Download Director - Frequently Asked Questions



What is Download Director?

Download Director is a Java application that provides enhanced download capability to IBM customers who download our products from the internet. It provides high-performance, reliable downloads with pause and resume capability. It starts in a separate window and provides a graphical user interface (GUI) to specify the download location, and view download status.

Download Director meets the standards set for Common Criteria evaluated software downloads.

We understand that some browsers no longer support Java applets, so we have improved Download Director. If your setup (browser/user configuration) allows Java applets, then Download Director will run as an applet in your browser. If not, the first time you start a download you will be directed to do a one-time installation of the Download Director application. After that, the application will open at each download request.

Also, you can choose to go back to the download web page that Download Director was launched from, and use the HTTP download option instead of Download Director.

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Why should I use Download Director?

Download Director provides advanced features not available with other download tools. Some key features include:

  • Resumable downloads from any type of interruption or lost connection
    When your internet connection is lost or your browser crashes, Download Director can save you download time by restarting the connection from the point of interruption with no loss of data. It automatically retries downloads when the connection is lost. It also lets you pause or resume the download at any time.
  • Guaranteed file delivery
    Download Director uses a secure hashing algorithm to check that files are transferred correctly. You would receive an error notification if the download was not completed successfully. This feature meets the requirements to support Common Criteria evaluated software downloads.
  • High-speed transfer
    Multiple connections enhance transfer speeds for customers connected via high-speed connections such as DSL, cable modem, T1 etc.
  • File access through a firewall
    Download Director allows you to access files through a firewall by using the proxy settings that you provide.
  • Large file downloads
    Download Director is able to download large files with increased reliability over FTP and HTTP. This eliminates the need to download files that are broken into multiple parts and must be reassembled by the user.
  • Small applet/application size
    The small size of Download Director (< 900KB) assures a reasonable startup time.
  • Multi-platform and multi-browser support
    Download Director is tested using different browsers such as Firefox, Microsoft Internet Explorer, and Safari.
  • Single user interface for multiple files
    Download Director supports a download queue so that multiple files can be downloaded through a single user interface.
  • Display download details
    Download Director shows you details of the current download list and previously downloaded files.
  • Unpack downloaded files
    Download Director supports unpacking of packed files for these file types: (.zip) (.tar) (.gz) (.tar.gz).

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Why should I use Download Director for Common Criteria evaluated software downloads?

Download Director meets the download requirements established for Common Criteria evaluated software. This includes the ability for you to view the status of the download in the popup window and receive a notification if for any reason the download was not completely successful.

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How do I start a download using Download Director?

If your setup (browser, user configuration etc) allows Java applets to run, the download will start within in your browser panel.

For setups without applet support (such as Chrome, newer versions of Firefox, Edge or browsers with Java plug-ins disabled), you will need the new Download Director application. When you start your first download, you will be directed through the steps for one-time installation of the Download Director application. After that, Download Director application will load as needed.

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What are the download steps in browsers that support Java?

Files that are set up to use Download Director are noted on the download page.You can click the download button (or link) to start the download. Upon first use, two windows will be displayed to you:

  • Download Director Applet Window
  • Java Security Window

Follow these steps to start a download:

  1. Grant the applet privileges from the Java Security Window
    When the applet runs in the browser, you are prompted to grant additional privileges. If denied, the applet will not run. These privileges are required for Download Director to connect to a remote server, read and write local files, and set Java properties.

    To grant the applet privileges, you can click to run the Download Director applet when the Java Security window appears. If you don't want this window to be displayed each time Download Director is launched, you can choose the option to remember the decision of granting the applet privileges.

    Note:   If you are using Microsoft Internet Explorer, the applet window will be blank if Internet security is set to high. It must be set to the default value of medium or lower for the applet to display properly. To set this, select these menu options: Tools -> Internet Options-> Security, and change the security level to medium.

  2. Select a download directory
    To specify a download location:
    1. Enter the drive and directory name into the Initial Setup window or use the Browse button to navigate to the desired drive and directory.
    2. Click the checkbox if you want to be prompted for a download location for each file. If you don't check the checkbox, all files will be downloaded to the default target directory . If you need to change the target directory afterwards, you can change it from the Setup window after clicking the Setup button.
    3. Click OK to create the new directory and begin the download.


    • Make sure that enough disk space is available for the download. If there is not enough free space on the specified drive, Download Director will eventually display an error message stating that the file cannot be written due to insufficient disk space.
    • If you pause the download and change the location of the download in the Setup window, the changes will take effect on the next download.
    • The first time you run setup, a profile ( is created in the download directory.
  3. Set proxy server (optional)
    The first time you use Download Director, you are asked if you would like to configure the proxy settings. If you choose yes, a Setup window is displayed. If you choose no, Download Director attempts to download the files without a proxy setting.

    To set the proxy server:

    1. Click the Setup button from the applet window to show the Setup window.
    2. In the Setup window, choose the type of connection, enter the server name, and the port number.
    3. Click the Test button to check user's server connection. An information window is displayed to indicate if the connection was successful. If the connection is refused, re-enter the correct settings and click OK.

    Note:   If you don't know how to configure the settings, contact the proxy server administrator. You will be able to download files after entering the correct setting information.

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What are the download steps in browsers that don't support Java?

Files that are set up to use Download Director are noted on the download page. You can click the download button (or link) to start the download. When you start your first download, follow the Download Director application install steps displayed at your workstation. The you will see panels to download your first file. After that, the Download Director application will load as needed.

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What are the Download Director controls?

After a download starts, you can pause or resume a download, reconfigure the settings or cancel a download. There are four buttons at the bottom of the Download Director window:

  • Pause/Resume:  Pause or resume a download at any time.
  • Setup:  Display a Setup window  to allow you to configure the settings.
  • Details:  Display a Details window to show information about the files and file groups in the current download list and the history download list.
  • Cancel:  Cancel the current download.
  • ?:  Display an information window with the features of Download Director.

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What does the Details window display?

When you click the Details button, a Details window is displayed to show you information about the current downloads or previous downloads.

  • There are two choices on the Details window, the current download list and the download history list.
  • The current list includes files that are currently downloading.
  • The download history list includes files that have been successfully downloaded through Download Director before.
  • There is an option to display the full path for the list of files.
  • You can double-click a file item on the list to see more details. If a file item is selected, a window is displayed that shows the details of that file. If a file group item is selected, a list of files in that file group is displayed. A return button shows the main list again.
  • A ">" is displayed next to the file that's being downloaded in the current list.
  • Click the Close button to close the window.

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How do I unpack files?

The unpack feature can be configured to run when a download finishes or you can manually select files to unpack. Only files of these types (.zip) (.tar) (.gz) (.tar.gz) can be unpacked.

To unpack files when a download finishes:

  1. Click the Setup button from the application window to show the Setup window.
  2. In the Setup window, click the Set unpack options button to show the Unpack options window.
  3. Specify the unpack location.
  4. Specify either Ask before unpacking or Always unpack
  5. Check Delete after unpacking if you want the original file deleted after it is successfully unpacked.
  6. Click OK for both setup windows.
  7. Unpack is now enabled for your next download.

To unpack files manually:

  1. Click the Details button from the application window to show the Details window.
  2. In the Details window, choose either Current download or Download history
  3. Select a file to unpack and click the Details button. If the file can be unpacked, the Unpack button is displayed.
  4. Click the Unpack button to show the Unpack window.
  5. Select the unpack options, then click OK to unpack.

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Does Download Director install on my computer?

If your browser supports Java applets then applet is downloaded by the Java Plug-in and stored in the Plug-in's cache.
If your browser does not support Java applets, Download Director installs a Java Web Start application before the first download.

Two files are created that store the Download Director settings.

  • <java.home>/
    Example: C:\Users\Marc\
    Example: C:\Documents and Settings\Marc\
  • <DownloadDirector>/
    Example: C:\Users\Marc\DownloadDirector\
    Example: C:\Documents and Settings\Marc\DownloadDirector\

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What are the browser and Java level requirements?

Download Director is tested using multiple operating systems such as Firefox, Microsoft Internet Explorer, and Safari. Download Director requires a minimum of Java 8.

Follow your company procedures to install Java 8, or if your company allows, install Java from

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Why doesn't the Download Director window pop up?

If you are using a popup blocker, the Download Director window may not appear when you click the download button. Set your browser's popup blocker to a "medium" level. If it still fails to appear, the popup blocker may need to be disabled.

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Why doesn't Download Director load?

If you want to use Download Director directly on your browser, you must use a browser that supports Java applets.

Due to network errors, Download Director sometimes doesn't load. Try closing and restarting your browser, then start Download Director again.

If you are using the Java Plug-in and are using a proxy or socks server for your browser, you must also use a proxy or socks server for the Java Plug-in.

  • Go to the Windows Control Panel and double-click the Java Plug-in icon to open Java control panel.
  • Go to the Proxies page (or on the General page-> Network Settings).
  • Specify your proxy or socks server and press Enter after filling in each field.
  • Click on OK or Apply.
  • Restart your browser.

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Why doesn't the Java Security Window pop up?

The Java security window will usually pop up when Download Director loads. It asks you to grant permission to run the application. There are two reasons that this window may not pop up.

  • You previously granted permission and indicated that permission is always granted. This is a normal behavior for the Java plug-in.
  • For AIX, you may need to install APAR IY66819

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Why do I get an error "Can't save Properties File C:\DownloadDirector\"?

This message means that the profile cannot be saved due to insufficient privileges (or an invalid directory). Some users have "Standard User" privileges which do not allow the creation of new directories and files in the default Download Director location. To get past this problem do one of the following:

  • Specify a download location under your user folder (examples: C:\Users\USERNAME, /Users/USERNAME, /home/USERNAME)
  • Create and use a directory with access for either your user id or for "all users"

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Why does Download Director application tell me that some files are "Already downloaded", yet those files don't appear in my download directory?

Download Director has detected that those files exist in a different directory, which was its target directory for a previous download. When that happens, Download Director will not download the files again.

This might cause problems during the installation of the downloaded software. Options:

  • If you no longer need the previously downloaded file you can safely delete it from the original target directory. This will cause it to get downloaded again.
  • Copy the "Already downloaded" files to the new target directory before or after the application executes.

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Additional FAQs