Internet Download Manager (IDM) has been around for a long while and has gradually proven itself as a resourceful download manager for handling difficult scenarios involving large-sized files and simultaneous tasks. In time it gathered powerful tools under the hood, such as a task scheduler and website grabber, giving web browsers a run for their money.
The trial version runs for 30 days and does not impose any restrictions. At the end of this period, the full package may be purchased for $24.95 / €19.95.
The installation procedure is fast and simple. Once finished, IDM offers to integrate add-ons into web browsers to automatically take over download sessions whenever triggered. In some cases, system reboot is required to complete the setup stage.
The supported browsers listed by IDM are Apple Safari, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Netscape, and Opera. Associations can be remade from the “Options” panel, where it is also possible to assign any other browsers.
Customizing the interface
In the visual department, the interface does not particularly stand out. It opts for a clean look and well-organized structure, allowing users to easily perform downloading jobs, organize them into various categories, schedule tasks, and so on. A system tray icon is created to easily access IDM.
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Predefined categories cover compressed files, documents, music, programs, and video, in addition to queues, finished and unfinished tasks, together with grabbed objects. Plus, IDM permits the creation of new categories by taking into account a limited set of file types or all files from targeted websites.
The category pane may be hidden from the main application window, leaving behind displayed task properties: file name, size, status, remaining time, transfer rate, last attempt date, description, and “Q” (shows which queue the download belongs to). Extra columns become visible at users’ choice – date of addition, saving directory, and referrer. Alternatively, users may customize these columns by hiding the ones they have no need for, arranging them in any order, and setting the width for each one.
Continuing with interface customization, it is possible to reorganize download jobs based on any column. The toolbar has two built-in styles (classic buttons, 3D style), while its buttons can be decreased in size and personalized by ordering or removing them, and adding separators.
Creating downloading jobs
As previously mentioned, IDM offers to install web browser extensions in order to immediately capture traffic and handle all downloads. The manual method implies entering URLs into the primary panel (with authorization if necessary), together with categories, saving directories, and descriptions. Downloads can start immediately or be postponed.
Furthermore, a small dropbox that stays on top of other windows can become visible to quickly drag links for downloading.
IDM has another handy downloading technique that enables users to fetch a group of files with sequential names from particular links with the help of wildcards (numbers or letters). This way, the workstation may be left unattended for a longer period of time while batch downloads are carried out automatically.
Multiple site grabbing projects may be scheduled to run only once at a user-defined time and date, or periodically synchronized if the website in question frequently receives updates. Other settings focus on the download stop time, number of retries for each file when downloading fails, and post-task action (open file, hang up mode, exit IDM, turn off computer with or without forcing processes). Another notable aspect is that simultaneous running tasks are limited to any number set by the user, while their downloading size and speed can be restricted.
The download queue, selected files, or everything can be exported to a plain text document or IDM Export file (EF2 format), only to be later imported and picked up from where they were left off.
IDM can be set to automatically run at system startup until further notice, while its module for monitoring Internet Explorer-based browsers (e.g. Avant) can be disabled. Meanwhile, hotkeys can be defined for preventing and forcing downloading with IDM for any links. The list of associated file types is editable, along with a website list for disabling automatic downloads.
In addition, it is possible to change the default folder for each category, point out an antivirus program for scanning downloaded files, edit network connection settings, manage user names and passwords for websites, as well as select sounds for program events such as download failure or completion, among many other configuration settings.
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Notable features include the task scheduler, website grabber, speed and size limiter, dropbox and download categories, in addition to integration support for basically any web browser. CPU and RAM are minimally used during downloads, which in turn are carried out very fast.
The possibility to log program activity would have come in handy to inspect information particularly when leaving the computer unattended for a longer period of time.
IDM’s current major version was released 4 years ago. Suffice it to say, users are looking forward to new and exciting features.