Best Free Download Manager

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Introduction

There comes a time when you are downloading a large file and the download stops part of the way through. If you are using the Windows download applet there is nothing you can do about it; you will just have to start again. A good download manager will allow you to resume the download, picking up where it left off.

Good download managers also allow you to start several concurrent download sessions from available resources for the one file. This works by splitting the file into parts with each part downloaded at the same time from multiple or mirrored resources. At the end the file is re-assembled, like "joining pieces of me to become me" by the download managers.

This can result in dramatic improvements in download speed given a transmission speed limited by Internet service providers.

Below are a few free download managers short listed for review based on the basic requirements including:

  • Speed, or lapsed time to download a file
  • Interface with clipboard, web browsers and supported protocols
  • Management of downloaded files
  • Other features 
 
Discussion

Free Download ManagerFree Download Manager is a popular download manager and a good choice for its stability, nice user interface and support for various browsers such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Opera and Safari.

The program offers simultaneous multi-part downloads from several mirrors to increase the download speed, with a powerful scheduler to start and pause downloading files at the preset time.

It also features downloads from RapidShare, prioritized and partial torrent downloads, adjusting traffic usage, flash video download and an upload manager. Management of downloaded files is well supported.

Upon installation of the application, uncheck 'install Software Informer' if you don't need it. A lite version of the program is also available with optional plugins.

GetGo Download ManagerApart from downloading various types of files, GetGo Download Manager helps download your favorite videos from YouTube and other websites with embedded FLV flash videos with one-click.

It integrates with IE and Firefox browsers. With the program, you can easily set up a batch download using an URL pattern template and rename downloaded files automatically using a filename pattern template. Other features such as download scheduler, resume broken downloads, managing downloaded files, etc., are included.

The program has optional Standard and Search toolbars in the user interface. Upon installation, it adds a GetGo Toolbar into your browser, but that can be disabled.

FlashGetFlashGet download manager is also worth a try as it is designed for speed and management of downloaded files.

It increases the download speed by applying multi-server hyper-thread technology and supports HTTP, FTP, BT, eMule and other various protocols.

FlashGet provides download monitoring for Internet Explorer and also integrates well with Firefox's FlashGot extension. It supports unlimited categories for managing downloaded files.

Upon first running of the program after installation, it shows a 'recommended message' on the right panel, but that can be easily disabled.

 

Download Manager for multi-platform

UgetUget is a cross-platform program designed to be simple, lightweight and easy to use.

It's an open source application written in GTK+. Debian and RPM packages are readily available for download and installation, but for Windows users, the GTK+ runtime environment needs to install separately before running the program.

The program supports pause, resume and queue downloads, and classification of download files, monitors clipboard and integrates with Firefox browser via FlashGot plugin. Other features include batch download and import downloads from html files.

MultiGetAs an alternative, MultiGet is an open source and easy-to-use download manager for multi platforms including Windows and Linux. It runs on most desktops without any configuration.

The program accelerates the download by multi-tasking with multi-threading on multi servers and supports http/ftp protocols which meet the requirements of most users.

It provides management of downloaded files in a good GUI interface, monitors the clipboard well but does not integrate with browsers.

Other useful features include multi-language support, optional auto MD5 check and reconfiguring the thread number without stopping the current task.

 

Browser Addons

FlashGot is a Firefox's addon which allows you to set your own preferred download manager and integrate it with the Firefox browser for auto download. The addon by itself also helps you to download many files on a web page at one go.

oGet, also known as DM Bridge, is a Chrome's extension to integrate the Chrome browser with an external download manager of your choice, with optional settings for the integration mode and context menu.

DownThemAll is another browser extension to add advanced download capabilities to Firefox. This add-on is useful if you are using Firefox and need to download many files on a web page at one go. However, when you need to download a single large file it's much slower than a standalone download manager.

 
Other Download Managers

Several other free download managers were brought up in comments here or noted from other sources. As they are not rated in this review, I am listing some of them here with brief descriptions and links to their sites for ease of reference.

  • Internet Download Accelerator, the free version offers general features of a download manager but comes with an ad panel which cannot be disabled. It also prompts for an upgrade to the commercial Pro version.
  • Gigaget utilizes cutting-edge Net Grid technology to tap the unused resources of networked PCs and servers to improve your download speed. This program is no more supported by the developer. It occasionally prompts an 'about:blank' error message after a browser's home page is set to blank.
  • Download Accelerator Plus (free) is a toned down version of the commercial DAP Premium, but basic features are available such as multi-connections to download sites, mirror search, etc. It has an active 'information pane' at the right panel which can't be disabled.
  • Star Downloader Free accelerates your downloads by splitting files into parts and downloading them from mirror sites. It is also a toned down version without some of the useful features available in the commercial Star Downloader Pro, such as a link leecher.
  • MetaProducts Download Express, a small application weighing in at about 680 KB, supports IE and Firefox browsers and allows you to download individual files from the Web and FTP sites with multiple channels technology. It features a Projects list without classification of downloaded files. Download speed is slower than the top-picked download manager.
  • LeechGet (Personal Edition) is a free download manager for non-commercial use only. It provides common download features and limits the number of simultaneous downloads to one only. The unlimited number of downloads is available to its commercial premium version.
  • Fresh Download offers several useful features such as turbo-charged downloads, pause and resume, multiple connections, integration with browsers, clipboard monitoring, categorized download, etc. Upon obtaining the software, you will be asked to enter your name and email address to get free codes to unlock the software. This program does not display the original names of some downloaded files when a download link is manually added.
  • SKDownloader is a java based download accelerator for Linux, Windows and other platforms, supports for simultaneous multi-part download, http and ftp protocols, Firefox and IE integration. It comes with an advertisement panel which cannot be disabled.
  • JDownloader lacks classification of downloaded files but makes downloading files from One-Click-Hosters like Rapidshare.com or Megaupload.com easier for users with a premium or a free account.
  • KooLoader, a slimmed down version of the paid for product, lacks classification of downloaded files and encountered couple of download sluggishness when tried.
 
Quick Selection Guide

Free Download Manager
4.5
 
Gizmo's Freeware award as the best product in its class!

Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Stable; support for IE, Firefox, Opera, Chrome and Safari; simultaneous multi-part downloads; flash video download; restart and recover; powerful scheduler; management of downloaded files
3.0
6.53 MB
Unrestricted freeware
A portable version of this product is available from the developer.
Windows 95 to 7
GetGo Download Manager
4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Download FLV flash videos with one-click; integrate with IE and Firefox; batch download using template; auto rename; download scheduler; managing downloaded files
Install toolbar into browsers; integrate optional Search toolbar into user interface
http://www.getgosoft.com
4.5.2
4.7 MB
Unrestricted freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows XP to Windows 7
Uget
4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Open source and cross platforms, designed to be simple, lightweight and easy to use. Supports pause and resume, queue and classification of download files, monitors clipboard and Firefox with <a href="#FlashGot">FlashGot</a> Plugin.
Requires GTK+ run environment to download and install separately for Windows users.
http://urlget.sourceforge.net/
1.5
1.4 MB
Open source freeware
Linux (Debian and RPM packages); Windows XP to Windows 7 with GTK+ runtime environment
FlashGet
3.5
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Increases speed with hyper-thread technology, support various protocols, monitor IE, integrate with <a href="#FlashGot">FlashGot</a> extension to Firefox, managing downloaded files.
A recommended message on the right panel needs to disable upon first use
1.9.6
4.44 MB
Open source freeware
Windows 95 to Windows Vista
MultiGet
3.5
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Open source and supports multi platforms; multi-task with multi-thread on multi-server to speed up downloads; clipboard monitoring with a good GUI interface; optional auto MD5 check
Lacking integration with browsers
http://multiget.sourceforge.net/
1.1.2
5.3 MB
Open source freeware
Windows and Linux

 
Editor

This software category is maintained by volunteer editor George.J. Registered members can contact the editor with any comments or questions they might have by clicking here.

  "I've used TechSupportAlert and the older Support Alert Newsletter for almost a decade so I have saved hundreds of hours of work and many more dollars by following Gizmo's Freeware recommendations. Thanks for the opportunity to give something back."  

If you have had a similar experience then you should consider becoming a reviewer too.

 
Change Log
Date Change Editor
September 2013 Removed Orbit Downloader Remah
October 2011 No change to content. Update Quick Selection Guide to new database. Remah
June 2010 Major update  
 
Tags

download manager, free download manager, download, downloader, freeware, free download

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Comments

by Gizmomaniac on 8. April 2014 - 9:45  (115562)

CAUTION! GetGo Download Manager infects badly computers. It took me ages to figure out what was causing my malware infection. And if you uninstall it, the normal way, you get other problem. So I had to remove each registry entry... Anyway, I also ditched FDM which I used to love because I noticed on my firewall some illegal activity even when I was not using FDM. Same thing with Orbit.

So far, I changed for EagleGet which seems to be clean at the moment. Sometimes, a download manager is good until a new update and then you get infected with some unwanted adware or even downright spyware! So be very careful otherwise you will be sorry and may also lose all your data. As these lock you out of your administrator privileges... Tweaking.com portable did help me with Adwcleaner (only the updated version) but I was still reinfected every other day... So use extreme caution when using a new download manager. It may be free for a bad reason...

by George.J on 9. April 2014 - 12:12  (115580)

Make it a point to download softwares from their homesites or reputed download sites only...

Softwares may connect to internet for various reasons, for instance checking for updates. This doesn't mean that's an illegal activity.

This section is undergoing a major update at the moment.

by Anupam on 8. April 2014 - 9:50  (115563)

What kind of illegal activity did you notice with FDM?

by YorkshireJumbo on 19. March 2014 - 12:56  (115131)

I've been using FDM for a while, on Vista using FF & Chrome, and now on Windows7 64-bit with Chrome. I've noticed recently that it's been hogging a CPU, sitting in Task Manager at 25% (on a 4 CPU system) for hours on end. I've tried upgrading, and have had no response to a support request.

I've come here to look for a replacement, as FDM is no longer usable...

by Tar73 on 18. January 2014 - 17:52  (113703)

Which Download manager is fastest? Dont want anything else..

by Anupam on 18. January 2014 - 18:13  (113704)

There is no such thing as the fastest download manager. All download managers will give you almost the same speeds, and it will be close to the download speed provided by your ISP. What matters is interface, features that you want, integration with browsers, etc.

by nicholascullum on 29. November 2013 - 12:52  (112619)

Free Download Manager does NOT integrate with Chrome. If I want to download anything a right click produces zilch.

by Tar73 on 18. January 2014 - 18:00  (113702)

It seem to integrate with Forefox at least :)

by Anupam on 29. November 2013 - 12:54  (112620)

In Monitoring, under Settings, did you click the checkbox for Google Chrome?

by nicholascullum on 29. November 2013 - 12:59  (112621)

Yes.

by maximus2101 on 5. November 2013 - 17:12  (112050)

I tried IDM, FVDownloader, Downthem all,DWHelper, FDM, ORbit, jordi(I know,wtf! right?), DAM, wxDownload Fast - do u know what did I settled for? GetGo Download Manager 4.8.5.1687. worked for me like a treat. every thing else either broke down midway or halfway( the add-onns), some failed to re-assemble the multiple segments( few of the above mentioned DMs). but GetGo asks you whether you want split download or single file download (no. of split set to 1). worked like a charm.

by skross on 7. October 2013 - 17:26  (111301)

Free Download Manager(FDM) was top rated and i was looking to increase my download speed, so I installed it.
In chrome, the Win7 iso download (3.1gb) was varying from 250 -400k/sec download speed, with an estimated time of 4 hours.

FDM was moving at a snails pace of 70kb/sec with an estimated time of 14 hours.

I installed UGet and its running super fast at 1.9M/sec with a total time of 29 minutes.!

Perhaps there's some tweaking that can be done within FDM to improve its performance, but straight out of the box, in my situation, UGet is vastly superior.

Fyi I have Cable Internet 30Mbps service.

by Anupam on 8. October 2013 - 12:25  (111315)

Just check to see if FDM was in light or medium mode. In those two modes, the download speed will be less than the actual download speed. If set in any heavy mode, then the actual download speed will be used.

You can change these as per your choice, in the FDM settings if you like.

by Anupam on 24. September 2013 - 8:35  (110968)

Free Download Manager updated to 3.9.3.1358

by George.J on 19. September 2013 - 5:09  (110857)

You might just be impressed with EagleGet

by hotty on 23. August 2013 - 14:29  (110283)

Please remove Orbit Downloader for downloading and installing malware on the system.

http://www.welivesecurity.com/2013/08/21/orbital-decay-the-dark-side-of-...

by CyberWolf64 on 23. August 2013 - 14:32  (110284)

I too have read the same article, and am VERY glad I don't use it, as well as I will notify all friends to not use it EVER.

by kenkenson on 23. April 2013 - 11:27  (107289)

Great article! Thanks. Your advice helped me choose FDM, which is a very nice program. Here are a couple of comments:

1. If used in IE, FDM has a very nice feature that lets you download multiple links on a webpage. Simple drag to select the links and then right-click the selected area. A context menu comes up that lets you do a batch download. VERY USEFUL!
2. FDM does not integrate well with Chrome. Since Chrome is my main browser I had hoped to use FDM in Chrome but it just doesn't seem to work too well. No big deal, however, since I've got IE installed and can just use it when I need to do a lot of downloading.
3. STEER CLEAR OF DAP. When you install it, it recommends strongly that you install a speed-up add-in. Once installed, this addin then hijacks your search and homepage. Very poor!
4. FlashGet might be a good program but their homepage doesn't inspire confidence. They have about three different versions listed (3.7, 1.9, 1.7) and don't explain the difference between them. At least I couldn't find any explanation. Once again, probably better to steer clear.

Thanks again

by Panzer on 12. March 2013 - 9:27  (106158)

OCHD (1/43 on Virus Total):

Features:

-Download acceleration (AKA multi-part) whenever possible (up to 40 connections per file).
-HTTP links support (direct download).
-Resume download support whenever possible.
-Global download speed limit.
-Slot limit (up to 20 slots) for simultaneous downloads.
-Automatic retry on download fail.
-File list Drag&Drop (Ctrl+Click, Shift+Click or Shift+up and down arrow keys)
-Lightweight: you can add thousands of links.
-HTTP Proxy support.
-History.
-Automatic Extract/Uncompress files.
-IP Renewer.
-Automatic system shutdown.
-Clipboard monitor.

http://ochdownloader.com/

by Deni (not verified) on 16. September 2012 - 16:48  (99334)

Well I recently bought new Win 7 laptop and I install FDM, for some unknown purpose my Win 7 always detect any installer application I've downloaded with FDM is corrupted, I tried to redownload couple time and it's still detected as corrupted file, but after I download the same file with firefox it's ok. Idon't really get it but I think FDM is not 'friendly' with Win 7 (at least mine)

by Bhat (not verified) on 29. October 2012 - 15:45  (101566)

It appears that there is a problem with FDM. I posted that in their forum. The download breaks in the middle or at the finishing moments and the 'Resume support' changes from "Yes" to "Unknown". You are not able to proceed. You have to repeat the download process again. First I thought it was my or the site's problem, but few others have also reported the same in that forum.

by Bhat (not verified) on 2. November 2012 - 13:19  (101737)

The Download manager list should in future include Download Accelerator Manager or DAM Free. I have a slow internet connection and I think DAM is the best and fastest I have experienced. They say it is still a testing version(ver.4.5.9). No Ads.!! The program is just 1.1MB!! and it has a video grabber too, though I have not used it. After switching from FDM I am using both DAM and Speedbit DAP.

by MidnightCowboy on 2. November 2012 - 13:32  (101740)

When considering DAM Free, beware of bundled toolbar and attempts to change your system settings. MC - Site Manager

by Remah on 16. September 2012 - 19:21  (99343)

If you want support then use our forum and start a thread here:
http://www.techsupportalert.com/freeware-forum/internet-web-apps-and-net...

I presume that the problem occurs while running FDM in Internet Explorer so it is probably not a problem with Windows 7 per se. I had a quick look to see if there was a known problem that matched your description and didn't find anything specific.

by Deni (not verified) on 17. September 2012 - 15:21  (99387)

I used latest firefox and flashgot with FDM, and now I switched to orbit, there is no problem.

by George.J on 7. June 2012 - 9:16  (94529)

Is it possible to integrate FDM with custom browsers other than ones already listed in the "monitor" window:- FF, IE, Safari, Opera, Chrome, Netscape and Seamonkey. Does any other download manager provide support for the same. In another commercial download manager that I used before, it was possible to add any custom browser by locating the browser .exe file in the options dialog and the download manager monitors it without any problems. Wish a similar feature is present in FDM.

by DirtyBertie (not verified) on 6. June 2012 - 14:39  (94499)

Hello,

The only need I have for a download manager is to resume any interuppted incomplete downloads.

Fortunately despite living in the middle of woop woop, we have a very fast internet connection. Only trouble is that it occassionally cuts out and therefore the download is lost and have to start all over.

I don't need any of the bells and whistles - the simpler the better for this octogenarian :-)

Oh yes but I do use Firefox.

Toodle,

Paul

by Anupam on 6. June 2012 - 15:27  (94502)

Try the Free Download Manager lite version. It will serve your need well. And to integrate the download manager with Firefox, use the FlashGot add-on.

by DirtyBertie (not verified) on 7. June 2012 - 3:45  (94521)

Thank you Anupam for the good advice.

It works perfectly for me and I do not even need the FlashGot it seems.

Enjoy the Tech :-)

Paul

by Anupam on 7. June 2012 - 6:24  (94528)

Welcome :)... and good to know it's working well for you.

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