I often have to download hotfixes, service packs and software whilst I am onsite at a school. All to often I spend a vast amount of time waiting for the "critical" file to download. What can be even more frustrating is when you have mistimed downloading the file and it is now lunch time. The broadband connection is swamped by children surfing for chat rooms, web-mail and internet games. I have found that using a Download manager can help.
Many moons ago I stumbled on an application called NetAnts. It was a free download manager that would split the download into a number of sections – using the restartable download feature supported by most internet hosting services. NetAnts was advert sponsored application, but non the less was a fantastic program in its day.
As we have grown up with Internet Aware software, there is a trend to avoid using advert sponsored programs, mainly due to the possible attack of Worms and Viruses. So I am no longer using NetAnts.
So with my downloading crippled to the one provided by Internet Explorer, I was left stuck with files that wouldn’t download correctly on a heavily used internet connection, or buggy proxy servers. That is until I stumbled upon a new application that had all the features that NetAnts provided, and was free.
The application is called Free Download Manager and easy to use and doesn’t have any noticeable advertising. I first used it as a school where I needed to download some large hotfix files from the rm.com support website. The only problem was that the school was sharing a broadband connection with a larger school – and they were video conferencing, so that made the downloading almost impossible and unreliable.
That is until I installed the download manager and dropped the links to all the files that I needed. Within seconds the download manager had 4 open connections and was getting a vastly improved transfer rate of 128Kb instead of the measly 12Kb that I was getting before.
I continued to find all the hotfixes that I wanted and queued them up in the download manager and left it to get on with the task of downloading them.
Free Download Manager integrates with Internet Explorer, Mozilla and Firefox and can easily be bypassed to allows your browser to take care of the download instead. It allows the user to place downloads into categories and to store usernames and passwords for use with FTP sites and password protected websites. There is even a drop box, so you can simply drag the files/links from the browser onto the icon and free download manager will then ask what category to put them into and then download it.
The free download manager application is definitely an application that I will be using at home. As I have always maintained, downloads love to have company. You can download it from www.freedownloadmanager.org – and yes – it is totally free!