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GuidoZ' Guide to optimizing µTorrent
The goal of this guide is to help new µtorrent (aka uT - pronounced "micro-torrent" or "mu-torrent") users get it set up all nice and purdy. :D (It may also help
some veteran users discover features they never knew existed.) These are the settings that I have found to be most beneficial for speed, ease of
use and all around good working order. As always, YMMV, so use this as a "starting point" instead of a scripture. I plan on covering every setting
there is, so feel free to skip past settings you don't need. I'll try to be good about noting places that your settings will likely be (or likely
could be) different then mine.
Let's get started, shall we?
<*>Please note that this guide is based on v1.6 on Windows with the English language setting!
<*>C Means "check this box"
<*>U Means "uncheck this box"
<*>If either of the above are followed/substituted by a *, it means settings may vary.
<*>The reason why to C or U a setting will follow the name in (italics)
Don't forget to click "Apply" when making changes to settings! Otherwise they won't be saved. You may have to restart uT for some to take effect.
This is the "General Preferences" screen, which is opened simply through "Options -> Preferences" (or by pressing CTRL+P).
<*>User Interface Settings
-> The language setting is self-explanitory. :)
->C - Check for updates automatically (always best to have the latest version!)
->C - Confirm when deleting torrents (can save you from deleting a torrent by mistake)
->C - Show confirmation dialog on exit (can save you from accidentally closing uT
->U* - Close to tray (personal preference - X goes to tray instead of prompt to close)
->U* - Always show tray icon (personal preference - I feel it clutters the System Tray!)
->C - Show balloon notifications in tray (saves you from having to open it to check on the status
->C - Minimize to tray (keeps the Task Bar clear as I always have uT open!)
->C - Single click on tray icon to open (I'm a busy guy... good to save a click)
->C - Always activate when clicked (same as above... good to save a click
->C - Alternate list background color (very nice for a long list of torrents; keeps order)
->C - Show current speed in the title bar (always nice to have as much info handy as possible!)
->C - Show graphical progress bar (same as above - as much info as possible is nice)
->U* - Show speed limits in the status bar (personal preference... I've found this actually hides other info)
-> HIGHLY RECOMMEND clicking the "Associate with .torrent files" as this greatly increases productivity!
->C - Check association on system startup (makes sure other rogue programs don't alter .torrent association)
->U* - Start µTorrent on system startup (personal preference; can degrade computer performance)
This is the "Downloads Preferences" screen, which is shown by clicking "Downloads" on the left of the Preferences window.
<*>Location of Downloaded Files
->C* - Put new downloads in: (Allows you to properly organize your torrents and save time)
* Upon checking the above setting, you'll be prompted for a location to put the torrents into. This is where torrents will
download to by default. This is an excellent way to save yourself browsing for a location (likely the same one) for each
torrent. I've got mine set to a secondary hard drive in a folder named "_Active Torrents_". This is also the location
you'll want to put the files for torrents you create before you start seeding.
->C - Always show dialog on manual add (this allows you to alter the default location or pick and choose files)
->U* - Move completed downloads to: - (personal preference, good if you have limited space and for organization)
<*>When Adding Torrents
->U - Don't start the download automatically (Defeats the purpose of showing the dialog box)
->C - Show a window that displays the files inside the torrent (to pick and choose files)
->C* - Activate the program window (personal preference, I like being able to instantly start the torrent)
->C - Append .!ut to incomplete files (best way to keep track of downloading files)
->C - Prevent stand-by if there are active torrents (keeps system from entering power saving mode)
->C* - Pre-allocate all files (great for saving on fragmentation and the disk health, but not for limited HDD space)
This is the "Connection Preferences" screen, which is shown by clicking "Connection" on the left of the Preferences window.
-> The port used for incoming connections will vary for everyone. I recommend something above 10,000 for good measure.
You'll want to make sure this port is allowed through your router and/or firewall. (See your router/firewall
documentation for instructions on how to do that.) Without having this port "open to the Internet" you will not be
connectable. Not being connectable will greatly reduce your Bittorrent speeds.
->U - Randomize port each time µTorrent starts (will likely make you not connectable)
->U - Enable UPnP port mapping (UPnP isn't a very good solution; try to manually forward the port first)
->U* - Add µTorrent to Windows Firewall exceptions (only check this if you use the WinXP SP2 Firewall; not advised)
-> Most private trackers don't allow the use of proxy servers, so this shouldn't be used UNLESS you know exactly what you
are doing (say on a corporate network and you need a proxy server to connect). If you know what you're doing in this area,
you don't need me to tell you how to set this up. :)
-> "Global maximum upload rate (kB/s)" is a useful feature. Keeping in mind that your download speed is directly proportional
to your upload speed, limiting your upload just below your maximum possible speed will help your Internet performance (not
just uT) as a whole. Find out your upload from your ISP (say 384kbps), then divide it by 8 to get your kB/s (kilobytes per
second). Now shave about 20% off of this number and enter it here. For example... if you have a 384kbps upload, dividing
that by 8 gives you 48 kB/s. 48 - 20% (=8) is 40. This will give you the optimal upload cap to allow other minor tasks (email
checking, web browser AV updating, etc) to function while giving you the fattest pipe possible for upload speed. :D Keep in
mind that trial and error works best. The percentage rate (20%) isn't set in stone. Use it as a starting point and try higher
and lower to see what works best for you. ;)
->U - Alternate upload rate when not downloading (though it can help the above scenario, I've found it hinders)
-> "Global maximum download rate (kB/s) can also be useful, especially if you're on dial-up or a slower DSL service. Capping the
download speed using the same formula as above will allow you the necessary bandwidth to perform the other tasks mentioned.
If you have a 1.5Mbit or better ISP connection, don't worry about this (leave it as 0; unlimited). If you notice issues using
other Internet apps (like browsing the web) while downloading torrents, you can try capping your download rate here.
This is the "BitTorrent Preferences" screen, which is shown by clicking "BitTorrent" on the left of the Preferences window.
<*>Number of Connection
-> "Global maximum number of connections" is just that - the total number of connections that BitTorrent will create across the
board. Setting this number too high will cause instability and slowness. Setting this number too low will produce the exact
same results. The number to use completely depends on your speed. The best "formula" to use is stick in whatever kbps upload
speed you have (such as 384). Again, playing with this will give you the best results, so don't be afriad to deviate from this.
-> "Maximum number of connected peers per torrent" is also one of those "grey areas" when it comes to definitive settings and
calculations/formulas. What I've found the most effective is use the number you calculated for the "Global maximum upload
rate" above (40 in my example) and double it. Again, tweak it here and there to find the sweet spot. Too high and you'll
expereince bandwidth choking. Too low and you'll find your speeds moving slowly.
-> "Number of upload slots per torrent" is, again, heavily dependant on your Internet connection. The most efficent way to calculate
this that I've found is to take that same number we doubled for "conected peers" just above (again, 40 in this example) and
divide it by 4 (10 in this example). This number should obviously never be 0 or else you'll never connect! :) For dial-up
users, 1 or 2 at most should suffice. Otherwise try the mentioned calculations and toy with it from there.
->C - Use additional upload slots if upload speed < 90% (waste-not want-not! Lets it use it if it's there...)
<*>Additional BitTorrent Features
->U - Enable DHT Network (not allowed on private trackers - NEVER check this!)
->U - Enable DHT for new torrents (not allowed on private trackers - NEVER check this!)
->C - Ask tracker for scrape information (regularly checks the health of a torrent like seeds/leechers)
->U - Enable Peer Exchange (similar to DHT, it allows peers outside of the tracker to connect)
-> "IP/Hostname to report to tracker" should be left blank UNLESS you know what you're doing. ;)
-> This setting allows some users to bypass traffic shaping techniques used by some ISPs. By encryption the BitTorrent traffic,
the traffic shaping applications can't identify the traffic as BT traffic, hence it is left uncontrolled. Doesn't always
work. "Enabled" means it will attempt to encrypt the traffic, but fall back to unencrypted mode if it can't. "Forced" will
always encrypt the traffic, but won't allow the fail safe of unencrypted traffic. (Not recommended unless you have to.)
->C - Allow incoming legacy connections (without this you would only receive encrypted connections, very limiting)
This is the "Queueing Preferences" screen, which is shown by clicking "Queueing" on the left of the Preferences window.
-> "Maximum number of active torrents" is always up for debate. There is no real "right or wrong" answer... just use common
sense. By uploading small amounts, it will hurt the BT community (and your ratio). Be cautious when downloading and don't
try to run EVERYTHING at once. Pace yourself! Always remember to seed when finished as well. :thumbsup:
-> :Maximum number of downloads" is the exact same as above. Use common sense.
<*>Seed While <Default values>
-> "Ratio is <= (%)" means you can automatically stop seeding when your ratio reaches a certain percentage. Only useful for
limited connections or limited system resources. It's in your best interest to seed forever if you can. :D (I've got
mine set at 10,000%.) You also have the option (via the drop-down box) to stop seeding after a certain period of time.
Again, this is only advised if you have a specific need. (I've set mine to ignore.)
->C - Seeding tasks have a higher priority than downloading tasks (great for your ratio and the BT community!)
This is the "Scheduler Preferences" screen, which is shown by clicking "Scheduler" on the left of the Preferences window.
<*>Scheduler Table (if enabled)
-> Here you can adjust the bandwidth uT is allowed to use depending on the time of day. It's nice for allowing uT to still
run during the day, but also allow more bandwidth when others are using the nerwork/computer. (I use the scheduler at my
office to allow us to function during work hours, but still continue to seed.) The settings are pretty much self-explanitory.
(Hover your mouse over a box to see what time frame it represents.)
This is the "Other Preferences" screen, which is shown by clicking "Other" on the left of the Preferences window.
<*>Storage For Torrent Files
->U* - Store .torrent files in: (personal preference; only used to change location of the .torrent files)
->U* - Move .torrent files for finished jobs to: (personal preference; only used to save the .torrent files automatically)
->U* - Automatically load torrents in directory: (personal preference; used to load all torrents from a specific directory)
-> "Boss-Key" is a keyboard combination you can setup to instantly hide uT (like if your boss, or wife/husband, walks in).
Just click "None" and type whatever key you want. ALT will be added to it to make the combination. Press this combo to
hide it, press it again to make it return.
->C - Allow µTorrent to send anonymous... (this helps improve uT and doesn't invade your privacy)
This is the "Advanced Preferences" screen, which is shown by clicking "Advanced" on the left of the Preferences window.
-> This section is for advanced tweaking only. This is not the place to go playing around and seeing what everything does. You
can royally screw up your uT expereince that way. :) I'm only going to address those settings which are believed to give
your Client a boost. All others are better left alone, unless you know what you're doing. Locate each bolded option
below in the list, then left-click it once to highlight it. This will allow you to change the value in the line below. Type
in the new value, then click "Set" to save it. (Click Revert to go back to the default.) the recommended values I've found
to be the most useful are noted in blue. If curiosity gets the best of you, you can always see more information
in the Official uT FAQs.
net.max_halfopen (How many connection attempts µTorrent will make at any one time.) This setting depends on whether or
not you've hacked your TCPIP.SYS file (if you have SP2 installed). If you're unsure, you probably haven't patched it. If you'd
like to, or if you just want to check, grab this (take out the spaces in e x e) http://guidoz.com/requests/TCPIP.SYS%20Patch%20v2.12.e x e
-> If your file is unhacked, NEVER set this higher then 8!
-> If you have patched your TCPIP.SYS file, the best way to determine this number is to divide your upload kbps (384 in my example) by 4 (96 in my example).
net.low_cpu - FALSE Unless you're living in the stone age and have a really old CPU, it's ok to let uT use more CPU. (This is the default.)
peer.lazy_bitfield - TRUE This is handy if you think your ISP may be using traffic shaping, or simply if you're having
trouble maintaining your upload speeds (or can't seed properly). This may help with such problems! (TRUE is the default setting.)
peer.disconnect_inactive_interval - 600 This setting can help stabilize your connection. The most accepted idea
is to set it to a higher value. Some say turn it off completely, though I disagree. I believe it is still a useful thing in some
cases! Best to play around with it and see if it helps. uT will ignore anything below the default value of 300.
diskio.write_queue_<myspace>size</myspace> - -1* This setting can help you if you are having hard drive issues, such as the hard
drive not being able to keep up with the download speeds, or if you are seeing the "Disk Overloaded" message in the status bar.
Modifying this may help... You can safely set it 2 or ever 4 times your maximum download speed. NEVER set it below 2MB (2048)
or higher then 32MB (32768). For example, if you have a 4Mbit download speed, multiply that by 1024 to get the byte value (4096) and
then again by either 2 or 4 (at most) to get the new value (or 16384 in this example). The latest version of uT are optimized quite
nicely, so messing with this setting rarely helps. (The default of -1 is best if you aren't having any problems.)
This is the "Disk Cache Preferences" screen, which is shown by clicking "Advanced -> Disk Cache" on the left of the Preferences window.
-> The default settings are best left alone UNLESS you are noticing issues. (Especially the "Advanced Cache Settings" -
these is setup to keep the wear and tear on your hard drive at a minimum.) Pop up a post if you think you may need to modify
these settings and we'll help. :)
This is the "User Interface Preferences" screen, which is shown by clicking "Advanced -> User Interface" on the left of the Preferences window.
<*>Actions for Double Click
-> As you can imagine, all these settings really are personal preference. I encourage you to explore the pull-down menus to
see what other options you have when double-clicking.
<*>Speed Popup List
->U* - Override automatic speed popup list (allows you to customize the upload/download cap override limits)
-> To use this, keep in mind that you can right click on U: or D: in the status bar to quickly change the upload and
download caps. Entering different numbers in this section will allow you to customize the automatic values available.
-> This is a very cool feature! It allows you to label your torrents in any fasion you choose. I personally use this to
simply keep track of which tracker a particular torrent is for. (If you're like me, you have a ton of trackers for
multiple torrents going at once. Labels keep things organized.) Here you can enter labels that you always want to
have access to, even when no torrents are assigned that label. (More on labels later in this guide.) Be sure to separate
the labels with the indicated character ( | ). They will be available in alphabetical order from the drop-down box.
-> You may have noticed the FireFox-like search bar in the upper right of the main uT window. Here you can define additional,
or edit the existing, search engines. I have added BitMe and Demonoid, for example. (See screenshot above.) Just do a
search on whatever tracker you'd like to add, then copy/paste the URL of the search, but remove the search terms you typed.
Now that we've gotten out settings tweaked out, lets take a peek at how to use all these goodies! Above is a screenshot (reduced
<myspace>size</myspace>, obviously) of my uT "main window". You can see my labels on the left, followed by the number of torrents under each label.
Clicking on a label will allow you to instantly see all the torrent associated with it. Excellent for keeping tabs on your
favorite trackers! I also find it useful to be able to click the "Active" label to instantly see all active torrents from all trackers.
If you right-click a torrent, you have lots of options. Some of the most useful for productivity are...
<*>Bandwidth Allocation - Allocate more bandwidth to your most important torrents or less to others. (Upload only)
<*>Advanced -> Reset Bans - If a torrent doesn't seem to be connecting to peers, try that. (Clears the auto-bans)
<*>Update Tracker - Performs a manual scrape (data sync) with the tracker. This is done automatically every 30 min or so.
Another way to optimize your torrenting expereince is to tweak what colums are displayed, and in what order they are. This is easy!
Right-click anywhere on the displayed colum names (such as on "Size"). You'll get a list of all possible colums, with check marks next
to those that are displayed. If you have no need for certain information to be displayed, simply click on its name and it will become unchecked.
This will also make it disappear from uT, allowing you more room to see what information is important to you! If you're missing some info
you'd like to have, simply reverse the process (click on an unchecked item to have it be displayed). You can drag and drop the colums to have
them displayed in any order you like.
Something else that is wonderful to be able to do - details stats. Look at the bottom half of the screen. Here you can obtain
specific information about whatever torrent you have selected. The "General" tab is useful for basic information. (I've blocked
out a few details for my own privacy. ;) ).
The screenshot above is the "Peers" tab, which allows you to see detailed information about the connected peers. (Again, some
information has been removed for privacy.) The next tab (Pieces) will give you detailed information on the data chunks that
compose the torrent. More useful is the "Files" tab as seen below. This lets you quickly see the progress of your download by
the individual files it contains.
The next tab, "Speed" gives you a graphical representation of your transfer speeds. (I rarely look at it.) the last tab is an
important one - "Logger". Here you'll be able to see any important system messages, such as failed has checks, auto-bans (for
bad data received), internal errors, etc. I check this tab frequently to see what's been going on.
; So there you have it - this is how I have optimized my uT settings, as well as take advantage of the features available. There
are two more wonderful aspects of uT that I'll likely touch on at a later point. (They are the RSS Downloader and the Speed
Guide.) Of course there is also the ability to create a new torrent; however that has already been covered in the FAQs, so no
need to include it here. I sincerely hope this guide helps you get the most out of the best BT client available for Windows. :D
P.S. Please feel free to spread the knowledge and copy/paste this guide on other forums and such if you deem fit. Proper credit
is always appreciated! (Written by GuidoZ originally for BitMe.org) I will continue to polish this as time goes on. (From
simple formatting to adding more information.)
as this was originally in BBcode, i had to convert all the tags using find and replace in notepad. as a result, some of them may be broken :o