8 Best Free Download Managers

The best free software to manage your large music and software downloads

Download managers are special programs and browser extensions that help keep large downloads downloading as they should and simultaneous ones organized.

You don't need a download manager to download music or software or whatever else you're after—your browser handles that job pretty well for the most part—but in some special situations, they can really come in handy.

Some download managers can even speed up the download process by downloading your item from multiple source at once. Download managers also often support pausing and resuming of downloads, something that most browsers do already as well but that most people don't realize.

Here are eight completely free download managers and music downloaders that we think you'll like:

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Free Download Manager (FDM)

Free Download Manager FDM in Windows 8
What We Like
  • Able to integrate with your web browser

  • Supports pausing and resuming downloads

  • Enables bandwidth control

  • Can download whole websites

  • Lets you download specific files out of archives

  • Runs on Windows and macOS

  • Supports plugins for extra features like BitTorrent support

What We Don't Like
  • Your antivirus program might identify the software as malicious and block it from installing or being used correctly

This free download manager is called...you guessed it, Free Download Manager (FDM). It can monitor and intercept downloads from web browsers, but can also work independently of them.

You can create batch downloads, download torrents, preview ZIP files before they're downloaded and even deselect files you don't want from the compressed folder, download entire websites, resume broken downloads, download all links from the clipboard, and quickly control the bandwidth allocation for all downloads.

Downloads are performed in order of how they're listed in FDM, but you can move files up or down the list to set their priority.

In addition to the above, you can preview and convert audio and video files before they're finished downloading, as well as set traffic limits and schedule downloads to occur on certain days only.

Free Download Manager runs on Windows, Linux, Mac, and Android. The browser integration works with Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Firefox.

FDM Lite can also be downloaded, which requires less disk space than the regular version by removing things like the torrent client. If a download manager is all you're after, this is the better choice.

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Internet Download Accelerator (IDA)

Internet Download Accelerator (IDA) in Windows 8
What We Like
  • Can auto-categorize downloads for easier management

  • Supports downloading files automatically if they have a specific file extension

  • Able to check for viruses automatically after downloads

  • Plugins can be installed

  • Supports downloading based on URL variables

What We Don't Like
  • The advanced download scheduling feature only works through the use of a plugin

  • Few plugins exist for this program

  • Contains ads

Another free download manager is Internet Download Accelerator (IDA), which can integrate a toolbar with Firefox to make downloading files really easy.

IDA has a live monitor for other browsers so files can be downloaded with IDA and placed in proper file categories for easy organization. This can be done with regular downloads or ones downloaded from an FTP server.

Internet Download Accelerator can grab a group of downloads via URL variables, automatically scan for viruses, use hotkeys, change the user-agent information, and auto-download files with certain file extensions of your choosing.

There are a few plugins available for download that expand the functionality of the entire IDA program. An advanced scheduling function is one particularly useful example.

IDA runs on Windows computers only. The browser functions are supported in a variety of programs like Chrome, Opera, Internet Explorer, Safari, Yandex.Browser, and Vivaldi.

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JDownloader 2 in Windows 8
What We Like
  • You can manage and monitor your downloads remotely

  • A list of download links can be saved to an encrypted file

  • Lots of options are easily customizable

  • Works on Windows, Linux, macOS, and any OS that supports Java

What We Don't Like
  • Setup might ask you to install other programs you might not want

Probably the coolest feature in JDownloader is its remote management ability. Use either the mobile app or the My JDownloader website to start, stop, and monitor your downloads from anywhere.

The LinkGrabber in JDownloader adds any download link from the clipboard directly into the program so you can start a download nearly immediately after copying the link.

This download manager can also save a list of download links as a password protected encrypted file so you can easily import them again later.

playpause, and stop button are at the top of the program, which makes controlling all pending downloads really simple.

It's also really easy to control the download speed and maximum number of simultaneous connections and downloads from the bottom of the JDownloader program at any time.

The JDownloader free download manager supports Windows, Linux, and Mac operating systems, within the Firefox and Chrome browsers.

This program might download inside a RAR archive, in which case a program like 7-Zip is needed in order to open it. Also, look out for other install offers within the setup that don't pertain to JDownloader—feel free to skip them if you want.

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GetGo Download Manager

GetGo in Windows 8
What We Like
  • Downloads can be started and stopped on a schedule

  • Makes importing download links easy with multiple options

  • You can view an image before the download starts

  • Lets you download files from password protected websites

  • Downloads can be set up to auto-save to a specific folder based on file extension

  • Includes a built-in web browser to more easily download videos

What We Don't Like
  • Sometimes seems a bit more sluggish than other download managers

GetGo Download Manager supports batch downloads as well as a floating drop box for quickly downloading files via drag and drop.

You can paste links directly into the program or import a LST file containing all the download links.

Defining categories for where to place downloads is really easy because you can specify the exact file extensions that should be considered a particular category. Doing so will place executable files, for example, into a Software folder while MP4 and AVI files can be placed in a Videos folder.

GetGo Download Manager can store login credentials for downloading files from password protected websites. It can also preview image files before downloading them, run downloads on a schedule, and capture videos from video-streaming websites.

Windows is the only operating system that GetGo Download Manager works on. It can be integrated with Firefox, Chrome, and Internet Explorer.

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Download Accelerator Manager (DAM)

Download Accelerator Manager (DAM) in Windows 8
What We Like
  • You can set up sounds to alert you when downloads are finished

  • Stores website passwords to make it easier to download from them again in the future

  • Starting downloads is easy when you use the always-visible download button

  • Can automatically download files you start in your browser

What We Don't Like
  • Some features are limited because there's also an Ultimate version of the same software

Like some of these other download managers, DAM has a Drop Target button that hovers on your screen to make it easier to start file downloads.

Download Accelerator Manager also supports batch downloads, a scheduler, virus checker, confirmation sounds, and stored credentials. Another feature is MediaGrabber, which can automatically check for streaming video, music, and Flash files in any browser on your computer.

This program can be integrated into Firefox, IE, Chrome, Opera, Netscape, and Safari, in Windows only.

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FlashGet download manager in Windows 8
What We Like
  • Shows a file's download size before starting it

  • Downloads from a variety of locations (e.g., HTTP, FTP, etc.)

  • Can monitor downloads from your web browser and start them for you

  • It's simple and easy to understand

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn't track downloads started in the Chrome browser

  • Doesn't support HTTPS downloads

FlashGet monitors downloads in Firefox and Internet Explorer, plus it can scan downloads with your antivirus program and can tell you how large a file is before you download it, which is really awesome.

Download files over the HTTP, FTP, BitTorrent, and other protocols with a seamless integration into the one-for-all download button. This means even if you add a torrent file or image/video file to be downloaded, you use the same button for it and FlashGet will immediately know how to handle the download.

This program also has a floating desktop button so you can toggle browser monitoring, pause/start downloads, and add new download links.

You can download FlashGet for Windows systems.

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Download Accelerator Plus (DAP)

Download Accelerator Plus (DAP) in Windows 8
What We Like
  • Can be configured to turn off your internet access after the last download finishes

  • A web browser is built-in, but it also integrates with your regular browser

  • Supports scanning files for viruses

  • Includes a few ways for importing multiple URLs

What We Don't Like
  • The free version is limited when compared to the Premium edition

  • Shows ads

The Download Accelerator Plus download manager includes a built-in web browser. You can add your own links from your own browser, too, through copy/paste.

A few of DAPs features includes the ability to import a list of links via an M3U or plain text file, the option to disconnect from the internet after all the files are downloaded, a virus checker, and the ability to start downloads immediately after importing the links.

Since there's also the DAP Premium program, some features are only available if you pay.

DAP can work on a schedule and supports being integrated with Chrome, IE, Safari, Opera, and Firefox. It runs on Windows only.

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Xtreme Download Manager (XDM)

Xtreme Download Manager (XDM)
What We Like
  • Includes a built-in file converter

  • Lets you preview media files before fully downloading them

  • Works in all the major operating systems

  • Intercepts downloads made by your browser

  • Really easy to use with its minimal UI

  • Includes other unique features

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn't support some features found in similar programs, such as torrent downloads

  • Asks for permission to read and change all data on sites you visit

Xtreme Download Manager (XDM) has a really simple interface, which is helpful when you consider that most of the download managers in this list are flooded with lots of menus and options.

This add-on asks for permission to read and change all data on sites you visit, so avoid doing online banking and sharing personal information while using it.

XDM includes a download preview so you can take a sneak peak at media files. It also lets you resume broken downloads, limit the download speed, convert files, automatically download files of a certain format, schedule downloads, and run certain shutdown parameters after downloads.

The XDM program is for Windows, Mac, and Linux. Browser monitoring is supported in Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and other browsers.