WinBITS is a small download manager that uses the “Background Intelligent Transfer Service” (BITS) integrated in Windows XP / 2000.
This is a nice little tool…as long as you understand the purpose and limitations of BITS. Before now, the only interactive UI publicly available for BITS has been the command-line bitsadmin.exe (part of the Windows XP/2003 Support Tools) and BITS Monitor (the obscure and forever-unfinished GUI from http://www.classfour.com/classfour/bitsmonitor.asp).
You really cannot compare a BITS-based solution to other download managers like GetRight, NetTransport, Fresh Downloader, etc. because most download managers are designed with the idea of getting something downloaded as quickly as possible and/or downloading something which cannot easily be downloaded with a web browser (such as streaming media or content which has been protected by “anti-leech” scripts).
With BITS, the goal is to minimize impact on system performance by quietly and automatically yielding CPU and/or bandwidth to foreground processes whenever they need it. Therefore, BITS could take days, weeks, or longer to download something big like XPSP2 while you’re playing Half Life 2, but it will eventually get done, and it will do so without noticeably slowing down your precious frame rates.
WinBITS is much friendlier than bitsadmin.exe in the sense that WinBITS is graphical, but WinBITS still assumes that you’re familiar with BITS terminology and concepts. For example, in the Options dialog, WinBITS has a checkbox labelled “auto-complete Jobs” which is meaningless unless you know that BITS uses the word job to refer to queues. You can define multiple jobs, and you can add multiple downloads to each job, but jobs don’t automatically become completed when all the files in the job have finished downloading. The job remains open (and downloaded files may stay locked) until you mark the job complete. So WinBITS is giving you the option of having it automatically mark a job complete when there is nothing left queued in it.
In a tiny app like this, you wouldn’t expect any major bugs and there are no major ones, but there are lots of little rough spots if you want to get nit-picky. For example, the “About” dialog is called from a menu named Menu (which violates contemporary GUI standards) instead of a Help menu, and it has a broken hyperlink to the author’s web site. (The web site works, but the hyperlink doesn’t.)
Definitely check out this tool if you want an easy way to experiment with BITS. Just don’t expect too much.