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How To Extract Links For Mass Image Or File Downloads With JDownloader

Craig Snyder 05-12-2011

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 with sound effects for animals and birds (this link may be dead before you’re able to get to it, so a screenshot is below).

mass file downloader

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.

mass file downloader program

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.

mass file downloader program

Now let’s select where you’ll be saving the files to. Click on the Settings tab and you should see the following.

mass file downloader program

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.

mass file downloader free

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).

mass file downloader free

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.

mass file downloader free

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!

mass file downloader

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.

Related topics: Download Management, Image Editor.

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  1. premium account
    April 27, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    Usually I do not read post on blogs, however I wish to say that this write-up very compelled me to try and do so! Your writing taste has been surprised me. Thank you, quite great post.

  2. JDownloader is Awesome
    December 7, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    JDownloader is awesome! I use it mainly for downloading from one-click sites like Rapidshare and Megaupload, but I have also used it for downloading videos from YouTube. All you do is copy the URL of a YT video and JD can download any and all quality formats as well as the audio, separately. Nice for ripping .mp3 audio directly from the online video without having to reconvert or split the streams :D

    I find it very simple, but then again, I'm probably a little more of an "intermediate" user :) As I personally cannot afford premium accounts for RS/MU etc., I find the "reconnect" feature, which resets your Internet connection to show the service a different IP (works only if you have dynamic vs. static IP from your ISP), very useful and convenient -- no more "you must wait 6 hours before your IP is allowed to download again." Uses HTTP LiveHeader scripts to interact with your browser, and if you're not technically inclined that way (I know I'm not), it offers a "wizard" in which you can actually go through the steps of manually resetting your IP, and JD will "record" these steps and save the settings for future use :)

    The "J" in JDownloader stands for Java, so you'll need the Java Runtimes installed on your computer. But there is a portable JDownloader also available, and even a portable Java from Portable Apps. Most people probably have the JRE on their computers; another great "portability" aspect is that Java is cross-platform, so JDownloader will work on Windows, Mac, and even Linux. My guess is that even mobile OSes will work with it too, so big ups for open source :D

    • me
      May 19, 2012 at 12:36 pm

      that great..but not for my old pc :-(...I liked the firsts versions of jdownloader, but the last is heavy for my pc cause it s built in java...hope they make it in c++ very soon...

  3. Confess
    December 6, 2011 at 7:49 am

    you forgot about video links ........ it is very good advanced tool
    JDownloader can  handle any extension file.......... Reconnection .....
    Also premium accounts ..........

  4. Casr 143
    December 6, 2011 at 2:42 am

    Phew.. You may use Mipony instead. Where in you can just ctrl+A on the page and mipony will detect all the links . Next press download and all done. Plus it has a captcha recognizer which will help you schedule multiple RS downloads.

  5. InformaticoDeGuardia
    December 6, 2011 at 2:06 am

    For this kind of tasks I prefer DownThemAll add-on for Firefox

  6. Niks
    December 6, 2011 at 12:12 am

    Ha !! I mainly use this for downloading from sites like Rapidshare , Megaupload etc. Didn't know it could do this also .

  7. Ashutosh Mishra
    December 5, 2011 at 8:34 pm

    What to do when you have the images/files within sub-directories in the parent directory? Do you have to use the link extraction tool for each sub-directory? 

    • Craig Snyder
      December 8, 2011 at 12:40 pm

      Using this particular method, that is what you'd have to do. However, for huge jobs like that I'd really recommend WinSWD or a similar tool.

  8. Ibrahim Ali
    December 5, 2011 at 7:42 pm

    All this work just to extract/download mass links!! The Firefox add-on Flashgot in combination with any download manager (e.g. Flashget, etc) - in addition to the built-in Firefox downloader - wil do the job CLEANLY. DownThemAll is also awesome. - But if you want more bragging, I guess yeah.

    • Craig Snyder
      December 8, 2011 at 12:41 pm

      My goal with this article was to provide users with a solution that wasn't browser-specific. It's a pain to those who use more obscure browsers to not be able to reap the benefits of a single add-on for a browser like Firefox or Chrome.

  9. Anon
    December 5, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    The download and website address for JDownloader appears to point to a fake copy of the real site.  The address should be (not .com).  See for more information.

    • Tina
      December 6, 2011 at 12:40 pm

      Thanks for the heads-up! The links has been fixed.

    • Mark O'Neill
      December 6, 2011 at 12:54 pm

      Anon, apologies for the mixup in links. As Tina said, the wrong link has been corrected and we appreciate you pointing it out to us.

    • Craig Snyder
      December 7, 2011 at 7:34 pm

      Thank you as well. I sincerely apologize for the mix up, I had JD downloaded for months and months now and foolishly trusted that they had secured their .com domain name. I also see that the natural search ranking of that domain is very high which is incredibly surprising to me.

      If anyone downloaded from the .org domain, leave me a comment or an email and I'll do everything I can to help make sure that you're all good. Again, I really apologize for that mistake and I should have been more careful.

  10. Rajan
    December 5, 2011 at 6:06 pm

    wow. nice utility. good thing is that you can now easily download download some good resource on PC.
    No need to waste time searching, clicking links etc.