My file downloads in OS X are ending unexpectedly
June 17, 2006 9:13 AM   Subscribe

Lately my computer (Powerbook, OS X 10.4.6, wireless ADSL internet) has been giving up halfway through downloading files. What's going on?

I'll start downloading a file and before the file is anywhere near completing, Safari (which I use mostly, although firefox gives the same issues) decides that the file is complete and the download appears as 'completed' in the download manager. I've noticed this downloading both large and small files, and also in pre-loading youtube videos (it goes from, say 10% preloaded to believing it's completely preloaded). The youtube thing I'm willing to put down to website problems, but both problems began at the same time.

Although I can't predict what file downloads will be affected, it's not completely random. That is, if it happens to a file once and I try to download that file again it will give up on downloading at almost the same point (this goes for youtube videos as well). Restarting doesn't make a difference. So, once I have a problem with a certain file, it basically means that file is permanently inaccessible to me.

These problems began about a month ago and didn't coincide with any software or hardware changes that I can recall. My computer is a G4 Al Powerbook, running OS X 10.4.6. My internet is ADSL over a wireless network (Apple Airport).

Any idea what's going on, or how to fix it? If not, what can I do to identify where the problem is?
posted by teem to Computers & Internet (3 answers total)
It sounds like the downloads are timing out. If I was trying to diagnose the problem, I would start with the wireless.

Someone might have moved in, and is also using a wireless access point. Only one access point can talk on one channel at a time, so if he is using his connection, you may have interference.

The best way to figure this out is to get a copy of something like macstumbler, which will tell you what wireless APs are active around you, as well as what channels they are on. If you see several that are on the same channel as your wireless AP, you have a problem. Switch from that channel either 1,6, or 11, whichever has the least amount of wireless APs on it.
posted by zabuni at 9:30 AM on June 17, 2006

This used to happen to me on huge downloads over dialup links with both Internet Explorer and Firefox on Windows. Now I use an external download manager to handle anything bigger than a few megabytes. Not only does this give me nice reliable resumes when things break and time-out mid-transfer, but it lets me throttle the download rates, set up multiple default download folders for different kinds of files, preview media files and zip archives and do a bunch of other useful stuff.

I wouldn't go back to using a browser's inbuilt downloader for anything serious. If you can find a good external download manager for Mac, I think you'll enjoy it.
posted by flabdablet at 10:15 AM on June 17, 2006

Here is a handy looking page of links to Mac download managers. Any of the ones based on wget should be rock solid - I use this with Linux and it's just excellent.
posted by flabdablet at 10:23 AM on June 17, 2006

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