Nov 20, 2007

Problems with the new MSDN Download Manager

I love that VS2008 has finally hit the street, but I can't stand the new Akamai MSDN Download Manager that they've decided to use to distribute it.


It's so poorly done from a UX perspective and security perspective I just can't get over it.


Here's a few different situations that I've already run across...

#1 Closing Internet Explorer while Downloading

Download Manager (DLM): Do you want to stop downloading?

Me: No

DLM: Well, I’ll close anyway

DLM: Now I’ll Restart

DLM: Oops! Your download is corrupt

DLM: Did you want to start downloading again?

Me: Yes.  And thanks for wasting my bandwidth!  Grrr!


#2: Play "Where's the Download Manager"?

Alt+Tab to the desktop.

Now Alt+Tab and try and find the download manager again – it doesn’t even appear in the app list!


#3: Try to Save the File

DLM: Select the save location for the iso file.

Me: “My Documents” (the default)

DLM: Sorry you don’t have permissions. Contact your network administrator

DLM: How about I save in temp files for you.  Do you want to open the folder?

Me: No.  You dumb piece of ....   I want to put in My Documents!

DLM: OK, but I'm going to ignore you and I'm going to hide now... (see #2 above).


By the way, if you try to find the file via Windows Explorer then you'll be plum out of luck.  You need to do the following to find it:

  • Start Windows Explorer as Admin and go to:
  • C:\Users\<<YOU>>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Virtualized\C\Users\<<YOU>>\Documents

What a corker!  Did anyone actually test this thing?!!!


#4: Pop-Up Blocker left On

You go to the MSDN download page and forget that your IE Pop-up blocker is on.

Click the download link.

If you're eyes are quick you may see the IE Yellow bar appear or a fraction of a second.

The page refreshes almost immediately, the bar disappears so you've got no time to respond.  If you're eyes aren't quick it just looks like the page posted back without doing anything.

You'll need to either turn off the pop up blocker or use ctrl+click on the file link next time.


Hmm.  Not the best piece of software in the world.


  1. Oh yes, this silly thing doesn't even work. I get the ErrorMessage "There's a persistent network connectivity error preventing download completion, indication a problem with your connection to the Internet. Please check your Internet connection before continuing." but there is no problem with my internet connection. There never was a problem downloading with old Download Manager.

  2. I feel your pain.

    Are you behind a proxy server? You might want to check the FAQ for the download manager (or as I call it "the akamai abomination").

  3. There was a problem with my IEx (we have to work with version 6 because of company internal security rules - I don't really know why IEx6 should be more secure than IEx7 but I am sure they know....).

    A friend tried to download with last firefox version (oooh, I would never ever think about to use it --- and yes: He really must not use firefox in company....) but it worked.

    We both use same workstations with exactly same settings (proxy, etc...).

    This topic will be catagegorized in my IE X-Files.... ;-)

    But now I can install this coool new VisualStudio!!!

  4. This isn't the MSDN download manager, it is Akamai's.

    For more info check out my entry and the respective comments.

  5. @anonymous: I think if you read the first line of my post you'll see the words "Akamai MSDN Download Manager" :-)

    Regardless, if Microsoft coose to use it on their MSDN site they are giving it their seal of approval and as far as most people are concerned that means it's theirs.

  6. I got to 96% then got a 'fatal error' then a various options of dialogs that told me 'If I select yes your download will be cancelled' - so I selected 'no' and it just showed me the dialog with the 96% download and no option to resume.

    I am trying to think of one online Microsoft experience I've enjoyed and I don't think there is or ever will be one!

  7. I did one download with Firefox which got to 75% before sticking, then one with IE which got to 99% stuck for ages and then told me the file was corrupt. Of course, you can't use the 75% downloaded file to kick-start the new attempt, either.

    Then I did another with IE, which got to about 50% before failing, then finally I got it on the 4th try. So that was about 10Gb of bandwidth completely wasted.

    Absolutely, utterly, completely crap.

    What on earth is the point of a 'download manager' if it isn't to be able to do robust retries? The freebie BitTorrent clients, mostly written by Latvian teenagers in their bedrooms, are better at this stuff.

    Straight HTML download would have been better, even if it did use Akamai's edge network.

  8. There's hope in sight... According to Brian Harry apparrently Jeff Beehler is going to be speaking to those responsible about it.

    Hopefully he'll be using words of 1 syllable or less so that the release team can understand the problem...

  9. Yeah I had the exact same feeling about this POS. Really, what do you mean that "I" don't have permissions to save in my own dang Documents folder.

  10. Hi all, we have recognized the variety of issues that need improvement ASAP, and your inputs have been great. We NEVER want our customers to be exposed to the system failures on any kind, but even with best of intentions, some issue creep up. We are working on the revision to the DLM and trying to get the fixes in over the weekend. In the mean time, most critical downloads have been posted to MSDN's download service, so please download what you need from the MSDN Subscriber Downloads.
    Based on your feedback, we are trying to implement the fixes to the following:
    - DLM should download to Downloads by default
    - the proxy issue that crashes the IE if proxy server is enabled but the address field is left empty
    - Retry on downloads: we have seen that if your session expires (you lose your network connection because PC goes to sleep, for example, and your MSDN session expires) the downloads can’t be restored (we are looking in to this)
    - DLM cannot be restarted if you close it and try again later (session issue again)
    A new DLM will be coming soon, by the end on 11/07 at the latest, and we are trying to hurry it up as soon as possible.
    We recognize the inconvenience this caused you and others who experience it. Thanks for your patience and support. We are doing all we can to make sure this does not happen again.
    Thomas, MSDN team

  11. You can play "Find the Download Manager" and win, if you look in the c:\windows\downloaded program files folder. I see in mine:

    On my system, the Download Manager, aka "Akamai Abomination", causes the Nokia Phone Browser to open. Nothing is ever downloaded!

    MSDN customer support would not let me talk to tech support (they said it is not a technical issue LOL), and then suggested I uninstall Nokia Phone Browser! I countered-suggested that I uninstall their crappy software instead, see that the Nokia software actually works.

    Lastly, the popup window suggests that if you have system restrictions preventing use of the download manager, then you should use the web browser download method. That would be great, and I'd do it in a heartbeat, but you cannot find any web pages with direct file links. Even the IT support lady said that they only have the active server pages links.

    Whoo, Microsoft, you ***ed up, and so did Akamai.

  12. I might have a solution that avoids the Akamai Abomination:

    1. Since in my case, the AA caused the Nokia Phone Browser to open, I uninstalled Nokia PC Suite from my computer.
    2. I used Firefox to navigate to the MSDN file I wanted to download.
    3. I installed Microsoft File Transfer Manager from
    4. I began the download of the file and when asked what to do with the file type, I selected Microsoft File Transfer Manager.
    5. The FTM is now running with 380 kB/sec and I am receiving the requested image file.

    Hope this works for someone else!

    Microsoft's telephone support asked me to contact them by email, fully describing my issue. When I did, complete with screen captures, they responded thusly:

    Hello John,

    Thank you for contacting Microsoft regarding your issue with the download site.

    In order for us to best assist you, we will need to ask you to contact the Technical Support team for any type of installation issues with our site. Please contact them with your Subscriber ID at (800) 936-5800 or you can also your your online concierge chat or managed newsgroups if you dont feel like using a technical support incident. If you have any questions regarding this issue, please feel free to contact us at the number provided below. Thank you for contacting Microsoft, have a great weekend John!

    MSDN Subscriptions Team
    Phone: (800) 759-5474
    Fax: (661) 244-4993

    Hopefully Ashley and the rest of the team can use this solution, since they seem to need one.

  13. I found a solution !
    uncheck proxy settings.
    start download.
    pause downloads
    check proxy
    -> back to full speed download

  14. I constantly have issues with the Akamai DLM (activeX) that is still used on the MSVL site. The good news is that it appears MS has started using a new download management applet for MSDN subscribers that appears to work quite well.

  15. September 2010 and DLM is still a bag of nails.
    MS Volume License customers still have this obcene piece of software to contend with.

    Best fault so far:
    Downloading an ISO... Connection lost... Click "Resume"... DLM says: "The file has changed size on the server and the download can not continue."
    It's an ISO - it doesn't change size!
    Of course, if Akamai happen to have several ISO builds on different servers under the same identity that would explain the file "corruptions"...

    MS and Akaimai should be ashamed.

  16. If you're still stuck, try to reinstall Microsoft Download Manager. The new version seems to work better (at least for me :D), and you can even use it to download (big) files from other sites

    I blogged about it here:

  17. Sept 2012, it still sucks!!!

  18. I know this is really old thread and it is 2012, but things doesn't change so fast at Microsoft. This stupid thing still doesn't work. If you you are stuck - work around is to use Chrome, it does the standard download :)

  19. Sanjay, you are the man! I don't know why I didn't consider this earlier but using Chrome allowed me to bypass Akamai's download manager.

    It's insane that this is the 5 year anniversary of this post and Microsoft is still using this abomination.

    No matter what we tried with our acl rules on our proxy server, we couldn't get this download manager to work... for 5 years now.