Any Unix-friendly dude or lady will tell you that Wget packs a ton of power for such a small terminal command. It can grab different versions of the same file on a regular basis, crawl through web sites to mirror content as many links deep as you'd like, grab the newest MP3s or Flash video files from a popular web site, and stretch it as far as your data-trading imagination can stretch. And with WinWget, a free wget graphical interface for Windows, you don't need to learn how to append a half-dozen options and switches in the right order and capitalisation. Read on for a look at a couple of examples of how WinWget can expand your downloading power on Windows.
NOTE: While WinWget spares you a bit of typing, a basic understanding of how to use wget makes it fare more powerful. For a primer on getting started, try Gina's guide to mastering
wget from the command line.
WinWget doesn't require much setup at all—the program doesn't actually install itself on your machine, and any changes you make to its basic options are saved in the self-contained executable file. Click on Tools and then Options, though, and you can set the default download directory, how many threads WinWget is allowed to run at once, set up proxies if needed, and choose whether WinWget monitors your clipboard for links while it's open. That's helpful for huge downloads with big URLs you find on the web you want to feed to WinWget to keep trying to download, or pointing it to web sites to mirror.
All the other options are what you set when you head to Jobs, then Add New Job. All that's actually required is entering a name and address for the download, but all the little checkboxes and number inputs in the tabs at bottom are pretty self-explanatory, and hovering over them gives you a little helpful tooltip as to what they do.
What if you want to use WinWget on a scheduled basis, to grab the same file over and over? You can use any scheduling app for Windows to run a basic wget command using WinWget's command line function. On a standard installation, the command would be something like
C:\Program Files\WinWGet\WinWGet.exe -http://whateverurl.com. If you're looking for manual control and timing, you can have WinWget auto-start by adding it to your startup folder and right-clicking its system tray icon to hit "Run All Jobs" and let it work in the background.
While showing off my own method for rotating desktop backgrounds in Ubuntu Linux, commenterJoeleena had an elegant solution that utilized an auto-updating world weather map and a bit of
wget magic to make the background change with the world. With WinWGet, that kind of neat hack is not only possible in Windows, it's one copy-paste and a few clicks. Here's how I set my options to grab the image and replace the file. The "Timestamping" option doesn't grab the file if it isn't any newer than the one already in place:
Mirror a web site
This is definitely one of
wget's strengths, and basically gets its own options page. I've enabled the options below to grab all the images and other content that makes my web site display properly (-p), grab every page the app stumbles across (-r), make non-local links local (-k), and grab the next pages that my front page links out to (-l set to "1"). As Gina said in her original guide, through, be careful how you go about making local copies of the internet—you'll never be able to match Google's storage space.
Those are my examples, but I'm sure our experienced Linux users can think of a few they can suggest to those without a mastery of the command line. Share the wealth in the comments.