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How to Transfer Recordings From DVR to USB

DVR (digital video recorder) is a storage device used to save security camera footage. 

Because a DVR stores footage locally, it’s essential to transfer the recordings to a hard drive via USB to avoid running out of storage. This also makes it easier to access the footage (via a computer, for example).

In this guide, we’ll explain how to transfer recordings from a DVR to a USB flash drive, and address common concerns about DVR data transfers.

How Can I Transfer Recordings From My DVR to a USB Flash Drive?

Transferring recordings from a DVR to a USB drive is simple enough once you know what you need and how to successfully set it up. 

Here’s how.

What you’ll need:

  • DVR
  • Digital transfer box
  • S-Video cable 
  • Audio cable
  • USB connector 
  • Laptop or computer
  • Installer disk for DVR
  • USB flash drive with adequate storage

1. Plug the S-Video cable into the DVR

Plug the S-Video cable into the back of the DVR in the S-Video output.

Then, plug the other end of the cable into the S-Video input on the digital transfer box.

2. Plug the audio cable into the DVR

To transfer sound in addition to video, plug the left and right audio plugs into the left and right RCA inputs on the back of the DVR.

Then, plug the other ends of the audio cables into the RCA inputs on the digital transfer box.

3. Plug the USB connector into a computer

Connect the digital transfer box to the USB port on your laptop or computer via the USB cable.

4. Insert the installer disc

If you’ve never transferred data from DVR to hard drive before, install the digital transfer program onto the computer you’re using.

Older models come with a disk, which you can insert to install.

If you don’t have the disk or your computer doesn’t have a disk drive, a quick Google search will reveal the drivers you need to install. The instruction manual may also include links to download necessary drivers.

5. Set up the installer disk

When the icon appears on the desktop for the installer disk, click it to open the options. If downloaded from the internet, click to install it.

Follow the instructions that appear onscreen to install the digital transfer program onto the computer.

Once installed, eject the disk and restart the computer if instructed.

6. Launch the digital transfer program

Once the computer has restarted, you can complete the installation and begin using the digital transfer program.

Click the program to launch it. If you’re struggling to locate it, do a quick search for the name in the Start menu (Windows) or launchpad (Mac)

Then click Next to go to the Video screen.

Click the S-Video checkbox.Click Next to continue.

7. Name the file

When the Audio screen appears, click the Stereo checkbox.

Click Next to continue.

In the Name column, name the file that will contain the transferred recordings.Click Next to continue.

8. Switch on the DVR

Next, turn on the DVR.

On the remote control, press the Media button.

Use the arrows to navigate files. Click OK on the remote to select the files that need to be transferred.

9. Start recording

Using the remote, press Play to start playing selected recordings.

Once playing, immediately press the Record button on the computer on the digital transfer program’s screen.

As the recordings play, the footage will be transferred from the DVR onto the computer.

When the recordings have finished playing, press Stop on the remote.Click Next on the computer to continue.

10. Save the recordings

To save the files onto the computer, click the Save button that appears on the screen.

When the Locations pop-up window appears, select Desktop.

Once the pop-up window disappears, quit the digital transfer program by clicking the X button and then Quit Program.

11. Insert the USB flash drive into the computer

Remove the cables from the DVR, digital transfer box, and computer.

Insert the USB flash drive into the USB port on the computer.

Wait until the icon of the flash drive appears on the desktop telling you the flash drive is ready to use.

Click the icon to open the folders on the flash drive.

12. Transfer the recordings to a USB flash drive

Find the folder where the transferred recordings from the DVR are saved, or search the file name.

Drag the file from the computer into the flash drive folders.

Once the file appears in the flash drive’s folder, close the window by clicking X.

On the bottom corner of the screen, right-click the flash drive icon.

Select Eject from the pop-up window.

Remove the flash drive from the computer’s USB port.

Your security recordings are now securely transferred from DVR to USB flash drive and can be viewed on any laptop or PC.

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DVR devices are reliable, and particularly useful for processing 24/7 surveillance footage. That’s why old school security cameras are still used in shopping malls, museums, and other public spaces. 


How can I transfer CCTV footage from DVR to USB?

Here’s how to transfer CCTV footage from a DVR to a USB flash drive:

  1. Plug the S-Video cable into the DVR
  2. Plug the audio cable into the DVR
  3. Plug the USB connector into a computer
  4. Insert the installer disc into the computer
  5. Launch the digital transfer program on the computer
  6. Name the file that you want the recordings to be saved under
  7. Switch on the DVR
  8. Select the files, press play, and start recording
  9. Once playing has finished, save the recordings
  10. Insert the USB flash drive into the computer
  11. Transfer the recordings to the USB flash drive
Is there a way to get recordings off a DVR?

Recordings stored on a DVR can be transferred to any computer, laptop, or USB flash drive via the digital transfer box.

Select the files and press “Record” to transfer the file. This can take several minutes, hours, or even days, depending on how long the footage is.

Once all the recordings have been played, the files can be saved to the computer or transferred to another device, like a USB flash drive.

Once transferred, the files can be uploaded to the Cloud, transferred elsewhere, or shared via email, Airdrop, WhatsApp, text, etc.

Can you use a flash drive with a DVR?

A USB flash drive can be used with a DVR to transfer recordings. To transfer files from a DVR to a flash drive, the footage will need to be viewed, recorded, and saved onto a computer or laptop first.

Then, the DVR files can be moved to another flash drive via USB.

Can you download DVR recordings to an external hard drive?

DVR recordings can be downloaded to an external hard drive after being first transferred to a computer or laptop. Once initially downloaded, you can share or save the recordings to another device, like an external hard drive.

How long does it take to transfer recordings from a DVR to USB?

The time it takes to transfer recordings from a DVR to a USB depends on how long the footage is.

Footage that lasts for 10 minutes will take 10 minutes to transfer. Whereas footage that lasts 4 hours will take around 4 hours.

This is because the footage must be played all the way through as it is recorded onto the USB hard drive. 

What is the difference between NVR and DVR?

NVR connects to a camera via the internet, either wirelessly or with ethernet cables. The footage can be saved locally or uploaded to the cloud. 

On the other hand, DVR connects to a camera via coaxial cables. The footage is stored on the DVR. 

Do home security cameras use NVR or DVR?

Home security cameras rarely use NVR or DVR. Instead, footage uploads to the cloud or onto a microSD card, and users interact with the camera, including the footage it records, on a mobile app. 

Do CCTV cameras use NVR or DVR?

Analog CCTV cameras use DVR, not NVR. The cameras are wired (not wireless) and connect to a digital transfer box.

When recordings are made, the footage is processed and stored on the DVR device.


Transferring footage from DVR to USB is essential if you want to archive the recordings, share them, or access them on other devices.

Provided you have all the necessary equipment (including an audio cable, USB connector, and S-Video cable), it’s easy to transfer recordings from DVR to a USB.