Download managers have a rather different role than a few years back. They used to be about using simultaneous downloads to max out a weedy dialup connection, but with the majority of people enjoying high-speed broadband, this is less important. Now the focus is rather different.
JDownloader is a free, open source tool that makes it quicker and easier to download files from hosting sites. This means that the likes of Mega, Rapidshare and so on are no longer a pain – even if they feature irritations such as CAPTCHAS and time limits before download links can be clicked. JDownloader can automate the entire process for you – just provide the initial link and everything else will taken care of for you. Downloads can be paused and resumed, transfers can be scheduled, and as an added bonus the program is available for multiple platforms.
The download of JDownloader itself is a bit annoying because the installer is hosted on Mega, and is supplied in RAR format. Mega tries to get you to install its own download software, and not everyone will have the software required to decompress the RAR file. On top of this, the installer tries to coax you into install Avast Antivirus software; it might be a great security tool, but bundleware like this is never welcome.
While JDownloader may initially look a little intimidating, in practice it's wonderfully simple to use. A clipboard monitor means that as soon as you copy a URL it is automatically analysed and added to the program. Thanks to this, you can set about collecting a large number of links and set them to download in one batch.
JDownloader is a real time saver thanks to the number of things it can automate for you, and the remote access option is a very nice touch for monitoring large downloads while away from your computer. Reducing hosted file downloads to a single click is praise-worthy indeed.
The latest version of JDownloader features improved performance and several minor bug fixes. For full details, see the JDownloader change log (opens in new tab).