How to Transfer From a DVR to an External Hard Drive

By Richard Morgan

Digital video recorders (DVRs) are used to record programs from cable and satellite broadcasters, storing the data on internal hard drives. Since many DVRs have a limited amount of space, it is sometimes necessary to transfer the data from the DVR to an external hard drive. This transfer can occur either via a wireless network or via USB cables and can be accomplished using different video transfer software programs. In some cases, the transfer can be accomplished using internal programs.

Things You'll Need

  • USB cables

Step 1

Connect the external hard drive to your computer, plugging the hard drive in via a USB cable. Make sure that the computer recognizes the external hard drive by going into "My Computer" and locating the newly added hard drive.

Step 2

Download a video transfer software program. Popular programs include Video Capture, Cam Studio and WM Capture 3.0. See links in Resources.

Step 3

Connect the digital video recorder to the computer. If you have both the DVR and the computer hooked up to the same wireless network, you'll be able to accomplish the data transfer via the wireless network. However, if you aren't on the same wireless network, you can link the DVR with the computer via an open USB port on the computer.

Step 4

Go the recordings queue on your DVR menu. This is where the recordings that you've created can be found. Highlight the recording that you wish to transfer to the external hard drive.

Step 5

Open the video transfer software on your computer. When the program has opened, press "Record" on the screen.

Step 6

Go to the DVR and press "Play" to begin playback onto the computer. As the DVR plays the program, the video transfer software will be recording it. This will be taking place in real-time and you will be able to monitor the transfer as it is being recorded. Press "Stop" when the program has finished playing. Depending upon the length of the program, this can be a lengthy process.

Step 7

Press "Save" to save the program to your external hard drive. Some software will allow the transfer directly to the external hard drive, while others will require the program to be saved to the video transfer software first.

Tips & Warnings

  • Some DVRs have software packages that allow you to directly transfer the data to external hard drives. Check with your manufacturer for availability.
  • Some programs are copyright-protected and transferring them, even from a personal digital video recorder to an external hard drive, can violate federal copyright laws. This is especially true with sports programming.