A while back, this question landed in my mailbox: “I know that there are a number of download management programs out there
that allow you to resume interrupted downloads of large files. (Microsoft
provides one if you are a member of a Microsoft beta program, for use in
downloading beta software, for instance.) Can anyone recommend a good one?”
An important change in this regard is that as Web browsers have
become more sophisticated, they’ve become the tool of choice for downloads,
and have also incorporated restartable downloads into their code. Apple’s
Safari browser has that as an option for its
download manager, for example. Just right-click on an interrupted download
in the “Download Window” and you’ll see what I mean.
In the world of Windows, there seem to be a ton of these utilities. Pop over
to Versiontracker and search for
“download” and you’ll see lots of freeware and shareware applications to
help manage your downloads.
The real standout, based on reviews and feedback from the community, is Internet Download Manager 4 which says that it can “increase download speeds by up to 500 percent, resume and schedule downloads.” IDM also offers “Comprehensive error recovery and resume capability will restart broken or interrupted downloads due to lost connections, network problems, computer shutdowns, or unexpected power outages. Simple graphic user interface makes IDM user friendly and easy to use.”
For fun, I also polled some colleagues to see how they’re addressing the sporadic problem of interrupted downloads. Here’s what I found out:
I generally prefer using an FTP program whenever possible, since most FTP
servers and clients offer download resumption.
A looong time ago I used to use a program called GetRight. They were one of the first, but I don’t know how well they compare these days.
Internet Explorer used to do this automatically, to some extent. If a file was partially downloaded, you’d see it start in the middle when you went to download it again. I suspect they had some trouble with this feature, so it was dropped, because I don’t see this happen anymore (since about IE 4).
These days it’s not normally as big a deal since connections rarely drop and downloads rarely take more than a few seconds. So I haven’t kept up with products of this ilk. But GetRight was a real timesaver when I used it.
Ah, if only everyone had a full-on broadband connection. For every person
with DSL or cable modem, however, there are still people using that built-in
modem in their laptop or an old 56K external modem. I know, because
sometimes I live on the end of a phone line too, and it’s a very different
world, particularly with downloads.
Mozilla has a download manager that opens automatically when you
start a download. It’s handy, you can track the progress of your
downloads with a glance all in one single window, and use it to find out
where it placed a file that you’ve otherwise lost track of, even for
files you downloaded a few days ago.