Troubleshooting

How should I get started in fixing my problems?

The first and most important action to take is to make sure you have everything in BitTorrent configured properly as prescribed by the setup guide and any associated guides (like the port forwarding guide). As surprising as it may sound, many troubles that seem unrelated to one another stem from a misconfiguration issue. Additionally, make sure you are using the latest version of BitTorrent available from the download page, since bugs get fixed regularly from version to version (and the support staff does not provide support for older versions). If this initial step doesn't help, try looking through these troubleshooting FAQs to see if the problem has been addressed.


Why are my torrent jobs missing?

First, make sure you aren't looking at an improperly-configured list-view, and make sure you've selected an appropriate category in the category list.

Assuming the torrent jobs list is truly empty, then the problem is caused by an improper shutdown of BitTorrent, either due to a crash or a forced exit. The first thing you will need to do is reopen all of the .torrent files in the settings directory (or the .torrent file storage location). Afterwards, you should try enabling bt.graceful_shutdown. By turning this option on, you are allowing BitTorrent the leisure of quitting cleanly, which generally solves the problem.

If BitTorrent is crashing, and this behavior is a result of the crashes, then you should try to solve the crashes.


Why are my torrent jobs transferring so slowly? Can't I speed them up?

Make sure you've followed the setup guide carefully.


Why can't BitTorrent connect to any DHT nodes?

The problem most likely occurs because something is blocking BitTorrent from contacting other nodes. Try the following suggestions to see if they help:

  • Make sure that when you forwarded your port, you forwarded it for UDP connections in addition to TCP connections, since DHT makes heavy use of UDP.
  • If you are using PeerGuardian (or an equivalent IP blocker), you might need to stop using it, or make an exception in the software for BitTorrent's DHT bootstrap nodes at router.utorrent.com and router.bittorrent.com, as BitTorrent makes use of DHT nodes at those addresses to get the IP addresses of other nodes in the DHT network.
  • Try adding a .torrent file from Depthstrike.com's mirrors for open-source/freeware projects to BitTorrent's torrent jobs list. These .torrent files contain other DHT nodes that BitTorrent can use to bootstrap onto the DHT network.
  • Try removing dht.dat and dht.dat.old from the settings directory, as these files might have been corrupted.

Why can't I see anything in the directory browser dialog?

An incompatibility is causing the problem. To fix the issue, enable gui.compat_diropen.


Why do I get an "Invalid menu handle" error when I try opening a .torrent file from Firefox?

There may be some corruption in your Firefox preferences that causes this error to occur. In Firefox, check the "Tools" > "Options" > "Content" > "Manage" list for the TORRENT entry and remove it. Confirm the change in Firefox.


Why do my torrent jobs grind to a halt with "Disk Overloaded" whenever I add a new one?

The problem occurs because of a design limitation in BitTorrent that should be fixed in the future. There is nothing you can do except to wait for the problem to go away.


Why does BitTorrent create or download parts of files I set to "Don't Download?"

This occurs because BitTorrent has no concept of files, only pieces. Because multiple files can share the same piece, and BitTorrent has to download an entire piece to check its hash, it will effectively download data for another file (regardless of whether it was skipped). There is nothing you can do about BitTorrent downloading data for another file if the data is a part of a piece that also belongs to another file that you do want downloaded. What you can do is prevent the entire skipped file from being allocated by enabling diskio.use_partfile.


Why does BitTorrent get stuck at a certain percentage for a torrent job?

Check the availability of the torrent job, the number of seeds there are in the swarm, the the number of peers there are in the swarm, and the amount of wasted data that you've downloaded.

  • If the availaiblity is below 1.0 and the number of seeds is high, then the torrent swarm is most likely fake, and was created by anti-P2P organizations.
  • If the availability is below 1.0 and the number of seeds is low as well, then you will have to be patient, as the torrent contents may simply not be well distributed.
  • If you are seeing a large amount of wasted data, check this FAQ.

Why does BitTorrent keep downloading or uploading while a torrent job is paused?

Pausing a torrent job might not stop all traffic for it immediately because BitTorrent attempts to finish receiving and sending any queued pieces first. Because pausing a torrent job keeps connections open, occasional bits of peer communication may show up in the speed calculations.


Why does BitTorrent not ask me where to download files, or which files I want to download?

If you would like BitTorrent to let you select files to download before it actually adds the torrent job to the list, make sure you enable the Add New Torrent dialog.

If BitTorrent adds files without asking you anything, then that's because you set a default download location, and so BitTorrent assumes you would like to download everything to that directory. If you want BitTorrent to always show the dialog when you manually open a .torrent file, then make BitTorrent always show the dialog on manual add.


Why does BitTorrent show less DHT nodes in the status bar than BitComet or Azureus?

BitTorrent counts only the number of DHT nodes you are directly connected to. BitComet counts nodes that are one hop away from you (connected to nodes you're connected to), which inflates nubmers. Azureus attempts to estimate the complete size of its DHT network.


Why does BitTorrent still calculate an ETA when it is seeding?

When a torrent job is in seeding mode, the ETA column estimates the amount of time it will take for BitTorrent to reach the seeding goal.


Why does BitTorrent still download a little bit when it is seeding, or even when no torrent jobs are started?

This behavior is absolutely normal, and occurs because BitTorrent includes the communication overhead when calculating speeds. When you are uploading data to a peer, you continue to download a little bit of information from the peer to keep track of the peer's progress. Additionally, if the peer requests information or data from you, you also have to download that request (which gets figured into the download speed).

While it is normal to see a non-zero download rate while BitTorrent is seeding, the behavior can be aggrevated by improper settings. When you have too many connections established simultaneously, BitTorrent has to communicate with more peers, and so there will be more downloading of requests and such. To optimize the situation, make sure you've selected the proper setting in the Setup Guide.

Another possible cause for this behavior is the use of the DHT network. Because DHT is always active as long as it is enabled, it will continue to download a little bit of data to pass around as a node participating in the DHT network. This continues to occur even if no torrent jobs are started, or even if none of the torrent jobs in the list use DHT.


Why does my Internet connection slow down or stop working while BitTorrent is running?

Make sure you've checked your computer for incompatible software known to cause Internet disconnection. Additionally, check if your router is a "bad" router. If you don't have any incompatible software installed, there are some suggestions you may want to try. Note that between any of the suggestions, you should restart your computer and check if BitTorrent continues to cause Internet disconnections.


Why doesn't BitTorrent obey the rate limits I selected?

Try enabling Limit local peer bandwidth.

If you have limited your download rate, but BitTorrent isn't obeying it, then take note the fact that BitTorrent cannot control how fast peers send data to it. As a result, download rate limiting is often inaccurate. In addition, setting download rate limits may cause your upload rates to suffer because of the way download rate limiting had to be implemented.


Why doesn't BitTorrent open .torrent or .btsearch files even though it is associated with them?

If BitTorrent doesn't automatically open .torrent or .btsearch files when you double-click them, try pressing the relevant button(s) in the Windows Integration preferences. If that doesn't help, you may have to remove the .torrent file type from Windows. In Windows Explorer, check the "Folder Options" > "File Types" list for the TORRENT entry and delete it, then press the associate button again from the preferences.


Why doesn't BitTorrent open my web browser wherever it is needed?

This problem is generally caused by a misconfiguration in Windows with regards to which browser is default. Visit "Start" > "Control Panel" > "Add or Remove Programs" > "Set Program Access and Defaults" > "Custom." Where it asks you to select a default web browser, make sure you have your preferred browser selected, and if possible, make sure "Enable access to this program" is checked as well.


Why doesn't BitTorrent report me as a seeder when selectively downloading?

By definition, a seeder is a peer with all of the files fully completed. If you are missing any bit of data (which would occur if you skip any file), it would be incorrect for BitTorrent to report you as a seeder. You are not a seeder unless you have 100% of the data.


Why don't the move up or down buttons not move the torrent jobs?

These buttons change the queue order for the selected torrent jobs, not the actual order in which they appear in the list. If you would like these buttons to visually change the torrent job's order in the list, then you should sort the list by the # column.


Why is there a large amount of wasted data being downloaded?

In many cases, this is an indication that the swarm you are connected to is fake or poisoned and set up by some anti-P2P organization. You might want to consider finding another source for the data you are trying to download. If this occurs with many torrent jobs, the problem could be an indication that your hardware is bad. Bad RAM, hard drive, or hard drive cables have been known to cause hashfails in BitTorrent. Another source of hashfails may be your router. Some routers (like D-Link's) have been known to corrupt data when the router has DMZ (game) mode enabled, thus preventing users from completing downloads.


Why is BitTorrent crashing?

Make sure you've checked your computer for incompatible software known to cause crashes in BitTorrent.


Why is BitTorrent now downloading when I was previously seeding?

This occurs if any of the files you're uploading are modified between the time you began seeding and the next time BitTorrent re-checks the data. If a file changes, it causes the piece(s) containing it to fail the hash check, and accordingly, BitTorrent will throw the piece out (thus causing the switch to downloading mode). Make sure you do not edit any files you are seeding. If you find yourself forgetting this, then consider setting the files you download to read-only mode once you are in seeding mode. If you did not manually edit any files, then there are some common causes for this problem:

  • thumbs.db: On some systems, Windows automatically creates and updates a database of thumbnails for the media files in each folder called thumbs.db. If a thumbs.db file is a part of the torrent contents, any updates to it will cause hashfails in BitTorrent. In Windows Explorer, check the "Folder Options" > "View" > "Do not cache thumbnails" option to prevent this from happening.
  • Media file tags: Some media players are known to automatically edit tags on media files they play without user intervention. This may cause pieces to change (and consequently, hashfails to occur in BitTorrent).

Why is BitTorrent using so much CPU?

Make sure you've checked your computer for incompatible software known to cause high CPU usage in BitTorrent.

If you don't have any incompatible software installed, get Process Explorer and run it. If you see the DPCs are using significant amounts of CPU, then you may have some other buggy software installed, or perhaps buggy drivers and/or hardware. You can try running RATTV3 to find the source of the DPCs. The RATTV3 output can be found in %SystemRoot%\system32\LogFiles\RATTV3.

Another possible source for high CPU usage may be the transfer mode that your hard drive controller may be using for your hard drives. Check the "System" applet in the Windows Control Panel for the Device Manager. In the Device Manager, look for the IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers and check the properties for each of your primary and secondary IDE channels to see if any of their current transfer modes are in PIO. If so, this may be the cause of your problems. To fix it, try uninstalling the affected IDE channel and restarting your computer.


Why is BitTorrent using so much memory?

Make sure you've checked your computer for incompatible software known to cause high memory usage in BitTorrent.

If you don't have any incompatible software installed, try tweaking the disk cache settings. Of special note, if you are transferring data very quickly, try disabling the Windows cache for disk writes and disk reads.


Why is my firewall reporting connections being made by BitTorrent on a port besides the one I chose?

Only incoming connections use the port you specify in the preferences. Outgoing connections use a random local port (called an ephemeral port); this is simply how TCP/IP functions, and is not a bug.


Why is my firewall reporting that BitTorrent is attempting to send e-mails or access the web?

In almost every case, this is a false positive generated by your firewall. Occasionally, peers use common service ports like 25 (SMTP), 80 (HTTP), or 110 (POP3) in order to bypass restrictions their ISPs may impose on them. Because your firewall incorrectly assumes that any traffic with a destination port being a service port is traffic of the corresponding service, it (improperly) flags BitTorrent's traffic accordingly. The one exception to this is when BitTorrent checks for updates, in which case it really is attempting to access the web.

Assuming your computer itself is clean of malware, and you have obtained BitTorrent from a known legetimate source (like BitTorrent's own download page), then it is safe to ignore these warnings and allow BitTorrent to perform the action. If you do not want BitTorrent to access these ports, you can set bt.no_connect_to_services and bt.no_connect_to_services_list accordingly.


Why is the list-view I'm looking at blank?

There should still be a bar at the top of the list-view. Right-click the bar and select "Reset" in the context menu, and the apparently-missing details should be visible again.


Why is there a .dat file in my download folder when the torrent contents don't contain such files?

This occurs when you perform selective file downloading and have diskio.use_partfile enabled. You can safely ignore the file, as it will be deleted after the torrent job is removed from the torrent jobs list.


I've tried all kinds of suggestions, but still haven't been able to solve my problem. How should I proceed?

Feel free to stop by the forums or IRC channel to ask for help with your problems. When you ask for help, make sure you have the following pieces of information on hand and ready to be provided upon request:

  • Everything you've tried so far in attempting to fix your problem
  • The ISP you're using (preferably in addition to the type of connection you're using, like DSL, cable, satellite, etc.)
  • The color of your network status light
  • What the Setup Guide shows your current settings to be, along with the results of the port checker and speed test
  • What you've set net.max_halfopen to, and what your TCPIP.sys half-open connection limit is set to
  • The operating system you're using
  • A log from HijackThis and/or Process Explorer
  • The exact router and modem models you're using
  • Some basic computer hardware specifications (motherboard and/or chipset, CPU, RAM, drive type, etc.)