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Download and View Flash SWF Movies

by Oscar Sodani
July 23, 2004

Oscar Sodani is a founder of Help2Go and owner of Help2Go Networks, an IT consulting firm in the Washington D.C. area. Oscar holds the CISSP certification as well as industry certifications from Microsoft, Cisco and Novell.

If you're like me, you could spend an entire work week watching little Flash animations on your computer. There are new ones every day made by some very funny and creative folks, and many are good for a chuckle, if not a laugh out loud. Some have even made the news recently (JibJab). Maybe you saw a Flash animation once that you thought was hilarious, but a few days later you found that the site had been taken down. By following these steps, you can view that Flash animation anytime you like, to show it to your friends, etc.

It's very important that you respect the intellectual property rights of the creators of these movies. Many of the artists do it for fun, but just as many depend on the extra cash that the movies bring them via advertising on their site. If you download a Flash file for safe-keeping, please make sure you visit the artist's website often to lend your support.

When you view a Flash movie, it is actually downloaded to your computer automatically, so that the Flash plug-in in your web browser can display it for you. Mozilla-based browsers obscure the file, so that you cannot view it directly. Internet Explorer, however, saves it as-is to your hard drive, making it much easier to view it later on. This is a loop-hole in Internet Explorer, but we'll take advantage of it here.

Note: These instructions are meant for the Windows XP operating system. Other Windows operating systems may vary slightly. If you are running a cache-management program, you may have to disable that first (if you don't know what that means, then you probably don't have to worry about it).


  • To download the file, open up Windows Explorer and go to the web site that has the Flash movie. View it as normal.
  • Next, download SWF-Opener, a free program that will let you view Flash movies from your hard drive.
  • Double-click the SWFOpener icon to install the program.
  • Once installed, click on Start => Programs => UnH Solutions => SWF Opener => SWF Cache Viewer
  • The SWF Cache Viewer will show you all the Flash Movies that have been stored in your Internet Explorer cache. Browse through, and you can select the one you want to view.


Internet Explorer will periodically clear the cache, so if you want to save the movie for later, click on the Save As... button and choose a destination. It will save the file as a SWF Flash Movie. You can then open the file by starting SWF Opener by clicking on Start => Programs => UnH Solutions => SWF Opener => SWF Opener.

Have fun, and please respect those copyrights!

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