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BitTorrent/FAQ

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An actively answered and popular list of Frequently Asked Questions regarding BitTorrent (has achieved a high Google ranking). You can contribute to this page by clicking the "Edit this page" link at the bottom. See Text Formatting Rules and Style Guide for details.

Posting New Questions[edit]

NEW questions go at the very end of this document. Answers that require discussion may be placed in /FAQ-Talk. If your question WAS on the front page and now suddenly isn't, check there for suggestions.

Before asking:

  1. Visit the BitTorrent home page and make sure you have the latest client and The Official BitTorrent FAQ as doing so may quickly solve your issue. We will try to answer questions about other BitTorrent software but the official client should be tested before "accessory" clients to reduce confusion.
  2. Restrictive firewall settings often block BitTorrent connections. Make sure that your router or software firewall (such as ZoneAlarm or Norton Internet Security) are configured correctly.

Newly Answered Questions[edit]

  1. I have the original Bittorrent client and utorrent on my computer because one or the other can usually download faster. I was wondering how I change which one is the default client so that I can choose which one I want the torrent to download in because right now I can only use utorrent which I downloaded second.


Try:

  1. Uninstalling the other software
  2. Right-clicking on torrent files and selection "Open With" - "Choose program..." and selecting uTorrent (you may need to search your hard drive for the program). Once you have selected it, click the box "always use the selected program to open this kind of file.
  3. Is it possible to download only part of a torrent? For example, if someone has uploaded a band's entire discography, can I download only one of the albums? I don't want them all, but I can't find the one I want on its own.
Unfortunately torrent files cannot be parsed in this way. Because of the way a hash file works, it is only possible to run a file check on an entire archive, in this case a band's entire discography. Torrent files would be made much larger and less efficient by containing many smaller hashes in order to make this possible. It is unlikely this feature will become available sometime soon in torrents but may in the future. --Webfork 06:25, 24 May 2006 (UTC)
  1. I ran out of space on my hard drive, producing 'Error: No space left on device'. Now when I resume, I can upload to others, but I do not download, even tho I have freed suffient space on the drive and have not completed the download. How can I fix this? Am I uploading corrupt data to others?
Suggestions:
  1. When this problem occurs, close the BitTorrent window. You then have to close the handle before you can relaunch the torrent to resume downloading. The easiest way is to use Process Explorer (do a google search). Use the find function to find the thread/handle relating to your bittorrent app and the downloaded file. Then close the handle. This is the same problem as when you have cannot delete a file or folder even though nothing is supposedly accessing the file.
  1. As mentioned above, in Azureus, right-click on the torrent and select "Force re-check."
  1. Is there a way to terminate the client automatically once the download is completed? This would mean not having to stay awake late at night to avoid being capped at the end of the month!


This one works on linux with btdownloadcurses: edit the program-file:
 sudo emacs `which btdownloadcurses` 
search for the finished-Method of class CursesDisplayer -- which is approximately line 66 in version 3.4.2 for debian etch. This will look like this:
 def finished(self): self.done = 1 self.activity = 'download succeeded!' self.downRate = '%s/s down' % (fmtsize(0)) self.display({'fractionDone': 1}) 
add the following directly after the previous line - make sure not to change the indentation (has to be at the same level as self.display - do not use tabs, use spaces instead!
 mainkillflag.set() 

  1. I'm behind a firewall at work that blocks all ports but HTTP and FTP, and I can download e-mail over POP3 but not send. Is it possible for me to use Bittorrent? I tried setting the port range at "80" and "80" in Torrentstorm for the min and max ports but nothing is downloading. I'm running XP Home. What can I do? BTW, I found an article (http://btfaq.com/serve/cache/26.html) that says running a proxy server may be an answer. I do have access to a web server running cgiproxy (http://www.jmarshall.com/tools/cgiproxy/). Can I use this somehow?


You could probably use Azureus (http://azureus.sourceforge.net/) to overcome your problem, but are you risking your job by BitTorrenting? - http://www.bamber.org/wiki/?Clients/Azureus
Hmm... didn't work. Same problem as before. Just because it's a Java-based client doesn't seem to change anything... I still have to configure the port to 80 and torrents don't download.

I'm guessing that "the firewall blocks all ports but HTTP and FTP" part is for outgoing connections? That is, you can connect to HTTP and FTP servers, but you can't run a server yourself. When you set the port to 80 in Azureus, you're only setting the port that Azureus uses on your computer. Most people use the default ports (in the 68xx-69xx range), therefore you're unable to download from them if outgoing connections are blocked on your company's firewall.

Try port 53 (DNS), This port is often "overlooked"

(Check BitTorrent/FAQ-Talk for more discussion points.)

  1. I use Torrentstorm and although I find it very useful it consumes an abusive amount of ram for every .torrent file being downloaded, such as 20 ~ 25mb! Is there any way to correct / bypass this? - Carlos - 21/08/2004 - Brazil


Azureus is similar in its RAM usage, with the intention of writing to the hard drive less. The official client (mentioned at the top of this document) uses about 9.5 megs of RAM, which is probably the least.

  1. I ran out of space on my hard drive, producing 'Error: No space left on device'. Now when I resume, I can upload to others, but I do not download, even tho I have freed suffient space on the drive and have not completed the download. How can I fix this? Am I uploading corrupt data to others?
Try removing the torrent for the que, deleting any data, and then re-adding/restarting. This is also a problem in Azureus, meant to make sure that users have enough space for the full download.
  1. Does BitTorrent install & work well on Windows 2003 Server? If it does, are there any particular precautions within an NTFS/Active Directory environment?


This may provide some useful information: torrent-911-on-windows2003. If you are running BitTorrent in a server environment, it is important that you turn off everything that is not necessary. Because BitTorrent is fairly self-contained and doesn't rely on other permission sets, its unlikely that there would be any advantages or conflicts in the Active Directory structure unless you were dealing with distributed storage.

I guess the next question is are you planning on running a tracker or a node, which is a separate question.

  1. How can I create a .torrent file using only the programs in the BitTorrent source tarball, without using a GUI interface?


One can make a torrent with btmakemetafile or btmakemetafile.py. Just do btmakemetafile directory/filename http://tracker_hostname_orip:tracker_port/announce or check it's manpage for more extensive options. Tracker_port is mostly 6969, and /announce has to be included.

  1. My internet is through a network at a university, and they monitor us somehow to make sure we dont get any illegal software and such. Can they detect this with the multiple sources?


Probably. BitTorrent uses a specific port (6881) and it may be possible to sniff the name of the file you're downloading (BT uploads often use descriptive file names), but difficult to determine the file's contents, since the it will be gradually downloaded out-of-order from multiple locations (known as hive downloading). If you want to not be monitored, there are many options includingvisit Encrypting Your File Sharing, the Tor network (gradually being integrated into Azureus client) or simply use a program like Filetopia that uses the randomize-ports setting. Filetopia uses encryption to prevent your activities from being watched and the port-randomization prevents your connections from being blocked by some type of File Sharing-specific Firewall.

I would also suggest using BitTorrent to download legal files such as Free Software and Machinima. You may also download perceived illegal files such as a "Metallica.mp3" file that contains non-copywrited information. Then if someone from the university/business contacts you about downloading illegal files, you're in the clear and definitely know not to use BitTorrent.

  1. Can I use BitTorrent from behind my company's Proxy server? What do I need to change for BitTorrent to work? I know the proxy does not require auth. and I connect through port 3128.


This site covers this question much better than I could.

  1. Hi, I'm using SHAD0W's experimental client on XP Home at my school network [100Mbps LAN], and trying to download Mandrake Linux ISOs. While I can dowonload some other torrents [rips etc..] quite easily, I keep getting "<urlopen error (10051, 'Network is unreachable')>" on the ISO torrents. (Same error with the Fedora ISOs). I've allowed ports 6881-6889, and 6969 on my XP firewall... Other than that, I couldn't find any other things to do... I'm not aware that I have a proxy server.. never have to enable that for my regular browsing/mail etc. Any pointers?(UPDATE: I had tried the Official client too. it says the same thing - "Problem connecting to tracker - <urlopen error (10051, 'Network is unreachable')>" Torrentstorm (using SHAD0W's client)first says "Unable to connect to tracker for Scrape" and then gives the same 10051 error.)


We recommend with any experimental client to try using the official client first as it tends to have error messages we're familiar with. Please let us know if the regular client displays similar messages.

  1. I'm currently using Torrentstorm for downloading .torrent-files. However just I've started to download a file it stops and goes to idle-mode again. It does so with all files, just after a couple of seconds peering it goes rig