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Why you must switch from uTorrent immediately and to what

uTorrent is one of the most popular BitTorrent client apps for downloading anything. It has always been the de-facto app for Windows users owing to its low resource consumption and small executable size. Its UI was also clean, simple and an example of a successful design. However, newer versions of uTorrent are full of ads, and, what is worse is that the latest version installs a Bitcoin miner silently on your PC, which leads to heavy CPU usage and overall performance slowdown of your PC hardware. Here is what you need to know if you use uTorrent.

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If you are using the latest version of the uTorrent app, you should know that it silently installs an additional software called "EpicScale". It will be installed without any confirmation from you, and the uTorrent installer does not have even a checkbox to avoid installing the crapware. Many uTorrent users have confirmed this fact.

What is EpicScale? It is an application created by EpicScale Inc. which uses your PC for their own purpose. They can use it to perform any computations - solve various math problems, physical processes modelling and for Bitcoin mining. EpicScale claims that all profit obtained from such activity will be used to "change the world".

The Windows ecosystem has had a problem with such unwanted crapware for a long time. A company whose goals are using your PC's processing power to "change the world" is by no means trustworthy because you never explicitly opted in to install their software, they installed it silently like a virus or other type of malware would. The EpicScale software can create issues for you by reducing your PC's performance by overloading the CPU. Or suppose you installed uTorrent on a laptop, then EpicScale will reduce your battery charge level to 0% very quickly. Plus, there is no guarantee that it doesn't have some backdoor which makes your PC vulnerable to attack or snooping.

The uTorrent team, in their defense, claim that they have signed a partnership agreement with EpicScale and that is how they generate revenue. However, this kind of sleazy behavior is not acceptable and it is time that you switched from uTorrent to something else.

How to check if your PC has EpicScale installed

Although EpicScale installs itself silently, it will be visible in the "Programs and Features - Uninstall a program" Control Panel. Go to Control Panel\Programs\Programs and Features and see if you have EpicScale listed there. If yes, then Uninstall it.

Next, check out the following folder:

C:\ProgramData\EpicScale

Delete all files from here if the uninstaller left something there.
This will ensure your PC no longer has their crapware installed.

Free uTorrent alternatives

qBittorrent
qBittorrent is my software of choice. I switched to qBittorrent many years ago when uTorrent 3.x was introduced. qBitTorrent is open source software available for all major platforms (Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, OS/2, and FreeBSD). I am using qBittorrent in Windows and Linux and can recommend it to everyone for daily use.

qbittorent

qBittorrent has a decent user interface and is stable. Its memory consumption is higher than uTorrent because it is built using the Qt framework but this should not be an issue for modern PCs.

qbittorent memory

Transmission

Transmission is also a very popular cross platform software which features LOTS of user interfaces. It includes GTK, Qt, WebUI, a console user interface for Linux users and a native Mac UI. For Windows, it is available as a Qt port, which you can grab from here.

transmission-qt

I used it with the GTK UI under Linux some time ago. It has a simpler user interface compared to qBittorrent, however, it has everything you need to download torrents.

Deluge

Deluge is another popular cross platform BitTorrent client application. It has a simple user interface, similar to Transmission. Although you will get all necessary features to download and manage torrents.

deluge_screenshot

Image credits: Neowin

Older version of uTorrent

There is no reason why you couldn't use an older version of uTorrent. Versions from 1.8.x to 2.2.1 (the last version without ads) are perfect for daily use and have no issues even under the latest Windows versions.

UTorrent_1.8.5-Windows_7
Which BitTorrent client are you using now?

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Author: Sergey Tkachenko

Sergey Tkachenko is a software developer who started Winaero back in 2011. On this blog, Sergey is writing about everything connected to Microsoft, Windows and popular software. Follow him on Telegram, Twitter, and YouTube.

22 thoughts on “Why you must switch from uTorrent immediately and to what”

  1. Well, I have quite a large collection of torrent now and I don’t know how to import its data to another alternative, I tried qbittorrent but to no avail, guess I’m stuck with utorrent, the ads are annoying but seriously I won’t waste time looking at the window for any more than a few seconds so…That Epic thing is likely to be removed in later versions, given this backlash from the internet community.

  2. I discovered a few months ago this wonderful light torrent client.
    Never looked back.
    Halite BitTorrent Client
    http://www.binarynotions.com/halite-bittorrent-client/ or better go to the sourceForge site http://sourceforge.net/projects/halite/

  3. Am I in danger when I have installed uTorrent 2.2.1? It’s lastest version before v3 and it doesn’t have ads and other crap like that, so am I safe from EpicScale?

      1. This very frightening coming from the author of this site.

        Older versions of uTorrent are not safe to use. Period. They have holes, serious holes and you are putting yourself in risk using old programs. One of the basic rules of keeping your data & pc safe, is to keep your programs updated.

  4. I have used Vuze for a very long time. I joined the beta program, so there are no ads. I have tried other programs, but I find Vuze to be the friendliest, and the fastest.

  5. You could just disable the ads in uTorrent. It’s not very hard and there are many guides online that show you what to do. To the credit of the uTorrent guys, they made that possible if you just take the time to learn how to do so.

  6. But Sergey, have you tested it yourself. This has been in the news for a while and most ruled out that this piece was installed because of user ignorance and nothing more.

    One such proof of nothing of above sort is the from betanews
    http://betanews.com/2015/03/06/reports-that-utorrent-silently-installs-bitcoin-crapware-are-crap/

    I am on latest version and I dont have EpicScale on my machine. Please correct me if I am wrong.

    1. I am luckily switched to qBittorent, but my friend got that EpicScale. So, it is true.

      1. So according to you, “If you are using the latest version of the uTorrent app, you should know that it silently installs additional software called “EpicScale”. It will be installed without any confirmation from you, and the uTorrent installer does not have even a checkbox to avoid installing the crapware. Many uTorrent users have confirmed this fact.”

        Here’s a fact: these users didn’t “confirm” anything. They alleged it and others jumped on the bandwagon vilifying this company EpicScale.

        You then heard about this problem from your friend and you reported it without even testing it yourself. What ever happened to a reporter doing fact checking? Oh yeah, it’s a blog.

        Before writing a scathing article warning people away, why don’t you install the program yourself? Then you can verify or debunk what others are saying and truly offer your readers an INFORMED opinion. Writing without validity gets you zero credibility as a blogger journalist. You’re a puppet writing what others claim without confirming your story.

        I use Vuze but when I heard about this I installed it and it provided a very clear install screen with a description. I declined and it didn’t install anything on my system.

        The company uTorrent claims there’s a screen and many others claim they saw a screen when installing. Other reporters that verified these claims by personally installing the software report they saw an install screen. Yes, many consumers on forums insist they were plagued by hidden installs and covert activity, but do these people have more credibility because there a thousand or more of them?

        Ask yourself: does it really make sense that the company would display a screen for some and not for others? You’re a programmer and a businessperson. It makes no business or logical sense for the company to do that. They release software to make money and the more people installing the more they make, right? Consumers are assuming they would risk their reputation by covertly installing software. Well, if that were true, would they do it only for some of the installs? It makes no sense.

        The public convicts before establishing culpability. Someone claims they were victimized, often because they don’t understand what they’re doing or they’re careless, and then everyone jumps on the bandwagon and attacks the supposed victimizer.

        Two reasons this issue gained steam: 1) companies installing crapware that bog down systems is a hotbed issue; and 2) with all the privacy and hacking worries, people are paranoid someone will commandeer their system covertly. And people are on forums insisting they were fed this software without notification.

        Crapware screens are becoming more well-disguised overall and everyone finds this annoying. However as with ads that nobody likes either, it’s a way for companies to offer free software. Companies need to earn revenue. So we all have to get used to this new model until they come up with a better one or start paying for our software again.

        As to the volume of people proclaiming the software was installed without their permission, if one percent of all installs missed the install screen and one percent of those complained, that would be about the number of people claiming they were victimized.

        I have no affiliation with the company EpicScale but from their demeanor on the forums, they aren’t trying to be fraudulent or furtive. I think the company is just trying to gain traction using an unpopular method to generate revenue. In the face of being labeled a conman and a fraud, one of the principals has tried to answer peoples’ complaints calmly and rationally. He didn’t obfuscate or rationalize; he explained and apologized for their now apparent misstep.

        Assume there was a way to lend a company your dormant CPU cycles in exchange for receiving software without ads or other irritations. Would you participate in that program if they were philanthropic? I know I would. If there was a company that could serve as the middleman, by bartering value and signing up charities, wouldn’t that be a worthwhile project? It would need to clearly inform the user what it’s doing, it would have to work only when the computer was dormant, and it’s inapplicable for a capped bandwidth plan. But done right, this could be a good business model that benefits charities and defrays the cost of software.

        I’d sign up for it. As I told the principal of the company, I look forward to their 2.0

        1. OK so it’s not entirely silent but it’s still a sneaky and deceptive method to install since it is opt-in by default. Don’t come with your big guns blazing and attack the author for trying to make users aware in the first place that they are sneakily bundling it unless you are careful on the screen to opt out of it.

          1. But that isn’t what the author said, Shawn. He insisted in his 2nd para that Utorrent “…silently installs an additional software called ‘EpicScale’.”

            That’s false (or at least unsubstantiated and highly improbable) so I’ll blaze my big guns, thank you very much ;)

            Crapware’s a sneaky way for a company to make money. I made my dislike clear in my post. If that’s the reason someone switches, fine. But as far as I can tell, uTorrent doesn’t silently install crapware, and EpicScale isn’t malware. They both got a bad rap, in my opinion. And everyone piled on.

            For a credible source, check out: http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2015/03/torrent-latest-victim-of-crapware-paranoia/

  7. I highly recommend Tixati. It’s very good on system resources and has just about every feature you could hope for. It has a ton of configuration options, but the documentation is decent. For most of the option you can stick with the default settings so the learning curve isn’t bad.

    I switched to Tixati because utorrent was thrashing my hard drive. Haven’t had a problem since. Oh, also as far as I know its on Windows only.

      1. I thought the same at first, but after using it for a while I released its actually laid out pretty well. One feature that works well and I love is being able to quickly categorize downloads and have them go to separate folders, so my movies are in one folder, music in another, etc. I don’t know if other torrent clients also have this but it really works well Tixati. You should try it for a bit. It might just grow on you. ;)

  8. I see morons have started coming to this article.
    Come on people, if that unwanted stuff got a checkbox, it does not change the fact that previously it was silently distributed!.
    Closing comments for heaven’s sake.

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