Torrenting for Beginners: Getting Your Computer Ready

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You’ve heard of BitTorrent, but you’ve never tried it before. You’re excited about the prospect of downloading files for free. But, before you dive in head first, you need to prepare your computer first, and promise yourself that you won’t infringe on copyrightt. Most newbs don’t realize that you can’t just fire up a piece of software and start downloading. The first step is actually to configure your router.

 

Configuring Your Router

 

You’ll need your router’s owner’s manual, but this isn’t too hard. Find your router’s IP address, then enter it into your browser. It’ll take you to the configuration screen for your router. Once there, it’s time to open up the port 6881 for file transfers. Save everything and reboot your router and computer.

 

Downloading Bittorrent Software

 

Download the software of your choice. There are a lot of options out there. Once you find one you like, install it and fire it up. Configure it by entering the IP address of your computer into the P2P software where it says “IP Address.”

 

Using a Search Engine For Bittorrent Files

 

Vuze bittorrent software comes equipped with a meta search feature, making finding legal torrents easy. However,it’s not the only way to find legal torrent files. There’s also Archive.org, BitLove, and BitTorrent Bundle, just to name a few. These are all sites where, it is believed, all the files are legit, non-infringing.

 

If you decide to use a torrent search engine, as opposed to search features inherent in a software program, you’ll find they pretty much all work the same way. You search for a non-infringing file you want to download, and then you download it. The file is actually only a small fragment of the source file you want to download – a sort of “pointer” to where the real file is located. This .torrent file helps you coordinate with other members in the BitTorrent community so that you can download the file you want.

 

Downloading a .Torrent File

 

Once you find the non-infringing file you want to download (they’re usually named quite accurately, especially if you’re on a professionally-run site), click the file to download it. It’ll be only a few hundred KB in size.

 

Once this is done, you’ll have the opportunity to connect with others so that you can “leech” the file you want. Leeching is the process of downloading the file you want and, when the job is done, you’re expected to “seed,” or leave your computer on so that others can leech from you.

 

Once you’ve completed the download, and done your Karma duty, you can move the downloaded file out of the shared folder and do pretty much whatever you want with it – limited by any restrictions imposed by copyright law or the rights-holders.

 

Manage Files On Your Computer

 

Files that you intend to share are typically stored in a shared folder. This folder is basically open to the world, so be careful about what you put in here. Anything that’s filed here can be downloaded by other people. In other words, don’t put sensitive documents, videos, or images in here.

 

Also, don’t put copyright-protected files in here unless the rights holders have authorized free sharing. Even if it’s only a mistake, you may be held liable for copyright infringement if you’re caught by law enforcement or rights holders, and they actively patrol some of the most popular torrent sites looking for pirates.

 

Cindy Case enjoys researching internet developments. Her articles mainly focus on internet technological advancement.

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