firms will have already fixed this issue having had their attention drawn to it, or will be in the process of doing so right now. As mentioned, the last thing we need is more data exposure via self-sabotage when there’s enough danger from probing hackers out there.

      

The best free HD YouTube downloader 2017

HD YouTube videos are on tap whenever you have an internet connection available, but there are plenty of occasions – such as when travelling – when you’ll be forced to go offline. Thankfully, with a little forward planning and the right software, you can download any videos you are interested in so you can watch them offline.

There are all manner of tools available for downloading videos from YouTube, but here we are interested in those programs that let you download the very best quality.

As well as HD video downloaders, this roundup also includes software that can download 360-degree videos from YouTube.

Of course, it’s not just the potential for offline viewing that makes these downloaders interesting. If you are battling with a slow connection, you’re probably sick of either enduring video buffering or putting up with lower quality videos. These HD YouTube downloaders could be just what you need.

Before we get started, bear in mind that you should only download videos from YouTube if you have permission from the copyright holder. Unauthorized downloading is against YouTube’s terms of service.

1. 4K Video Downloader

The fastest, most convenient way to download HD videos from YouTube

As the name suggests, 4K Video Downloader can be used to download videos from YouTube at up to 4K quality. There are no restrictions on download speed, so you can completely max out your connection, and you can choose between saving in MKV, MP3 or 3GP formats.

Should a video have embedded subtitles, these can be downloaded as well, and there’s even support for 3D and 360-degree videos. In fact, you’re not even limited to just YouTube – sites such as Vimeo and Daily Motion are also supported, and there are versions of 4K Video Downloader available for Windows, Mac and Linux.

If your needs are a little greater, you might want to consider upgrading to the paid-for version of the program. This enables you to download playlist with subtitles and more than 25 videos, or download entire channels. But for most people, the free version of the software will be just fine, and the limitations are very minor in the grand scheme of things.

Download here: 4K Video Downloader

2. aTube Catcher

Make downloading HD YouTube videos effortless, with bonus file conversion

aTube Catcher isn’t going to win any beauty contests, but what it lacks in looks, it more than makes up for in functionality and ease of use.

This is much more than just a video downloader; it also offers the option of converting videos between formats, burning video CDs and DVDs, capturing local video, resizing videos, and batch processing.

But what we’re interested in here is the program’s ability to download HD content from YouTube – and aTube Catcher does this very well.

Paste in a URL, then use a drop-down menu to choose the format you would like to save the video in. If you’re interested in the high definition version, just leave the ‘No Conversion (Only get original file)’ option selected before hitting Download. You can then choose the precise quality you want.

As well as YouTube, aTube Catcher supports a wide range of other streaming video sites, making it well worth a try.

Review and where to download: aTube Catcher

3. WinX Free YouTube Downloader

An HD video downloader that supports several popular hosting sites – not just YouTube, and offers a great choice of download formats

With one of the most impressive and pleasing interface of the bunch, WinX Free YouTube Downloader is an immediate joy to use. You’re not limited to just downloading from YouTube, but this is undoubtedly the primary focus of the program, and it makes light work of quickly grabbing high quality videos from a number of sites.

Videos can be saved in formats appropriate for different tasks and devices, including FLV, WebM or MP4, and the ability to queue up a series of videos to download in a batch is a boon if you want to grab a large collection overnight.

There’s a built-in video player so you can watch or preview online videos, and you can even grab screenshots while you watch.

With everything being not only quick to complete, but also incredibly well-designed, WinX Free YouTube Downloader is a serious contender for the best YouTube downloader out there.

Download here: WinX Free YouTube Downloader

4. Free YouTube Download

A simple, but effective way to grab HD YouTube videos, but bear in mind that downloaded clips will be watermarked and speed limits apply

Free YouTube Download, from DVDVideoSoft, is another incredibly simple HD YouTube downloader, but it still gets the job done – this time with no unwanted extras or other messing about.

Having found a YouTube video you want to download, copy the URL, fire up the program and hit the Paste button. Click the video quality that has been automatically selected for you, and you can then choose the quality you’d prefer – all the way up to 8K UHD if you want.

There are a few things missing that you can only do if you upgrade from the free version of the program to the Premium edition. Upgrading not only eliminates the download speed limit, but also gets rid of the video watermark that appears on downloads.

There’s also playlist support if you’re willing to pay, but for most people – if they’re happy to put up with a watermark – will be perfectly catered for by the free version of the program.

Review and where to download: Free YouTube Download

5. 5KPlayer

The HD YouTube downloader you need when 4K just isn’t enough

Seemingly looking to one-up 4K Video Downloader comes 5KPlayer – and things look impressive right from the moment you launch the installer. This is a highly polished program, available for Windows and macOS, that talks the talk and walks the walk. In order to unlock a few features – such as support for more sites and the ability to use AirPlay – you’ll need to register the software, but this is free and involves nothing more than handing over your email address.

The dark and slightly gloomy interface is easy to get around, and there are plenty of on-screen tips to help you get started if things are not immediately obvious. Once you’ve pasted the URL of a video, you can download it at maximum quality if you want, or opt for a space-saving resolution instead. The extra features – such as AirPlay streaming, a radio and video player, etc – are nice touches, but the ease of downloading videos is the real kicker.

Download here: 5KPlayer

      

Samsung Galaxy Tab S4: what we want to see

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 is a genuine iPad Pro alternative, and one of the best Android slates around. It has similar productivity potential to Apple’s slates, but with a stylus bundled in, saving you some money, and with a Super AMOLED screen.

This is impressive stuff, but the Tab S3 isn’t without faults, so we’ve come up with a list of things we’d like to see improved for the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4.

We’ll also use this article to collect all the news and rumors about the Galaxy Tab S4 as they come in. Samsung’s next slate is little more than a whisper so far, but we’re sure to start hearing things soon, and in the meantime we’ve got some theories of our own about when it might land and what it might offer.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? Samsung’s next flagship tablet
  • When is it out? Probably 2018
  • What will it cost? Likely at least $599/£599 (around AU$780)

Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 release date and price

Samsung hasn’t been giving its flagship slate range yearly upgrades, with the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 hitting stores in September 2015, but the Galaxy Tab S3 not landing until March 2017.

So there was around 18 months between them. If Samsung keeps that up then we won’t see the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 until roughly September 2018. But whether early or late in the year we’d expect to see a new model sometime in 2018.

Pricing will probably be in line with the Tab S3’s, if not higher. That slate launched for $599/£599 (around AU$780), and for that money you also got a stylus, but the keyboard costs extra.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 news and rumors

There’s nothing to see here yet, but there are a few things we can take an educated guess at. The screen is sure to be Super AMOLED again for a start, since most Samsung displays use that tech.

It will probably also support HDR content, since the Tab S3 does and it’s unlikely that Samsung would remove a major feature.

The size will probably stay at 9.7 inches, though since the range seems to be designed directly as a competitor to the iPad it might get larger, given that the iPad Pro range is offered in 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch sizes.

You can also expect a powerful but possibly not cutting-edge chipset based on past form, so perhaps the Snapdragon 835, which is found in US models of the Samsung Galaxy S8 and is top of the range right now but won’t be by the time the Tab S4 launches.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S4: what we want to see

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 is one of the best tablets money can buy, but it’s still a long way from perfect. Here’s how the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 can get closer.

1. Better multitasking

As much as Samsung might want you to ditch your laptop and just use the Galaxy Tab S3, it’s not quite up to the task, and that’s largely down to clunky multitasking.

There’s no proper dock for easy app switching, the recent apps menu is a slow alternative, and the screen is arguably a bit cramped if you want to have two apps running side by side.

Improvements to all these things for the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 would be great to see, and may be necessary if it wants to compete with the iPad Pro range, as that offers larger slates and iOS 11 is set to boost their multitasking skills well beyond what the Tab S3 can manage.

2. A cheaper keyboard

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 is designed in part as a productivity device like the iPad Pro, and like Apple’s slate you need an expensive keyboard accessory to get the most out of it.

In Samsung’s case, the official keyboard launched for $129/£119 (around AU$170), which is almost as much as some Chromebooks cost. For the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 we want to see the keyboard bundled with the slate, or at the very least offered for a lot less money.

3. Keyboard tweaks

Speaking of the keyboard, there’s room for improvement in its design too. There are no function keys and no home button for example.

It could also do with stronger magnets, and the flap should be magnetic, both to keep it shut and to turn off the screen when closed. These should be easy fixes for the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4’s keyboard.

4. Water resistance

Samsung’s flagship phones have offered water resistance in recent years, but its flagship tablets still don’t, and that’s a shame.

We’d bet any number of people want to use their tablet by the pool, in the bath or while cooking, and a lack of water resistance could put them off – or lead to a very expensive accident, so we want the Tab S4 to be built for all occasions and environments.

5. A 4K display

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 has a great screen. It’s a good size at 9.7 inches, it uses Super AMOLED and it supports HDR. But it’s not 4K.

It’s fairly sharp at 1536 x 2048, but if the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 has a 4K resolution, while still packing in all the same tech as the S3’s and the same speaker setup, it could be the ultimate tablet for media.

6. Flagship power

While the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 isn’t exactly lacking power, its Snapdragon 820 chipset is a generation behind the Samsung Galaxy S8’s Snapdragon 835 one, despite launching around the same time.

So for the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 we want a cutting-edge chipset, plenty of RAM and performance that can rival the iPad Pro 3 (or whatever Apple’s latest slate is at the time).

7. More storage

Invest in a hefty microSD card and you’ll have plenty of space to play with on the Galaxy Tab S3, but it only comes with 32GB of storage built-in, which is a paltry amount for a high-end tablet, since you’re likely to want to fill it up with games, apps and videos.

The iPad Pro 10.5 for comparison starts at 64GB and goes all the way up to 512GB. Granted, there’s no microSD card slot in Apple’s slate, but opt for the largest size and you’ll have far more room than even the biggest supported card (256GB) allows on the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3.

So we want more storage in the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4. The Samsung Galaxy S8 has 64GB, so that should be the minimum, but as the S4 will be newer and bigger we ideally want even more than that.

      

How to download HD videos from YouTube and Vimeo

According to YouTube, it’s currently serving up more than 5 billion video views every day and the average viewing session is 40 minutes. That’s a lot of skateboarding cats, but it’s also a lot of data to download. If you’re on a capped mobile data plan, have a sketchy internet connection or will be travelling in places where getting online isn’t likely, that’s a problem.

A stream is only as good as your internet connection, and if that connection is slow, patchy or congested then you’ll spend more time buffering and uttering expletives than you will get to spend actually watching anything.

In many cases even good internet connections don’t deliver full quality all the time. That’s because video sites use a technology called adaptive streaming, which automatically adjusts the video bitrate according to network conditions. You might find that if you live in a busy street the quality of your video streaming drops considerably at peak times. That’s because everybody’s going online at the same time, causing the electronic equivalent of rush hour traffic.

The good news is that there’s a solution. Instead of streaming videos every time you want to watch them, why not download them once and view the download instead?

Is downloading YouTube or Vimeo videos legal?

The short answer is ‘uhhhh…’ and the longer answer is ‘maybe’. If it’s a publicly available video and you’re downloading it purely for personal use then you probably won’t end up wearing an orange jumpsuit and making weapons out of toothbrushes.

However, unauthorized downloading is very much against YouTube’s terms of service, which state clearly that downloads are only permitted if YouTube itself offers them via a download link.

Vimeo is a bit less clear in its terms, conditions and guidelines, noting that while it respects content owners’ rights to choose whether or not to offer downloads of their videos it’s up to them to pursue any piracy.

It’s worth asking what you want to do with the video you’re planning to download. Are you downloading it so that you can share it with others on a peer to peer network? Don’t do that, because it’s illegal: you’re actively distributing other people’s content without permission, and that’s against the law pretty much everywhere. If you want to spread the word about a video it’s much easier – and actively encouraged by YouTube and Vimeo – to do it legally and use the site’s built-in share buttons, which you can use to email or embed videos or to share them on your favourite social networks.

Ultimately unauthorized downloading is something you do at your own risk: if you do it a lot, Google may kill your account or your ISP may impose restrictions.

HD video formats and quality

YouTube used to deliver video in Flash, which was a real pain: downloaded .FLV files didn’t play nice with the most common media players. Now, though, it produces video content in a range of formats and resolutions, and that makes it easy for third party apps to offer a range of download options.

In most cases the best video quality you’ll find on YouTube is 1080p, which is 1920 x 1080 resolution. That’s full HD. Next best is 720p (1280 x 720), which is the lowest resolution that can call itself HD. Many videos are in much lower resolutions, especially if they’re quite old.

YouTube has supported 4K video since 2010, but it has very specific requirements: if your browser doesn’t support the VP9 codec, YouTube won’t give you 4K video. On Vimeo you’ll find some videos in 2K resolution, which is twice Full HD (2048 x 1080), but most download services and apps don’t go beyond Full HD.

For most downloaders the best format to use is MP4, which works on pretty much anything, but the quality you get depends on the quality of the original upload. For example, as we write this we’re watching a Linkin Park video; its maximum quality is 360p because that’s the resolution it was uploaded at. Avoid formats such as 3GP/3GPP unless you’re downloading for use on a fairly old phone: 3GP files are tiny because they were designed for 3G mobile phones, and they look pretty rotten on more modern devices.

Unless you’re on an unlimited data plan, don’t download on a mobile data connection: you’ll hit the cap in no time and out-of-plan mobile data is frighteningly expensive. Wait until you’ve found a decent Wi-Fi connection and do your downloading over that.

Can you download video without sound, or sound without video?

Yes. Many downloaders such as Save It Offline enable you to download video-only or audio-only. As with normal downloads, the available quality depends on the original upload. Don’t expect to get high-res audio from a 360p video.

If you’re wondering why anybody would want an audio-free video, it’s handy if you want to use video clips in a documentary or presentation that already has audio in it, or if you’re making a mashup of multiple sources, or if you’re intending to use your own audio in place of the original. And audio-only clips are useful because for many people YouTube is their number one source of new music: why download the video bit if you want to listen, not watch?

What you need to know about YouTube video downloaders

The big problem with doing something on the internet you probably shouldn’t be doing is that the people who make the relevant software often do things they probably shouldn’t be doing either. Many YouTube video downloaders are perfectly well behaved, but even the best apps can suddenly develop issues. The key ones are privacy and unwanted software, or even malicious software.

An app that looks brilliant today may end up with an installer stuffed with unwanted software tomorrow; an online service that respects your privacy this week may change its mind or its advertising provider the next. If you work on the assumption that the site is tracking you or that the app installer is going to add eleventy billion toolbars to your web browser you’ll be pleasantly surprised if the worst doesn’t actually happen. It goes without saying that you should make sure your security software is up to date and that you’re wearing clean underwear before installing any unfamiliar app. Ad-blockers can help with the online services too, which is poetic justice when you think about it: you’re preventing them from making money from other people’s content. You’re practically a saint!

How to download HD videos from YouTube or Vimeo

Let’s assume you have the permission of the copyright holder to download a video. How do you do it?

1. Find some HD video

We’ll stick with YouTube for the time being, because it’s increasingly packed with HD video. If you’re not sure whether something is HD or not, click on the Settings icon – the gear shape in the bottom right hand corner of the video – and you’ll see an option labelled Quality. Many videos default to Auto 360p but if you click on that you’ll see the other available options, which in this case include 720p HD and 1080p Full HD.

Not everything labelled HD is actually HD. Sometimes that’s because people don’t know what they’re doing, so they’ll export a 360p clip at 1080p resolution, and sometimes it’s because people are trying to game the system by making promises they can’t keep.

2. Copy and paste the link

Once you’ve found your video, paste the link into your downloader. In this case we’re using 4K Video Downloader, which is available for both PC and Mac, and which automatically grabs the copied link when you click on the Paste Link button. When you enter the link you’ll be given a range of options for downloading. We want the 1080p version, so that’s what we’ll choose.

It’s worth noting that some downloaders don’t offer 1080p, others only do if you pay for a Pro version, and still others won’t download videos that have a musical soundtrack – presumably because of copyright fears.

3. Make a cup of tea

Downloading takes time, especially when it’s HD: a few minutes of HD video will take up around a gigabyte of space.

4K Video Downloader has the ability to download multiple streams simultaneously to improve download speeds, but ultimately it’s a lottery: some downloads come down the tubes at high speed, others not so much. On our super-speedy fibre connection, one of our YouTube downloads crawled at 584kbps.

4. Find your download

In most cases, you can watch your downloaded video by double-clicking on it from within the app. 4K Video Downloader creates own folder inside Movies and puts the downloads in there, ready for you to preview, play or import into your favourite video app.

You’ll see in our screenshot that the colours are a little overcooked and the rocks in the foreground a bit smeary, but that’s in the original video. What you get is only as good as what YouTube was given in the first place.

      

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