DDownloads Review: Get software directly from the vendor with a single click

DDownloads helps you download popular programs straight from the source. It's free, and for the programs on its list, it works well.

By Nathanael Strong, PC World |  Software, free software

There are three major download lists: "Get Apps," "Portable Apps," and "Slim Apps." Apps in the "Get Apps" section are general-audience applications. Installers are linked when available, but some apps don't have installers so an archive file (like ZIP) is linked instead. Apps in the "Portable Apps" section are self-contained apps meant to be run directly off a USB thumb drive without needing an installer of any kind. Lastly, apps in the "Slim Apps" section are apps that are not ad-supported in any way, and do not install third-party toolbars.

Besides the sparse documentation, the only other complaint I have is that the advanced features are not very easy to use. As an example, suppose you want to perform a silent install of Exact Audio Copy, a free and easy-to-use CD ripping tool. First, you download the app, which arrives with a filename eac-1.0beta3.exe. Then you move that file to the DInstalls folder in the DDownloads directory. Next you have to rename it to "Exact Audio Copy.exe," and then you can use DDownloads to perform the silent install automatically. These instructions are found in a readme.txt file included with DDownloads, but otherwise are not provided anywhere else. In a recent update, an autodetect feature was added to the Install Manager that eliminates the need to rename the installer filename, but it still has to be done manually.

These rough edges, while potentially frustrating, are pretty common with any new software, and DDownloads is just getting started. The application list grows as more users contribute their suggestions, and the developer is very responsive when it comes to fixing issues. As the project continues to mature, I expect the documentation to improve and the advanced features to become smoother to use; but even in its current state, DDownloads is an excellent tool.

Originally published on PC World |  Click here to read the original story.
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