Tweak Your Clock To Match uTorrent To Your Download Window

uTorrent is one of the most popular BitTorrent clients amongst Lifehacker readers, but it has one limitation: its scheduler only works in standard hour-long blocks. If your off-peak download time doesn't start exactly on the hour, you can make it work with uTorrent via a simple PC trick.

Lifehacker reader Dan wrote in with the following useful suggestion:

Just thought I'd pop in with a little tip that may come in handy to the many Aussie users out there stuck with off-peak download times that start in the middle of an hour. uTorrent doesn't allow for 30 minute increments in its scheduler, so to get around this before I go to bed I adjust my computer's clock back 30 minutes to allow my downloads to start at 3.30am rather than at 3am, whilst leaving uTorrent set to begin downloading at 3am. Once my computer rolls around to 3am, it is actually 3.30am and my downloading takes full advantage of my off-peak time without eating into my on-peak download limit.

It's a useful trick to maximise your download window provided you switch off any auto network-time updates and can remember to reset the clock (geekier readers could probably automate that process with a script). For even more uTorrent improvement, learn how to tweak its settings for faster downloads. Thanks Dan!


    If you're a mac user you can use automator and iCal to start and stop programs whenever you choose. And you can do this with ANY program, not just uTorrent.

    Windows has Task manager to start a program also to shut the pc down.

    Sound more logical than changing your clock.

      Correction: Task Scheduler.

      I think Max and Jeff have both missed the point. You want the uTorrent process running all the time, but just your downloads to be cranking during your off-peak windows, allowing you to continue seeding during your peak window (unless you're on an evil plan that counts uploads of course). This can only be tweaked from inside the uTorrent application itself, not at the OS level.

      This is actually a really useful trick ... I'll remember it if my peak/off-peak window ever moves off an exact hour.


    Is 30mins of downloading really that critical?

    In this world we have become so accustomed to not having to wait for anything, that we constantly look for ways to make things faster. Is waiting an extra day really that big a problem when 10 years ago you would have had to wait for it to come out on free to air possibly years after it was made?

    I use computers, and i watch TV, but there is something special about doing something slowly and doing it right. Like making a roast, heating your house with an open fire, or growing food from seed. There is no way that anything can compare to doing things for yourself.

    Now yes, I’ll go back to checking my emails and I’ll drive home tonight, but when i get home i can tell you that a little part of me won't be happy about this instant world, and to placate that, i will make some pasta from scratch.

      I rarely comment negatively on other posts, but this article seems to be a magnet for people who don't quite understand the scenario.

      It's about making sure uTorrent is downloading in your off-peak times ... it has nothing to do with wanting something instantly, or even faster.

      Adam, while you do make some interesting points about life in general, you've popped them onto an article where it's really not relevant. By not using this little tip, you will regularly get 30 mins of full speed uTorrent downloading during your PEAK window .. which is exactly what the scheduling feature of uTorrent is trying to avoid. This could be a crucial factor of going/not going over your peak quota towards the end of the month.

      Again Adam, nice insights ... just misplaced :)


        Hi brian,
        I think that this trick has a 2 pronged benefit:

        1: Stop downloading during your peak period
        2: stop wasting half an hour at the start and end of your switch over period.

        now the easy was to fix #1 is to set it to start downloading at 4am, not 3am (assuming your period changes over at 3:30am.

        the easy way to stop #2 as a consequence of the above fix for #1, it's easy.. stop caring about that half an hour that you miss and try leading a life that isn't addicted to your computer.

        Adam, this site is called "lifehacker" - it's about "hacks" to get the most out of everything in life, and seems to focus a lot on computers (just my observation - I'm sure there's a better definition)

        This particular "hack" is designed to get the most out of your ISP enforced download windows. Setting this up once (if you write a script to do it) means that you don't have to worry about that extra half an hour, yet still get to use your whole off-peak window.

        I don't see the link to being addicted to the computer. It's a handy trick to get the best value out of your hard earned money that you pay to your ISP. Just my 2c.

    You are likely congesting your ISP's network by starting downloads immediately at the beginning of off-peak. Those of us awake at these hours would still like our streaming media (iView) and gaming to be unaffected by "peak" burst periods.

    Please, consider the gamers!

      ISPs generally set their off-peak hours for those periods where demand is lower, so as to minimise overall costs and reduce congestion. Also, if they're selling their bundle as 'peak'+'offpeak' with separate quotas, it doesn't seem reasonable to ask people not to use those facilities. If gaming is your most important app, an ISP which doesn't have the distinction in the first place would make more sense, I'd think.

    I don't think it's the best way to do it because you have to remember to reset your PC clock everytime. Why try to fix one thing and introduce 10 other issues by using this method?

    Why not just start uTorrent downloads 30 mins late? It's not like 30 mins is going to make much difference...

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