Tip: Use alternative, not-so-popular browsers to bypass annoying download managers

It seems more and more companies are forcing users to download their “download managers” in order to grab downloads from their websites (e.g. Adobe, Dell, etc.). Sometimes these companies have download-without-download-manager links that users can use; sometimes they don’t. If the download-without-download-manager links are available, the links are often hidden in such a way that you may almost never find them. One easy, quick way to bypass these dumb download managers is to use an alternative browser.

The download managers that companies force upon users typically operate in one of two ways:

  • The downloader manager is an add-on/plugin to the Internet browser;
  • The downloader manager is a program users must install on their computer.

If a download manager the latter, obviously you will have to download it regardless of what browser you use because the download manager is not browser-specific. However, if a download manager is the former, typically the download manager will only be configured to work with popular browsers because:

  1. It takes manpower, time, and money to develop add-ons/plugins and most of the time it just isn’t worth it to create an add-on/plugin for a browser that has a .1% market share;
  2. Not all browsers support add-on/plugins.

So, many times simply downloading whatever you are looking to download via a not-so-popular browser can result in a direct download link as opposed to having to go through a download manager. For example, to download Adobe Acrobat in Internet Explorer and Firefox users must install Adobe’s download manager. However, that same Adobe Acrobat is available as a direct, non-download-manager download in Chrome and Opera.

That said, exactly what browsers will this bypass technique work with? Well, the five major browsers right now are Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Chrome, and Opera. Because of their superior market share, there is no chance this bypass technique will work with Internet Explorer and Firefox. Safari, Chrome, and Opera are good candidates for this bypass technique, with Opera and Safari (Windows version) having the most chances. There are, of course, other browsers out there that one can try, such as Flock, Maxathon, Avant, etc., but it needs to be noted that many of these other browsers are based off one of the major five, so download manager add-ons/plugins may still work for them and may still be required.

In the end, while this tip is not guaranteed to always work, it is handy to keep in mind for those websites that try to put a download manager between you and your download.

If you have any special tips on how to bypass download managers, feel free to share in the comments below.

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  • Bruce

    @Woody: And in the case of Adobe, it just attempts to restart the download of their download manager.

  • Nice idea but you could just download such things from a respectable site like Filehippo – I wouldn’t dream of going near Adobe’s download manager garbage, Reader itself is bad enough…

  • AT

    Another way is to install a packet sniffer, allow the download to start and download a few bytes while capturing the packets. Cancel download and use captured link(s).

    A very old technique is to ftp the site.

  • jumbi

    very useful advice!

    and there a lot more advantages on using different browers for idfferent tasks as well :-)

  • Woody

    Usually it is enough to “cancel” the download of the download manager and look at the bottom of the page, there is always a link like “if the download does not start click here”.

  • citizenearth

    It is Maxthon, not “Maxathon”. For your information, Maxthon is the best IE-based web browser out there.

  • Jyo

    @lol768: Oh snap, ingenious! And firefox has an add-on for it too!

  • lol768

    You could probably just change your user agent instead of using another browser :)

  • smaragdus

    I automatically discard sites that try to install add-ons to browsers. Adobe Reader is a disaster from download through installation to behaviour (if one insists on using it, they should try to find Adobe Reader Lite- a unofficial, purged version of the monster). So just for the experiment I tried to download the freak reader from its official site and yes, it did try to install an add-on, it is a shame that these giant corporations try to contaminate users’ browsers with their crap. The browsers that the author of this article has quoted above in my opinion are not real browsers, such browsers are based on IE, FF, Chrome core. So I would recommend two other, ‘real’ ones, which, beside being stable and fast, are extremely unpopular and therefore, ideal for downloads from such intrusive sites- K-Meleon (which, although also based on the Gecko engine, is much faster than FF), and Qt Web (Qt-based browser, which has a portable and a stand-alone versions to boot).

  • ZappedSparky

    I had a problem with adobe download manager recently when updating to version 10. The plug-in updated and then kept popping up with an error about the wrong operating system or some such nonsense. A not so quick google search (half an hour, 45 mins ish) and I found the offline installer. I installed it and STILL the plug-in was checking and popping up with the error, so I un-installed the plug-in, problem solved

    Of course not long later you had eXpert pdf editer as a freebie. :) Thanks Ashraf.

  • HI Erike,

    You cuold have remove this line:

    So for those who use them, F**k them

    That would have been bit more nice.

  • Erike Magegere

    In this day of open software and worldwide internet access it seem “private:” down load managers are contrary to customer service to say the least. If I find that there is a download manager I usually cancel the product. It, for one, maskes the size of the download and here, in Africa, means an expensive and additional unwanted download. So for those who use them, F**k them. The could have some consideration for the consumer – or is that to much to ask?