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How to Get Back FlashGot in Firefox

Mozilla’s transition to Firefox Quantum brought many changes. One of the rather upsetting changes for long time users of the browser was the introduction of WebExtensions, which meant all add-ons had to be rebuilt using this new API.

Some extensions that we had grown accustomed to however never got around to having this rebirth, which meant they became incompatible with all new Firefox versions. For those that had to use them, this meant sticking with outdated Firefox versions.

Meanwhile, for those that gave in and updated to Quantum, Mozilla added insult to injury with some annoying update notifications.

For a few months I held my ground using Firefox ESR, but eventually I too capitulated to the new brave world of Quantum. It’s here that I unfortunately realized that FlashGot wasn’t available in the Add-ons store.

I’ve since then tried many extensions, but nothing has ever comes close to the awesomeness of FlashGot. Desperate, I installed Palemoon and used FlashGot with it whenever I needed to until it eventually got outdated there too. That’s until recently, when I came across a fork of FlashGot for Palemoon called Grabit.

This got me wondering if somebody else had attempted to make a fork in the WebExtension format. That led me to the FlashGot forums, where surprisingly I found this thread of someone that had attempted to make a FlashGot-like extension.

Download Grab – A Flashgot-like Addon for Firefox

The extension I’m referring to is called Download Grab and is developed by Pouria Pirhadi. Its development seems to have stalled, however the add-on still works. You can check the add-on’s repository on GitHub here.

It should however be noted that this add-on is not a clone of Flashgot. It only works on Windows and the only feature that it has replicated so far is that of grabbing download links for external download managers. Currently, it supports many popular download managers such as:

  • BitComet 1.67
  • Download Accelerator Plus 10
  • Download Accelerator Manager 5.6
  • EagleGet 1.2
  • FlareGet 4.8
  • Free Download Manager 5&6
  • Free Download Manager 3
  • GetGo 6.2
  • GetRight 6.5
  • GigaGet 1.0.0.23
  • Internet Download Accelerator 6.19
  • Internet Download Manager (IDM)
  • Mass Downloader 3.9
  • Net Transport 2.96
  • ReGet Deluxe 5.2
  • wxDownload Fast 0.6.0
  • Xtreme Download Manager 7.2
  • Jdownloader (untested)

You can find a complete list of supported managers on GitHub here. Personally, I’m a long-time fan of FDM 3 (FDM 5 pales in comparison) and it’s the biggest reason behind my stubborn clinging to FlashGot.

While this add-on doesn’t have the ability to sniff and grab media links like FlashGot used to, there are plenty of WebExtensions that do just that.

Now let’s see how to go about installing it.

How to Install Download Grab

Note: The add-on is now signed, and so you no longer have to install it manually nor sign it yourself.

  1. Go to the project’s GitHub releases page and download and install the latest Native Host executable on your Window’s PC. You can find it in the first release if it’s not listed in the latest.
  2. On the same page, click to download the latest version of the extension’s XPI using your Firefox browser.
  3. You’ll be prompted by Firefox on whether to allow Github to install an add-on. Click the Continue to installation button to proceed.
    A screenshot of a firefox prompt to install an addon from GitHub.
  4. Accept the next prompt to add the extension to Firefox.
    A screenshot of a prompt to add the Download Grab extension to Firefox.
  5. The Download Grab icon will then be added to the extension bar.
    download grab's extension icon

After installing the extension, you may need to configure it to grab download links and send them to your preferred download manager as follows.

Using the Extension

The extension will automatically detect supported download managers (at least it did for my trusty FDM 3). You may however switch between different download managers and configure some download options by going to its options.

selecting download grab options

You can find these options by going to the Add-ons page and beside the Download Grab add-on click the three dots and select Options. At the bottom of the options window you’ll see a dropdown with detected managers as shown below:

download grab settings window

Now give it a test run by downloading a file. The extension will override the Firefox’s inbuilt downloader and instead use the external download manager.

You may however disable the option ‘Override Firefox’s Download Dialog’ in the add-on’s options if you’d like to have the choice to use the browser’s downloader.

overridden firefox download dialog

With this option disabled, you’ll get a prompt as shown above to choose between downloading with Firefox or your Download Manager.

An external download manager is really essential if you have unreliable internet. It not only accelerates downloads but also allows you to resume them in case you lose your connection. Many thanks to the developer, Pouria Pirhadi, for developing this useful extension.

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Kelvin Kathia

Kelvin Kathia is a writer based in Kenya that's passionate about sharing solutions to everyday tech problems. He's the founder and editor of Journey Bytes, a tech blog and web design agency. Feel free to leave him comments or questions regarding this post, or by leaving him a message on the contact page. If you found his content helpful, a donation is much appreciated.