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Using Microsoft Download Manager to download large files

We are having a big project in my company. A pretty big one, which requires a couple of new servers running Windows 2008 R2 64-bit and SQL Server 2008 R2, with IIS (Internet Information Services) running and hosting local websites. And this project will save us time and money when it’s live.

Unfortunately the project is confidential so I can’t disclose it’s nature :D But at least I can share with you readers and fellow IT professionals about my experience with downloading—and redownloading for soooo many times—stuff from MSDN, and also the discovery of a free program that allowed me to resume/retry interrupted downloads. Read on if you are also having problem with your downloads and are looking for a solution.

So anyway, while R&D was setting up the machine, I was in charge in downloading the software via our MSDN subscription. In order to limit the impact on our network/bandwidth, I started the download during night time, where our network usage and workforce is low. By morning time it should be ready, and we can start the installation.

The next day I came to work, the downloaded files were sitting nicely and ready to be burned to DVDs (they are ISO image files). But hey! I supposed to get several gigabytes total, but the files were only several megabytes! Drat–was it network problem? Or MSDN site had a problem?

Not wanting to spend that day’s energy wasted for nothing, I connected to our backup network and restarted the download. All was well and several hours later the download window said it’s done. Except that it’s not :( I still got incomplete files!

Our backup line was working perfectly fine during the download duration. I also tried different computers with different operating systems and different browsers, and all of them had the same result. Oh well… I concluded that it must be MSDN who were having problem. Looks like the download got interrupted, and there’s no way for me to resume the download. I could redownload for the third time, but I would get the same result without a reliable download method. So I guess my options were only either relying on the Lady Luck, or get a download manager program that can handle automatic download retry/resume.

Allow me to sidetrack a little bit. Before, MSDN downloads were handled by a small program called File Transfer Manager (FTM). When you hit the download button, FTM would automatically pop up and take care of it. But this time, I didn’t that window. Perhaps Microsoft had decided that IE download manager is good enough?

So I downloaded FTM from here, installed it, and hoping that it would solve this problem. But whoa—where’s the ‘Add’ button? If I can’t add, then how can I ask it to download for me? :(

Desperate for a solution, I googled around, and found another alternative. Apparently there’s this Download Manager program that’s replacing FTM (read here for reference). I don’t know why DM didn’t get automatically installed/launched when I downloaded those ISOs from MSDN, but anyway off I went—downloaded DM from here, installed, and YES! I saw a ‘New Download button’! And a ‘Settings’ button that allowed me to manage the retries and connections! The joy of seeing those was as exciting as the relief of seeing a stream of light at the end of a long and dark tunnel. Honest!

Fast forward: I finally managed to download the huge ISO files. I could see that it would automatically retry when the download got interrupted (it even gave the detail of the error, such as error code 80027ef1, and heaven knows what that meant). It also would resume the download instead of starting over.

But the discovery I found—and the main point of this article—is that I can use this Download Manager to download other big files. No need to buy other programs (at least for me, since Download Manager serves me right), and I can be assured that the stuff I am and will be downloading will be 100% complete when it is finished.

So again, as a summary, here’s the download link for Microsoft Download Manager: Use it wisely!

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  1. Dead Link says:

    Your link is dead. :(

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