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What is a TORRENT file?
A TORRENT file is a file that BitTorrent and other peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing programs use to download content, such as videos, music, games, or documents, over the Internet. It contains metadata that describes the to-be-downloaded content and tells BitTorrent where to download the content from. For example, TORRENT files specify the name, file size, and folder structure of to-be-downloaded content.
Torrenting is the act of retrieving or sending content using the BitTorrent network. To download content using BitTorrent, users must first retrieve or create an associated TORRENT file. When the user opens the file in BitTorrent, BitTorrent begins downloading the content the file points to.
BitTorrent splits downloads among multiple nodes, retrieving pieces of each downloaded file from separate computers and assembling the pieces during the download process. This speeds up the download process. When you open a TORRENT file and begin a download, your computer may be used to send pieces of the file(s) you are downloading to other users downloading the same file(s).
Is using TORRENT files illegal?
Not inherently. TORRENT files and the BitTorrent network can be used to retrieve any type of content, including legal content. However, many users use TORRENT files to download copyrighted material, such as TV shows, music, and video games. Using a TORRENT file to download copyrighted material is illegal.
How to open a TORRENT file
You can open a TORRENT file and use it to download its associated content in a variety of torrenting applications, including BitTorrent (Windows, Mac), uTorrent (Windows, Mac, Android), FreeDownloadManager (cross-platform), and Vuze (cross-platform).
For example, to open a TORRENT file in BitTorrent:
- Open BitTorrent and select File → Add Torrent....
- Navigate to and open your TORRENT file.
- When the Add New Torrent window appears, confirm that your TORRENT file points to the content you want to download.
- Select OK.
BitTorrent will then begin downloading the content your TORRENT file points to.