BitTorrent is an increasingly popular method of file sharing. Although it can be used for malicious purposes, it remains one of the fastest ways to transfer large files over the internet. Of course, in order to have a good experience while using the BitTorrent technology, it’s important to use a good client.
uTorrent is one of the most popular BitTorrent clients on the web and is raved about by just about anyone who has any experience with it.
Does it live up to its popularity? Let’s take a look and find out!
To download and install uTorrent, head over to uTorrent.com and click “Get µTorrent”. You will be given the option to purchase uTorrent Plus or download the free version. If you’re using the application for the first time, I recommend downloading the free version before spending any money on something you haven’t tried yet. The installer is a very tiny 875KB.
During the installation process, be on the lookout for a toolbar installation. In a recent update, the developers tried to sneak a toolbar into the installation. If you would like to use the toolbar (I don’t recommend it) go ahead and do so, otherwise, follow the steps as you would with any other Windows application installation. After a few seconds, your uTorrent installation will be finished and you can start it up for the first time.
The interface inside of uTorrent is clean, configurable, and easy to navigate. There are pages upon pages of skins and icons available for free, so you can customize the interface to your hearts content.
At the moment, the only advertising within the application is a uTorrent Plus ad located in the lower left corner. Unfortunately, this will change in a future update. uTorrent will soon feature more advertising within the application. However, due to user revolt, there will be an option to enable or disable these ads.
uTorrent reveals its true power inside of the preferences menu. From this window, you have the ability to take full control of the application. Whether you’re at home or thousands of miles away, uTorrent makes managing your downloads an absolute breeze.
The preferences window features a total of thirteen categories:
- General – Standard options you might find in most Windows applications
- UI Settings – Customize the layout of uTorrent
- Directories – Modify the directory in which your downloaded content is stored
- Connection – Modify listening port and proxy server information
- Bandwidth – Set maximum upload and download speeds
- BitTorrent – Change standard BitTorrent settings
- Transfer Cap – Cap how much data you use
- Queueing – Change maximum seed ratio and active downloads
- Scheduler – Schedule certain tasks on specific days of the week
- Remote – Change username and password for uTorrent Remote
- Playback – Change what player opens your downloaded content
- DNA – Modify the settings for the DNA content delivery system
- Advanced – Configure the web UI and modify values
One aspect of uTorrent that I admire the most is the fact that nearly everything can be automated. You have the ability to schedule downloads and tell uTorrent what to do when the download is finished.
What can’t be automated can be controlled manually using the uTorrent Remote feature. Simply set a username and password and head over to remote.utorrent.com to access the web interface. From there, you can manage your downloads just as your normally would from the desktop client.
It’s quite clear that the developers of uTorrent understand the fact that your ISP is not too fond of bandwidth hogs. With that in mind, they implemented features that allow you to limit how much bandwidth you use on a daily basis and schedule certain days during the week to seed, do nothing, or download at full speed.
uTorrent is a free application. There is, however, a paid version of the client known as uTorrent Plus. uTorrent Plus can be purchased for the price of $24.95. The paid version of uTorrent offers four new features:
- BitDefender scanning
- Built in media player
- Ability to convert files for portable devices
- Remote file access
In my opinion, uTorrent Plus seems like a poor excuse to make some extra cash. Rather than spend money on a media player, you can download VLC for free. There are plenty of great pieces of virus protection software on the internet that don’t cost one penny.
Remote file access and file conversion for portable devices are two nice features, although I don’t believe they’re worth $24.95.
Overall, uTorrent is an incredibly useful, powerful, and configurable BitTorrent client. The only issue I have with it is the fact that the developers seem to be rather desperate to make money off of their consumers lately. Many users were upset and felt betrayed when they stumbled upon a toolbar installed on their computer. Shortly afterwards, there was news that uTorrent will include “featured torrents”.
Fortunately, the developers backed off and plan on making these advertisements optional. I’m slightly worried that uTorrent’s developers might make another attempt at making some extra money. I fear that uTorrent will not always be the light and small client it is currently advertised to be.
Irrespective of my previously expressed concerns, uTorrent is one of the best BitTorrent clients you can get for Windows. I would recommend this application to any Windows user whether they torrent once a month or once an hour. I have yet to experience a situation where uTorrent was unable meet my standards.
Know of another BitTorrent client we should check out? Let us know in the comments and thank you for reading!