We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
Software Reviews
15,670 Reviews

JDownloader review


Manufacturer: AppWork

Our Rating: We rate this 4 out of 5

JDownloader is a powerful and free Java-based download manager.

Most people use their web browsers for downloading files, but a browser isn't always the best tool for the job. If you are trying to download a YouTube video, or a very large file that may take hours, an external download manager might do a better job than your browser. JDownloader is one such download manager, and since it is Java-based, it works across Windows, Mac and Linux.

In JDownloader's case, I must split the review into two parts: The installation experience, which is horrible by default, and the actual use of the application, which is quite nice. See all: PC Advisor software downloads.

Let's start with the installation: On its official website, JDownloader offers a WebInstaller, which is a compact installer that downloads the files needed for a complete installation. At first, stepping through the installer seemed like a trivial next-next-next affair. Fortunately, when the installer asked whether I want a "quick" or "custom" installation, I stopped to read. I then discovered that the "quick" installation hijacks the browser homepage, new tab page, and default search engines, pointing them at a site called Facemoods.com.

This is one of the lowest forms of monetization, preying on users who do not bother to read the installer. I unchecked the offending options, and completed the installation.

Once installed, JDownloader added a shortcut to the Windows 7 list of applications on the "outside" of the Start menu. Clicking the shortcut, however, simply ran an update utility--not JDownloader. I tried this twice, and the update utility ran both times, launching JDownloader only once it finished slowly checking for updates. To launch JDownloader directly, I had to open All Programs and track down the JDownloader shortcut there. Once I clicked that, JDownload ran correctly.

This concludes the bad part of the user experience. Once you're in JDownloader, you have one of the world's most sophisticated download managers at your disposal. JDownloader can be used as any general-purpose download manager, and it also supports dozens of file hosts such as RapidShare and others. It can monitor the clipboard and parse any URL you copy into it to see if it contains files that could be downloaded. If you feed it with a YouTube link, it lets you download the video in any resolution offered on the page.

JDownloader is built from the ground up to deal with file hosts that do not let you pause downloads; that's why its "pause" functionality doesn't actually pause the download altogether, but slows it to a crawl, letting you use your bandwidth as needed. It also has a built-in extension system, and extensions can be installed from within JDownloader itself (much like jEdit, a Java-based text editor). There are extensions for unzipping downloads automatically, scheduling downloads to begin at certain times, and more.

JDownloader Expert Verdict »

Linux, Macintosh OS X, Microsoft Windows 7, Microsoft Windows Vista, Microsoft Windows XP
  • Overall: We give this item 8 of 10 overall

While I love JDownloader and I appreciate the fact that developer AppWork must somehow make money, I really can't get behind the installer changing the homepage, default new tab page, and default search provider. Such tactics are traditionally reserved for the lowest of the low, which JDownloader is certainly not. I'm not saying you shouldn't install it: It is one of the best download managers available today, and at a price that can't be beat. If you do try it and like it, consider donating to the developer.

  • TheBrain 7.0 review

    TheBrain 7.0

    TheBrain lets you keep and organize all of your thoughts and files in one central place.

  • Wondershare AllMyTube review

    Wondershare AllMyTube

    AllMyTube is a simple download utility for streaming videos including YouTube, Vimeo, and VEVO. Here's our AllMyTube review.

  • Komodo Edit review

    Komodo Edit

    Komodo Edit is a free and powerful programmer's text editor built on the same foundation as Mozilla Firefox.

  • Yuuguu review


    New to the burgeoning screen-sharing service market is UK company Yuuguu, with its free app that enables Windows, Mac and Linux computers to interact together.

  • Nokia N81 8GB mobile phone

    Nokia N81 8GB mobile phone

    The N81's fancy multimedia credentials, excellent connectivity options and well-designed search function will have you rushing out to buy one, but its tacky, plastic front slider, poor excuse for a camera and noticeable lack of a memory expansion slot could soon destroy your lust.

IDG UK Sites

LG G4 Note UK release date and specification rumours: Samsung Galaxy Note 5 killer could be the LG 3......

IDG UK Sites

In defence of BlackBerrys

IDG UK Sites

Why we should reserve judgement on Apple ditching Helvetica in OS X/iOS for the Apple Watch's San...

IDG UK Sites

Retina 3.3GHz iMac 27in preview: Apple cuts £400 off Retina iMac with new model