How to use uTorrent to download bittorrent files

This tutorial will walk you through each of the steps in setting up and using uTorrent to download files using bittorrent. uTorrent is a free (and very feature-rich) bittorrent client for Windows 98/ME, NT/2000, XP, 2003, and Vista.

note: this tutorial was created using uTorrent version 1.7.5 Stable.

  1. First up, download uTorrent. Save the file to your downloads folder (or wherever you store temporary files) and run it when the download has completed.

    Decide where you want to create shortcuts to uTorrent, and click Yes.

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  3. When uTorrent is done installing, you’ll be prompted to set it as your default .torrent program. Click Yes.
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  5. Now you’ll need to set up uTorrent so that it performs as well as possible for your specific Internet connection. This will help ensure your bittorrent transfers go as quickly as possible, so it’s important to be accurate. If you know what your Internet connections upstream bandwidth is, select it from the Connection Type: drop down list. If you’re unsure, click the Run speed test at: www.dslreports.com button.
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  7. Your browser will open to a page that lists a bunch of speed tests. Assuming you have Flash 8 (or higher) installed (and you probably do), click the Flash 8 plugin based speed test link.
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  9. Make sure you’re not uploading or downloading any large files (so that your Internet connection remains mostly “unused”), and run the speed test from one of the locations that’s physically close to you. Once the test has completed, look for the Upload Speed number.
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  11. Back in uTorrent, select the Connection Type: that’s closest to your Upload Speed result from the previous step. In my case, my upstream speed is about 582Kb/s, so I selected the xxx/512k entry. If your upload speed is in the 300-400 range, select the xxx/384k option.
  12. Now click the Test if port is forwarded properly button.

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  13. You’ll be directed to a web page that will say either Error (see screenshot below) or OK!. If you get the OK!, skip down to step 9.

    You got the error. That means one of a few things. You may have a software firewall installed (eg. McAfee Personal Firewall, Norton Internet Security, Windows Firewall etc). You may have a router (wireless or otherwise). But something is blocking port 44940 – the port that uTorrent uses. If a pop-up window appeared on your screen asking if you want to allow activity from uTorrent on port 44940 – click Yes, Yes and allow forever, or whatever similar option may be offered. If you have a router, you’re going to want to manually add port 44940 as ‘allowed’ for the PC that you’re running uTorrent on. As suggested on the error page, portforward.com has a great list of routers with clear step-by-step instructions on how to forward ports on each one. Your router is probably listed on that page, and all of this port forwarding talk is not as difficult as you may be thinking.

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  15. Once you’ve enabled port forwarding for port 44940, run the test again. This time you should get a green OK!. Once you get the good news, click the Use Selected Settings button on the uTorrent Speed Guide window.
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  17. So now find yourself a torrent to download. I frequent http://bt.etree.org – it’s a site filled with live concerts from bands that allow audience members to tape and trade. Either open the .torrent directly (as seen in Firefox below) or save it to your hard drive and then double-click it to launch uTorrent.
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  19. You’ll be prompted to save the files contained in the torrent to somewhere on your hard drive. The default location in XP is in the Downloads folder of your My Documents. If you want to change the location, click the (three dots) button. Click OK when you’re done.
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  21. Your torrent files will begin to download. Feel free to ‘click around’ and get to know the uTorrent interface.
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  23. You may have noticed that uTorrent also has a system tray icon. You can right-click it to bring up some of the options and preferences.
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  25. You can also click on the series of tabs in the main uTorrent interface and change settings that way.
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  27. Select Options -> Preferences… to bring up the uTorrent prefs – of which there are many. You may want to stick with the defaults, but by all means feel free to poke around and change the settings to your liking.
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  29. Once your torrent has finished downloading, the Status will change to Seeding. This means you’re sharing the complete set of files with other people.
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  31. It’s generally considered good netiquette to seed the files until you hit a ratio of at least 1.0. That means for every byte you downloaded, you uploaded the same amount. Aiming for a ratio of at least 2.0 and you’ll be highly regarded :)
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  33. When you do want to stop seeding a torrent, select it from the list and click the Remove button.
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  35. When prompted, click OK to confirm.
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