PART is a Partially Downloaded File, a file extension used primarily by Internet download managers, programs designed to speed up and handle multiple downloads. These download managers work on the principle that smaller files take less time to transfer than large ones. The download manager takes one or more files from the Internet and breaks them into smaller data chunks, and then when all of the data chunks have been downloaded, the download manager converts them back into one file again.
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These data chunks are the PART files. Each one contains not only a small part of the data of the larger file, but also information as to where each part belongs in the complete file, like a jigsaw puzzle. A similar method of download management is used in the increasingly popular BitTorrent file protocol, a “peer to peer” system of sharing files. While it doesn't use the PART file extension, BitTorrent also breaks files into data chunks for faster transfers and puts them back together in the proper order.
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More Info Regarding File Extension Part
The other purpose for download managers breaking files down into smaller PART files is to be able to pause and restart a file transfer as needed. If the file transfer needs to be interrupted for any reason (loss of power, broken connection to the Internet, a need to restart the computer, etc.), the download manager can resume downloading exactly where it left off, reading the PART files to determine what segments of the larger file have already transferred.
There are several download managers available that make use of the PART file extension. Each one has both similar and unique features, providing a variety of options for everyone regardless of technical knowledge.
eMule Plus is a next generation graphic client for eMule, a popular peer to peer file sharing network with thousands of users. eMule Plus manages a wide variety of transfer protocols (methods of transferring files across the Internet). While it requires some configuration to connect to the eMule file network, the installer makes it a simple process and helps the user through each step. What also sets it apart is that the users themselves, making changes and improvements suggested by other users, develop the software.
Go!Zilla has been a popular Internet download manager for over a decade, despite its negative reputation for downloading ads in order to keep the software free. It has recently been acquired by Headlight Software, makers of another download manager, GetRight. Many changes have been made to improve the program itself, including the removal of the ads. However, only an evaluation copy is available for free. A fee must be paid for a version with all of the functions available.
Free Download Manager and FlashGet are both free download managers developed by smaller, independent companies, each with different features to set them apart. Free Download Manager features streaming video downloading, a “portable” configuration (so that you don't have to install it completely on different computers) and the ability to upload and share files with others. FlashGet features a low-profile performance, support for a multitude of transfer methods and automatic scanning with any installed virus scanner.
The errors that can occur with PART files are similar to those with any files transferred from one location to another: data that fails to copy or gets damaged in one PART file can make the rest of the file (or one or more files in a compressed file) unreadable. Most Internet download managers can recognize when a PART file has been damages or is missing data and will attempt to transfer that data chunk again. If that fails, or a damaged PART file goes unnoticed, the whole file will have to be transferred again. If there are any remaining PART files after all downloads are finished and verified to be working, they can safely deleted if there is a need for disk space or if there is cause to believe that the PART file may contain a virus or damaged data.