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View Full Version : ***OFFICIAL ChiefsPlanet BitTorrent FAQ***


DaFace
08-19-2007, 06:15 PM
It seems like every other week people are asking questions around here about how to use torrents, and frankly people are getting tired of answering them. So, here's the cure for all of our woes - a place to keep all of the questions and answers handy! Yes, I know that there are FAQ's out there that cover most of this, but my intent is that this will be a toned down version that can be easily understood even by the Planet's technically challenged.

I've gotten things started with some of the most common questions and answers, but I'll keep the thread up to date with any questions that might come up. Feel free to let me know if there's anything else that needs to be added. Also, feel free to suggest changes to the thread starter or submit your own answers if you feel you can explain anything better than I have.

Without further ado...


What the heck is BitTorrent anyway? BitTorrent is a technology that allows people to transfer files between each other on the internet. Remember Napster? It's kind of like that, only it's more commonly used for very large files (such as game video recordings). BitTorrent is unique in that, while downloading a file, you are simultaneously uploading pieces of that file to other users. Because of this, files can be quickly distributed around to a large number of people without having to have an extremely fast internet connection.
 
What do I need to get started? The first thing you need to do is to get a BitTorrent client. This is the actual computer program that you will need to download files. There are a number of them are available, and all are free. I personally recommend uTorrent (http://www.utorrent.com), though a number of people prefer Azureus (http://azureus.sourceforge.net/). It doesn't really matter which one you get, as long as you have one.
 
OK, I've downloaded and installed a client. Now what? This is probably the most confusing part about torrents for new users. You cannot search for anything inside the client program itself. Instead, a number of web sites keep track of the files that are available to download. Again, there are a number of web sites out there that you can use, but I personally recommend starting out with isoHunt (http://www.isohunt.com), The Pirate Bay (http://thepiratebay.org), or Mininova (http://www.mininova.org).

For many of our ChiefsPlanet users, note that people often provide a direct link to the location on one of these (or some other) web sites where the needed file exists. If that's the case, you don't need to worry about using one of the search sites mentioned above.

Once you find the file you want to download, either through a search or through a link provided on the Planet, you need to look for a link to actually download the "torrent." Now here comes the confusing part - the file you download off of the web page is not the actual video (or whatever) that you're wanting. Instead, this will be a very small file (which will have an extension of .torrent) that contains instructions for your client program about where to get the real file you're looking for (i.e. the video). Sound confusing? It is. (If anyone has a better way of explaining this, feel free to let me know and I'll replace my version with yours.)

So what does all that actually mean to you? When you click on the download link on the web page, open the file that you download with your client program. (Often times, you can just hit "open" in the download window and it will do this automatically.) Once your client program opens the file, you may have to confirm your download depending on your setup. After that, though, you should see the file listed in your downloads list with a bar to show how much of the file has been downloaded. If you're to this point, you're in business!
 
My download is going really slow. Is this normal? It depends. Realize that you're downloading a VERY large file. If it has been recently posted, it's not unusual to take at least a few hours to get it finished. For larger files, such as game videos, it could even take a few days to complete. Try and be patient.
 
Is there anything I can do to speed up my download? Possibly. To my knowledge, there are two major causes of slow downloads: blocked ports and uncapped upload speed. Unfortunately, the solutions to these problems are somewhat technical. I'll hit on the main points here, but you may want to specifically ask for help if you're having trouble figuring it out.

-Blocked ports are probably the biggest cause of slow downloads. Basically, torrents survive on the process of computers talking to each other. If you're using a router (i.e. Linksys, Netgear, or any institutional internet system), or if you are running a personal firewall program on your PC (i.e. Norton or McAfee), there's a good chance that communication from other torrent users is getting blocked somewhere in the process. The solutions to this issue vary significantly depending on your setup, but this page (http://www.portforward.com/) has instructions on how to forward ports from your router to your computer for a variety of setups. Again, if you have trouble, ask around on the Planet. Chances are someone will be willing to help.

-Uncapped upload speed can also make a major difference in your download speed. Basically, your computer needs a little bit of upload bandwidth to talk to other computers. If you let your torrent client use it all up uploading files to other users, there's no space left to talk to other computers. In order to correct this, use an online speed test (http://www.portforward.com/) to determine your upload speed. Then, in your client's options, set your maximum upload speed to about 80% of your true maximum. (Although I've never known it to be an issue, a number of sites also recommend capping your maximum download speed at about 95% of your true maximum.)
 
What the heck are seeds and peers? A seed is the term given to someone that has the entire file completed, while a peer is someone who is currently in the process of downloading the file. Generally, the more seeds there are, the faster your download is going to be. However, keep in mind that you also download from other peers, so you can still get a pretty fast download if there are a large number of peers, but not many seeds.

After your download is completed (and you become a seed), it is considered polite to leave your torrent program running so that your computer can continue to upload the file to other users. In a sense, you are "giving back to the community" of users that you used to obtain the file. If you do not, you are considered to be a leech who sucks off of the community but never gives anything back. Don't be that guy.
 
My client isn't showing any seeds at all. Is that a problem? It depends. Remember that you download from other peers as well as seeds. Because of that, it is possible that your client may never actually connect to a seed while downloading a file. As long as there is one out there in the world somewhere, you'll be fine. However, if you aren't seeing any seeds or peers, you've likely got a problem.
 
Is this legal? Well, that depends on what you're downloading. Using torrents to distribute files around on the internet is perfectly legal. However, if you're downloading copyrighted content, there's a good chance you're breaking the law. So here's the standard disclaimer: this page is provided for informational purposes only, and any actions you take as a result of this page are at your own risk.

If you're worried about it (and some would argue that you should be), many people recommend the use of a program like PeerGuardian (http://phoenixlabs.org/pg2/) that will block connections from certain other computers - most notably those that are known to belong to governmental organizations and others that you might not want snooping in on what you're downloading. It's easy to use - you just download and install the program, then leave it running while you have torrents downloading.
 
My file's done downloading, but it won't play. What gives? Often times, video files are encoded using one of a couple technologies known as DivX (http://www.divx.org) or Xvid (http://www.xvid.org). In order to play them, you need to download their software. They're both free, and can be easily downloaded from their makers' web sites (linked above).

If you're still having trouble, try downloading and installing VLC Media Player (http://www.videolan.org/vlc/). It'll play just about anything.
 
Is it possible to burn a video to a DVD that can be played on a normal DVD player? Yes, it's possible, but doing so can get pretty technical. Rather than try and explain it here, I'll just link to this guide (http://www.afterdawn.com/guides/archive/avi_to_dvd_avi2dvd.cfm) for now. If this becomes a popular enough topic, I'll try and expand this answer.

luv
08-19-2007, 06:25 PM
Well, excuuuuuse me for coming to people who I think might be able to help. :p

DaFace
08-19-2007, 06:29 PM
Well, excuuuuuse me for coming to people who I think might be able to help. :p

Heh...while people may be more than happy to help, I'd imagine that they would be even happier to just provide a link to this thread. :)

Bowser
08-19-2007, 06:31 PM
What, no sticky?

Guru
08-19-2007, 06:49 PM
Heh...while people may be more than happy to help, I'd imagine that they would be even happier to just provide a link to this thread. :)

Start providing Sopcast feeds again or we will ban you. :harumph: :)

DaFace
08-19-2007, 06:50 PM
Start providing Sopcast feeds again or we will ban you. :harumph: :)

Be careful what you wish for. About the only Sopcasts that can come out of my area right now are Bronco games.

Guru
08-19-2007, 07:30 PM
Be careful what you wish for. About the only Sopcasts that can come out of my area right now are Bronco games.
ahhhhhhh CRAP!!!!! :banghead:

DaFace
08-19-2007, 07:42 PM
I'm done for now. Feel free to suggest changes or additions to the list!

luv
08-19-2007, 08:22 PM
How about....

I've got my avi file, and I download the software to convert it to a dvd compatable file type. However, it's asking me to select an audio stream from a blank drop down menu.

DaFace
08-19-2007, 09:07 PM
How about....

I've got my avi file, and I download the software to convert it to a dvd compatable file type. However, it's asking me to select an audio stream from a blank drop down menu.

Unfortunately, I'd guess that that question wouldn't qualify as a "frequent" - that's pretty specific. I might add a quick guide on, generally, how to burn an AVI to DVD, though.

As for your specific question, I've actually never burned an AVI to DVD personally, so I'm probably not the best person to answer it. Sorry!

DaFace
08-20-2007, 01:52 PM
Bump for the day crew. Did I miss anything important?

ChiefsFan4Life
08-20-2007, 06:01 PM
That's a lot better than the version I posted, http://www.chiefsplanet.com/BB/showpost.php?p=4128015&postcount=13 lol

Simplex3
08-20-2007, 06:05 PM
:clap: