All posts for the month May, 2021

Saving thumbnails from youtube videos is a problem especially if it’s from a channel you don’t own. There are solutions for downloading youtube videos and there are also many websites that allow you to paste ONE youtube link to get the thumbnail. If you are backing up a youtube channel either for archival or your own purpose, there is no way to get the thumbnails and data for all the videos as far as I can tell. So I made this program. It will also retrieve data like ID, title, viewCount, and uploadDate and will store that in an index text file. You need to get a bunch of youtube links to paste in. I get them by using the Firefox add-on called “Copy Selected Links”. I can then goto a YouTube channel, click videos, scroll down, and select/copy the videos I want. If you do the whole channel, make sure you only select like 50-ish videos at a time otherwise the copy links doesn’t work. Then you paste all that into my program and it’ll save your thumbnails. It doesn’t actually take very long even though it takes a while to describe. The end goal could be an offline video archival system with another program to view the content offline and load up VLC media player or whatever.

For programmers: There’s not a very easy way to get youtube data without using their stupid API key system. You’re not meant to obtain youtube data without it, but there are ways. The one way is to use this link: and just put the ID in there. You’ll then need to decode the data with Uri.UnescapeDataString(url). It’s confusingly Uri, not Url. There are other methods of this too. Once you do that, you’ll have a string with all the youtube data in it, then you can just perform normal string based functions on it. It’s almost like a JSON object, but seems clustered, so I don’t think you can just use a JSON reader on it. My program uses NO libraries at all (except .NET 4.0). The icon size is many times bigger than the program itself.


I have updated the program to get video data in addition to the thumbs. It gets ID, title, views, and upload date and puts them in an index file called 1A_YouTube.txt in the same folder. It’s sorted in chronological order. You can search that file to find the video you want. I made this software for my own archival purpose, but I think others may find it useful. If you have a request, send a message under contact us. If I make the final version, it WILL NOT be open source. I am a partial open source advocate – meaning I will give source, but only for small or preliminary versions.

New link:

New source:

Old Version

Here’s the link to the old thumbnail downloader:

Here’s the main source file (no project, sorry):