Faster downloads, skins, and caps in uTorrent 2.0

uTorrent 2.0 went gold a few days ago, and the latest stable version of the incredibly popular torrent client introduces several useful new features for those who haven't been playing around with the beta.

uTorrent 2.0 went gold a few days ago, and the latest stable version of the incredibly popular torrent client introduces several useful new features for those who haven't been playing around with the beta.

uTorrent 2.0 includes an optional upload/download cap.

(Credit: Screenshot by Seth Rosenblatt/CNET)

The first and most technical, but also most important, is the introduction of uTP. The uTorrent Protocol will natively prevent one person's connection from crowding out all the others. In a blog post, Simon Morris, the vice president of product management for uTorrent's parent company BitTorrent, predicted that uTP would result in faster average download speeds. This network congestion mitigation could result in Internet service providers being less hostile to torrenting, he said, and he hoped that it would result in a friendlier environment between network operators and the network users.

Basically, uTP will slow down all torrent traffic until whatever is causing the congestion is cleared up.

However, while uTorrent's programmers are banking on uTP changing the torrenting world for the better, they've also been pragmatic in adding features to version 2.0. The transfer cap feature, accessible from the Preferences menu under Options, allows users whose ISPs have set download and upload limits. Importantly, the feature also includes the ability to track the upload and download rates over a recent time period. The default is set to 31 days.

One of uTorrent's new skins.

(Credit: Screenshot by Seth Rosenblatt/CNET)

Skins have sort of come to uTorrent 2.0, but don't expect a simple interface for switching them around. There's no "skins" menu option, so they must be added manually. Once you've selected one from the uTorrent skin site, it must be saved to your uTorrent folder. On Windows XP, that's C:\Documents and Settings\Username\Application Data\uTorrent. On Vista and Windows 7, that's most likely E:\Users\Username\AppData\Roaming\uTorrent. If you're not sure, on any Windows system you can type %appdata% into your search box and hit enter. Once you restart uTorrent, you should see the new skin in use.

There's a redone installation process, as well. New users will find a built-in speed test and other automatic tweaks for high-traffic uploaders, although be warned that you'll still be opted-in to the Ask.com toolbar. The full list of changes in uTorrent 2.0 can be found here. Users who like to live on the edge can grab the uTorrent 2.1 beta, as well.

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