[xplorer˛] — Own your flash video part II
home » blog » 22 February 2009
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A little while ago we saw how we can use xplorer˛ to nick flash video from the temporary internet files cache. YouTube and co are in constant battle with special downloader programs, and since my last article they seem to have plugged the hole we exploited to read the temporary FLV from shell:Cache folder. That could mean only one thing: WAR! <g>

After Google took over YouTube or thereabouts, the internet explorer or firefox embedded flash video player stopped storing the FLV where it used to. Nowadays videos go to %TEMP% folder and are obscured either having no extension or having the misleading .TMP extension (instead of .FLV). Locating the file is trivial, all you have to do is browse the temporary files folder and lookout for a largeish file that was recently modified (assuming you are watching it as it downloads). The filename won't have anything to do with the video title, it will be something cryptic like FLAFB.TMP.

And now for the hard bit. Try as you might, you can't do anything with such temporary video files like FLAFB.TMP. They are locked for exclusive access by the embedded FLV player, so you can't copy them. They are also marked temporary so if you close the browser window, browse a different website or whatever you think of, the file is immediately deleted. Even unlocker cannot break them free. What can be done?

The first idea was to use some sort of undelete program (e.g. recuva) to track the partially deleted file and restore it. No luck. After a lot of googling around I learnt about hobocopy, an open source program that uses windows Volume Shadow Service (I never heard about it either :) to bypass the locked files issue. Bingo!

Hobocopy is an old hand tool, there's no GUI, and it would be a good exercise for your DOS skills through xplorer˛ command line support and $-tokens. Assuming you have the locked file selected in the active pane and the target folder where you want to copy it in the inactive pane, issue this command from the addressbar:

	$ hobocopy $p $i $n

Using xplorer˛ $-tokens for path elements we can reuse this command in the future, even store it under Customize > User commands submenu. Step by step instructions in today's demo video

To recap, if you want to prove a point and grab flash video from the cache using xplorer˛ with hobocopy:

  • wait for the FLV to download completely, i.e. watch the video in the browser till the end.
  • locate the FLA??.TMP file at the top of %TEMP% folder
  • use hobocopy to copy the locked file (you must run it in administrator mode, using RunAs if necessary)
  • don't touch the browser window until hobocopy has finished copying
  • change the extension of the newly copied file to FLV so xplorer˛ can preview it
  • up yours YouTube, Google video and co <g>

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