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Shareaza disaster recovery - Salvaging an unverifiable Torrent Print E-mail
Written by Hanners   
Friday, 30 January 2004 00:00

Shareaza disaster recovery - Salvaging an unverifiable Torrent

Picture the scene - After browsing around your favourite Torrent sites one day, you come across something you have desired for quite some time. A quick glance across at the file size reveals that what you are after is no less than 5Gb in size. Your heart sinks, but after a few seconds, you think to yourself "What the Hell - I have broadband, I can do this!". So, without further ado, you download the Torrent, and fire up Shareaza to begin your epic download.

Over the next week, you nurture and cultivate your download like you would a beautiful flower - Making sure it always has the time and bandwidth it needs to grow into its final, perfect form. As the progress bar grows, so does your excitement, until those final few minutes arrive and you watch ecstatically as the 100% mark approaches. The joyous moment arrives at last, and then... Nothing.

You wait a few seconds. Then a few more. The seconds turn into minutes. You go away for an hour, but on your return nothing has changed. All Shareaza will say is 'Verifying', but you know very well it isn't. Right now, all your hopes and dreams are shattered. It's all over, your download is ruined.

Or is it?

This, ladies and gentlemen, is the very situation I found myself in. But, after a week of research and failed attempts, I now have the solution, and feel it is only right to share it with the rest of the community. So, welcome to my little guide on how to recover from this state, when you have a BitTorrent download in Shareaza that refuses to complete the verification stage.

Tools available within Shareaza

Before the real panic starts and you start relying on third-party tools to salvage the situation, it's worth being aware that Shareaza itself has a handful of features to help you attempt to deal with the problem. To start with, make sure you are using the latest version of Shareaza, downloadable as ever from here. Now, within Shareaza, right-click on the Torrent you are having problems with and go to 'Advanced Edit' under the 'Advanced' section of the window that appears. This will present you with the following screen:

As you can see, under the 'Actions' section, you have several options which may be able to help you, and I would certainly advise you to try them as your first step. First up is the 'Forget current verification status and reverify' option which, as the name suggests, reverifies the entire file in its current state (complete or otherwise).

If your download is already finished (which it most likely will be if you are resorting to these measures), then you can instead choose the 'Assume file is 100% complete and reverify' option. Again, this will have another attempt at verifying the entire file for you.

If you believe that part of the file you've downloaded is corrupt and causing the issue, then you can use the Data Eraser to try and resolve the issue, by deleting parts of the Torrent between the byte limits you set, thus allowing that section to be redownloading. It's quite difficult to work out exactly where the problem lies within the Torrent, and it's important to remember that the data you enter into the Data Eraser is represented in bytes, not kilobytes or megabytes, so make sure you work out how many zeros to put in!

Using third-party tools

If all your attempts to kick-start the Torrent into life within Shareaza have failed, then it's time to roll out the big guns and introduce yourself to a life-saving tool... SpookyET's Shareaza Temporary File Chopper. The name may be a mouthful, but this guy is a genius - Send him money, send him your wife, sacrifice your first-born in his name.

This little application originates from Shareaza's own forums, due to the number of people having issues with Torrents that wouldn't verify and other similar issues, so all and any kudos for this application should go to SpookyET over there.

You can download the tool you require either from the link above (although you have to register to download the file), or I have made it available for download directly here - The file is only 15Kb, so shouldn't take more than a few seconds at worst.

Open up the Zip file, and you should find the usual readme and changelog files, as well as the executable itsl
elf. Copy this somewhere you can hold on to it for safekeeping - Chances are you'll be needing this little tool again someday.

Run the program, and you'll be greeted with the following screen:

Now, what this software is designed to do is to basically skip the verification stage of the Torrent, and go straight to extracting the data in its 'true' form from the temporary file Shareaza created. So, to use this application, you need to have the following:

- The original .torrent file you downloaded to start the download (This should be stored in Shareaza's 'Downloads' folder, provided you are running the latest version of the client)
- The temporary file used by Shareaza (This will be in Shareaza's 'Incomplete' folder

Provided you have these (and enough space to extract the files too of course!) then the process is a piece of cake. Under the 'Required Information' section, point the 'BitTorrent File' prompt to the location where the original .torrent file you downloaded is stored and navigate the 'Temporary File' box to Shareaza's 'Incomplete' folder (making sure you select the correct incomplete file - You also need to remember to choose the actual temporary file, which will be the size of whatever you are trying to download, rather than the SD file which accompanies it) or wherever the temporary file is if you have moved it elsewhere. Then, select the folder you wish to extract the final data to, and hit the 'Extract' button.

Once the progress bar reaches 100%, browse to the location you chose to copy the complete, extracted files to, et voila! Your download is complete and successful, and you can die a happy person.

But my download won't even reach 100%

Of course, none of this will really help you a great deal if your download hasn't even reached 100%. One of the 'problems' of BitTorrent is that if you are late to the party (or everybody seeding the files gets invited to a party and stops their download) then you are often left with an incomplete file and no way to finish it. Or so you think - Shareaza also has a couple of options which may help bring your download back to life.

First up is probably the most obvious - Simply add another source for the download. If you can find a different Torrent of the same file, you can right-click on your stalled download and use the 'Add Source' option under 'Advanced' to try and use it. Simply copy and paste the URL of the Torrent you've found, click 'Download', and Shareaza will do the rest.

The second option available to you is to switch to a different tracker, in the hope of finding more sources and restarting the download that way. To do this, again right-click your download and visit 'Torrent Info' under 'Advanced'. This will show you details of the file you are trying to get, including the number of seeders and downloaders and the tracker being used. If you know of an alternate tracker to try, then simply replace the URL listed with the new one, and hit close. Shareaza will then ask you if you want to use this new tracker - Click Yes here and Shareaza will the try to contact and use this new tracker.

So, there you have it - Everything you should need to recover from most common BitTorrent downloading problems using Shareaza. Happy downloading!

Useful links:

- Shareaza
- Shareaza forums
- Shareaza BitTorrent Temporary File Chopper
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