The Best Free File Download Managers for Windows

Simon Slangen 21-12-2008

best download manager for windows One type of application I really wouldn’t be able to miss is my download manager.

Download managers are Godsend. They allow us to accelerate, manage and time all of our downloads.

One of the major features of a download manager or accelerator is the file splitting process. This splits the file into different chunks – sections – which it then downloads simultaneously. This can allow some downloads to go up to five or ten times faster.

Over the years, numerous file download managers popped up, but I was especially surprised to see how many free ones were available. So, enter my best best download managers for windows.

FlashGet [No Longer Available]

flashget FlashGet is one of the most popular download managers available. Both themselves and their huge userbase have named them “The Best Download Manager Program”.

This download manager runs pretty low on system resources, hence the influence on your usual computing behaviour is limited to a bare minimum. All these downloaded files can be easily organised through various categories, so wave goodbye to your ever so messy desktop.

Anti-virus integration is also supported – this allows you to specify an anti-virus application and plan instant virus-scans on all your downloaded files.

However, FlashGet’s biggest power lies in protocol support. HTTP, FTP, BitTorrent, MMS and RTSP are just a handful of the supported protocols.

flashget - best download manager program

FlashGet is available for Windows, download it here. Version 2.00 available here.

Free Download Manager

free download manager Free Download Manager (FDM) is a 100% free, open-source program released under the GNU General Public License. This means that the source code can be accessed by everyone and improved versions can be made by the community.

Besides supporting the HTTP, HTTPS, FTP and BitTorrent protocols, the Free Download manager can also grab flash video content from various websites such as YouTube, Daily Media and Google Video.

The feature that makes the Free Download Manager stand out is getting a ‘community opinion’ on files. This means that you’ll see what other members of the community have to say about the file you’re about to download. Through this function, Free Download Manager tries to warn you for any malicious downloads.

Several other functions include a built-in upload manager to easily share your files with your friends, colleagues and family, a remote control option and portable installation support.

download manager freeware

Free Download Manager is available for 32bit Windows, download it here.

Download Accelerator Plus [No Longer Available]

download accelerator plus With 165 million users worldwide, Download Accelerator Plus is the market leader in download acceleration and management.

Several new features became available with the release of version 9.00. Download Accelerator Plus now features a YouTube downloader The 5 Best Tools to Download Streaming Video From Any Website If you want to download videos from websites using online tools and programs, we've rounded up the best to get the job done quickly. Read More , similar to Free Download Manager. The Preview Function allows you to check the validity or quality of any unfinished video and audio files, and a free video converter allows you to put your downloaded videos in PSP and iPod format.

Download Accelerator Plus works with a Multi Antivirus security analysis to protect you from most malicious downloads.

The only problem with Download Accelerator Plus are their constant tries to promote the premium version.

The Best Free File Download Managers for Windows dap

Download Accelerator Plus is available for Windows, download it here.

Alternative Download Manager Freeware.

Of course the download manager arsenal isn’t limited to the above three applications. Below are other free download managers that didn’t manage to get featured but might be worth a look.

  • Net Transport
  • Fresh Download
  • WackGet – a very minimalistic download manager

Which application do you use, and why? Do you know of any other options? Drop them in a comment below.

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  1. Anny
    January 13, 2016 at 8:37 am

    Thanks for comment about freeware downloader for Mac. This is how I start to use Folx.

  2. Chris
    July 19, 2009 at 9:27 pm

    I use both FDM and FlashGet, but is there any way to integrate any download managers with Chrome, or at least any download managers that are compatible with Chrome, or even support Chrome?

    • Jay
      July 19, 2009 at 11:17 pm

      I think Orbit Downloader integrates well with Chrome, but I'm not sure. I'm on linux now.

  3. Rinkesh
    January 10, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    Pls suggest me good download manager ?

    • Chris
      March 30, 2009 at 9:56 pm

      You're joking?

      Scroll up.

  4. WolvenSpectre
    December 26, 2008 at 11:40 pm

    First, Net Transfer is Trialware not Freeware. It was free several years ago, and had amazing download speeds when set right, but it was too aggressive and several server management packages started to IP block anybody who used it at a busy time of day. After that they had to be less aggressive with the functionality and at the same time made the software for pay.

    I have been using FDM with Opera since before 9. The plugin really is not as good as it should be, and I suggest three things;

    1) go into your preferences for FDM, and do NOT check the Opera Integration under monitoring. Instead make sure you have the clipboard monitoring checked. This way if you want a file downloaded you right click on the link and choose "copy link". The advantage of doing it this way is there are no blank tabs opened for the downloads. BTW Opera... Fix that already!

    2) Get "Oget" and install it. This will modify your download preferences, which is a little difficult for the more armature user, so that most of your common download file extensions are set to download with FDM. It never sets it up the way I like and I am sure that it will miss something you want too. If you want to use it though, you can use the clipboard monitoring setting in FDM to get the ones it misses.

    3) Modify the downloads preferences yourself as you need them. Make sure the FDM plugin is off at the bottom of the settings, then change the radio button settings to "Open with other application" and point it to the FDM.EXE file in your program files, then check the box underneath that says pass URL to application. Do this for every file type you want to download. Just remember in some certain cases Opera will override this and make you download it using Opera's file manager. If it is a large file you want to use FDM for, stop it in the Transfers Tab and at the bottom of the screen you can copy the path that it is downloading from. Put this in FDM and it should work.

  5. mchlbk
    December 23, 2008 at 2:43 pm

    Ok, totally new to download managers, please excuse me for asking what might be a pretty stupid q:

    Im using Firefox 3 with DownThemAll. Can a download manager improve the download speed even further?

    • Simon Slangen
      December 23, 2008 at 2:50 pm

      Slightly, perhaps, but not much.

  6. Pika
    December 22, 2008 at 2:15 pm

    Are there any good freeware dlmanagers/fire fox addons for mac's out there?

  7. Nero
    December 22, 2008 at 8:19 am

    Add me to the list of Orbit fans.

    I'm very surprised not to have seen the DownThemAll extension for Firefox. It's the first thing I use and will use Orbit's Grab engine for those tough to grab files.

  8. hereortogo
    December 22, 2008 at 8:05 am

    Meta Products Download Express has served me VERY well for a couple of years now. I've tried the others on the list and like DE the best.

  9. jonneh
    December 22, 2008 at 5:25 am

    may i suggest orbitdownloader? i use it. orbitdownloader is free and support browser integration with IE, Firefox, Opera.

  10. Sharninder
    December 22, 2008 at 4:00 am

    I use downthemall with firefox. I've used the above mentioned ones at one time or the other but downthemall is the most convenient of them all for me.

  11. Ashutosh Mishra
    December 22, 2008 at 12:01 am

    I love FDM, but the stable 2.5 build doesn't YET work with Firefox 3 or Opera 9.6 (even the 2.6 beta build doesn't work well!), so I'm being forced to use DAP Free. DAP is good, but I hate those ads.

    Never had a good experience with FlashGet. I don't even think it's being actively developed anymore.

    • Nicole
      December 22, 2008 at 4:32 am

      Weird, I have used Free Download Manager with Firefox 3 without any problems for some time now.

  12. venkat
    December 21, 2008 at 11:59 pm

    Download Accelerator is good but it displays ads in the program that's why I don't like it. My favorite is Internet Download Manager(IDM) ,I surprise to see no one talking about it.It is compatible with all browsers including Google Chrome.We have option to download YouTube videos as well in IDM.Havingd said that it's not free.

    • Simon Slangen
      December 22, 2008 at 5:24 am

      A great download manager indeed, perhaps even the best, but sadly it isn't a free one.

  13. Ajay
    December 21, 2008 at 11:31 pm

    I am suprised you missed out Orbit Downloader from this list. This is an excellent piece of software that I stumbled upon a few years back and never moved away. Excellent integration with IE, Firefox, Opera, or you can just install Flashgot for Firefox or Flock.

    It also allows capturing of videos from YouTube, Metacafe etc.

  14. Navjot Singh
    December 21, 2008 at 10:57 pm

    Link to Flashget 2.0 is broken. Pls fix it. It points to image.

  15. Jay
    December 22, 2008 at 3:55 am

    I already try all of those program except NetTransport & WackGet. But the one I finally use is: Orbit Downloader. It integrates very well with Firefox and couple with DownloadHelper plugins you can download almost anything. Still miss? It has Grab++ feature that you can activate to "sniff" any downloadable media/links.

  16. Shreela
    December 21, 2008 at 6:59 pm

    I watch movies from lesser known movie sites, so at the time I researched DL managers that also DL'd flv's, Orbit seemed like my best choice for downloading from almost any site that hosts flv's.

    I recently installed FlashGot extension because I came across a few pages with multiple links, but was delighted to find that FlashGot extension has a "media" icon in the bottom menu that I notice only when there's an flv loaded (maybe it loads at other times, but I don't look for the icon then). I can get around the Grab thingee in Orbit, which I used to have to reload the embedded webpage in order for Grab to 'grab' the flv. Now all I do is click on the icon in the status bar.

    But Orbit doesn't get all flv's for me; I guess some sites block anything other than a browser, and I haven't found a way to change my referral info in Orbit.

    Oh, and although I had found a site saying Orbit can be setup to DL from file sharing sites, I wasn't able to work it out at the time. I tried RapGet after reading the post from MUO, but it failed on me LOL, so jDownloader works great after learning it. But it would be great if I could only use one DL manager. I don't see jDownloader, or Rapget in FlashGot extension's dropdown menu.

    Gantry asked why people use DL managers. If I didn't want to DL flv's from obscure sites, I probably wouldn't use one anymore. Unless it's an flv, I usually just use FF's DL manager.

  17. Gantry Rogue
    December 21, 2008 at 5:43 pm

    I don't get why anyone needs download managers. Downloads never fail for me, they are fast enough, I don't need to install anything, have some extraneous utility that takes up system resources or add another layer of problems. Seems as dubious as the old "ram doubler" utilities that were later debunked.

    • Simon Slangen
      December 21, 2008 at 6:08 pm

      - They make your downloads even faster
      - They allow you to plan and align your downloads

      Download managers are especially handy if you have to download a large batch of files.

  18. Paul
    December 21, 2008 at 5:40 pm

    I also really liked Flashget but recent hacks of their update server have left the program open to malware, Virus, or worse.
    Because of this I have had to delete the application and install Orbit downloader.

    • Ade
      April 13, 2009 at 2:27 am

      When you have Flashget insatlled and you run XoftSpySE you get a whole heap of severe high risk warnings with it. This even happens when you remove it from progarmmes. I found this out a month after I thought I had removed everything. I would never have known if didn't have this programme. I will try Orbit next as people say a lot of good things about it.

  19. Martin
    December 21, 2008 at 5:28 pm

    Thanks for your review Simon. I'm wondering if you can tell us if you know of any free download managers which also allow for scheduling, as I need to do all my downloads during my ISP's off-peak time?
    Keep up the good work buddy.

    • Simon Slangen
      December 21, 2008 at 6:25 pm

      All three of them have 'Scheduling' or 'Planning' options in the 'new download' window.

  20. boogie
    December 21, 2008 at 4:21 pm

    I have to say that it's disappointing not to see such a worthy contender as Orbit Downloader on the list. It does everything other listed programs do + it has a wonderful browser integration that allows you to download virtually any Flash content (be it a Youtube clip or an Imeem song).

  21. Howard Pearce
    December 21, 2008 at 3:40 pm

    FDM was a great download manager . it is incompatible with 64-bit and I see no plans to make it so.

    • Simon Slangen
      December 21, 2008 at 3:58 pm

      Yeah, it's a pain, but I was able to install the 32bit version on my 64bit Vista installation.

  22. Victor V.
    December 21, 2008 at 3:27 pm

    Before I try any one of these, what I need to know is when they integrate with Firefox.

    I've used them all, but they just don't seem to fit Firefox...