Internet Download Manager is maybe the most used download manager application under Windows, but some people might not like that it costs money and it ends up pirating the software - not so good. So what are the free alternatives? Well, I only found one which can compete against IDM - Download Master!
[caption id=”attachment_2090” align=”alignnone” width=”1024”] The interface looks similar like IDM with some more gimmicks[/caption]
The software is coded by russian people, Westbyte homepage is entirely in Russian language same like their Setup and there is no way to change it - sadly because that could scare people away.
[caption id=”attachment_2091” align=”aligncenter” width=”499”] The setup offers two languages, sadly not the number one world language - English, why not?![/caption]
The setup also comes with an opt-out option to remove the ‘candy’ in it.
[caption id=”attachment_2092” align=”aligncenter” width=”499”] Ensure you uncheck it! We not want to get some extra stuff![/caption]
Since the program is freeware you will see setup things like that, this is sadly today more or less normal, so ensure you uncheck the integrated toggles to avoid the installation of Yandex related software, search engine and topgames.ru related crap.
You will find this little icon with a link to TopDownloads.ru on your desktop after the installation, not good but you can simple delete it.
The program looks very similar like Internet Download Manager but offers some useful gimmicks like a floating window to show the current speed as little overlay. There is also an integrated search function which can be useful to find your downloads faster, this makes sense when you download a lot of things and you not want to use Cortana. Sadly if the topdownloads.ru plugin is on, the program searches the webpage instead of the local files no matter if the plugin was activated or not, so you are forced to remove it completely.
The User Interface can be customized same like on IDM, just right click on the Windows and open the “Customize toolbar” option, which allows you to add or remove certain functions.
I found the following options annoying:
[caption id=”attachment_2098” align=”alignnone” width=”636”] The integrated Topdownloads.ru Download Bar[/caption]
The Browser integration works well, Firefox gets detected and it installs a legacy addon which hopefully gets one day a WebExtension addon. For Chrome and all other browser you need to download their official extensions, the links are in the official stores or mentioned on their homepage.
The downloader shows a little picture (ad) on top of it but it’s not annoying and doesn’t made any sounds during the test or was animated, you can also manually copy & paste the links directly into the program, the integrated browser download function can be enabled and disabled at any time.
Download Master worked well on several pages I tested, same like IDM the integration isn’t perfect, sometimes the download never started so I was forced to temporarily disable the integration and download it native with the Browser.
Download Master offers tons of function, I personally like the plugin idea, reminds me on the good old Miranda IM times and the potential is there to integrate a lot of good stuff like e.g. a CAPTCHA plugin. You have the ability to configure your proxy to download your stuff behind your proxy and configure which file extension the program should download. There is also a blacklist function so you can stop the automatically download for a website which has a problem with download managers.
There are tons of more options which I could mention right now but I think the above picture already tells a lot about the functionally of Download Master, all needed options are given and it has overall exactly the same functions like IDM but for free.
Additional program skins are available for free here.
Download Master is a good program, the developer needs to translate the setup and fix the Firefox extension and then I think it’s as good as IDM. Since it’s free you see an advertisement on the download bar but you can live with it or donate something to get an ad-free version, however it’s totally okay in my opinion since nothing was really annoying and the rest could be configured with the given options. The User Interface looks a bit old but it’s okay.
I liked the program and I see it as the only real alternative to IDM which offers similar functionality, there is also Free Download Manager but it wasn’t as good as the IDM or Download Master in my opinion because of the lack of functions like a proper Browser integration.
Download Master has the potential to get number one of all download manager, they really need to provide an option to opt-out of their advertisement and provide a translated setup and a English based homepage and then it be almost perfect. I liked that you can use it also portable without any problems and the download speed with it was good, configurations possibilities are given and there is less to complain about, maybe the fact that the program is a native 32-bit application which is a bit strange, 64-bit offers some benefits especially when you download larger files or in case you want to harden the program against several attacks, why it’s still a 32-bit application is a little bit beyond me the compiler flag change doesn’t require much effort if the program code is 64-bit compatible.
Download Master is definitely a good alternative which needs to be improved here and there but I hope we see more from it.