Freeware for managing your downloads with ease
Windows 8 / Windows 7 / Windows Vista / Windows 2003 / Windows XP
Free Download Manager.ORG.
Free Download Manager is a stand-alone program that allows users to monitor and control their downloading files. While most modern web browsers handle this function reasonably well, there are some situations when the basic features that are packaged in these programs leave much to be desired. In those challenging times, Free Download Manager stands as a surprisingly versatile solution because it offers users greater flexibility and speed than is available in most mainstream applications.
The layout of the user interface is fairly straightforward in appearance. Two tables reside in the center of the window, one of which allows the user to see a list of downloads, while the other contains tabs that facilitate greater analysis of the files. Above these boxes is a row of large, colorful buttons, most of which are self-explanatory but also a few whose function is not obvious. As to be expected, there are buttons to start, pause and stop current downloads, but the toolbar also features three “mode” controls (Light, Medium and Heavy) that can be toggled to adjust how much bandwidth is used by the application at any given time. These features make the program ideal for users who have slow or unreliable internet connections because their limited bandwidth can be shifted between competing applications according to the user's needs, and most downloads that are suddenly interrupted can be resumed later without having to re-download the entire file from its beginning.
The way that Free Download Manager saves data also aids in this respect, since the file is divided into four sections that are downloaded individually, then automatically re-compiled at the end of the process. This results in accelerated download times because information can be pulled from the server at faster speeds than would be possible if the file were left in one large chunk.
Another important but less noticeable feature of the application is its support for BitTorrent protocols. While there are many other software products that can be used to download files over peer-to-peer networks, Free Download Manager integrates this task seamlessly with its other capabilities so that all downloadable content, no matter how it is obtained, can be managed from a single advertisement-free interface. The application also makes P2P sharing safer by including community feedback on available BitTorrent files so that users can alert others when an item becomes corrupt or infected with a virus.
The program contains several other features that enhance its utility and convenience. The “Schedule Download” button enables users to begin file acquisition on specific days and times, eliminating the need for manual commencement of the process. There is an intuitive “drop-box” feature that allows downloads to be initiated simply by dragging and dropping a link from an internet browser into the window, and a monitor runs in the background that launches the “add download” prompt whenever a link to downloadable content is clicked on a web page. In addition, clicking on the “Settings” gear displays a large number of preferences that can be tailored according to need.
However, Free Download Manager does have some notable disadvantages. The interface looks old-fashioned and does not blend well with the more modern appearance of the Windows 7 or 8 operating systems. Moreover, many features of the program are accessible only through the traditional drop-down menu at the top of the window, and some of the options included in that list are not easily understood at first glance. It is also worth mentioning that there are no Mac, Linux or mobile versions of the software available, so only those running a typical PC can use it.
Yet in spite of its flaws, Free Download Manager is still an excellent program to have. The software is open source and can be installed freely for both personal and commercial use without the hassle of product keys or other similar restrictions. It may not be essential for day-to-day computing, but the application's features do come in quite handy sometimes, and they can be accessed without the ads and other annoyances that are present in many other more popular products.