It can sometimes be difficult to find the developer page of a program. While some software download sites link to developer sites not all do and those that do sometimes make the links hard to find on their pages. Many download portals on top of that bundle the application with their own installer to make money from adware offers that they display to the user installing the software.
DDownloads is an interesting new program that is currently available as a release candidate. The basic idea behind the program is to provide Windows users with a central tool to download software directly to the system. The main benefit here is that you do not need to hunt for a download of the program or the developer's homepage anymore.
The home screen displays a couple of options to you that redirect you to program categories that you also find on the left. The Windows Starter Kit for instance links to the category of the same name that offers direct downloads of Adobe Flash and Acrobat Reader, Java, DirectX, Visual C++ Redistributable Package, The .Net Framework 4.5 and the Windows Essentials Codec Pack. I do not really agree with the author that those are essential tools but since you do not have to follow the suggestions, it is up to you what you install.
Definitely interesting is the large number of applications listed here. The Get Apps menu lists programs in 28 different categories, including firewall, backup and archive managers that all list between 5 and 10 applications that you can install directly. A quick scan of the categories revealed all-time favorites such as 7-Zip, Paint.net, AIMP, CCleaner, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware or Revo Uninstaller among the programs on offer.
The Get Apps group lists software that is either portable or comes with an installer. If you prefer to use only portable software, switch to the Get Portable group instead which lists only the portable programs included in the downloader.
To download a program right-click it and select Direct Download from the context menu. A save file to window appears where you select the download location before the download begins.
The context menu makes available a couple of other options that you can explore. The one that I really like is the option to visit the developer page. Note that while it is working for most downloads listed in the program, it is not working for all. Visiting the developer website can be helpful if you need support, contact options or want to browse other programs the developer has on offer. You can also do so to verify that the program has downloaded the latest available version and not an older version.
Another option that the context menu provides is to download from page. This loads the download in your default web browser, which you may like if you are using download managers for instance. Other options include opening Google Images to browse screenshots of the application, searching for support links or alternate download links. All downloads that I tried during the test worked just fine. Instead of browsing the categories you can alternatively use the search at the top to find a program you are looking for.
Before you start downloading software using DDownloads I suggest you click on Update to run an update check to make sure you are running the latest program version and signature database.
DDownloads is a useful program for Windows users who want to download programs quickly and without search to their systems. This can be especially handy after the installation of the operating system as many usually go ahead and download programs they would like to use to the system at that point in time.
I'd like to see options implemented into the program in the future. An option to maintain a list of programs that you consider essential and want to download at once or queued would be useful for instance. This way you could download all of your programs anytime you want with just a couple of clicks.
The project lives from the active maintenance of download links and information. If the developers manage to do that, it will surely rise in popularity quickly.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.