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I'd like to first say "hello" to everyone. I must lay down a single rule, and it's commonly known by many as the Golden Rule. Please treat everyone in here as you would want to be treated. I ask that no one "flames" anyone else, or say anything obscene or rude. This is a friendly discussions blog that pertains mostly to computers, music, politics, and religion, but not restricted to just these topics.

If you're looking for some computer help, then I highly recommend by starting with my first part in my series:
Computer Advice Part 1 of 9 - Hardware Terms

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Saturday, September 11, 2010

File Sharing

File Sharing

I've been doing file sharing since I've been on the Internet, which has been more than a two decades! I've tried many different file sharing networks, such as Gnutella, iMesh, Morpheus, eDonkey, Shareaza, etc.; and the clients that use these networks, such as LimeWire, BearShare, eMule, Morpheus, Shareaza, etc. I always thought all of these were really slow, until I discovered another network known as torrent.

Most people usually have to figure out how the torrent network works, but I'm hoping I can make it a little easier with this blog. To me, once you figure it out, it's one of the fastest and easiest ways to download, with the exception of newgroups, but it's too complicated to use for most average computer users to use.

Protection Software

Protection Software Is Like A Suite Of Armour For Your ComputerThe first thing you'll need is GOOD protection software!!! No matter where and who you download from, you're always taking a GREAT risk of downloading computer infections.  Anytime you download anything using a file sharing client, BEFORE you open it, be sure to right-click on the file itself, and do a couple of scans with different protection software programs to make sure the file is clean. Most people skip this step, thus getting infected.  Here's some protection software programs I recommend...

The second thing you need to do is download a torrent client. I used to use uTorrent until they started bundling all kinds of crapware during the install.  My new favorite is Tixati at http://www.tixati.com/. They also have an online optimization guide I highly recommend reading through at http://www.tixati.com/optimize/, along with help and support at http://support.tixati.com/. Many of the torrent clients are very similar to each other, but for the rest of this blog, I'm using Tixati as the example.

Installing And Using Tixati

Tixati's somewhat simple to use. Just be sure that during the Initial Configuration (after the installation process) of Tixati, you answer correctly or you'll download at slow speeds, due to how the torrent network works. I'm currently using Charter Communications and have their 60 Mbps service, but my upload speed is 5 Mbps. If you're not sure how fast your upload speed is, you can either contact your ISP (Internet Service Provider), or visit http://www.speedtest.net/. Using the calculations at http://www.tixati.com/optimize/ (upload speed x 125 / 0.7), my upload speed should be set at 438 KB/s (rounded-up). Once Tixati is installed, it's time to download!

What confuses many people about how torrents work is that you don't actually search for the file you want to download using your torrent client, such as Tixati. Think of your torrent client as nothing more than a "downloader". Of course, there are torrent clients that do have built-in search options, but I find that the torrent search engine they use is often less superior and display fewer results than websites I prefer to use, such as Kickass Torrents and The Pirate Bay. Normally, I'd provide a link to these websites, but because they're constantly under copyright attack and government pressure, they often have to change web addresses frequently.  Just Google search for these torrent websites.

Hiding Torrent Downloads From Your ISP

Some ISPs (Internet Service Providers) frown heavily upon using torrents or any other file sharing software programs and file sharing networks. Some of them do because of the pressures from the media industry (music, movie, software, etc.), and some of them do because of the strain file sharing puts on their own network. If you suspect your ISP not "torrent friendly", it's not a bad idea to "hide" torrent downloads from them, and here's the steps on how to do so...
  1. After Tixati opens, left-click on the "Settings" (gears) button at the top-right of the Tixati window.
  2. Under "Network", left-click on "Connections" in the left panel.
  3. For both "Outgoing" and "Incoming Peer Connection Encryption", select "Encrypted only" from the drop-down menu.
  4. Click the "Close" button.

Trial "Run" (Or Download, Rather)

For copywrite reasons, lets download your first torrent using called LibreOffice. This completely free office suite is a great alternative if you can't afford to buy Microsoft Office.  Go to Kickass Torrents and type "LibreOffice" (without the "quotation marks") in the search box and then left-click on the magnifying glass icon.

Usually, the first file listed will download the fastest, since it has more people to download from, known as "seeds" (read more about "Seeding" at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glossary_of_BitTorrent_terms#Seed_.2F_seeding). The list usually automatically sorts what files has the most seeds first (the most people you can download from), but of course, you can re-arrange this list depending upon what you're looking for. For example, if you want look for the newest files, left-click on "Age" to sort the files by date (newest first, oldest last), or if you're looking for the smallest sized files, left-click on "Size" to sort from biggest to smallest, and then left-click on "Size" again to sort from smallest to biggest. To return to the fastest file to download, just click on "Seed".

You can also get really detailed with what you're searching for by left-clicking on the "Advanced search" (gear icon) in the search box. You can choose the type of category the file is (applications, books, movies, music, etc.). To go back to the previous basic search engine, just left-click on the Cancel or Exit button.  After you've left-clicked the link of what file you'd like to download, you can left-click on the "Download Torrent" button in the upper-left side of the screen to start downloading.


As with downloading anything from the Internet, the more sources you can download from, the faster you'll download it. Torrent uses what's called trackers, and these servers do nothing but redirect you to people who are also sharing the same file you're wanting to download. I've found that the more working trackers you use, the faster you'll download. Here's the steps to download faster...
  1. After Tixati opens, left-click on the "Settings" (gears) button at the top-right of the Tixati window.
  2. Under "Transfers", left-click on "Trackers" in the left panel.
  3. Copy/paste the list below into the box under "2. Add these tracker URLs:"
  4. Click the "Close" button.










Once you have copied and pasted the above links into the box under "2. Add these tracker URLs:", and then left-click on the "Close" button, these trackers will automatically be added to any torrent you download. Once all of the trackers have updated the file you're wanting to download, your download should speed-up, but this depends upon several factors, such as your Internet speed, how many seeds you have to download from, etc. Give it a few minutes and see if your download starts speeding-up under the "B/s IN" category in Tixati.

Unfortunately, torrent trackers change frequently, and many of them only track torrents for specific types of files (such as music OR videos). The ones I have listed above worked at the time I posted this blog, and are "general" in nature, meaning they're not just for specific types of files (such as just music or videos).

I ask that if any of the above trackers become "non-working" for whatever reasons, please send me a message or an e-mail so I can remove it from the list. Also, on the same note, if you have a good, working torrent tracker you think I should add to the list, please send me a message or an e-mail, and after I verify that it works, I'll add it to the list on here. However, most of the trackers I like to use are "general" in nature, meaning they're not just for specific types of files (such as just music or videos). So make sure that you can download just about any type of files with the trackers you like to use (software, music, videos, etc.).


Once your download has completed, be sure to right-click on the file and do protection scans using whatever protection software you have installed on your computer. The more and different scans you use, the safer you'll be from getting infected.


Seeding only works if everyone shares files, meaning that it's only the right thing to do is to share your downloaded files to everyone else. However, for whatever reason, you can remove the file you just downloaded from being shared by:
  1. Right-clicking on the file in your Tixati torrent download list.
  2. In the drop-down menu, left-click on "Remove"
This will remove the file from being seeded in Tixati, but this doesn't remove the file you just downloaded!


Another great thing about Tixati is not only is it small and doesn't use a lot of computer resources, but it's also very highly customizable, meaning you can control a lot of how Tixati downloads, how it manages downloads, where it downloads to, etc. If there's something you'd like to change about Tixati, there's a good chance there's an option in there somewhere you can make it do what you want. When in doubt, press the "F1" key while you're in Tixati will open its online help.

I hoped that this might've helped anyone! Please help me keep this list of torrent trackers updated frequently!!!


Melissa said...

Sounds complicated..LOL. But I will print this off and go step by step. I'll let you know what happens.

Melissa said...

VERY helpful and informative. It was not as complicated as it sounded at first. So if I can learn from it, anyone can. LOL!
Now if I can just figure out how to keep utorrent from booting me offline, I would really be in "cyber heaven."(And google isn't helping very much : ( )
Thank you for all your help Mickey!

Mickey said...

I'm glad to be of some help! If you or anyone else reading this needs more detailed info, please let me know so that I can try to re-word and simplify it better.

Joe said...

Thanks for the information! I'm now getting over 1MB/S downloads! I'm having trouble forwarding my port, but I'll do some more reading and get on that.

Mickey said...

Yeah, port forwarding is probably the most complicated process, but if you're hitting 1Mb/s downloads, then I would say that uTorrent is downloading just fine. The biggest issue I've ran into at this point is keeping my tracker list updated.

Joe said...

yea im getting 1meg downloads in like ten to fifteen min increments then it slows to just over two to three hundred kbs, if i could find a way to maximize seeds that would be great