11 Free Download Managers
The best free download managers to manage your large music and software downloads
Download managers are special programs and browser extensions that help keep large downloads downloading as they should and simultaneous ones organized.
You don’t need a download manager to download software or music or whatever else you’re after – your browser handles that job pretty well for the most part—but in some special situations, they can really come in handy.
Some download managers can even speed up the download process by downloading your item from multiple source at once. Download managers also often support pausing and resuming of downloads, something that most browsers do already as well but that most people don’t realize.
Here are almost a dozen completely free download managers and music down-loaders that we think you’ll like:
This free download manager is called . . . you guessed it, Free Download Manager (FDM). It works with Windows and Mac and can monitor and intercept downloads from web browsers, but can also work independently of them.
The browser integration works with Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Firefox.
You can create batch downloads, download torrents, preview ZIP files before they’re downloaded and even deselect files you don’t want from the compressed folder, download entire websites, resume broken downloads, download all links from the clipboard, and quickly control the bandwidth allocation for all downloads.
Downloads are performed in order of how they’re listed in FDM, but you can move files up or down the list to set their priority.
In addition to the above, you can preview and convert audio and video files before they’re finished downloading, as well as set traffic limits and schedule downloads to occur on certain days only.
Note: FDM Lite can also be downloaded, which requires less disk space than the regular version by removing things like the torrent client. If a download manager is all you’re after, this is the better choice. More »
Another free download manager is Internet Download Accelerator (IDA), which can integrate a toolbar with Firefox to make downloading files really easy. It also works with Chrome and Opera.
IDA has a live monitor for other browsers so files can be downloaded with IDA and placed in proper file categories for easy organization. This can be done with regular HTTP downloads or ones downloaded from an FTP server.
Internet Download Accelerator can grab a group of downloads via URL variables, automatically scan for viruses, use hotkeys, change the user-agent information, and auto-download files with certain file extensions of your choosing.
JDownloader is a free download manager that supports Windows, Linux, and Mac operating systems, within the Firefox and Chrome browsers.
Probably the coolest feature in JDownloader is its remote management ability. Use either the mobile app or the My JDownloader website to start, stop, and monitor your downloads from anywhere.
The LinkGrabber in JDownloader adds any download link from the clipboard directly into the program so you can start a download nearly immediately after copying the link.
This download manager can also save a list of download links as a password protected encrypted file so you can easily import them again later.
A play, pause, and stop button are at the top of the program, which makes controlling all pending downloads really simple.
It’s also really easy to control the download speed and maximum number of simultaneous connections and downloads from the bottom of the JDownloader program at any time.
Note: This program might download inside a RAR archive, in which case a program like 7-Zip is needed in order to open it. Also, look out for other install offers within the setup that don’t pertain to JDownloader—feel free to skip them if you want. More »
GetGo Download Manager supports batch downloads as well as a floating drop box for quickly downloading files via drag and drop.
You can paste links directly into the program or import a LST file containing all the download links.
Defining categories for where to place downloads is really easy because you can specify the exact file extensions that should be considered a particular category. Doing so will place executable files, for example, into a Software folder while MP4 and AVI files can be placed in a Videos folder.
GetGo Download Manager can store login credentials for downloading files from password protected websites. It can also preview image files before downloading them, run downloads on a schedule, capture videos from video-streaming websites, and integrate with Firefox, Chrome, and Internet Explorer.
Note: Choose the GetGoDMWebInstaller.exe link on the download page to get this program. More »
EagleGet has a really clean interface that can be used in Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, and Opera to grab downloads by automatically importing them directly into EagleGet.
Scheduling downloads, adding URLs in batch, downloading from torrents, scanning for viruses, and shutting down the computer when EagleGet is finished downloading, are just some of the included features.
Others include pausing and resuming downloads, importing and backing up download tasks, monitoring streaming videos, and auto-categorizing downloaded files with advanced filtering settings.
EagleGet can also disable the sleep and hibernation mode in Windows while files are being downloaded, to not interrupt them.
There’s also a small floating window called TaskMonitor that shows how many files are currently being downloaded and at what speed. It also makes it easy to add new downloads and start or pause current ones without opening the full program. More »
Like some of these other download managers, DAM has a Drop Target button that hovers on your screen to make it easier to start file downloads.
Download Accelerator Manager also supports batch downloads, a scheduler, virus checker, confirmation sounds, and stored credentials.
This program can be integrated into Firefox, IE, Chrome, Opera, Netscape, and Safari. Plus, it includes MediaGrabber, which can automatically check for streaming video, music, and flash files in any browser on your computer. More »
FlashGet monitors downloads in Firefox and Internet Explorer, plus it can scan downloads with your antivirus program and can tell you how large a file is before you download it, which is really awesome.
Download files over the HTTP, FTP, BitTorrent, and other protocols with a seamless integration into the one-for-all download button. This means even if you add a torrent file or image/video file to be downloaded, you use the same button for it and FlashGet will immediately know how to handle the download.
This program also has a floating desktop button so you can toggle browser monitoring, pause/start downloads, and add new download links. More »
LeechGet is another free download manager but it hasn’t been updated since 2009. It still can, however, monitor the clipboard for download links, resume unfinished downloads, and set download priorities.
A great feature in LeechGet is the ability for it to automatically open certain file types that you specify. That way, when you download, say, an MP4 video, you can have the video open in your MP4 player automatically.
Also, a schedule can be set to automatically process the download queue at a specified date and time. LeechGet can also send certain file types to a virus scanner when they’re done downloading. More »
The Download Accelerator Plus download manager is free for Windows and includes a built-in web browser. You can add your own links from your own browser too, through copy/paste.
A few of DAPs features includes the ability to import a list of links via an M3U or plain text file, the option to disconnect from the internet after all the files are downloaded, a virus checker, and the ability to start downloads immediately after importing the links.
DAP can work on a schedule and supports being integrated with Chrome, IE, Safari, Opera, and Firefox.
Note: Since there’s a DAP Premium program, some features are only available if you pay. More »
XDM is a free download manager for Windows, Mac, and Linux. Browser monitoring is supported in Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and other browsers.
Xtreme Download Manager has a really simple interface, which I think is really helpful when you consider that most of the download managers in this list are flooded with lots of menus and options.
XDM includes a download preview so you can take a sneak peak at media files. It also lets you resume broken downloads, limit the download speed, convert files, automatically download files of a certain format, schedule downloads, and run certain shutdown parameters after downloads. More »
Another option is to use Gigaget. This download manager isn’t much different than the others from above. It supports batch downloads, URL imports, a search tool, Drop Basket, download resume, etc.
Something I like about this program is that you can make the virus scanner only scan certain file types. For instance, instead of having it scan even PNG or MP3 files, you can limit it to EXE and other potentially dangerous file formats.
Plus, the scanner can be any anti-malware program on your computer that’s capable of starting with parameters.
Gigaget can also monitor and download flash and other streaming content from your browsers. More »