Free Download Manager is a free open-source application designed to ease the process of downloading files and whole websites from remote servers. It supports HTTP, HTTPS, FTP and BitTorrent protocols.
FDM accelerates the downloading process by splitting files into sections. Besides, it allows for downloads in several takings. That is, you can resume a broken download if the site you are working with supports resumption. You save traffic and a sudden connection loss won't fail the whole process.
The program has a simple interface and a sleek-looking toolbar. Under this toolbar, there are several tabs, each changing the toolbar a bit, adjusting to its purpose. Generally, the toolbar is divided into several sections (4 to 5), and three of them always stay the same and include: traffic use (from 'light' to 'heavy'), download controls (start, stop or pause all downloads), quick access to settings, establish a dial-up connection, as well as Help and About FDM menus.
Mind the traffic use mode; by default it is set to heavy, which implies that FDM is downloading at the maximum possible speed. You can change it into medium if you intend to browse the Internet while the download is in progress. Set it to light traffic use, and the program will be downloading things slowly but surely, using up very little of your Internet connection.
During the lickety-split installtion, you can set the program language and installation folder and enable the FDM Community Options or the BitTorrent protocol. These give you interesting additional possibilities; for example, by enabling FDM Community options you get to share opinions about downloads and warn other users about malicious ones. If you were too lazy to opt in during installation, you can do it later through the Options menu.
When you run the program for the first time, make sure to spend some time reading the Help guide so that you learn about the little things tricks that help you manage your downloads. Don't get me wrong, the interface is very simple and not overloaded at all. However, those who have never used similar applications (like me) can feel a bit frustrated at first from the sheer amount of tabs and colorful buttons, whose use only becomes evident a bit later.
FDM allows for downloading files in different formats, and if you're downloading a ZIP archive containing several files, you can choose which of its included files should be downloaded. Video formats deserve a separate mention: with FDM, you can get videos from YouTube, Google Video, etc. They come in .flv format and can be saved in it or converted into other 6 popular formats (AVI, WMV and some other ones). There's also a tab called HTML Spider, which has everything you need to download whole websites; basically, if you have a lifetime to spare, you can try to download, say, the whole of Google.
Free Download Manager also offers you a lot of ways to tweak its abilities: you can schedule downloads, control the program remotely, assign additional mirrors, change the interface language (about 30 languages are supported) and do lots of other things. It is by far one of the best download managers that I've come across.
- Customizable: has several working modes
- Different protocol support
- Integrated video conversion
- Useful floating icon
- Simple toolbar
- Allows to share opinions about downloaded files
- Can download single files from archives
- Better to read Help before you start