How to Bring Dead Torrents Back to Life

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Eventually, particularly when trying to download old torrents, most BitTorrent users find themselves with a transfer which stops due to the swarm having no seeds, not enough peers to cover the full release, or the tracker going down. btReAnnouncer is a handy site which could prove vital in reaching that magic 100%.

fixtorrent“I’m stuck at 49.1%, seed please!!” or similar comments are fairly commonplace on BitTorrent sites. Normally the case on older torrents, essentially all the full 100% seeds have gone, leaving people all stuck at the same amount completed. Without a seed reappearing, or many other users that between them have the remaining 50.9%, the download will not complete, which is pretty frustrating.

Of equal annoyance, is a new torrent which the user knows is well seeded, yet for one reason or another it is impossible to connect to the tracker in order to complete the download. Maybe the tracker has gone down or is simply too busy to accept the connection – either way, the download isn’t getting very far without it.

The good news is that with a little perseverance it’s possible to resurrect a seemingly moribund torrent. The key to bringing the torrent back to life is the hope that an identical release is available on another tracker, and in that swarm there are people that have enough data to complete the download. But how is it possible to find the same release on other trackers?

There are manual solutions involving Google, but quick and easy is my preferred method and btReAnnouncer offers just that. The site is really easy to use, so, although it is well seeded, here is a walk-through to find more trackers tracking Michael Moore’s ‘Official’ ‘Slacker Uprising’ torrent – the same technique can be used for any release, especially ones with tracker or seeding issues.

First of all I downloaded the .torrent file from The Pirate Bay onto my PC and uploaded it to btReAnnouncer. Within a few seconds the site displayed the current primary tracker – However, it also displayed a list of 17 other tracker URLs identified as tracking the same torrent – any one or combination of which could help you to complete a stubborn download. Note that it doesn’t make sense to add more than one tracker from the same url (e.g. because they often track the same peers.

At this stage it is possible to select a new primary tracker for the torrent by ticking the checkbox and pushing the ‘ReAnnounce’ button. Then check any of the other trackers in the list to be used as an alternative and click ‘ReAnnounce’ again. To finish up and start downloading the .torrent, download it by clicking on the hyperlinked text underneath ‘Download ReAnnounced Torrent…’ and import it into your favorite client, not forgetting to point it at your previously incomplete download.

btReAnnouncer can also be used to find public sources for otherwise private torrents, just don’t forget to remove any passkeys etc from the announce URL in the torrent. If your BitTorrent client doesn’t allow you to edit or add trackers manually, this can be achieved by using another online service, TorrentEditor.


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