How can I download something from the web directly without Internet Explorer or Firefox opening Acrobat Reader/Quicktime/MS Word/whatever?

I'm using Windows, so a Windows version of Wget would do.

  • Just right clicking a file and hitting "Save Target As" or "Save Link As" or "Save As" (language varies depending on your browser) will work. – BrainSlugs83 Oct 22 '12 at 5:53
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    The point of having a command is being able to write a batch file and run it (perhaps scheduled as a task) anytime you want. That's where the GUI falls short. – Jbm Nov 15 '12 at 14:11
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    How do you download with MS Word? – Jaime Hablutzel Aug 20 '14 at 12:16
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    @JaimeHablutzel Why would you ever want to download something via MS Word? MS Word is not a terminal. – Braden Best May 14 '15 at 20:53
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    @SDsolar Or just upvote/improve this answer below. – Franklin Yu Nov 13 '17 at 19:32

17 Answers 17

up vote 160 down vote accepted

Wget for Windows should work.

From the Wget Wiki FAQ:

GNU Wget is a free network utility to retrieve files from the World Wide Web using HTTP and FTP, the two most widely used Internet protocols. It works non-interactively, thus enabling work in the background, after having logged off.

From this section of FAQ, download links are suggested:

Windows Binaries

Link with courtesy of Jernej Simončič is used instead.

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    There's also Winwget cybershade.us/winwget if you prefer a gui – Col Aug 19 '09 at 11:47
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    The standalone version is downloadable from this link. – Vito Gentile Feb 24 '14 at 11:19
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    More recent, even up-to-date (as of today) Windows builds, provided by Jernej Simončič – Gras Double Feb 16 '15 at 19:37
  • @VitoShadow broken link – The Red Pea Jun 14 '15 at 15:09
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    @cixelsyd Updated link to alternative source. – clearkimura Nov 21 '15 at 11:11

An alternative I discovered recently, using PowerShell:

$client = new-object System.Net.WebClient
$client.DownloadFile("http://www.xyz.net/file.txt","C:\tmp\file.txt")

It works as well with GET queries.

If you need to specify credentials to download the file, add the following line in between:

$client.Credentials =  Get-Credential                

A standard windows credentials prompt will pop up. The credentials you enter there will be used to download the file. You only need to do this once for all the time you will be using the $client object.

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    You can also do it in one-line: (new-object System.Net.WebClient).DownloadFile('http://www.xyz.net/file.txt','C:\tmp\file.txt') – schellack Oct 14 '11 at 20:32
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    @Rob powershell is built in to Windows... – nhinkle Dec 14 '12 at 4:22
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    From Vista up, yes. – Arran Dec 19 '12 at 12:44
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    @BrainSlugs83, absolutely, but many, many, people are still using XP. It's merely something to bear in mind. – Arran May 7 '13 at 8:08
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    @BrainSlugs83, you underestimate the amount of people still on older Windows systems. I don't understand the issue, I pointed out it's only on Vista upwards. People can choose to ignore it, or say "hey thanks!", but you....? If you have an issue, create a chat and we can talk. Someone with rep (like you) should realise here is not the place for this discussion. – Arran Jun 4 '13 at 21:17

If you have PowerShell >= 3.0, you can use Invoke-WebRequest

Invoke-WebRequest -OutFile index.html http://superuser.com

Or golfed

iwr -outf index.html http://superuser.com

Download a file via HTTP in Windows

  • This doesn't work with redirects on sourceforge (and possibly other sites), as opposed to System.Net.WebClient. However you can make Invoke-WebRequest work by adding -UserAgent [Microsoft.PowerShell.Commands.PSUserAgent]::FireFox. – Ela782 Jan 7 '16 at 12:22
  • This is the right answer now, @CédricBelin is right. The question & accepted answer are pretty old. – Factor Mystic Jan 10 '16 at 2:43
  • To run this from a cmd terminal: powershell -command "& {&'iwr' index.html http://superuser.com}" – dario_ramos Sep 28 '17 at 20:12
  • Is there an option to see the progress of the download? – Franklin Yu Nov 13 '17 at 19:24
  • @FranklinYu the progress will show if the file is large enough – Steven Penny Nov 13 '17 at 19:55

Windows has its own command line download utility - BITSAdmin:

BITSAdmin is a command-line tool that you can use to create download or upload jobs and monitor their progress.

EDIT: 26.01.15 - Here's my overview of how a file can be downloaded on windows without external tools

And a complete bitsadmin example:

bitsadmin /transfer myDownloadJob /download /priority normal http://downloadsrv/10mb.zip c:\10mb.zip

Edit : 15.05.2018 - turned out that's possible to download a file with certutil too:

certutil.exe -urlcache -split -f "https://download.sysinternals.com/files/PSTools.zip" pstools.zip

Certutil is not installed by default on XP/Win2003 but is avaialble on the newer windows versions.For XP/2003 you'll need the Admin Tool Pack for windows server 2003

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    Interesting. That is one clumsy piece of software compared to wget. – Matt H Mar 28 '12 at 21:36
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    Note that It doesn't ship with Windows XP, and maybe not with other versions either. – Ian Dunn May 22 '12 at 23:06
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    Update: BITSAdmin is deprecated and is not guaranteed to be available in future versions of Windows. Administrative tools for the BITS service are now provided by BITS PowerShell cmdlets. – nulldev07 Sep 28 '12 at 5:49
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    @MattH: because it's nto suppsoed to be wget in the first place? - see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Background_Intelligent_Transfer_Service – peterchen Sep 27 '13 at 12:17
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    Unable to add file - 0x80070057 – Tomáš Zato Apr 26 '16 at 17:55

Save the following text as wget.js and simply call

cscript /nologo wget.js http://example.com

This is the code:

var WinHttpReq = new ActiveXObject("WinHttp.WinHttpRequest.5.1");
WinHttpReq.Open("GET", WScript.Arguments(0), /*async=*/false);
WinHttpReq.Send();
WScript.Echo(WinHttpReq.ResponseText);

/* To save a binary file use this code instead of previous line
BinStream = new ActiveXObject("ADODB.Stream");
BinStream.Type = 1;
BinStream.Open();
BinStream.Write(WinHttpReq.ResponseBody);
BinStream.SaveToFile("out.bin");
*/
  • What language is this script in?Looks useful to my current task. I'd like to find more reference documentation. Doesn't look quite like vb – G-. May 30 '14 at 14:54
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    Useful for single files. Needs enhancing for recursive download and https. – opticyclic Nov 26 '14 at 19:07
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    @G-. I'm late to the party, but that's JavaScript. – prooffreader Oct 21 '15 at 20:52
  • I tried to do that for database.clamav.net/daily.cvd, but it downloaded only 88kB of 44MB :( – kokbira Oct 10 '17 at 16:27

I made a quick myGet.bat file which calls the PowerShell method described above.

@Echo OFF
SetLocal EnableDelayedExpansion
Set Var=%1
Set Var=!Var:http://=!
Set Var=!Var:/=,!
Set Var=!Var:%%20=?!
Set Var=!Var: =?!
Call :LOOP !var!
Echo.Downloading: %1 to %~p0!FN!
powershell.exe -Command (new-object System.Net.WebClient).DownloadFile('%1','%~p0!FN!')
GoTo :EOF
:LOOP
If "%1"=="" GoTo :EOF
Set FN=%1
Set FN=!FN:?= !
Shift
GoTo :LOOP

I borrowed some code from Parsing URL for filename with space.

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    why the downvote? this looks okay to me and is a direct response to the question. Yes it's clunky and could use improvement, like escaping ampersands (&) in the url, but it works as is. – matt wilkie Apr 24 '13 at 5:02

There is a native cURL for Windows available here. There are many flavors available- with and without SSL support.

You don't need the extra baggage of Cygwin and the likes, just one small EXE file.


It is also important to know that there are both wget and curl aliases built into all modern versions of Windows Powershell. They are equivalent.

No extra files or downloads are required to obtain wget functionality:

Using Curl In Powershell (The Sociable Geek)

Excerpt:

You can type in a cURL command like one that downloads a file from a GitHub repository.

curl http://raw.githubusercontent.com/Azure/azure-quickstart-templates/master/mongodb-on-ubuntu/azuredeploy.json

and it will seem like it works but what it is actually doing is just using cURL as an alias. In the above instance, what will happen is that you will just get the headers instead of the file itself.

Aliases in PowerShell allow you to create shortcuts for longer commands so you don’t have to type them out all of the time.

If you type in the command Get-Alias, it will give you a list of all the Aliases that are used in PowerShell. As you can see, the curl command just calls the Invoke-WebRequest command. They are similar but not the same which is why the above request does not work for us.

enter image description here

To get this to work properly in PowerShell the easiest way is to use variables and the -OutFile argument as shown here:

enter image description here

(file name cut off in image “https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Azure/azure-quickstart-templates/master/mongodb-on-ubuntu/azuredeploy.json”)

This syntax will download the full contents of the target file azuredeploy.json to the local file newfile.json


The primary advantage is that it is built into Powershell itself so this code will execute directly with no downloads or any other extra file creations are required to make it work on any modern version of Windows.

  • This be done directly on one line, but the line gets pretty long and is not as immediately readable at a glance. – SDsolar Nov 15 '17 at 18:48
  • The best way, thanks – Konstantin Chernov Apr 18 at 23:28

I was searching for the same, and since I had no privilege to install any of the above packages, I went for a small workaround (to download 30+files):

  • I created a batch file
  • Listed all the files
  • Put firefox.exe at the beginning of each line
  • Went to the firefox directory in Program Files
  • Ran it.

If PowerShell is an option, that's the preferred route, since you (potentially) won't have to install anything extra:

(new-object System.Net.WebClient).DownloadFile('http://www.xyz.net/file.txt', 'C:\tmp\file.tx??t')

Failing that, Wget for Windows, as others have pointed out is definitely the second best option. As posted in another answer it looks like you can download Wget all by itself, or you can grab it as a part of Cygwin or MSys.

If for some reason, you find yourself stuck in a time warp, using a machine that doesn't have PowerShell and you have zero access to a working web browser (that is, Internet Explorer is the only browser on the system, and its settings are corrupt), and your file is on an FTP site (as opposed to HTTP):

start->run "FTP", press "OK".

If memory serves it's been there since Windows 98, and I can confirm that it is still there in Windows 8 RTM (you might have to go into appwiz.cpl and add/remove features to get it). This utility can both download and upload files to/from FTP sites on the web. It can also be used in scripts to automate either operation.

This tool being built-in has been a real life saver for me in the past, especially in the days of ftp.cdrom.com -- I downloaded Firefox that way once, on a completely broken machine that had only a dial-up Internet connection (back when sneakernet's maximum packet size was still 1.44 MB, and Firefox was still called "Netscape" /me does trollface).

A couple of tips: it's its own command processor, and it has its own syntax. Try typing "help". All FTP sites require a username and password; but if they allow "anonymous" users, the username is "anonymous" and the password is your email address (you can make one up if you don't want to be tracked, but usually there is some kind of logic to make sure it's a valid email address).

  • +1 for thinking of command line ftp! However wget and powershell were both mentioned well before you joined the party, so -1 there. :-/ – matt wilkie Apr 24 '13 at 5:08
  • The other powershell answers I saw were all multi-liners and/or had some code smell to them -- this is a short & simple one liner to download a file. -- Also I wanted to provide an answer that covered all the bases. :-) – BrainSlugs83 Jan 12 '16 at 0:20
  • I'm not sure why you have two question marks in the destination file C:\tmp\file.tx??t – Ploni Feb 7 at 23:44

And http://www.httrack.com/ has a nice GUI (and it's free), for mirroring sites. It also has a Linux version.

If you want a GUI, then try VisualWget, which is actually clean, and feature full. It is based on GNU Wget for its download engine.

EDIT: updated link.

You could also use the wget packaged in PowerShell. ;^) To open, hit the Windows key and type "powershell" or Windows-R and type "powershell" and hit return.

No installation necessary.

One interesting difference from conventional wget (more at that link): You can't simply use the greater-than to pipe to a file. wget in PowerShell is just a convenience wrapper for Invoke-WebRequest, and you need to use its syntax to write to a file.

wget https://superuser.com/questions/25538 -OutFile rubySlippers.html
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    -OutFile did the job! – Dimitry K Nov 15 '17 at 15:59

You can get WGet for Windows here. Alternatively you can right click on the download link of the item you want to download and choose Save As. This will download the file and not open it in the assigned application.

I think installing wget via Chocolatey is the easiest way.

  1. Install Chocolatey
  2. From the command-line, type: choco install wget
  3. You can then use wget from the command line like on *nix systems.

An alternative to using gnuwin32 is unxutils which includes wget.

  • you can manage with unxutils but it's old, it uses an old version of wget. gnuwin32 is the thing to use. not quite as convenient to install and not as easy to find things, but it has much more than unxutils too. – barlop Oct 5 '11 at 19:31

If you need a visual Post for Windows, here is one.
You can post data or files with it.

protected by Nifle Nov 10 '14 at 9:49

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