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I love finding and downloading stuff. I think it’s one of the best things about the Internet. The kick you get when you find an absolute gem is just unbeatable. Even though I try to resist, I always end up as a digital packrat, with all the junk Avoid Junk Piling up on Your Computer with These Strategies Avoid Junk Piling up on Your Computer with These Strategies Not only can you free up precious space, you might also experience improved system performance. Do it regularly or automate the process, we'll show you how. Read More that inevitably comes with it.

Standalone download tools The Best Windows Software The Best Windows Software Windows is swimming in a sea of free applications. Which ones can you trust and which ones are the best? If you're unsure or need to solve a specific task, consult this list. Read More , such as Flashget, were used a lot in the past. However, as browsers became faster and more advanced, downloading functions disappeared inside the browser Grab One Or All Of Your Downloads With Any Download Manager & FlashGot [Firefox] Grab One Or All Of Your Downloads With Any Download Manager & FlashGot [Firefox] Aah downloads! Probably the favorite activity we indulge in all day instead of shutting down the computer and taking a walk outside. Thanks to download managers, we can actually take a walk outside without us... Read More as either an app, or as a seamless part of the browser itself.

But there is still a place for download managers in our computing lives.

downloadsuccess

Why Should You Use a Download Manager?

Firstly, by using a download manger you are less dependent on your browser to do your downloads for you. If you are downloading a really big file, such as the Ubuntu installation file, that can slow your browser right down to a crawl, making other online activities rather difficult and frustrating.

Secondly, browser download tools also don’t download things very fast. When I compared the downloading time for the Ubuntu file between the browser and the download managers profiled below, the download managers left the browsers behind in the dust.

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Finally, if your browser crashes for any reason, the download typically crashes with it. Browsers such as Firefox and Chrome offer the function of restarting the download – but it will start again from the beginning. This is extremely annoying if you are at 99% of a very large file, then your browser decides to crash on you.

It is much better to have all of your downloads automatically sent to a dedicated download manager, which will remain independent of your browser’s antics, as well as speeding up the downloading times significantly.

Standalone Download Managers

For starters, let’s go over the best standalone download managers for the desktop. Later on, I will look at a few browser-based ones, if you want to download small-ish files, which likely won’t weigh down the CPU.

In all cases in this section, I will be downloading the Ubuntu ISO installation file, and the programs are for Windows only (with the exception of uTorrent, which is cross-platform).

EagleGet

As well as a serious looking eagle in the top corner, EagleGet claims to boost download speeds by as much as six times the usual speed. When I tested it, the Ubuntu download definitely took off like a rocket, so it’s a claim I am inclined to believe. Plus, if you want to, you can integrate EagleGet into Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Opera.

eagleget

What is also neat is that you can schedule certain downloads to start on certain days at certain times (obviously you need to remember to keep your computer on for that). EagleGet also automatically detects all of the media on a webpage, and throws in a built-in malware checker and file integrity verifier. In short, I love this one.

For some reason, that eagle is reminding me of Sam the Eagle in the Muppets.

samtheeagle

Free Download Manager

What attracted me to this one is that, once you have installed and configured Free Download Manager, you can then make a portable version The Best Portable Apps The Best Portable Apps Portable apps are light software versions that can be run from a USB drive without being installed on the host computer. We have selected the best ones for a number of tasks. Read More with a couple of mouse clicks. This includes all of the configurations you have just made. So you can use Free Download Manager, with all of your settings, across all of your Windows devices, without the need to install it again from scratch. Sweet. Why can’t all software have this option?

freedownloadmanager

You can remotely start new downloads via the Internet, preview audio and video files before the download is finished (good for filtering out Justin Bieber). Download speeds are sped up like Road Runner on crack cocaine, with the file being split up into sections, and then all sections simultaneously being downloaded.

The software also has a tool called HTML Spider, which enables you to download whole websites. If that’s your thing.

FlashGet

FlashGet was the software I used more than 15 years ago, to download every single file I could get my hands on (and in the process, quite a few viruses, too). But what is disturbing about this one, is that the font used on some of the interface is really horrible. It is small and looks like something from Windows XP Why Windows XP Won't Be Going Away Anytime Soon Why Windows XP Won't Be Going Away Anytime Soon People cannot let go of Windows XP. In businesses and homes the world over, it will stick around. We spoke with three Windows XP users from different generations and backgrounds to find out why. Read More .

flashget

Nevertheless, FlashGet remains my downloader of choice. For a start, I am a sucker for brand loyalty (why break a running system?). Secondly, the download speeds on FlashGet are amazing (the site claims 6 to 10 times as fast), and thirdly, there is a small download square, which sits on the desktop (and can stay on top of all other windows). To start a download, simply drag the download link onto the square, and FlashGet takes care of the rest.

flashget

Once a download is finished, the file is checked for any nasty critters in the area of viruses or malware. FTP sites are supported, as well as torrents (although uTorrent more than handles torrent files, in my opinion).

GetGo

GetGo kind of pales in comparison to FlashGet, as it only offers download speeds up to 5 times as fast (pfff…amateur!). It touts its capabilities though to pick up and continue interrupted downloads, due to computer crashes, lost connections, power outages, alien invasions, zombies, and nuclear armageddon (OK, I made the last three up).

getgo

It can detect and download web videos, using its integrated browser, as well as handle batch downloads. Each file in the batch download can be automatically named if you specify a naming template format.

uTorrent

Everybody knows uTorrent, the best download client there is for downloading torrents. Torrents get a bad rap because of the illegal filesharing (which I know absolutely nothing about, your Honor, honestly). But legal torrents can download quite fast if you also allow people to download from you too. Quite a lot of software programs offer torrent versions of their installation files.

utorrent

What is wonderful is the size of this thing – just over 1MB! A digital photo takes up more space than that. So as you can imagine, installation takes just seconds. And the control freaks will love the automation, scripts, and remote access. Versions in 15 languages ensures that there is a good chance that the main world languages are covered in there.

Browser Download Managers

After reading all of that, you might not be totally sold on the idea of a standalone desktop manager. That’s fine. I left my thumbscrews at home today, so I’m not here to force anything on you. So let’s take a look at some browser-based download managers.

DownThemAll (Mozilla Firefox)

This is another download manager that I am totally in love with. I have been devastated for a long time that the developer has chosen not to make a Chrome version, because DownThemAll kicks butt. It’s the one reason I keep Firefox installed on my computer (well that, and cheating newspaper and magazine firewalls by switching browsers when my free monthly quota is finished).

downthemall

DownThemAll is able to detect all media on a webpage, and you can use filters to get rid of unnecessary files (it detects EVERYTHING). You can add direct download links and it will jump into action immediately. And it can pick up interrupted downloads. Class! Plus did I mention that it integrates into Firefox’s download menu? So when you want to save a file, it will offer DownThemAll as an option.

Video Download Helper (Mozilla Firefox & Google Chrome)

If you are just a casual downloader of web videos 18 Free Ways To Download Any Video Off The Internet 18 Free Ways To Download Any Video Off The Internet Read More , then this one may be sufficient for your needs. Video Download Helper sits in the corner of your browser, and if there is a video you want to download, just click the button and choose which version you want.

adele

One interesting thing to note though – any download managers in the Chrome store will on occasion refuse to download YouTube videos (since both Chrome and YouTube are Google-owned). In this case, the download worked, but in other cases, I got an error message.

Chrono Download Manager (Google Chrome)

Chrono claims to be designed “exclusively for Google Chrome”. It pretty much takes over Chrome’s baked in download function and is integrated into Chrome context menus, toolbar buttons and keyboard shortcuts.

chrono

Something called the “Chrono Sniffer” does the usual detecting of all links, images, audio and video on a webpage, and you can filter what you need and don’t need. It does a good job of downloading selected files, but it didn’t detect all the files on the pages I tested it on.

Video Downloader Professional (Google Chrome)

This one is a good video downloader, but it point-blank refused to download anything from YouTube. So to test it, I had to go to Vimeo. Initially the Vimeo video was not detected, but Video Downloader Professional advised that sometimes a video has to start on the page before it can be found. And what do you know? I started it, and the video popped up.

videoprofessional

If the download manager finds MP4 files on a page, you can use Chromecast How to Set Up Your New Google Chromecast How to Set Up Your New Google Chromecast If you own a brand new Chromecast but have no idea how to use it, let our easy-to-follow guide help you get started in mere minutes. Read More to view the videos on your TV set. Videos can also be saved to a list, so you can leave the page and still watch the video later.

To Download or Not to Download…..

It’s time for you to head down to the comments, and tell us – are you a huge digital packrat by downloading every single file you can see? Which tool do you use to keep those downloading files in order?

Image Credit: Download Success – Pixabay

  1. Janguasha87x
    January 27, 2016 at 10:27 pm

    I use EagleGet, a free all-in-one download manager (Mirror: http://www.filehorse.com/download-eagleget/). The only obstacle it has is its sneakiness. Make it more clear. This software will install unknown software without your acceptance or permission. Even you wouldn't know it till you tally the installed program list in the control panel..

  2. Charvin
    December 19, 2015 at 10:30 am

    Flash get really needs an update after all these years, There is issues with https links but well. Their Chinese version seems updated this year, or as shown in their Chinese version of the site.

  3. siborden
    November 11, 2015 at 9:03 am

    The most powerful download manager I've ssen thus far is the one in Citrio browser (http://citrio.com/). It's the closest thing to dTa for Chrome. Also has a video downloader built-in.

  4. Matthew Unwin
    November 10, 2015 at 9:21 pm

    I just download through chrome for small downloads. For larger downloads (more than 200mb) I use ochDownloader. It is very simple and just requires you to copy a link and it will add it to its download list where you can just click download. Speed is very fast and download resuming works good (which is what I got it for in the first place). It has not been updated for years but I have been using it since it was recommended on muo over 2 1/2 years ago.

    http://www.github.com/nitely/ochDownloader/downloads

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