Use a standalone URL downloader

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Have you ever happened across a download URL outside of your browser—a URL for a demo of some new application in an email message—and wished you had a quick way to just download whatever it was without launching your Web browser? Or perhaps (like me), you use a number of different Web browsers, but want one centralized “downloads manager” to track everything you’re downloading. If you’re running 10.4.7, you have just such a tool available for your use—a standalone application that does nothing more than accept dragged URLs and then downloads them to your desktop.

In the Finder, navigate to /System -> Library -> CoreServices, and then scroll down until you see the program named VerifiedDownloadAgent. Now just drag that application to another spot on your hard drive—your Applications folder, or anywhere else you’d like to store your copy. Because your user doesn’t have the necessary rights to modify the System folder, the Finder will automatically create a copy of the application when you drag it; the original will remain safely in its current location. Note that this means that if Apple ever updates this app (and they probably will; it’s version 1.0 presently), you’ll have to recopy it to get the newest version. You could avoid this by making an alias instead of a copy (just Command-Option drag the original to create an alias), but I dislike the alias arrow, so I went with a copy.

Now navigate to the spot where you saved your copy of the program, and rename VerifiedDownloadAgent to something more suitable—I called mine Downloader. To complete the process, you could paste in a custom icon in place of the “generic app” icon. I used the “Downloads Folder” icon from the Amora icon collection from the Iconfactory, resulting in the image seen at right.

Now you can drag your Downloader application to your Dock, sidebar, or toolbar for fast and easy access. Launch it and leave it running all the time, then just drag and drop any download URLs you receive into its window—quick downloading without launching your Web browser!

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