[Contest] Internet Download Manager – IDM

“Internet Download Manager“(IDM) is a one stop shop for all your download fancies. From high-speed download, scheduling, website-download, online video downloads to resume function, IDM has them all.

IDM is a tool which helps increase your download speeds by up to 5 times, resume and schedule downloads. It supports proxy servers, ftp and http protocols, firewalls, redirects, cookies, authorization, MP3 audio and MPEG video content processing. List of supported browsers include Explorer, Netscape, MSN Explorer, AOL, Opera, Mozilla, Mozilla Firefox, Mozilla Firebird, Avant Browser, MyIE2, and many other popular browsers.

Feature Highlights:

1. Automatic downloading of any file type from internet.

2. Divide downloads into multiple streams for faster downloading

3. Batch downloads

4. Import/Export downloads jobs

5. Auto/manual updating of download address

6. Multiple queues

7. Recent downloads list for easy access to files

8. Video downloading from streaming video sites.

9. Dynamic segmentation throughout the downloading process.

10. Protocols supported: HTTP, FTP, HTTPS, MMS and Microsoft ISA

11. Authentication protocols supported: Basic, Negotiate, NTLM, and Kerberos allowing for storage and auto-authentication of user names and passwords.

12. OS Supported: Windows XP/NT/2000/Vista/78/8.1. (Sorry Unix, Linux, Mac users).

13. Automatic Antivirus checking.

14. Multilingual- supports 33 languages 7 more

15. Supports 64-bit version of OS.

 

More detailed feature list can be accessed via link below:

http://www.internetdownloadmanager.com/features.html

 

Version reviewed 6.21 Build 2

The setup for IDM is a small file of 5Mb size. You can download it from the link below. It provides a 30-day trial run.

http://mirror3.tonec.com/idman621build2.exe?b=1&filename=idman621build2.exe

PS: Following features are not enabled in the trial version:

1. The management of site passwords

2. Delete all completed button enabled

3. Better utilization of available bandwidth

4. Built-in download logic optimizer

The installation requires a few clicks to complete. The setup is clean and NOT bundled with any third party software. Soon after the installation completes you will be notified that IDM will now take over your browsers downloads.

A. INTERFACE

The interface which has not changed over the years is simple to use. Few customizations could be done such as large/small buttons, classic/3D style buttons and add/remove of toolbars (from menu View>Toolbar). Below is the snap of my customized IDM interface.

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As seen from above the interface has three parts.

 

The first part (on the right) shows complete download history of files. It provides the following information about the downloaded file(s). You can select to add/remove one/all of these columns per your need.

1. File Name,

2. Size of file,

3. Download Status,

4. Time Left,

5. Transfer Rate,

6. Last Try Date

7. Description

8. Percentage

9. ETA

 

The second part (on the left) is the list of pre-defined tree-style categories listed below which provides you a specific view based on the selection made. You could also add/delete categories based on your need.

1. All Downloads,

2. Unfinished,

3. Finished,

4. Grabber,

5. Queues

 

The third part (on the top) has download control buttons listed below. One/all of these buttons could be active or disabled based on the actions possible for the current selected download.

1. Add URL,

2. Start/Resume,

3. Stop,

4. Stop All,

5. Delete,

6. Delete All Completed,

7. Options,

8. Scheduler,

9. Start Queue,

10. Stop Queue,

11. Stop Queue,

12. Grabber,

13. Tell A Friend

 

B. DOWNLOAD MODES

Having discussed above on the interface it is now time to talk about the different modes available for downloading in IDM, as this is the sole intent of IDM. For all downloads IDM provides you two common options: “Speed Limiter” and “Options on completion”. Speed Limiter allows you to preserve your bandwidth for other tasks. Also, you can apply the limits either individually, per each download, or you can set the same limit for all of the downloads. The Options on completion include hang-modem, shutdown system, exit IDM and force process to terminate.

 

B.1 Manual Download

The very basic mode of download is using Add URL button to add a url and/or provide login information to download a file. See below

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Once you click Ok (to download) another window opens which shows download location (based on file type/category), file size, and provides options to either download now/later or cancel the download.

 

B.2. Automatic download

This method is the easiest one. Whenever you click on download link(s) IDM automatically takes over download(s) from your browser if its type matches the list of types/extensions defined in Options. More on options soon. Similar to manual download once you click on a link, IDM presents you a window which shows downloads location (based on file type/category), file size, and provides options to either download now/later or cancel the download. This way with a single click your files are downloaded automatically.

Additionally, IDM will take over any download if you hold down the CTRL key while clicking the download link in the IE. (Assuming that you have checked “Use CTRL key with IE click monitoring” box in “IDM Options->General”). Moreover, if you press ALT key while clicking on a download link in IE, IDM will not take over the download and let Internet Explorer download the file. (Assuming you have checked “Use ALT key with IE click monitoring” box in “IDM Options->General”). You can set your own keys to force/prevent IDM to/from downloading via settings in “IDM Options->General” option.

You can also set IDM not to take over any downloads from a browser by turning off the browser integration in IDM options.

 

B.3 Download file(s) from a Web Page

There may be a case where you would require downloading multiple files from a web page. In this case if you right click on a link in Internet Explorer, you will see two menu items: “Download with IDM” and “Download all links with IDM”. These menu items help you download one or more files from a web page. See below

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For “Download all links with IDM” option IDM displays a dialog to import downloads from this page. See below. You can ignore html files, hide repeated files as well as select all/few/one/no files for download. Additionally, for each file you can select its download location. Once you have clicked Ok, IDM adds the selected files to the main download list as well as to the download queue.

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B.4 Drag and Drop

IDM provides a download basket to drag/drop links to it for download. You can hide/unhide this basket from Menu-Tasks>Show drop target. You can drag a link from your browser and drop it to this basket in order to start your downloads with IDM.

 

B.5 Clipboard links

IDM monitors the clipboard for URLs. When a url is copied to the clipboard, IDM shows you its dialog to start download.

 

B.6 Importing Downloads

You can import a list of downloads to IDM from Menu Tasks->Import->From text file. You can also delete or edit these links before importing them to IDM.

 

B.7 Command line Downloads

You can also start downloads with IDM from the command line.

C. DOWNLOAD VIDEOS FROM WEB

Another great feature of IDM is that you can download as well as record FLV videos from popular sites such as: YouTube, MySpace TV, and Google Video. Once installed IDM shows a “Download This Video” button pop-up (beneath the video) whenever you are watching a video in the browser. Just click on “Download this video” to start downloading the video file automatically.

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Basically, as soon as your browser starts playing a video file, IDM grabs its download link. If you like the video want to save it, you can click “Download this video” to start the download. Additionally, you can also use the context menu on the web page that plays the video and select “Download FLV video content with IDM” menu item to download the video. The missing context menu could be restored by reinstalling the idmmzcc.xpi extension located in the IDM installation directory.

In case the server has not specified the file name explicitly, IDM will name the file based on the web page title. You can also edit the filename, add a description, and change its path or category on this dialog. It’s also possible to add FLV extension to IDM list of downloadable file types (in IDM Options menu) to take over the download of all FLV videos. If this option is selected, videos will not be played in your browser, but will be downloaded by IDM.

Another interesting feature of IDM is that it provides you up to six types of video quality to download. You could either select one or all the video quality types for download. See below.

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For those who have a problem downloading videos from web make sure to visit the following support link from IDM concerning questions on the web video downloads.

http://www.internetdownloadmanager.com/register/new_faq/video_main.cgi

 

Kindly note that some videos (for example many large YouTube clips) are protected by copyright and use special protected protocol restricting saving any data received by this protocol. IDM does not support downloading such videos for pure legal reasons.

 

D. SITE GRABBER

If you need to download a lot of files from a single site, you could use the Grabber feature.

 

Site grabber feature of IDM is another hidden jewel which not only lets you download required files that are specified with filters, but also lets you download subsets of web sites, or complete web sites for mirroring or offline browsing. This feature has a set of predefined project templates, which make it easy to set the Grabber for a required type of project. You could also configure your own custom template as per your need.

The grabber has an easy to use four step wizard that helps you determining what files to download and from where. It provides a rich set of filters both for the web pages to explorer, and for the files to download. Thus, you could precisely make your download selection for pictures, audio files or any other type of file. See below a test project creation and the options provided by the wizard.

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Once a grabber project is created, it is added to the list of saved projects which is shown under the “Grabber projects” node in the categories tree of the main IDM dialog.

 

Below is the grabber project interface.

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E. DOWNLOADING FROM FILE-HOSTING SITES

There are several File-Hosting sites available these days, example MediaFire. If you are a Pro MediaFire account holder you can configure IDM to work with MediaFire. Once you have logged in to MediaFire and allowed IE to save the password, you can close IE. Thereafter, IDM will be able to pick MediaFire download links based on the cookies available to it via IE. Make sure you have not logged out of the site’s pro zone.

Then you will require saving the MediaFire-pro login information in IDM in the SitesLogins tab Under Download>Options tab. Press “New” to add a new entry (arrow 1 on the image). You need to add two entries and to use “MediaFire.com” and “*. MediaFire.com” as server names (arrows 2 on the image). Remember to enable the “Direct links” option in your MediaFire account.

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As the settings vary from site to site, please refer to the link below for site specific configurations:

http://www.internetdownloadmanager.com/register/new_faq/sites_main.cgi

 

F. DOWNLOAD SCHEDULER

IDM has a built-in scheduler and download queue manager. It can be accessed via Scheduler button or from Menu Downloads->Scheduler. The scheduler makes it easier to schedule the download at a particular time, say at night when you are not using the system.

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This feature provides us two important download schemes: One-time downloading and Periodic synchronization. The difference between the two is that the later checks if the file has changed on the server, and if so it downloads the new file and replaces the old one. Both these schemes include the features of starting/stopping the download at specified time/day. Other provided options are “Number of retries for each file if downloading failed” and “actions on finishing queue processing such as Hang up modem, Turn off computer, and Force processes to terminate”.

 

G. LIMITING DOWNLOADS

From the scheduler menu IDM also provides a way to set download limits. This is very useful if you have an Internet connection where the ISP have some kind of fair usage policy (FUP), or if your ISP has unlimited downloads during night hours. Whatever the case may be, using IDM you can specify the download quota to avoid any paying extra to your ISP.

H. OPTIONS

I had saved discussing this section for the last as it would be convenient to talk about various adjustments you could do for most of the above discussed features from one control panel. You can access Option from either Options button or from Menu Downloads->Options. It has nine tabs: General, File Types, Connection, Save To, Downloads, Proxy/Socks, Site logins, Dial Up/VPN and Sounds.

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H.1 General Tab

From this tab you can change IDM’s system integration options such as: automatic startup, integration into browsers, URL clipboard monitoring, short-cut key customization and context menu selection.

IDM by-default captures downloads from Safari, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Mozilla, Netscape and Opera. However, if you are using some other browser, you could add the same to IDM from the “Add browser” option provided on the General tab.

On this tab you can select different keyboard keys to force or prevent downloading with IDM.

Additionally, the advanced browser integration can be used to integrate IDM into any application that uses FTP, or HTTP protocols.

 

H.2 File Types tab

Here you can change the list of file types that will be taken over from a browser and downloaded by IDM. You can also configure IDM to prevent it from downloading from specified sites and web-addresses.

 

H.3 Connection tab

Here you can select the speed of your Internet connection, set “Max Connection Number” and specify download limit. Additionally, you can add max connection exception for some sites in Exception section.

 

H.4 Save To tab

Here you can select directories for the pre-defined six categories. Additionally, you can add new categories as well as specify file-type for categories’.

 

H.5 Download tab

Here you can customize file download preferences. This tab has one of the important features provided by IDM called “Virus Scanner Program”. This feature is important because it helps to prevent your system from being infected from any virus by immediately scanning the downloaded file. This way it ensures that the downloaded file is safe to use.

If you would like to run a virus scan on download completion, you can either specify/browse the complete path to the executable file for anti-virus or provide the “Command line parameters” according to your anti-virus software documentation.

 

H.6 Proxy/Socks tab

If you are using a proxy server to connect to the internet then you can configure it in this tab to have IDM use the same. Or you can pull the proxy settings using the “Get from IE” button provided.

You can also specify internet addresses where IDM should not use proxy server.

 

H.7 Site Logins tab

If some download links from a site require authorization (login/password) to download, you can add those details in this tab, and have IDM use the same every time you download such restricted files. Once saved the download links from these sites will never ask you to enter your credentials for every download and downloads will happen automatically.

IDM supports site type such as: http, https, ftp and mms.

 

H.8 Dial Up/VPN tab

This tab provides option to configure your Dial Up and VPN settings.

 

H.9 Sounds tab

This tab allows you to configure sound effects based on the download events. You can either use standard Windows sounds or add your custom sound.

 

Pros

1. Simple graphic user interface.

2. Low on system resources

3. Easy integration & compatible with almost all browsers.

4. A 4-step site grabber wizard that determines completely what files to download and from where.

5. Accelerates download by up to 5 times due to its intelligent dynamic file segmentation technology.

6. Pause and Resume support for downloads.

7. Supports to initiate the download at a later time, rather than immediately. This is very useful as we could let the download start once we are down with some important work/browsing.

8. Ability to download videos directly from sharing sites like YouTube, Metacafe etc.

9. Inbuilt scheduler to allow downloading of files at user-specified time/day.

10. It allows you to control speed, from “Speed Limiter” option.

11. It is Multilingual.

12. Integration with installed virus scanner to scan the downloads upon completion.

13. Supports command line operations.

14. Option to export/import the existing settings. So if there is a re-install, re-configuration is not required. Refer link below for details:

http://www.internetdownloadmanager.com/register/new_faq/functions17.html

15. It pre-recognizes the category of a download link-video, setup-files, compressed files, music, and others.

16. If you try download the same file/link it pop-ups that the link/file already exists, do you want to overwrite.

17. If you download a video file it also shows the resolution, length – even before you download. This is very useful preventing you to download cut movies, shows etc. Example below:

AVI: Res. 512×384, 25 samp per sec, Length 43 min 59 sec

18. Supports Dial Up, VPN and proxy connections.

19. Ability to organize downloaded data into categories according to the type.

20. Customizable Interface

Conclusion

To sum up, Internet Download Manager is a versatile yet handy download manager application to have. It provides you a large variety of useful and important features, related to all of your download needs, and all this at very little cost of your system resources. It allows you to fully utilize your bandwidth and pushes it to its maximum permissible limit, thereby providing you a better download experience.

Homepage: http://www.internetdownloadmanager.com/

Reviewer: grr

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