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How To Download Torrents - uTorrent for Beginners

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For many people, uTorrent is the torrent client of choice.

For many people, uTorrent is the torrent client of choice.

You've probably heard of uTorrent. It’s one of the most popular torrent clients available. It has a clean, simple interface that’s easy to use. But for the beginner, the world of torrent downloads can be daunting. This hub will guide you through downloading your first torrent with uTorrent.

There are a few things you’ll need before you’re ready to download torrents.

For a start, you’ll need to download and install uTorrent. It’s available from the uTorrent website. Don’t worry, it’s free, unless you want uTorrent Plus. You probably don’t though.

Now, many torrent download are compressed files to decrease the file size. You’ll therefore want to download an archiving program to extract the files. I recommend WinRAR or 7Zip. Install one of those - they’re free too - and you’re ready to download your first torrent.

Please Note

Although this guide is for uTorrent, the process is virtually identical for all torrent clients. Feel free to use another client besides uTorrent. See below for some alternatives to uTorrent.

If you're pedantic...

uTorrent is actually called "µTorrent", though most pronounce it "you torrent" and spell it with the Latin letter "u" rather than the Greek letter "µ" (mu, pronounced the same as "mew"). If you feel like confusing people, use the proper name. Better yet, call it "micro torrent" - the Greek letter "µ" denotes the "micro" prefix in science.

Where do I find torrents?

There are literally thousands of sites that allow you to search for and download torrents. In fact, it’s estimated that 50% of the traffic on the internet is torrents being downloaded. Just do a quick search and you'll get plenty of results. Once you’ve picked a site you like, it’s time to try your first download.

Simply go to your chosen torrent site and search for the name of the file you want. In most cases there will be many files in the list of results. Choose whichever one you like. There are some things to bear in mind when choosing a file:

  1. Number of “seeds”. The higher the seed : leecher ratio is, the faster the torrent will be downloaded, as a general rule.
  2. Comments. If the comments on a torrent are mainly negative, saying it's fake or bad, find another torrent. That's just common sense.
  3. “Verified Torrent”. Most torrent sites display a little mark next to some torrents to show they are verified i.e. that the site says they're okay.. Torrents with this mark are usually good, but always check the comments anyway. Also, just because a torrent doesn’t have the little “Verified” symbol, that doesn’t mean it’s a bad torrent.
uTorrent's "Auto Shutdown" feature.

uTorrent's "Auto Shutdown" feature.

Once you’ve picked a torrent, click on the file and download it to your computer. Next locate the file and open it with uTorrent. (It should open with uTorrent automatically, unless you have more than one torrent client on your computer). Once it’s opened with uTorrent, just wait for the file to download.

If the file is very large (or you’re downloading many files at once), it may take several hours to download. In this case, it may be a good idea to start the download just before you go to bed, or just before you go to work. If you’re doing that, you may want your computer to shut down once the download is complete. To do this, open uTorrent and go to “Options” then “Auto Shutdown”, to configure automatic shutdown settings.

If the file requires extraction, you can do so by right-clicking on the file and selecting “Extract Here”. And with that, you have downloaded your first torrent, and you can use the file. Enjoy!

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Torrent Clients - The Alternatives

If you're not keen on uTorrent, don't worry. There are loads of torrent clients out there that work in the same way. If you're looking to find an alternative, here are a few to start you off:

  • BitTyrant
  • Vuze (formerly Azureus)
  • BitTorrent (referring to the client, not the protocol)
  • Deluge

For a fairly comprehensive list and comparison of clients, you may wish to read this Wikipedia article.

Torrents - A Warning

There are a couple of things you need to be aware of before downloading torrents

  • Throttling. Since BitTorrent makes up such a large proportion of total traffic on the web, some ISP's "throttle" (slow down) torrent traffic to increase the network capacity available for other users. It's worth checking your ISP's Terms of Service to see if they throttle torrent traffic.
  • Viruses. Because of the popularity of torrents, malicious individuals have flocked to torrents hosting sites in order to upload virus-laden files to be downloaded from around the world. This problem has lessened in recent years; better anti-virus software and more tech-savvy users means there aren't as many bad files as there used to be. Also, most torrent hosting sites allow downloaders to rate torrents and leave comments. This means bad torrents are quickly spotted and can be avoided, but always make sure you have up-to-date anti-virus software installed on your computer.
  • Copyright law. While the process of downloading torrents is not illegal, some torrents contain copyrighted material like music and movies, and such torrents are illegal. Make sure you always follow the law when downloading torrents. If you're not sure whether something is legal, don't do it, just to be on the safe side.

Well there you have it: you should now understand how to download torrents with uTorrent, or with another torrent client.

Thanks for taking the time to read this hub. I hope you found it useful. If you have any questions or feedback, please feel free to leave a comment below.


nandu on November 30, 2013:

thank you for your tips

AnonTorrentuser on July 02, 2013:

I'm a noob at torrents and i just downloaded utorrent. I'm downloading a game file at present and i'm not sure how to utilize the crack files and whatnot for it once it is done. Any pointers or suggestions?

Jeremy on August 22, 2012:

Thanks for this, but I have a bad experience using uTorrent. it filled my computer with crap and all kinds of stupid softwares.

I recently started using torch browser, and so far it's been really cool and it works great.

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