Five download utilities that simplify the process

Brien Posey lists tools that will simplify your large scale downloads.

When faced with multiple downloads it is usually easier to use a download manager than to try to manually download everything using the browser. This article discusses five such tools that are readily available and can help to simplify large scale downloads.

This blog post is also available as a TechRepublic Gallery.

Five apps

1. Internet Download Manager

Internet Download Manager is a download utility that integrates with your Web browser to intercept any download operations that you initiate. This application has a relatively simple interface, but still offers some nice options. For example, you can opt to perform a download later on, and there is an option to throttle the amount of bandwidth used by the download process.

Internet Download Manager costs $24.95, but a free 30-day trial is available for download.

2. JDownloader

JDownloader is a free Java based download manager. What makes JDownloader different from some of the other downloaders is that the interface is designed to allow you to provide a Web site's URL. After doing so, JDownloader will parse the page's contents and download anything that happens to be on the page. This can be especially handy for extracting videos from a Web page.

3. DownloadX ActiveX Download Control

DownloadX ActiveX Download Control is a free download manager that uses a very simple interface. After opening the download manager, you must simply click the plus icon and then enter the URL for the file that you are downloading along with a display name and a set of optional authentication credentials. The file is then added to a download list. You can use the interface to launch downloads in a specific order or to perform parallel downloads.

Although this download manager is simple and handy, setting it up can be a bit of a chore. You will need to install version 3.51 of the .NET Framework. You will also have to be careful during the installation process not to accidentally install a bundled set of utilities called TuneUp Utilities and all of the browser add-ins that come with it.

4. GetGo Download Manager

GetGo Download Manager is a free download manager, but is far more feature rich than the other download managers that have been discussed so far.

Downloads can be manually added to the download manager, or the download manager can automatically engage when a download is attempted through Internet Explorer. When you start a download, you have the option of categorizing and prioritizing the download. You can also add comments to help you keep track of what you are downloading. GetGo Download Manager even includes a bandwidth monitor that keeps track of your Internet bandwidth usage.

5. Star Downloader Free

Star Downloader Free is a free download manager that is designed to expedite your downloads. Normally downloading a file is a serial operation. Star Downloader changes that by splitting large files into several pieces that can be downloaded simultaneously.

Star downloader also features a number of bells and whistles such as a download scheduler and the ability to categorize downloads. There is also a handy pause and resume feature.

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Brien Posey is a seven-time Microsoft MVP. He has written thousands of articles and written or contributed to dozens of books on a variety of IT subjects.


Flashget??? have been using this download manager for years and has always performed well. yea, i know, the author no longer updates it ..... but then if it aint broke, there aint no need to fix. over the years i have tried a number of free download managers but always keep coming back to flashget. The only other dlmanager i use is Download helper in Firefox and that too does the job i wabt it to do. as for the ones above in the article - never heard of them, never used them, never will use them, as i said. Flashget for me.


I normally use the standard download tool in the Opera web browser. This does seem reliable, and includes a handy "resume" button for those annoying times when a multi-gigabyte download fails part way through. As well as downloading by clicking a link on a webpage, you can also type or copy/paste a URL directly into Opera's download tool. In its default state, it seems able to download from up to five URLs at a time. Any extra downloads are queued. Opera also includes a Torrent feature; useful eg. for downloading some Linux distros.


I use Firefox with the DownloadHelper add-on.


Their download function is so smooth and reliable I couldn't even grasp the purpose of this article when I saw the title in my Daily Digest email. How could it possible get simpler then using Opera? I also use the very basic but effective built-in BT client for d/ling the occasional Linux distro (or whatever - heh).

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