Monday, October 29, 2012

Downloading large files on Windoze

Many websites that contain large files to download warn Windoze users that under Windoze the download may get silently truncated. I have seen these warnings often but paid no attention to them because I always assumed it was only users of Internet Exploiter that were vunerable. Well I was wrong. I got nobbled by this problem today using Firefox. I was trying to download a debian DVD image at 4.4GB. It downloaded 980MB and stopped. Grr!

I thought, oh well, I will just have to use wget. And then the trouble started. I was in a corporate environment so there was a proxy. It is possible to configure wget with a proxy but you do need to know the proxy details. They can be viewed from the control panel but then you can get a nasty problem. The information is shown in a non-resizeable window (duh!). So the proxy information I was after was clipped, due to the URL being quite long. I found that to get the value in a normal resizeable window you have to look it up in the registry. The key is Computer\KEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings\AutoConfigURL. Armed with this information I set the environment variable http_proxy (lowercase) to the value and ran wget. It worked like a dream.

I think I must be the only person in the world who thinks that windows with variable content must always be resizeable. As far as I can see, all GUI environments seem to encourage people to create non-resizeable windows. I think MicrosoftWindows makes more use of them than any other GUI environment though. Other GUIs sometimes copy windows so these GUIs are also increasing the number of non-resizeable windows. Deep sigh.

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