Living up to its name

DAP certainly delivers faster download speeds, but it also has extras such as an FTP client and media-organization tools. Best of all, it's free.

This download manager brings much more to the table than fast file transfers, but it definitely delivers those, too. Increased download speeds are Download Accelerator Plus's bread and butter, speeding up downloads by almost 200 percent in most cases and occasionally as high as 400 percent.

Besides splitting files into smaller pieces, it thrives on automatically seeking faster mirrors. It also can get a file simultaneously from several sites, which is useful if a particular site limits the download speed; it can resume downloads; and it can preview some media files while downloading. There's also a blacklist for sites that you never want to accept downloads from, and categorized folders and filters to keep your downloads organized. DAP rolls in a media buffer, too, that allegedly will prevent streaming-video hiccups. Ensuring that you're running the latest version of the Adobe Flash player won't hurt, either.

Two new features include a UI change that lets users choose a Firefox- or Internet Explorer-styled download window, and integration with DAP's publisher's video converter. Downloading and converting video on the fly is a pretty smart way to keep the program fresh. The program will prompt you at your first attempt if you don't have the converter installed and guide you through its installation. Frustratingly, the install process will weigh you down with a ton of toolbars, default switches, and e-mail recommendations that you must opt out of for a clean installation.

Although it's heavy with ads and promotions, DAP is still a good choice for adding some heat to your typical download recipe.

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