We’ve published lots of articles about download managers here at MakeUseOf. FlashGet, Free Download Manager, and Download Accelerator plus are some of the favorites among Windows users. DownThemAll is usually the pick when we’re going for a mass downloader compatible with our favorite browser. One that we’ve yet to feature is JDownloader. Some would say that it’s for the more advanced user, but it’s quickly becoming my favorite.
To help you guys fall in love with this little tool, I’m here to show you how to use JDownloader, in conjunction with a free and simple web tool, to mass download images or other files from open directories and websites.
In this example, I’ll be using an open directory that I found over at /r/opendirectories on Reddit. That’s a great little spot to find downloadable content in ridiculous amounts. From there, I’ve managed to find an open directory full of sound effects. Let’s check out one (this link may be dead before you’re able to get to it, so a screenshot is below).
We’re hoarders and we want it all. The next step is to go to Webmaster Toolkit’s Link Extractor. This unique little tool will extract the links and images of any website you push through. Let’s copy and paste the open directory’s URL here. Since they’re links, we are extracting HREFs, not IMGs. IMGs would be used for extracting images. Those results should show up as displayed below.
Copy all of the results, excluding the last one. The last one is the parent directory link, which is basically one folder up in the directory. For anyone downloading from many open directories, you’ll always want to exclude the last result. Even if you include it though, you’ll just be downloading a single HTML webpage, so it’s not a big deal. Make sure the results are copied to your clipboard.
Your next step is to download JDownloader and get it running.
Now let’s select where you’ll be saving the files to. Click on the Settings tab and you should see the following.
After you’ve selected your directory, click the Linkgrabber tab. The Linkgrabber is basically JDownloader’s built-in system for checking the validity of links. That way, you won’t be attempting to download 404 pages or files that do not exist. It’s a good middleman between you and getting the files you want. Near the bottom left of this window, click Add URL(s). You should then see the following.
JDownloader has attempted to pull the list of URLs we copied from your clipboard, but for some reason the application seems to handle URLs with spaces incorrectly. Links should not include spaces, anyway.
Let’s bring up Notepad now. Paste your list of URLs. From the Edit menu, click Replace…. In the Find what: field, you want to put in a space. In the Replace with field, you want to enter “%20” (without quotes). %20 is the hexidecimal value for a space. Then click Replace All. It should then replace all spaces with the hexidecimal value, and you’ll see an awful lot of them in your list. Don’t worry, that means it worked (you do not need to include this step in the process for websites without spaces in links, which is the case 99% of the time).
Now we want to copy that list of URLs. Delete the single line in the JDownloader list and paste our new list. JDownloader then proceeds to check every file in the list and gives you a total download size.
Now, click the play button at the top to start your downloads. You’ll be automatically switched to the Downloads tab and you’ll be able to monitor your download progress. Your files are now downloading!
Remember, using the link extractor you can extract HREFs or IMGs. If you have a particular page, forum thread, or other website filled with images you want to save, you can use this exact same process.
If you need any help or have any other questions regarding this little method, feel free to drop a line in the comments. JDownloader is for more advanced users (in my opinion) and further unassisted configuration can get a little tricky. I’m here to help.