Download Surgeon
Version 3 User Guide

Mac OSx 10.12 – 11.01
Win 7 – Win 11
Click here to download the (Download Surgeon V3. User Guide PDF)

1. Introduction

Download Surgeon (Version 3) is an audio and video downloader and recorder that runs on both Windows and Mac (OSx) machines. Download Surgeon allows you to grab any audio or any video from any website.

Below is a written guide that describes the Download Surgeon interface and use and functionality of the 3 different download modules plus the SC Recorder

The YouTube, OS, and Sniffer Downloader buttons all will enable you to download audio or video directly from websites. These direct downloading modules should be your first choice for two reasons. Firstly, they are a digital copy so there will be no change in quality between what you see on website and what you download. Secondly, downloading a file typically is much quicker than recording a file. If however, these direct downloading modules don’t work for the particular website from which you are trying to grab an audio or video file, then you will want to use the SC Recorder.

The User Interface of Download Surgeon is shown in a screen capture below:

As Download Surgeon is starting up, this user interface may be blank (or black) as it checks for updates. These buttons will all appear once the program has finished processing.

2. The YouTube Downloader

When you click the Red YT Downloader button you will first see the following screen.

You should paste the URL of the video you want to download into this screen.

This YT video URL can be grabbed from your browser’s address bar at the top of your screen. It will look something like this.

Copy this URL, do NOT try to retype it.

After pasting the YT URL and clicking the Process” button a larger window will open, giving you the option of which format/quality you would like best when downloading.

The title (or part of the title) will appear at the top of the window, along with the length of the video. You will also see a list of video frame sizes, audio file formats contained within the video, and a column of audio quality bit rates.

YouTube indicates which video it considers to have the best audio and video quality by marking this video with the word best.

Please note however that such videos are often smaller sized or resolution. If you have a large monitor or high definition monitor you may want to choose a higher resolution video to download and use.

After selecting a file format and video size to download, click the audio or video button at the bottom to download one or the other.

The next screen you will see is shown on the right. It will allow you to give the file you are downloading a Name, select the file format you’d like to save it as, and lastly change the path or saving destination.

If you are in the process of downloading and need to return to the previous screen, click the "Abort" button in the lower right of the window.

Working With YouTube Playlists

A new feature found in Version 3 is the ability to download videos contained in Youtube playlists. These can be playlists you create on YT or a playlist that someone else has created.

First a brief discussion about playlist URLS. A YT playlist will always have the letters “PL” in the URL. For example, here is a YT playlist URL. Note the PL in the URL.

If the URL doesn’t have this PL you don’t have a true playlist.

For example, when you are browsing on YT you’ll often see a list of videos compiled by YT based upon what you have been watching. It will look something like this. You’ll often see the 50+ designation over top a video thumbnail image. This is not a playlist.

When you click this image and open the first in this group of videos you see a URL that looks something like this. NOTE the “list” and NOTE the absence of “PL” that we saw in a true playlist.

Next let’s move to how DS3 downloads the files found in a playlist. After inserting a playlist URL and clicking the process button

DS 3 responds with the message that it is grabbing video file names. Depending upon how many videos are in your playlist this may be quick process or if a playlist has hundreds of files, it could take a couple of minutes.

Once it finishes, DS3 will open a window that looks like this. In this window you are shown the names of the videos in the playlist and in the center between the two white panes are buttons for moving one, or all videos from the left to the right, which is the video download Queue.

Once you have selected those videos you’d like to download as shown in this example you will then select Download Audio or Download Video, and DS3 will open a dialog window that looks like this.

In this window the only thing you can do is to change the path (if you’d like). Since you are downloading multiple videos (or audio files), DS3 will use the names of these files as they exist on YT and as were shown in the last image.

If the existing path or folder is acceptable, click the button that says “Select Folder”. If you’d like to use a different folder or create a new folder, navigate to that folder, or use the create “new folder” button and create and select and new folder. Once you have this folder designated in the path at the top, click the Select Folder button and DS3 will begin to download the audio or video files.

If you are downloading only a few, smaller files, downloading should proceed rather quickly. However, if you are downloading a playlist with several hundred videos in it, this will take hours. Once you have started the downloading process, you can walk away and DS3 will download all of the files without any additional supervision from you.

Unlike downloading single files, when you use this playlist download function you cannot see or select from a list of files for each video. Generally speaking YouTube will give you what it determines is the best quality based upon your internet connection speed. If you have a slow internet connection the files provided by YT for downloading will be lower quality because it recognizes that you do not have a high speed connection capable of handling higher quality, larger file size videos.

3. The OS Downloader

The purpose of the OS Downloader is to download video/audio from non-YouTube links. The OS Downloader works with the following websites:

  • Deezer
  • Instagram
  • LiveLeak
  • MixCloud
  • PlayFm

To see this complete list of websites that encompasses the OS Downloader, right click on the "OS Downloader" button on the main user interface. To visit any of the above websites, simply click on that website in the list provided. Links outside of these websites cannot be downloaded using the OS Downloader.

The series of screen you will see when using the OS Downloader are identical to the screens shown in the above section for the Youtube Downloader.

When you use the OS Downloader you will need to understand where to find the download link to insert into the Process screen. Although there are similarities, each site is different and you should refer to the documentation below to help your find the correct URL.

A. Facebook videos

When pulling links from Facebook, it is important to remember that just because a video is on Facebook does not necessarily mean it has a Facebook link. For instance, people may copy and paste YouTube links to their Facebook profiles which you may be interested in downloading. However, for this action you will need to use the YT Downloader rather than the OS Downloader -- this is because the link has a YouTube domain. Facebook videos will usually contain the following characters in links -- video.php?v=10152967942944238 -- following "" Additionally, you may only have success in downloading public Facebook videos. Even if you are friends with the person whose video you are trying to download, if your friend has a private Facebook profile (where he/she needs to personally accept friend requests before someone gains access to their personal information), you will not be able to download their videos via Download Surgeon. Public profiles, such as Taylor Swift's, Barack Obama's, or other public accounts offer unrestricted access to all or most of their videos. These will all work with Download Surgeon.

B. Reverbnation Audio

Since is a site that utilizes audio tracks only, the OS Downloader will only allow you to download audio from this website. Search for any artist, and upon finding their songs, select one that you'd like to download and click the "share" button at the bottom of the screen in the audio bar (the button that looks like a curvy arrow pointing to the right).

After you have done this, a window will appear asking you how you would like to share the media you've selected. Go to the bottom left hand corner and select "Get direct link," then copy and paste the provided link into Download Surgeon's URL box and hit "Process."

C. SoundCloud

Downloading songs from SoundCloud is similar to downloading songs from Reverbnation. Type in the name of an artist or a song in the search bar, and select the file you'd like to download. Once you have selected a song you want to download, look for the "share" button (highlighted in yellow on this screen capture) and click it. You will then be provided with a link, which you then will copy and paste into Download Surgeon's URL box.


Search for your video, Click the embed button at the bottom of the video that has a symbol “<>” find the “src=” code, in between the quotation marks copy and paste it to the ds3 OS downloader window.

E. Tumblr

Login to your account, find the video you want to download, Click the share button, click the “Permalink” button and a tab or window will open with the link that you should copy and paste it to DS3 OS downloader field.


Login to your account, find the video you want to download, Click the share button, click the “Permalink” button and a tab or window will open with the link that you should copy and paste it to DS3 OS downloader field.

G. Metacafe

Find the video you want to download, Click the share button, click the share on twitter button and a tab or window will open. Copy the link before the “via @Metacafe“and paste it to DS3 OS downloader field.

H. Vimeo

You can easily download by clicking the download button. Click the share button, a popup modal will open then copy the link from the link field and paste it to DS3 OS downloader field.

I. Twitter

Login to your account, find the video you want to download, right click onto the video, click the copy video address and a tab or window will open. Copy the link of that window or tab and paste it to DS3 OS downloader field.

J. Deezer

Login to your account, find the video you want to download, click the share button at the bottom of the video/audio. Copy the link provided on the pop up window and paste it to DS3 OS downloader field.

K. Instagram

Login to your account, find the video you want to download, click the share button at the righthand side of the video. Click the “Copy Link” button to copy and paste to DS3 OS downloader field.

L. Liveleak

Find the video you want to download, click the option button at the bottom of the video/audiothen choose share. Copy the link provided on the layer window and paste it to DS3 OS downloader field.

M. Mixcloud

Find the audio you want to download, click the share button at righthand side of the audio. Copy the link provided on the layer window and paste it to DS3 OS downloader field.

N. PlayFM

Find the audio you want to download, click the more button and click the “copy track link” paste it to DS3 OS downloader field.


You must create an account in Flickr. After doing that find a video thumbnail. Click on it to see the video and sharing options. It should look like this.

You must create an account in Flickr. After doing that find a video thumbnail. Click on it to see the video and sharing options. It should look like this.


Click on a video thumbnail. It will open on a larger screen. To the right of it you’ll see a written description and below this you’ll see sharing options that look like this. Click on the arrow and it will open a window with sharing options. Click the 3rd one from the top and it will copy a link to your clipboard that will look like this:

Paste this link into the OS Downloader and click the Process button.


Once on the site, start the video playing. On the bottom of the video (not below the video) you will see some share options like this. Click the circular arrow. It will open an embed code that looks like this.

<iframe src="" width="640" height="360" scrolling="no" style="border:none;" allowfullscreen></iframe>

From this code copy only the video URL which would be this:
and paste this into the OS Downloader


Once you have located a video on this site, click the share link in the upper right hand corner for the video and select the email image. This will open you email program and show the URL which will look something like this. Use this URL in the OS Dowlnoader.


Once you have located a video on this site, mouse over the video thumbnail and you will see this expanded screen.

From this screen click the twitter share icon and you will see something like the following.

Grab the URL from this share message which would be the following:

Paste this URL into the OS Downloader and click the process button.

4. The Sniffer Downloader

If the site you are interested in is not YouTube, or one of 18 sites found in the OS Downloader, then the Sniffer Downloader should be used. The Sniffer Downloader works on an estimated 60% of all sites that have audio and video.

To begin using the Sniffer Downloader click the blue Sniffer button. The window that you see to the right will open. At the same time a custom, integrated browser used by the module called Chromium will open. We suggest you place the sniffer window in the upper right hand corner of your screen so it does not obscure the view on your monitor. Next, in the Chromium browser open a website with audio or video on it in and start it playing in your browser. As the A/V file begins playing the Sniffer will detect the file and show it in the sniffer module windows as depicted below.

This arrangement may look something like this:

Next, in the Chromium browser open a website with audio or video on it in and start it playing in your browser. As the A/V file begins playing the Sniffer will detect the file and show it in the sniffer module windows as depicted to the right.

The links are color coded with small colored squares. A red colored square indicates a file has been detected. This red turns to orange as a file is being downloaded. Once a file has been downloaded the orange then turns green.

The text in this sniffer window is also color coded. If the next turns to yellow that means a video thumbnail is available. These thumbnails are provided to help you remember and determine which files is which – thereby making it easier to manage the files in this window.

You can view the video thumbnails by clicking one of these yellow links. When you do the thumbnail will appear in the upper right hand corner of the sniffer window. If the text remains white and doesn’t change color then no video thumbnail is available.

The three buttons at the bottom are as follows: The Remove button removes the link from the sniffer window. Download Video saves the video file that has been detected to your computer. Download Audio saves the audio file to your computer, either by downloading the audio file directly if that is what has been detected, or by stripping the audio OUT of the video and then downloading the audio.

The sniffer module works by detecting network traffic. The simple definition of NETWORK in computer lingo is two or more computers connected to each other that can communicate. What that means for the sniffer module is that it will not work (detect) video playing on your computer or video playing from a DVD.

The use of the sniffer is straightforward.

1.Open the Sniffer Downloader (we suggest moving it to the upper right hand corner of your screen so it doesn’t block the main part of the screen.)

2.Using the integrated Chromium Browser, go to a site and play audio or video.

3.Within a few seconds of the AV file starting to play, the sniffer should detect and populate the sniffer window with a description of the audio or video found.

4.Once a link is detected, select the link with your mouse and then select one of the three buttons.

We recommend that you manage the files in the sniffer by removing those you don't want and downloading those that you do within a short period of time after you first detect them. We do not recommend that you populate the box with a large number of links and then go back 20 or 30 minutes later and try to download them. Some AV files have associated cookies that may expire and cause problems with downloading if you wait for too long.

The sniffer works best with high speed internet connections. If you have a slow internet connection, the sniffer module will likely not work well.

Main Sniffer Troubleshooting

Because the sniffer module is working with outside websites on which we have no control, and with your internet connection through a browser which is subject to browser security settings, computer firewalls, and antivirus program it does not work on all websites. Furthermore it can be disabled by any one of the previously cited items.

Anytime you want to test the Sniffer Downloader to determine if it is working, go to the Help Button and select the option that says Sniffer Downloader Test. Selecting this option will cause a test to be performed to see if the Sniffer Download is configured correctly and working.

Antivirus programs and firewall settings can block the Sniffer Downloader from working correctly. If the test is successful and a link is detected in the sniffer window then this module is working correctly and you can proceed to try it on other sites, knowing that if it doesn’t detect an AV stream on a site this is a legitimate non-detectable site on which it will not work, rather than a problem due with the sniffer configuration.

If you have tried to get the Sniffer Downloader to work and have failed, the first place to start is by going to the Help Button and selection the option for "Sniffer Test" mentioned in the above paragraph. If you have and it has failed this test, go to the Help Desk and check the Knowledge Base and specifically look for articles about your antivirus program and how to add a Program Exception to it.

There are hundreds of different antivirus programs in use and each of them is different, so we cannot provide specific guidance for all of these. If you don’t find anything on our Help Desk we suggest you do a search on Google on how to set up an exception or exclusion for your antivirus program.

Lastly consult the Troubleshooters found on the Help Desk. If none of these fix your problem, please submit a support ticket. Your purchase of Download Surgeon comes with 1 year of free support. If you are beyond this time frame you will need to buy an Incident Support session or an ongoing Annual Support Plan. If you own more than 1 copy of Download Surgeon, each machine it is installed on requires its own Support plan.

5. The SC Recorder

The SC Recorder is a digital recorder. It can record anything on your computer screen and the accompanying system audio. When possible we suggest you use one of the other three direct download modules to grab audio or video mentioned above. If none of these work on the site or web page you are interested in, then you should use this module.

The main reason for suggesting you use this module last is because of time. If you have a 10 minute video you’d like to grab, it will take 10 minutes with the SC Recorder as it records as the video is played in real time. This is in contrast to a downloader where the time download a 10 minute video with a high speed connection might be 30-60 seconds.

When you click the SC Recorder button you will see a small drop down window with several choices. Select the one that is most appropriate for your work. When you do, you’ll see a transparent layer open on the screen that looks like this.

Using your mouse you should move this layer and resize it to fit over top the area of your screen that you wish to record. For example if you are recording a video, place it over the video and resize it by stretching it horizontally and vertically to completely cover the video.

If you are only interested in recording only audio, it can be placed anywhere on the screen and it can be of any size. Just make sure when you position it, that it is ENTIRELY on the screen and not partially pushed off the screen to one side or the other.

You next step is to select the Start or Timer button. We’ll discuss the check box below these two buttons about using the default input audio, later in this training video.

If you want to record something at some point in the future, and have the SC Recorder Start and Stop the recording automatically you would select the Timer button. If you’d like to record in the present moment then the Start button should be selected.

After clicking the start button this dialog window appears. Select video or audio. Then select the file format you’d like it to be saved in. Below that, type in a file name to replace the default “untitled” label. Lastly, if appropriate, you can over ride the default path the file will be saved in by clicking the black button with 3 dots on it and selecting a different folder.

Once you have set the parameters in this dialog window, AND you have previously placed the transparent layer over the area to be recorded the SC Recorder will start recording once you click the “Start” button.

Remember to start the video or audio playing, once you have started the SC Recorder.

Once you click the Start button DS3 show you this small dialog with the elapsed time and a Stop button. Once you have finished recording, click the Stop button and the SC Recorder will stop and save this recording.

If you are recording a video using an mp4 format, the SC Recorder will finish immediately. If you designated a different file format in the Setup screen, then DS3 will convert the recorded mp4 file into your selected file format. When it is done recording and converting you will see the following window.

Using The Timed Recording Option

Next, let’s return to the transparent layer window and select the “Timer Button” and review this set up.

After clicking the timer button you will see this set up window. This screen has many of the same fields as the regular set up screen we’ve just reviewed. These include the file type, file format, file name, and path. After designating these settings the remaining work is to select a start and ending time for the recording.

Once you have set these times, click the Start Timer button and you’ll see the following window. It tells you WHEN the timed recording will start. You can park this window on your screen out of the way, or you can minimize it and put it in your task bar.

Once the Timed Recording starts it will display the following recording window. This window allows you to see the elapsed time of your recording and the remaining time that is yet to be recorded.

There is a Stop button that allows you to manually stop the recording, but the purpose of the Timer is to have the recording automatically start and stop.

One the Timed Recording has finished it will popup the following message telling you it has finished.

There are several things to keep in mind when using the Timed Recording.

1.While you can use your computer to do other things BEFORE the recording STARTS, you must return the video player or the web page with the video on it, to the same position or location on your screen, as it was when you set up the recording so that the SC Recorder will be able to recorder the correct area you designated.

2.You cannot use your computer to do other things while it is recording unless you have more than one monitor.

3.If you have more than one monitor, DS3 will run on the default monitor (Designated as monitor 1). You can set up and run the SC Recorder on monitor 1 and then switch monitors and do other work on other monitor(s).

4.Screen savers and sleep modes will interfere with the SC Timed Recorder. Please make sure you disable these.

The SC Recorder as a Screen Narration Tool

Now let’s return to the transparent layer one last time and discuss the option contain in the checkbox which is to use the default audio input, rather than your system audio.

By default, the SC Recorder captures your system audio. That means that whatever is played, seen or heard on your computer system is what it records. However, when you select this checkbox, the SC Recorder switches from using system audio and instead uses your computer’s default audio input device. This default device is that one that is set in your audio system properties. On a newer machine this is most often going to be a built in microphone.

By selecting this option, a user is able to record their voice through a microphone, thereby allowing them to use the SC Recorder module as a screen narration tool. For this use, you’ll likely be recording in real time, so you’ll be choosing the START button not the TIMER button. With this setting selected and running you will be able to talk and narrate whatever you’d like on your screen, while using your mouse and open/closing or operating other programs.

6. The Options Button/The Help Button

The Options button (the wrench) will allow you to modify the default paths for saving audio and video files you download. You may set a separate path for audio and video, or set the same path for each option.

Clicking the buttons on the far right of the UI will reveal two Options. One is for Help and the other is for Options.

The Help button allows quick access to a number of items. These are:

User Guide – This is a link to the document you are now reading, which provides an overview of the program, features and functions.

Training Videos – This link goes to a page on our website where you can view training videos and tutorials for Download Surgeon

Help Desk – This link goes to our full service Help Desk. If you have problems or questions, this is the first place you should start.

Support Plan Status – This link tells you the status of your subscription, when it expires, and allows you to re-order if your subscription is not active

Check for Updates – The program should normally update automatically, but if it doesn’t for some reason you can select this option to make sure the program is up-to-date.

Sniffer Test – This selection cause the main Sniffer Downloader to perform a test on itself to determine that it is working correctly.

About – This selection opens a window that gives you a variety of information including the version of the software you have installed and running on your machine.

The Options selection contains the following:

It also contains the ability to resize the User interface.

7. Keyboard Shorcuts

The following keyboard shortcuts may be used to operate Download Surgeon

Control + Y - Open YT Module
Control + O - Open the OS Module
Control + S - Open the Sniffer Module
Control + R - Open the SC Recorder