My Hard drive has very little free space left. Thus I am trying to get youtube-dl to save the videos onto my external drive. With no luck, so far. Has anyone tried that? Or any ideas on how to proceed? I am new to linux and my interactions with the command prompt can be found below.

me@mycomputer:/$ youtube-dl -o 'media/New Volume/Youtube Downloads' http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=123456789
me@mycomputer:/$ youtube-dl -o '/media/New\ Volume/Youtube\ Downloads' http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=123456789

I thought that would save the videos on the external drive, but instead the things are getting saved in my home folder under ~/media/New Volume/Youtube Downloads. Any help is welcome!

  • Sames issue. I have two windows machines. I use the same code to execute on both. One downloads to the expected directory, one to the home folder. Appears to be some kind of bug system mis configuration from my end but not able to identify. Admin access is not an issue. I guess the 255 character limit or some such thing.
    – Rahul
    Sep 21, 2018 at 6:55

4 Answers 4


How about:

cd '/media/New Volume/Youtube Downloads'
youtube-dl URL1...
youtube-dl URL2...

  • wow. didn't know the folder from which the program was being executed, mattered. thanks a lot. Mar 11, 2013 at 14:52

All of these work for me when run from /home/vasa1. I don't have to first cd to the target folder (or drive):

  • youtube-dl -o "/media/vasa1/TOSHIBA EXT/%(title)s" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqxLmLUT-qc (an external USB drive)

  • youtube-dl -o "/media/vasa1/EC82B9BF82B98E98/%(title)s" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqxLmLUT-qc (an NTFS partition on the internal hard disk)

  • youtube-dl -o "/home/vasa1/Downloads/%(title)s" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqxLmLUT-qc

    I suggest you run youtube-dl --version and then look for your version here: https://github.com/rg3/youtube-dl/tree/. When you click on your version from the list, you'll be taken to a page that has a detailed section on usage.

  • It should have %(title)s.%(ext)s to also write the extension of the file.
    – DannyRe
    Nov 27, 2013 at 20:35
  • @DannyRe, thanks for your comment. I never really thought of needing the extension because my player (gnome-mplayer) plays videos even without extensions although there was a time I did use the .webm extension in my code.
    – user25656
    Nov 28, 2013 at 2:26
  • @DannyRe, I had a bad experience yesterday when the video I downloaded tried to open in Geany because the system thought it was a TROFF document (whatever that is) and the CPU usage rocketed :(. I repeated the download but this time took care to use an extension in the command!
    – user25656
    Nov 30, 2013 at 6:01

This simple function would save "Nyan Cat 10 hours (original).mp4" from YouTube in the Videos folder:

    youtube-dl -o "/Users/daniel/Videos/%(title)s.%(ext)s" $1 -f mp4  

Usage from your terminal:

video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZZ7oFKsKzY

1) create a soft link (symbolic link) to home/USER/ folder

ln -s /media/USER/EXT_DISK ~/home/USER

(USER=user name;EXT_DISK=name of your ext disk)

2) then, youtube-dl -o ~/EXT_DISK/"%(title)s-%(id)s.%(ext)s" -f 249 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xxxxxxx

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