Downloading Stuff From Other People Using WinMX

This is meant to help people understand the various things that you see when you download something off of someone else. If you have any questions, ask :)

Note: I no longer support WinMX. I merely post this in the hope that it's still of some benefit. Remember, P2P sharing is not, in itself, wrong - it's all about how you use it. Be responsible.

Thumbnails will open up images captured on my screen (1024x768) with irrelevant stuff cut out.

1. Starting a transfer, you should see something like the following:

File User - AFS - AEQ Speed Bytes Status K/s Time Left
+ Prince - Purple Rain.mp3 1 user - 10m - 100   0 of 8,364,871 Waiting for network reply...    

See a picture of this...
Figure 1

2. Let's now say that WinMX has begun to download from the person (in other words, they are available.

File User - AFS - AEQ Speed Bytes Status K/s Time Left
- Prince - Purple Rain.mp3 1 user - 10m - 100   4,080 of 8,364,871 0% 0.40 5:41:32
  Jamonit031659_29435 Cable     0.34  

See that here...
Figure 2

3. Right clicking on the File name ('Prince - Purple Rain.mp3' in the example above):

See this here...
Figure 3

4. What happens when you cannot download right away:

File User - AFS - AEQ Speed Bytes Status K/s Time Left
- 06 When Doves Cry.mp3 1 user - 10m - 100   0 of 8,499,423 Remotely Queued 93    
  emporium319_13956 56K   Remotely Queued 93    

This this here...
Figure 4

What this means is that you have entered into this users queue, their line in other words. You are the 93rd person in line, and therefore, you should plan accordingly for that fact. However, just because you are 93rd in line, doesn't mean that you have to wait for ever... Let's use an example to show this fact ...

Example: User X has 400 files that they are sharing. User Y finds 15 files of User Xs that he really likes. So, he begins to download those files. User X has set his options so that each unique user can only download one file at a time. User X also had 20 downloads already waiting to begin, and has 5 downloads going (and we will say that these are all unique people). User X only allows 5 files to be downloaded at a time. So, we have the following:

  • User X allows 5 transfers at a time, and each user can only download one file at a time.
  • Twenty five users were already attempting to download files, five of them have their downloads started, while twenty are waiting in line.

So, if User Y is the next person to get in line, what number will he be? If you said 21, you are right. So, the first file that User Y attempts to download is queued at 21, the next at 22, all the way up to 35.

Now, User Z wants to download a file that User X has. When he attempts to download it, he will be entered into the queue at # 36. Now, let's say that time passes by and 21 of the users before User Y exit the line for downloading User Xs files. That is, in the best case scenario, 21 of the people trying to get files from User X get them. Because of this, User Y is allowed to begin downloading one of his files. So, User Y still has 15 files that they are attempting to download, one of which is being downloaded, 14 of which are in the queue (in positions 1-14). User Z is now in the line at 15.

Now, if someone other then User Y has a complete download (in other words, if Users A, B, C, and D were our other users, if either User A, User B, User C, or User D has a complete download) then User Z will begin to get his file. However, if User Y finishes one of his files, then the file that is queued at 1, will enter into download status, and all files in the queue will decrease in number by 1... [perhaps a picture is necessary of this?]

5. Right clicking on the user name of a person that is Remotely Queued:

See that here...
Figure 5

6. Retrying someone that is queued:

See it here!...
Figure 6

7. 'Auto Find Sources' in action:

Take a look at the first file download, where it says in yellow 'Finding sources...'. You continue to download from the user you are already downloading from, but WinMX looks for new users as well...

Wonder what happens if you click this... ;)
Figure 7

8. Multiple users:

File User - AFS - AEQ Speed Bytes Status K/s Time Left
- Prince - Purple Rain - This is the version you want.mp3 3 users - 10m - 100   0 of 20,931,824 Remotely Queued 2 15 119    
  counterrockula690_41164 56K   Remotely Queued 2    
  Drew4045_28356 Cable   Remotely Queued 15    
  Dixieland_323_32967 Cable   Remotely Queued 119    
  Gixerdeano69920_56945 DSL   File/User Unavailable    

See multiple users in action...
Figure 8

Okay, now what does this mean? Let's look at the first row (with '- Prince...' in it).

  • First row, first column has the file name of the file you are downloading.
  • First row, second column has the number of users, the 'Auto Find Sources' time, and the 'Auto Enter Queue' number
    • So, we have 3 available users to download from. WinMX will automatically search for new people to download from every 10 minutes, and, if it finds a user, with less then 100 people in the user's queue, it will attempt to enter into the queue.
    • AFS and AEQ (the second and third numbers) can be changed by the buttons directly above this snapshot, or you can right click on the file name, and choose the corresponding option (seen in Figure 3 above).
  • First row, third column is blank
  • First row, fourth column has number of total bytes you have downloaded, as well the total number in the file.
  • First row, fifth column is the status of the download with respect to all users that you are attempting to download from. When you begin to download the file, this will be replaced with a status bar (like the file above this one in the image above).
  • First row, sixth column is the average speed of all download speeds. In this case, it is blank since there is no one that WinMX is downloading from.
  • First row, seventh column is the ~ time left for the download to complete.
  • Second row through fifth row, first columns are all blank (as it is unnecessary to repeat the file name)
  • Second row through fifth row, second columns have the various users that you are downloading from.
  • Second row through fifth row, third columns have the speeds of each user that you are downloading from.
  • Second row through fifth row, fourth column is blank, as the size of the file does not vary.
  • Second row through fifth row, fifth column is the status of the particular user
  • Second row through fifth row, sixth column is the speed at which you are download the file from that particular user
  • Second row through fifth row, seventh column is blank, as the ~ time left is the same for all users.

Now, one of the things in Figure 8 above that you may notice is a case in which the status showed 'File/User Unavailable'. The question (which I have been asked by an astute reader) is an important one, and one that has not yet been answered. Basically what that status means is that while the user/file was once available, it is no longer so. So, to use our example above, I did a search for Prince's song and got a few matches. Then, I entered the queue of a few people. After a short time, however, one of the users that I was attempting to download from (but was merely standing in line) decided that they needed to turn off their computer for a while. So, they logged off of the WinMX network. Now, when my computer attempts to contact the user, so as to see if I have moved up in line, or can begin downloading the file, it gets the answer that the user is no longer logged on.

Another way that this status can show up is if the user on the other end (so, the person I'm downloading from) decides to move the file that I am attempting to download to another location. So, instead of having the file in the 'shared folder', they move it into the 'share folder'. The easiest thing that they could do, to make sure that this last example doesn't occur, is to make sure that they update their shared files (using the button within WinMX) whenever they move files around, or before logging on (so, in other words, it's a good idea to let WinMX search for new/updated files in the shared locations upon start up). [jrs: thanks to Mel for pointing out my error in not including this information in the first place :)]

9. Time out settings:

A note about time out settings. In the settings area, there are two values that can be changed in order to hold onto users for a bit longer. There are two areas which deal with time out settings. They are: "Outgoing TCP Connections" and "Host Name Resolution", both under "Internet Connection". The higher these are set the longer it will take for the query to time out. In other words, the higher these are, the longer WinMX will attempt to connect to the user/file specified. I have mine set to 90 seconds each, however, based upon your connection, you may want to decrease these times so that you are not wasting bandwidth (such as if you are on a dial up connection). As a note, this will have an affect, typically, upon 'File/User Unavailable' messages, in that it will allow WinMX more time to connect to the user and download from them. So, for example, if your time out settings were very low, such as 10 seconds, then, if you were on a slower connection, or they were, WinMX would have less time allotted to it to connect to the user... if that makes any sense.

Revision history

Primarily Written/Added: November 11th 2002
Edited/Updated: April 30th 2003; August 2nd 2003; April 2nd 2004