Internet Download Accelerator
This commercial-turned-free download manager has the best customization capabilities
Pros & Cons:
This is easily the most feature rich and customizable download manager that I've seen. But a major downside for IDA is that it's UI is ad-ware ridden. This includes the downloading window and some unnecessary categories in the main interface. Also it limits the user to run maximum of 8 threads simultaneously. Barring that, IDA is a very complex download manager and a dream to every advanced user out there.
Installation: A notification message is aptly displayed during installation to close all browsers to prevent conflicts with it's integration. Quick launch and desktop icons are created by default. An unnecessary desktop icon unrelated to the software is created after installation, which can be deleted. During first start-up, you are asked about the type of internet connection (dated) as well as the default language you want to set.
In Firefox an unnecessary IDA toolbar is being installed by the program although it requires user permission for it's completion. Whereas the IDA plugin is an essential one that also acted as a media monitor and was installed for video detection. Chrome and Opera suffered less with just the IDA extension being installed.
Interface: The UI though not really attractive is extremely customizable. The toolbar allows creating new shortcuts or getting rid of current ones. Columns can be specified and added in the download window, color modes and font attributes can be set for the same. Lists can be sorted by date, extension or priority. An extremely detailed log-file is present to the bottom that shows the activity of each section/thread. To the left sidebar is the usual download categories, status of downloads and a download history explorer. Although, I would advise against going into the category named "Top Downloads" from MyTopFiles that's ad-ridden.
Features: Taking a look at the Free & Pro versions shows that the Free version contains all the features of the Pro version but there will be ads. You can create/modify new download lists which is a unique feature. Download tasks and settings can be imported/exported. Batch downloads renamed as Group downloads is also present to download similar files from a site. Options to preview media and zip files before and during download is available. Downloaded files can be marked unread just like mail contents.
Enough can't be said about the scheduler mechanism in IDA as it allows you to set everything from speed change or tweaking max.simultaneous to even disconnecting from the internet. Priorities can be defined for download tasks to define the sequencing of downloads. IDA also houses an FTP explorer for navigating through FTP-servers and search for the files you need. Site manager is available for passwords as well as download folders management.
Usability: IDA definitely requires a re-design to blend into modern UI styles. I wasn't able to remove the Top Downloads section from the left side bar, taking up space for nothing useful. Information window stacks up against one another when starting each download which can be disabled only in Pro version. The speed of the downloads and number of simultaneous downloads can be easily accessed from the toolbar. Browser video detection has improved a lot in the past few versions which complements its overall features.
Support & Updates: This was a paid download manager in the past, but now most of the features can be enjoyed for free. The software gets continuous updates which reassures that the oldest download manager in this list still hasn't lost steam. Although the support forum is not in English there is a help file included with the software that comes in handy.
Internet Download Accelerator was reviewed by George.J on based on version 6.13.