You download hundreds of files to your computer on a weekly—and sometimes daily—basis, a practice that can take forever and has the potential to turn your organised filesystem into a cluttered nightmare. Here's the five most popular tools our readers use to manage, organise, and speed up their downloads.
DownThemAll (All Platforms)
Firefox extension DownThemAll (dTa) is a powerful download manager with a stable of advanced features to enhance your download experience. As the name suggests, one marquee feature of dTa is the ability to download every image or linked file on a page in one fell swoop; if you don't want every file, dTa has advanced filtering criteria to help you get exactly what you want. What's more, dTa can also boost your download speeds up to 400% by splitting files into multi-part downloads. If you're new to dTa, check out our guide to supercharging your Firefox downloads with DownThemAll.
FlashGet is a free, standalone Windows download manager. The application delivers tons of advanced features like DownThemAll, including pause and resume, file splitting, and download acceleration. FlashGet can organize your downloads once they're saved to your computer and it supports multiple transfer protocols, from HTTP and FTP to BitTorrent. If you like the look of FlashGet and you're a Firefox user, be sure to grab the FlashGot Firefox extension to integrate FlashGet directly with your Firefox downloads. It also has specialised features for downloading flash video from the likes of YouTube.
Free Download Manager (Windows)
Free Download Manager (FDM) is a beefy open-source download manager with an impressive feature set similar to DownThemAll and FlashGet. It supports download acceleration, file splitting, and multiple transfer protocol support. FDM and FlashGet both display an always-on-top translucent drop box on your desktop so you can easily drag new downloads into the app, and like FlashGet, you can integrate FDM directly with Firefox with the FlashGot extension.
Download Statusbar Firefox Extension (All Platforms)
The Download Statusbar Firefox extension streamlines and supercharges Firefox's default download manager and doesn't use a separate window do to it—instead it places downloads and progress bars in Firefox's statusbar (fitting name, isn't it?). That's not all that Download Statusbar offers, though: The add-on also integrates with your anti-virus application for automatic download scanning, has several configurable options, and is totally customisable. If you liked the streamlined look of downloads when we took you on a screenshot tour of Google Chrome, Download Statusbar brings the same basic look and feel to Firefox.
Firefox's Built-In Download Manager (All Platforms)
Sometimes the built-in tools are all you need, which is why many readers still prefer Firefox's built-in download manager to handle their downloads. It doesn't have all the bells and whistles of the other featured download managers—the most notable new features in Firefox's download manager are as-you-type search and pause and resume of downloads—but it's solid, and that's all many people are looking for.
This week's honorable mention goes to Orbit Downloader, a free Windows download manager that just missed the cut. Let's hear more about your download manager of choice and why you love it, whether or not it made the top five.