Torrent is a file extension used by BitTorrent clients to download large files such as music, movies, games, and software.
A torrent file contains information about files that are being shared, but not the files themselves.
For example, if you want to download a movie, you first download a small torrent file (file extension .torrent), then open it in a BitTorrent client, and the actual file begins to download.
How to Open a Torrent File in six steps
1. Download the free torrent client from bittorrent.com
2. Install the app by following the on-screen instructions.
3. Search and download the torrent file with the torrent client.
4. Double-click the torrent file to open it in a torrent client.
5. You can then download the torrent content with a torrent client.
6. Open the torrent content, which typically is a zip- or a RAR-archive.
In practice, torrent and torrenting refer to downloading and uploading files via the BitTorrent network.
What Is BitTorrent?
You’re typically downloading files directly from a website, which might be a bit slow with large files. BitTorrent offers an alternative way of downloading. It’s faster and more efficient than a direct connection.
Using BitTorrent, you download pieces of the large file from other users worldwide who also have the file on their device. Each user who downloads automatically becomes a source for other users who want the same file.
The file you download is called a torrent; sharing those files is called seeding.
So BitTorrent is a peer-to-peer network (P2P), where a group of computers is linked together. Bram Cohen developed BitTorrent in 2001.
What Programs Open Torrent Files?
By default, your operating system doesn’t recognize .torrent files. If you try to open it, you get a familiar warning or question from your operating system.
To open a torrent file, you need special software, a torrent client.
If you are a beginner with torrents, the most accessible clients to start with are BitTorrent Web and uTorrent Web. By far, they are the most popular and well-supported torrent clients. Both work on Windows and Mac. They are similar in installation and use, as BitTorrent Inc owns both. For Linux, there is uTorrent Classic.
You can also open torrents with many other BitTorrent client software like Vuze, Bitcomet, Deluge, and a web client.
How to Safely Download a Torrent File?
Your internet service provider (ISP) is likely to monitor your internet traffic and log your browsing history. To protect your privacy, you will need to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN), which hides your torrent activities from your ISP.
There are many VPN options, and ExpressVPN is one of the most used VPN service providers. It encrypts your internet connection and changes your IP address. It also has a kill switch that cuts your internet connection if the VPN connection is interrupted, preventing you from being accidentally exposed to your ISP.
You may still be vulnerable to malware from some public torrent sites, so keep your device up-to-date and have an antivirus program.
How to Use Torrent Files In Windows And Mac?
Having trouble opening a torrent file that you downloaded? What do you do with the downloaded torrent files on your computer?
The .torrent files you download from torrent websites are very small, and they will usually download in a matter of seconds.
But these files are just a set of information to your torrent client on where the original files are downloaded.
1. Install a Torrent Client
So firstly, install a torrent client on your computer.
Here we install the BitTorrent Web client:
- First, visit bittorrent.com and go to Client Download.
- Click Free Download under BitTorrent Web.
- From the version comparison page, you can choose to install the free version or paid ad-free version. To install the free version, click Download Now. Your browser then downloads an installation file to your computer.
- Click Open file in the downloads notification on your browser to start the installation process. Depending on your browser, you may need to save the installer to your computer and then open the file you downloaded. If you see an Open File – Security Warning dialog, click Open or Run.
Can’t install the torrent client as my antivirus software flags it?
Programs that have been flagged are not necessarily malicious. False positives happen.
Torrent clients can contain malware and spyware, so you should be careful when installing them. In the past, torrent apps have infected devices with malware, but this isn’t common anymore.
There are offers and companion apps in the installer that may be regarded as threats by some antivirus software. If you want to continue installing even when it is flagged, you can create an exception for that file in your antivirus software.
- The User Account Control dialog may open to ask you to allow the installer to make changes to your computer. If this dialog appears, click Yes to start the installation.
- Wait for BitTorrent Web to finish installing.
- When the installation is complete, BitTorrent Web will open in your browser. You can check the tutorial video in the app if you are not familiar with torrenting.
Do I get an adware companion app with a torrent client?
Be careful when installing a torrent client. They have optional companion apps for your web browser or antivirus software.
1) Look what checkboxes are selected during installation, and 2) notice that they sometimes hide optional offers as a license agreement on top of the license agreement you accept for the main product.
2. Download Torrent File and its Contents
Now that you have cleared the above stage, it’s finally time to manage torrent files and download data from those files.
All you have to do is just visiting a popular torrent site and pick your desired file.
So, you first download the torrent file, and then your torrent client downloads the actual files that the torrent file points to.
In most cases, the torrent files are downloaded on your Downloads folder. In other cases, your torrent files will automatically be opened by your torrent client so that you can begin to download the contents.
You can always double-click on the torrent file to open it on the torrent client.
In the torrent client, you can manage where to download the torrent content.
Open Torrent Content That You Downloaded
Now that you have successfully downloaded your desired torrent content with the torrent client, you will need to open them anyhow.
There are numerous file extensions that people download from torrents, and each one of them contains some unique techniques to get opened. Here we will glance at a few file types and the guide on how to open them.
Most of the time, you end up encountering Archive folders such as Zip and Rar. These archive files typically contain various other files.
2. Program Files
Applications and games mostly come with .exe extensions in Windows, and .dmg extension in Mac (dmg is a container for apps to install). The actual application file has .app extension in Mac.
Executable files can contain anything, including viruses or malware. As a result, experienced torrent users don’t click them, but novices can.
Scan the file with your antivirus software, and if it detects anything, it is probably a virus. Antivirus programs usually quarantine malicious files, but they do not delete them.
With video files, you get easily baffled by cryptic naming conventions like Xvid, x264, and so on. There are many different utilities for encoding video streams into the actual file.
It is further complicated because x264-encoded video tracks come packaged in containers, including audio tracks, subtitles, etc. The container file might be an MKV file type with a .mkv extension. x264 is part of the filename to indicate the video compression method and encoding software used.
MP4, MKV, MPC-HC are basically video formats. You can open these types of files from your default media player. However, not every media player support every kind of file.
For example, X264 video files can be played by any multimedia player that supports H.264/MPEG-4 AVC.
You can download and install the VLC media player, which is free, fast, and feature-rich.
4. ISO and BIN Files
File formats ISO, BIN, and DAA are used to store disc images, which are virtual copies of physical discs. ISO is the most commonly used format.
Operating systems such as Linux are distributed as ISO images.
You can extract ISO and BIN files using archive programs, mount them as a virtual drive, or write to a USB flash drive or blank CD.
Here you can find more about how to download and install the best Linux distribution for a beginner.
What to Keep in Mind When Handling Torrent Files?
- Check that your operating system is up-to-date
- Use antivirus software
- Use a VPN connection
- Be careful when installing a torrent client, don’t install the companion apps that they offer
- Download torrents from safe locations
- Don’t download or share illegal material
- Be careful when opening downloaded files, especially program files. Check the files with antivirus software.
How to Download Large Linux ISO Images?
- If your internet connection allows you to download 2 GB of files without difficulty, you can use a browser download method with a mirror site close to your location.
- If your internet connection is inconsistent, torrents are recommended.
Is Torrenting Legal?
File-sharing on the internet is legal through torrenting. However, it is illegal to share and download copyrighted material. Many countries and internet service providers ban torrenting because it’s difficult to determine the legality of shared files.
The Bottom Line
Overall, opening a torrent file is not that much hard work. There are more issues with privacy and safety than with the technical aspects.