Remote control

I love a good hack, especially when I can accomplish it with some help from my Windows Live tools. You may find yourself somewhere that blocks access to BitTorrent. I’ll show you how to download and retrieve your torrents anywhere easily.

Disclaimer: I have to give props to The How-to Geek for the idea (although, they did it using DropBox).

First, you’ll need the right tools for the job:

  • A home PC with unfettered access to BitTorrent running uTorrent (the world’s best BitTorrent client) and Windows Live Mesh (preferably as part of Essentials 2011 suite)
  • A second PC behind a proxy/firewall (we’ll refer to this one as the other PC), also running Windows Live Mesh
  • Two beers (optional, as always)

For starters, I know that Mesh has an awesome remote desktop feature that renders a lot of this unnecessary, but if your organization blocks the ports that are used by remote desktop but still allows Mesh to sync files, then this is your best alternative. Besides, it provides a way to seamlessly shuttle your downloaded content from your home to your other PC. Now, as I was saying…

You’ll need to set up a synced folder on your home PC. Start the Mesh client, and click Sync a folder.

Sync a folder on your home PC

The folder can be anywhere, but I think it makes a ton of sense to create a new folder called Torrents in the Downloads folder.

Select a local folder to sync torrents and downloads

Click Sync. Next, you’ll be prompted to select the devices on which you’d like to sync the folder. You don’t really need to pick an sync point on the other PC yet, so just click OK.

Next, you’ll need to configure uTorrent to automate the process of initiating downloads. In uTorrent, click Options4 Preferences. In the Directories section, you’ll need to tap into a nifty feature that allows uTorrent to automatically load torrents placed into a specific folder (you guessed it, our synced Torrents folder), as shown in the figure below .

Configuring uTorrent preferences

While your there, you’ll also need to specify a folder where those downloads should be placed ‚, and because you’ll be flying blind so to speak, you’ll need to suppress the dialog box that uTorrent normally displays prior to starting the download ƒ. If you want to actually collect the completed download on your other PC, then you can also ask uTorrent to move those files back into the Torrent folder „. Click OK.

This (hopefully) goes without saying, but you’ll need to leave your home PC and uTorrent running while you’re away.

Finally, it’s time to get your other PC in the mix. Simply launch Mesh on the other PC, select the synced folder, and click Sync this folder.

Sync this folder on your other PC

Once again, I think it makes sense to create a local Torrents folder under Downloads. When you’ve selected a the folder, click Sync.

That’s it! You can now search for, download, and save Torrent files to the Torrents folder on your other PC. When the contents of the Torrents folder are synced, uTorrent on your home PC will automatically start grabbing the torrent’s files and place the completed download back in the Torrent folder, which will in turn sync back to your other PC. In minutes, you’ll have the files you need on your other PC.

- Greg

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