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Thursday, March 05, 2009

Speed up Torrent and Peer to Peer (P2P) Downloads on Vista and other Windows Platforms

As a security precaution, Windows XP and Vista and the new Windows 7 limit the number of so-called "half-open" outbound TCP connection attempts to 10. Normally, that poses no problems, but if you do any downloading with torrent files or other peer-to-peer (P2P) networking, that can significantly slow your downloads.

Many XP users have relied on the patch for their solution, but that only works for XP and it modifies the tcpip.sys file, which has been known to have disastrous results for Vista users. Fortunately, there is a simple and elegant solution that works not only on XP (and better than the patch), but on Vista and 7 as well.

TCP-Z is a small GUI program for Windows that you can use to change the number of allowed half-open connections on the fly (up to 251) without restarting the computer (click image for full-size view):

To find out more about this program—and most importantly to download a copy for yourself—just head over to the TCP-Z Network Monitor site.

Note: To open the downloaded file, you may need a copy of the excellent and free 7-Zip (which in my opinion works better than the native Windows zip program), as the native program does not recognize the .7z file extension. (7-Zip recognizes its own extension and many others, including all the standards.)