Anyone who has every downloaded files from file hosting services such as Rapidshare or Megaupload is well familiar with the ritual “dance” involved in the process, which consists of waiting for on-screen counters to count-down then moving through multiple screens until at long last your download link becomes available. (Not to mention having to re-do the whole thing if you get distracted and don’t jump on the download link as soon as it appears).
If you’ve been in this situation then you’ll like this free Firefox extension. SkipScreen automates the process of advancing through the various pages preceeding the download screen, waits for the timer to count all the way down, automatically overcomes any captchas, then starts the download once it becomes available. All you need to do is browse to the initial download page; SkipScreen will do the rest.
A video of SkipScreen in action:
After using this plugin for a little more than a week I can report that it works brilliantly. Here are more notes:
- How to use: browse to the initial download page; SkipScreen will take over, in most cases displaying a countdown timer for when the download will commence. Nito user interaction is required until the save file dialog appears.
- Supported file hosting services: as of this writing (and in alphabetical order) Depositfiles, Digg, Divshare, 4Shared.com, FilesTube, HotFile, LimeLinx, Link-Protector, Linkbucks, Mediafire, MegaUpload Family, Rapidshare, SendSpace, ShareBee, Storage.to, Uploaded.to, zShare
- Anti-captcha: is built into the service. Which is to say you do not have to manually enter words or characters to prove that you are human; Skipscreen will do it for you.
- Batch clipping URLs: is not supported, unlike downloaders such as Jdownloader for example.You could open each part of your download in a new tab and just leave them, I suppose, except you I’m not sure if you could set Firefox to download automatically without having to interact with the save file dialog at the end of the Skipscreen process.
- Installation: when installing, be mindful of some bundled extras (toolbars, default search provider changes). If you don’t want anything else installed aside from the SkipScreen extension then make sure to uncheck all boxes (see screenshot to the right).
The verdict: let’s face it: any mildly internet savvy user will have to interact with file hosting services at one point or another, and Skipscreen will make this experience much more efficient and pleasant. It simply is a must have for anyone who uses Firefox (although it seems that Chrome and IE versions may be on the horizon).
Having said this, I will say that hard-core downloaders will be better served by a download manager such as Jdownloader, especially when it comes to multi-part downloads, and especially if you would like to set these up for serial downloading overnight or something like that. But for everyone else Skipscreen is the more logical choice and is not just extremely useful but downright indispensible.
Version Tested: 0.4.12
Compatibility: Multi Platform (Windows, Linux, Mac). Requires Firefox.
Go to the program home page to download the latest version (approx 434K).