Internet Download Manager (IDM) is the best download manager for Windows. It’s quite easy to use and offers plenty of features. While there are many similar products out there, such as BitTorrent Sync, Minuum, and uTorrent, IDM offers the advantage of integrating with your existing Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox bookmarks.
Once you’ve launched Firefox or Chrome, simply search for a file or folder you wish to download. When the results page loads, you’ll notice that IDM is still listed in the browser – this is because IDM integrates with your browser’s bookmarks, so you don’t have to re-enter your downloads every time you use your browser.
You can also set a download limit per day or per week and specify the quality of the files you wish to download.
Use A VPN To Download Files Securely
The importance of protecting your personal data while online cannot be overstated. This is why I recommend that everyone using Windows download and install the excellent OpenVPN client. While it takes a bit of setup, it’s completely free, has a helpful community, and offers the best security and privacy features available for personal use.
OpenVPN is a versatile tool that can be used to create secure connections over Wi-Fi or Ethernet networks, as well as to access servers, resources, and sites located behind firewalls. As a result, I am able to download files more securely and efficiently from the web (and elsewhere).
To get started, visit https://openvpn.net/index.php/open-source-software-library/ and download the most recent version of the software for your Windows PC. Once downloaded, launch the application and click on the green button to create a new VPN connection.
From here, you can connect to one of the many VPN servers located around the world. After you’ve connected, you’ll see a small icon in the notification area (at the top right-hand side of the screen).
You can click this icon to disconnect from the VPN or to reconnect whenever you want.
Then, click the gear icon to the right of the openVPN connection to access the connection’s settings.
Here, you can adjust the server’s options (e.g., the encryption scheme, shared secret) as needed. Once you’ve set these options, click the gear icon again to save them.
Finally, click the exit button at the top right to close the OpenVPN connection screen.
You can repeat this process to add more VPN connections for additional security. Of course, you can also connect to a VPN server located near you to ensure that your personal data is kept secure and private while online.
Choose a VPN that is compatible with your operating system. For example, if you’re using Windows 7, you should consider the PPTP protocol – this is most likely the VPN protocol used by the OpenVPN service. (If you’re not sure which VPN protocol to choose, I recommend OpenVPN.)
Once you’ve connected to a VPN, download files using your standard web browser – this will ensure that your existing network configuration is not changed by the VPN software (which would cause any website you visit to be unsecure).
A VPN will not affect your ability to download using other applications or tools. For example, if you’re using IDM, you’ll still be able to download files securely and efficiently even while connected to a VPN.
Choosing a VPN client is not a simple task – if you’d like to learn more, I suggest reading this wonderful review by Chris Aubeck on mondaymagazine.com. (And for those of you who’d like to learn more about OpenVPN, I recommend getting the free e-book on the subject from opnevpn.com as well.)
Once you’ve downloaded files using VPN, you can stop using it – it’s essentially a one-time configuration that will not affect your future downloads. (However, if you’d like to continue using it for additional security, you can connect again whenever you want – this will re-establish secure connections to any websites you visit.)
The Importance Of The Download Folder
It is important to remember that the location you choose to save your downloads in will affect how you use them – it’s not a bad idea to use a dedicated folder for downloads, especially if you’re the type of person that downloads a lot of files from the web. (If security is a concern, it’s best to keep your downloads in a dedicated folder – this will prevent them from being accessed by any other application on your system.)
For example, if you download files frequently from Spotify and other music streaming websites, it may be a good idea to keep your downloaded files in a dedicated folder on your system’s hard drive.
This will ensure that you can access the files easily whenever you need them. If you use the IDM download manager, it will guide you through the process of downloading your music.
By default, IDM will create a dedicated download folder for you in your home directory – if you’d like to change this location, you can do so by clicking the gear icon in IDM, selecting Preferences, and then selecting the Downloads option from the drop-down menu.
The next step is to consider the speed of your Internet connection – download speeds vary from region to region and can be significantly affected by local Internet congestion as well as the number of people online in the vicinity.
For example, many people use high-speed fiber connections that are capable of downloading multiple GB of data in a single day – if you’re using a dial-up connection, you may only be able to download a few MB before you’re throttled.
Furthermore, if you’re planning to download a large file, it’s usually wise to use a wired connection – this will ensure that you don’t experience any interruptions due to dropped connections and temporary speed fluctuations caused by wireless interference.
Use IDM To Manage Your Downloads Safely
IDM is a very safe and reliable tool to use – it automatically scans for known malware and viruses, as well as looks for changes to your operating system that could make your system vulnerable to attack.
When it detects a virus or other malware, it will provide you with a detailed report and ask you if you wish to continue with the installation. In the case of a virus, removing it from your system can be as simple as clicking a button – this is particularly useful if you’re not sure whether or not a program you’ve downloaded is safe to run.
IDM also has a feature called the Vault, which is exactly what it sounds like – it stores all of your downloaded files in a safe and secure place on your system. This allows you to access them from anywhere and ensures that they remain untouched even if you lose your computer or it crashes.
To access the Vault and manage your downloads, go to File > Vaults > Manage vaults from the IDM main menu. (Note: if you don’t see this option, you can click the gear icon in IDM, select Preferences, and then select the Downloads option from the drop-down menu.)
Now, you’ll see a list of all your vaults – if you’ve downloaded files to one of these locations, you can click the folder to view its contents (e.g., Preview Microsoft Word Documents Or Excel Spreadsheets).
From here, you can click the ellipsis button next to any file you wish to remove from your system. When asked if you wish to delete the file, just click yes.
Finally, click the padlock in the bottom-right corner to secure your vault and ensure that no one else can access it without your permission.
If you’d like to learn more, I recommend reading how-to-use-idm-to-download-securely as well as create-and-manage-vaults-in-idm over at learn.idmtech.com. (For more information on the OpenVPN protocol, I recommend checking out these helpful resources from OpenVPN: https://openvpn.net/index.php/open-source-software-library/ and https://openvpn.com/index.php/article/72-how-to-choose-the-proper-vpn-client-for-your-needs/.)