Internet Download Manager: Download your files in a flash

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Internet Download Manager is a program that integrates with your internet browser and replaces the default download manager in order to provide a better downloading experience and a 500% increase in download speed. Aside from the massive speed boost, Internet Download Manager -or IDM for short- offers a few extra features on the side, like the download scheduler, the possibility to resume broken downloads and a few more goodies that might just convince you to never go back to “stock”.

Internet Download Manager – Main

Installation & Requirements

The installation process for Internet Download Manager is fast, simple and clean of any toolbars, additional programs or nagging windows. The bad news is that IDM is not a freeware program so it actually comes in the form of a 30 days trial, after which a paid license is needed in order to be able to use IDM further. A great thing about buying a license is that the full version actually benefits from even bigger boosts in download speeds.

As for system requirements, Internet Download Manager is available exclusively for the Windows platform and it supports the following versions: 98/2000/XP/Vista/Win 7.

Interface

The Internet Download Manager Interface doesn’t offer anything special in terms of looks. You would expect to see a nicer design on a tool that integrates with your latest version of Chrome or with Firefox 5 but all you get is a plain interface that resembles the Windows 98 theme. The big icons on the top are not that bad and they actually feature a bit of animation whenever you hover the mouse cursor over them, but other than that there’s nothing much to admire.

On the other hand, looks are not everything and IDM definitely proves that right. Overlooking the simple design you will most likely be surprised of what the software has to offer, not only in terms of improved download speed, but features such as the highly customizable download scheduler or the Grabber which is a tool that enables the user to easily download videos from video-sharing sites such as YouTube. To keep your archive of downloaded files organized, IDM will automatically detect what type of file you are downloading and place it in the appropriate download folder.

There is one weird thing worth mentioning regarding the buttons on top, and it’s this one icon in particular named “Tell a Friend”. This button is a shortcut that once pressed it will create a Microsoft Outlook message that’s meant to tell your contacts how “cool” IDM is. Perhaps complaining about this feature seems like nitpicking, but it would’ve been better for this option to be more out of sight and not right next to the neat tools such as the grabber or scheduler which are actually useful.

Pros

– Very powerful and low on resources
– Lots of useful features such as the Scheduler, Download organizer or the Grabber
– Clean installation process with no toolbars or adware
– Easy to use interface
– It easily integrates with pretty much any browser available

Cons

– The user interface is a bit disappointing in terms of design
– Shareware, available only for 30 days of trial
– Available only for Windows OS
– There are free alternatives

Alternatives

Internet Download Manager is a very powerful tool that will definitely leave a good impression after the very first few uses. However, for those who prefer another platform besides Windows, or for those who would prefer a freeware product, there are a few options out there besides IDM.

One of these alternatives is Free Download Manager, a tool similar to IDM that boasts with 600% increase in download speed and useful tools such as the  scheduler, resume of broken downloads and pretty much everything else that can be found on IDM. Free Download Manager is available only for Windows as a freeware product.

Another alternative to IDM could be DownThemAll, a free Mozilla Firefox extension that offers new downloading capabilities and features to Firefox users. Unlike IDM,  DownThemAll is unfortunately designed to work only with Mozilla Firefox, but on the brighter side it offers support for Windows, Mac and Linux altogether. And of course, there’s DAP (Download Accelerator Plus) – one of the best managers and accelerators out there – or FlashGet, a complete lightweight download accelerator and download manager.

Conclusion

Internet Download Manager is a very powerful download manager offering an extensive array of features that will definitely improve your downloading experience. It has its small flaws and there are some minor options missing which can be found on other freeware alternatives, but overall IDM can be described as a good product and for those who would prefer using IDM after the 30 day trial period the good news is that the program is not greedy at all and buying a license is not really expensive.