Do You Need a Download Manager?
A reader asks: “I download files often, and sometimes wonder if I should be using one of those 'download manager' or 'download accelerator' programs that are promoted online. What exactly do they do, and should I use one?” Here's what you need to know...
What is a Download Manager?
A download manager is a program that makes downloading files faster, easier, and more reliable. Most people don’t need a download manager, but under the right circumstances such software can be very useful.
If you routinely download many files, a download manager will save you significant amounts of keystrokes as well as time. If you live in a rural area with relatively slow and unreliable Internet service, a download manager will make the best use of your scarce resources. Here is how download managers work.
First, a download manager helps you prioritize, schedule, and organize your downloads. You may want a particular file that’s updated daily in the wee hours of the morning. Or you might want to download a large file while you're away from the computer, so it doesn't slow down anything else.
A download manager can be scheduled to start a download at a specified time, and even shut down your PC when the download is completed.
Some download managers can detect when a file has been freshly created or updated and download it automatically. Download managers can save files of different types or name patterns to different folders automatically.
In these and other ways, a download manager can save you personal effort and thought.
Hitting the Accelerator...
And of course, make sure you have a dependable anti-virus program before downloading anything. Here are my recommended Free Anti-Virus Programs
The worst part of downloading is the wait time, of course. All download managers include “accelerator” techniques that make more efficient use of the bandwidth available to your PC. Many Web sites limit the amount of bandwidth they allocate to a browser’s connection, so a download manager may open multiple connections and use their combined bandwidth allocations to download a file faster. A similar technique opens connections to multiple sites on which the same file resides, downloading parts of the file from each and assembling them on your hard drive.
Dozens of download managers are available online. Five of the most well-reviewed download managers are:
Download Accelerator Plus by Speedbit promises to boost your download speed by 300% and integrates seamlessly into the Internet Explorer browser. DAP starts automatically when you click any download link, and includes an optional video player that lets you watch video files as they are downloading.
Flashget for Windows is reputed to download files up to six times faster than an unassisted Web browser. It supports Bittorrent peer-to-peer downloads, too.
Internet Download Manager features error recovery and the ability to resume or restart downloads that are interrupted by network problems, or unexpected computer shutdowns. IDM captures YouTube and MySpace TV streaming videos to files. It integrates with most browsers and has a simple user interface.
Free Download Manager is an open-source project maintained and supported by volunteers. They’re all geeks, so the user interface is geeky and untidy. But the program has lots of geeky options including capture of Flash videos and Bittorrent support.
GetRight can resume interrupted downloads when they left off, a handy feature if your Internet connection (or the download site) is unreliable. It even supports automatic launch of dial-up Internet connections, and includes its own browser.
A word to the wise: I've given the developer website links for each of the download managers listed above, so you don't accidentally download a fake or adulterated version of the software. I encourage you to use those links, to be sure you're getting the real thing.
Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 17 Mar 2015
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Do You Need a Download Manager? (Posted: 17 Mar 2015)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved