Petri

How to Save Your Skype Video Messages

Last month I was abroad, doing some consulting for various customers. During that time, my two lovely daughters used Skype to communicate with me while I was on the road, and since I could not always pick up the phone to answer them and because of the time difference, they ended up leaving many video messages for me. I enjoyed getting those messages very much, and I liked to replay them over and over in my spare time. But then I thought: “What if I need to format this computer in the future? What will happen to those priceless video messages?”

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Keep Your Own Copies

It turns out that these video messages are (theoretically) stored on Skype’s servers for an indefinite period of time. (“Forever” comes to an end very often sooner than you may realize. I remember many “free for life” services I once used – which aren’t free anymore.) We, as end-users of a service that is currently free, have no control over Skype’s (actually Microsoft’s) storage policy. What works today may be broken tomorrow, what is free today may cost money tomorrow, and what seems like a lifetime endless storage space may be gone without a trace in an eye blink. What if these messages will be deleted sometime in the future?

So how do you actually download those priceless video messages? The logic behind downloading these important videos is that you take control and responsibility of keeping them on your end. Even if Skype (or Microsoft) decides to close this service in the future, or if something goes really bad and causes a catastrophic data loss (which will probably get you nothing more than an official apology, saying that they’re so sorry for this and that they will study the incident to make sure that it won’t happen again – but nothing else), you’ll still have your local copy of this data.

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As it turns out, you can save those video files. Here are some methods to help you do that. Some are easier than others, so pick the one that’s right for you and your Skype version.

So let’s assume we have a video message that you can view in your chat history and that you want to save.

Save Skype Video Messages

Save Skype Video Messages: Versions Prior to 6.5

In previous versions of Skype, when you get a video message you also receive a link to view the video message on your browser. You also get a code which you must enter when you replay the video message.

Save Skype Video Messages

One of the easiest methods to save these video messages is by using the Chrome browser and an extension called FVD Video Downloader.

Save Skype Video Messages: fvd video downloader

Once you open the video message in Chrome you can download the message, and then play the downloaded file with VLC media player. However, this method may not work anymore if you’re using a newer version of Skype.

Note: One workaround may be to remove the current version of Skype and install the old beta version for 6.5.

In addition, make sure you disable Skype’s automatic updates feature under Tools > Options >Advanced > Turn off automatic updates.

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Save Skype Video Messages: Versions 6.5 and above

On the latest Skype versions (6.5 and above) you are no longer provided with links to video messages. Therefore, if you use a Skype version higher than 6.5 the previous method will no longer work for you. According to Skype’s community forum, “You should be able to watch these Video messages in your Skype for the next 10 years. The only what you need to ensure is that the chat database file (main.db) is still intact and that you don’t delete any chat messages.”

The main.db file is located in the following location:

C:\Users\<Windows user name>\AppData\Roaming\Skype\<Skype user name>\main.db

  • In order to be able to read the main.db database file you need to get an SQLite database browser.
  • On the SQLite browser, click on File, then click Open Database.
  • Browse to the location of the main.db file (see path above).

Save Skype Video Messages: SQLite Database browser

  • In the Browse Data tab, use the Table drop-down list and select VideoMessages.

Save Skype Video Messages: SQLite Database browser

  • Scroll till you see the column called “vod path.” Each voice message has such a path. Double-click on the corresponding vod path text for the video message you want to view.

Note: Do not use the link from the “public link” column even if there is one.

Save Skype Video Messages: SQLite Database browser vod path

  • Copy the URL text.

Save Skype Video Messages: SQLite Database browser URL text

  • Open a browser window and paste in the URL. You should be able to play the video message.
  • To save the video message, open Windows Media Player and click File, then click Open URL. Paste the URL in the text box and click OK.

Save Skype Video Messages: Windows Media Player

  • Once the video starts playing, click File, then Save As.

Save Skype Video Messages: Windows Media Player

  • Give the file a descriptive name, select a saving location, and click Save.

Save Skype Video Messages: Windows Media Player

You can repeat this for all the video messages you want to keep.

Save Your Sent Skype Video Messages

This is another trick that works for video messages that YOU send with Skype.

There are two places where your message is saved. Prior to sending it, it will be saved in the Temp folder on your computer (located at C:\Users\<Windows user name>\AppData\Local\Temp) with a name that looks like this: vidmxxxxxxxxxx.mp4.

Save Skype Video Messages: temp folder

This file is deleted the moment you send it to the other person.

After you hit Send and the message is sent to your chat partner, the message is temporary saved in the “media” folder of your user profile at this location:

C:\Users\<Windows user name>\AppData\Roaming\Skype\<Skype user name>\media

File names will be different that the one you saw in the Temp folder.

Save Skype Video Messages: media folder

  • Copy this file to another location on your computer.
  • Next, add an extension .avi or .mp4 to it. You can now play the file in Windows Media Player or VLC media player.

Save Skype Video Messages: media folder

Note: However, there are two issues with this method. First, it only works for messages that YOU send, and not for the ones you receive. Second, these files get deleted the moment you quit Skype. So if you want to keep your own messages, you need to remember to copy them before you quit Skype.

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  • Jennifer in MamaLand

    Hi! It’s saying “401 Unauthorized” when I paste the VOD path into my browser window. Here’s the VOD path: https://lu4.media.vm.skype.com/vod/mp4-vm/41d12ef5f1ca77807f046669174a027f_52976780_key_a1f5b75709893f67a8755f08039e18e931a68d91
    (but I tried it with a couple of different video messages)
    I’m using Firefox, have also tried this with my favourite download manager plug-in , DownThemAll, which reports “authentication failed.”
    Any suggestions???

  • Omair

    Jennifer please try after logging in to your skype account. I just tried chrome and it worked :)

    You can also use a download manager with authentication credentials.

  • Jennifer in MamaLand

    Thanks for replying, Omair, but it didn’t work. Signed into skype, then pasted the vod path URL into the same browser window. Tried in Firefox, tried in IE. Don’t have Chrome onboard, but it ought to work in one of those…

  • Omair

    try Free download Manager and put your skype username and password for authentication of download. It should work.

  • zachary

    Come on there has to be a way to get it back after you quit skype :(

  • Stephanie

    Hi! Thank you for this! I was able to download one video, and get the URL so I downloaded it using iLivid, but then I tried with the rest of the videos… and that same one again and I got “401 Unauthorized” and it never let me again. What am I doing wrong? Help!

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  • Raghav Saxena

    The same problem first appeared to me also Stephanie & Jennifer.Authentication failed after downloading 1 video.But then i tried again and again for the same URL & found that the video was available after certain interval of time.I dont know the exact duration but was 10-15 min approx.Then i tried for the 3rd video and found it available after another 10-15 min.I hope this works for ya

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  • Wojtek Dabek

    Hello. Im from Poland and my english its very bad but maby you understud me.

    I have same problem “401 Unauthorized” but i fix it. I don’t copy manual URL in program but i put button “export” and save this URL to file. Next im copy adres for file and paste in the URL and work. Probably first time dont copy all URL.

    Maby this methods to help you.

  • PJ

    There’s no file or save as button once I get to this step.

  • Guest

    Nevermind, I found a way to get the file and save as buttons to show up, but now the file won’t save as a file, it keeps trying to save as like a text document or something. It says it’ll save as “any file” like it does in this picture, but it just won’t work. I’m using Windows 8, if that helps.

  • Miauklys

    Please paste Your url to windows explorer ( i.e. paste just in ”My Computer” address tab), not to internet explorer.

    This technique is amazing!

  • Addora

    Thank you very much! Worked for me just fine. xxx

  • Kris

    Hi,
    Thank you very much for the detailed steps, this really helped and I was able to save the video message sent by my daughter.

  • Ivana Zec

    None of the videos work. I have installed the program FDM but it wont accept my username and password. Says it is wrong. I even tryed to enter my gmail address which is asigned to skype. The same appeared.

    On the sent videos, that folder is empty. C:UsersAppDataLocalTemp

    On the browser is 401 Unauthorized

    I dont know what else to do. In windows media player won`t work either. Any sugesstions??? Is there a next step?

  • Darkershades

    you should play first the video messages in skype before copying the link in SQLite

  • Ian Thomson

    Okay, first I need to thank you so much for this post. It gave me the information I needed to have in order to point me in the right direction to get the video of my little girl wishing me a “Good Night”. Like many users, I expect, I travel a lot and use Skype to talk to my family and keeping these mementos is very important. The only thing is that since Windows 8 (and possibly Windows 8.2) this information is not as relevant as what it once was. It seems that the main.db file is no longer contained in the C:UsersAppDataRoamingSkypemain.db in Windows 8. Rather, I found it under :C:UsersAppDataLocalPackagesMicrosoft.SkypeApp_********(13 characters in total both Alpha and Numeric)LocalState. Once there, follow the steps to download the SQLite Database Browser. Open the “Browse Data” tab in the app and there you will find the pull down that will give you access to the VideoMessages Table. Once in there I had 2 entries for every video message. One entry had a Vod_Path that was local and the other had a Vod_Path that had an “https:” designation. I was able to double-left click on that https: path and it opened a window with the complete address for me. A quick copy and then paste into Chrome and I was able to see the video message from my daughter. Then, clicking on the Chrome Settings button (the three horizontal lines below the “X” to close the application) and scroll down to “Save page as…” (or Ctrl+S if you want or need the shortcut…) and it will save the really long file name as an MP4 video. Simply rename to something more meaningful like “Daughter says Goodnight to Daddy” and you’re all good. Hope this helps! Cheers!

  • George

    Fucking useless. I read the first half of this, and sabotaged myself. Then when I got to read the second half I had totally sabotaged the objective to download.

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  • SINisterWyvern

    If anyone is trying this recently and running into the 401 error, I was able to fix it by first watching all the videos I wanted within skype. This changed the URL in the main.db to a new one that is accessible. Then I was able to save all of them that I did this to.

  • Tornevall

    It’s not enough to log in to your skype account. You need to watch the clips before the urls gets renewed.

  • Tornevall
  • Tornevall

    You could also try to use this client: http://dev.tornevall.net/projects/SkypeVideoDownloader/

  • drlaurel

    another option, use quicktime to capture the screen recording while you are playing the message back. much more simple than all of the above

  • Vaibs

    Guys, if you follow the instructions, its just cake walk
    trust me,initially i thought it would be tough, but it JUST WORKED

    Hats Off, its just awesome

  • Der

    I created the steps to Save Skype Videos for Mac OSx users http://sillytechie.com/how-to-save-skype-video-messages/
    It’s way easier than copying and pasting stuff into SQL server and all that stuff.
    Hope it helps!

  • ﱞﱞ ﱞﱞ

    I really really thank the person who shared this idea with ppl like us who really needed this. I can’t tell u how glad i feel right now after downloading that video, coz that video really means a lot to me. So, i really appreciate u for doing this.
    And i also thank @darkershades:disqus for telling us that. Coz without that i couldn’t have downloaded it.

  • Jack.B

    The way to save the Skype video message is too complicated, A little piece of freeware would make thing more easier, learn more at: How to save Skype video message easily

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