How to enable ‘Download All’ for Free Microsoft eBooks and other tips
Since I put up my “Largest Collection of FREE Microsoft eBooks Ever!” post, I have been receiving a flood of fantastic comments and feedback about the resources, as well as several questions. I thought I would put together this quick FAQ/How-To to help address many of these in one place as a way to make it as easy as possible for my readers to find what they need. I hope these help you out and address questions you have regarding the post.
1. Don’t you have a zip file with all of the ebooks included or a “Download All” button so I can download them at once?
- ZIP File: No, I do not have a zip file of the docs stored somewhere for download and this is intentional for several reasons. Since the eBooks and resources themselves have been put together and are distributed by some incredible authors and publishers, ultimately, they have the rights to update, distribute, and manage their IP as they see fit.
- Example 1: If an author finds a correction needed (think about a typo in code included in a book that needs to be updated), they can update their deliverable and put the new one up at the download site they control to ensure all future downloads have the current information.
- Example #2: (This one has actually happened with some of the books I’ve blogged about earlier) Sometimes an author wants to distribute their book a different way (switch from a share they have to a distribution site like Lulu) to achieve scale, better metrics, whatever. As such, they have every right to have the downloads moved to that site for distribution and have the downloads come from there.
- Example #3: The author/publisher chooses to no longer distribute the free eBook or chooses to charge at some point. Again, as the owners of the IP, they have every right to do so.
- If I were to grab today’s versions of the books, put them in a zip file, and distribute them from my server as an example, I would now be removing the author’s or publisher’s rights to do any of the three items listed above (as well as many other examples not listed). Ultimately, I (nor anyone else) do not have the right to do this. This is why I always provide links directly to their distribution sites, wherever they are so, you can download from them. Yes, this can be a challenge at times as I need to go back and edit links from time to time as they move the resources, but it is still the right thing to do and I am happy to do so in support of the great efforts these authors and publishers have done to make these resources available to all of us for free.
- Download All button: Sort of. I don’t have a “Download All” button specifically, since that would point to a single location, which I don’t provide based on the items above.
- Alternative: Some of the readers of my blog have pinged me offline and suggested enabling the use of multiple browser download plug-ins that are available or various PowerShell options to download a list of links automatically. In order to use these options though, you would need a list of the download links to the eBooks on the site. Since this does not change the author’s/publisher’s rights to control their IP and distribution since it still enables downloads directly from their sites, I am happy to provide you with the list of links to do this.
|If you right-click the icon to the right and select “Save Target As,” it will let you download a list of the links in a single .TXT file. In this file, I have split the list into two sub lists: 1) The new eBooks and resources in the post and 2) The former eBooks and resources from my earlier posts.|
- With this list of links, you should be able to use the browser plug-ins, etc. of your choice to download the full list in an automated way.
2. Are these time-bombed versions of the books?
- No, the free versions of the resources are full-version and do not have a time-out feature in them, so you can continue to use them for as long as you choose.
3. “I work for a library, resource desk, etc. and would like to share these with others. Is it ok to share your links to these?” (or some flavor of this with different variations)
- Absolutely. Please feel free to share the links to these resources; however, please read #1 above on why you can share the links, but don’t distribute the actual works themselves as an offline resource. Please help support these fantastic authors and publishers by downloading the latest versions directly from them.
4. Download experiences seem to vary based on the resource I am downloading. Why is this?
- As noted in #1 above, I always link to the site where the author/publisher is making the work available for download. Some of these are here on the Microsoft TechNet or MSDN sites, some are from blogs, some are from their OneDrive folder, etc. Depending on where they come from, your download experience may vary.
5. '”I’m having difficulty downloading some of the PowerShell documents.”
- Several of these are coming directly from the MVP’s OneDrive itself since they are continually making updates and enhancements to these works. The links take you directly into the Word document they have shared (it is in DOCX format). Please make sure you have Word or a compatible Word viewer to read these since they are created in Word and not PDF.
6. “I tried to download an eBook or resource and it didn’t work.”
- As noted in #5, these come from a variety of places, and sometimes there is very heavy traffic to some of them. Wait a few moments and try again. You can also try right-clicking on the download link and selecting “Open in New Tab” or “Save Target As” to try initiating the download that way as well.
Hopefully this helps address several of the questions you may have. If not, please feel free to send them in through the comments section below.
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Thank you and have a wonderful day,