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Lifehacker: The Guide to Working Smarter, Faster, and Better, Third Edition by Gina Trapani, Adam Pash

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Hack 66: Automatically Download Music, Movies, and More

Level Advanced

Platform All

Cost Free

Your web browser does a good job of fetching web documents and displaying them, but there are times when you need an extra-strength program to get those tougher download jobs done.

A versatile, old-school Unix program called wget is a handy tool that makes downloading tasks configurable. Whether you want to mirror an entire website, automatically download music or movies from a set of favorite weblogs, or transfer huge files painlessly on a slow or intermittent network connection, the wget program — the noninteractive network retriever — is for you.

Install and Run wget

Download the Mac or Windows version of wget from http://lifehackerbook.com/links/wget. After downloading, extract the files to C:\wget in Windows or /Applications/wget on the Mac.

To run wget, launch a command line (the Mac Terminal or Windows Command Prompt). At the command-line prompt, switch to the directory where wget is installed by typing:

cd c:\wget\

on Windows or

cd /Applications/wget/

on the Mac. Then type the wget command you want from the examples described in the upcoming sections, and press Enter.

The format of wget commands is as follows:

wget [option]... [URL]...

URL is the address of the file(s) you want wget to download. The magic in this little tool is the long menu of options available that make some highly customized and scriptable downloading tasks possible. This hack covers some examples ...

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