What Is Peer-to-Peer File Sharing, and Is It Legit?

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My son installed BitTorrent on the house computer. This of course, without asking first, as is the rule. This program slowed my computer down so much that I could not get online. I found out that as it was downloading, it was also uploading with unlimited bandwidth. I could not find any information on what it was uploading. I dislike P2P because of past experience with them, virus, spyware and the feeling I am stealing from the programmer. This program was promptly uninstalled. Is there any legitimate use for P2P programs?

This is a sad case of some very amazing technology getting smeared with a bad reputation because of how some people choose to use it.

Absolutely: there are many legitimate uses for peer-to-peer file sharing (P2P) programs like BitTorrent.

In fact, I wish it were used more.

In order to understand why peer-to-peer file sharing is interesting, we first need to understand just a little about how traditional file sharing and downloads work.

Read moreWhat Is Peer-to-Peer File Sharing, and Is It Legit?

Turn Off Windows 10 Peer-to-Peer Delivery Optimization

Peer-to-peer downloading is pretty amazing technology. It can speed up downloads significantly, and it can make downloading significantly more resilient to network hiccups and other types of failures.

It’s most commonly associated with BitTorrent, which uses peer-to-peer to create a network of download sites that are efficient, resilient, and potentially difficult to track down. But the technology is used in other places as well – download a Linux distribution, and peer-to-peer BitTorrent downloads are often an option; updates for large applications, like online games, are often provided using peer-to-peer technology.

Now, Windows 10 is apparently using peer-to-peer technology as part of its approach to distributing updates.

There are, however, some problems, both generally and with Windows 10 peer-to-peer downloads.

Read moreTurn Off Windows 10 Peer-to-Peer Delivery Optimization

Dropbox: Share files Across Machines, with Friends, and Publicly, for Free

I’ve been using Dropbox for a quite some time now, and was recently reminded of a compelling reason to finally recommend it to you.

One of the common questions I get is “how do I share [files, photos, documents, whatever] with my [friends, business associates, contacts] without using email, and without having them show up on the public internet?”

Dropbox solves that, and a lot more.

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I’m Using Someone Else’s Internet Connection – Am I at Risk?

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If I use a wired internet connection provided by my colleague is there any way for him or anyone connected to that same modem to watch the files in my laptop or if they can see my laptop while I’m using the internet like Skype or Gmail?

The short answer is: absolutely yes.

You are very right to be concerned. This is a topic I touch on from time to time, and it’s worth discussing a little bit more, since the risks are very easy to overlook.

Read moreI’m Using Someone Else’s Internet Connection – Am I at Risk?

How Do I Get My Windows Machines to Network with each Other?

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Leo, I recently purchased an Asus VivaTab tablet running full Windows 8.1 (not Windows RT) and I’ve tried just about everything to connect my Windows XP, SP3 to the tablet. Both computers are set to use the same work group name, namely MS Home but the tablet asks for a password when I’m setting up the home network. To my knowledge, Windows XP does not issue network passwords. Can you help?

Well, XP doesn’t issue network passwords… but in a sense it kind of does.

Networking is hard. This is something that can be tricky to get set up and get working. And yes, to be clear, it’s way trickier than it needs to be. I’ve written a couple of articles basically just venting about that in the past.

The good news is that I think we can get it to work.

Read moreHow Do I Get My Windows Machines to Network with each Other?