Auto-connect Download scheduler

Auto-connect Support page

** Note** :

  • I have stopped working on this project. For users facing any issues, go through the comments on this post, which should help them. Other wise, you may drop a new query.

Auto Connect Download scheduler can be used to automate the way you connect to internet. Automate your download tasks by scheduling them, so that you can sleep in peace!

For Windows XP: DOWNLOAD V3.3.2

For Windows 7 : Download x64 V3.3.2

Note: Change log and links to download older versions available at end of page.

Note :

Creative Commons License
Auto-connect Download Scheduler by S.K.Aijazuddin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 India License.

Features:

Ideal for limited bandwidth users who download during happy hours.

> New single Window GUI for easy operation.

> Compatible with Windows 7 too

> Schedule system wakeup, broadband connect and disconnect tasks.

> Schedule application run tasks, application close tasks.

> Schedule system shutdown task.

> Stores schedules of last run task for easy scheduling.

> Wake up password prompt security issue fixed.

> Schedule Auto-connect to run daily *New*

For first time users:

If you are running this application for the first time, follow this procedure –

Note: It is to be taken care that while scheduling tasks, the time is in 24 hours format and also that the default date shown is date today. Hence, if you are scheduling a task which is to take place tomorrow morning at 2 am, remember to change the date a day ahead.

And it is obvious that if time is already past 12 midnight, and a task to be run at 2am, date need not be changed.

Firstly, you need to tweak your torrent client a little.

Tweak you torrent client:-

  • Open your torrent client and go to settings\options. In TASK settings, select the option – ” Avoid system entering sleep\suspend mode when task running “. Apply. This will prevent your system from going to standby or hibernation when it’s idle during downloads.
  • Also in the same section, select the auto-resume tasks at program startup. This will make tasks start downloading when your PC wakes up at scheduled time and runs the client.
  • Also, go to built-in scheduler of bitcomet and set the download schedule time, like enable downloads during 2am to 8 am, and disable during the rest, this is for happy hours users. This will avoid downloads to run during off the happy hours period, even if you let the client run.

Note: When you add torrents, select the download now option or start the pending downloads after setting the schedule, later close the client, with tasks still set as running, this will make sure that the tasks  auto resume when PC wakes up and runs the application

Using Auto-connect : After having set up your torrent client, follow this procedure : ( One time task, data is stored after setting it once)

  • Add all download files in the torrent client, start all download tasks. Close ( quit ) the torrent client.
  • Enter the time to wake up, this is the time when you system will turn ON from hibernation mode.
  • Enter the time to connect the internet, and other data like user details ; or check the “I have a Always-ON connection” box. This connects internet or reboots the modem in always ON mode. Set this time suitably depending upon boot time of yours system. Note: In case of Windows 7, note the bootup time and time taken to initialize your modem into account to set this time, keeping a delay of 4-5mins after wake-up.
  • Enter the time to run the torrent client and also browse and select the application (client) to run.
  • Enter the time to close the torrent client and the time to disconnect the internet ( or reboot modem).
  • Enter the time to shut down the system.
  • If you want to run this schedule daily, check the Run this schedule daily box.
  • Click on Done and minimize the application. Hibernate the system.

You can schedule the tasks ( ie after pressing Done), minimize Auto-connect Window ( goes to tray) and continue using the system, browsing the internet. But remember to Hibernate it when you are done, don’t shutdown the system. You can leave it powered ON or in stand-by as well.

When scheduled to run daily, just click on Done button and minimize. Auto-Connect will start on system startup, minimized, and tasks schedules ( ie controls grayed). Every time you want the tasks to run that night, hibernate the system that night instead of shutdown. If you cancel or close it, it will cancel the tasks, and not run on startup the next time onwards.

Also, in windows 7,when the application is scheduled to run daily, Windows asks for UAC permission prompt everytime program starts at system startup. You may disable the UAC to avoid this prompt. Microsoft doesnt specify any other way to disable UAC messages for one particular program.

Caution: By default, when you install the application, hibernation is turned on. To hibernate, click on turn off button in star menu and when the window appears, press hold the SHIFT key, the stand buy button changes to hibernate. Now holding the shift key, press the hibernate button to hibernate. Also, it is advisable to make a full demo run of Auto-connect on your PC, this is to ensure any run time issues that arises due to Antiviruses and firewalls can be taken care of.

Caution: For Windows 7 users, Telnet is disabled by default . If you are a Always ON user, you need to enable it to make modem reboot work.

1. Go to control panel and click on Program and Features option.

2. Click on Turn windows features on and off and in the pop up window, scroll to Telnet client and check it. Click OK and wait for it to finish.

Change log:

V3.3.1            Download x86 Download x64

  • Added better modem reboot logic
  • Added task cancelling feature.
  • Added browse feature to select the application to run.
  • Improved GUI for better visibility
  • Application data stored at a secured location ( in Windows directory)

V 3.3 Beta

  • Added inbuilt modem reboot support. No reboot modules required.

V3.2

  • Single window for both Bridge and PPPoE.
  • Windows 7 compatible x64 reboot modules.
  • Stores the task and connection details.

V3.1 Beta

  • Fixed continuous hibernate-wakeup bug, added shut down instead of sleep.
  • Fixed the password prompt security bug. No need to manually disable it on systems with user passwords.

V3.0 Beta

  • Single window version ( Beta release)
  • Windows 7 compatible

V2.7-

  • Bug fixed in task deletion feature.

V2.6-

  • Bug fixed in task deletion feature.

V2.5-

  • Added task cancelling feature to delete old tasks.

V2.4-

  • Fixed bug which didn’t allow spaces in connection names.
  • Corrected little details in help and in GUI.
  • Altered the GUI for more convenience.

V 2.3 –

  • Added sleep tasks.
  • Improved modules for always on type connections.
  • Added help and created support page.

V2.2-

  • Added user data correction
  • Added support for always on modems
  • Added multiple tasks creation feature

V2.1-

  • Added internet disconnect task feature
  • Minor bugs fixed

V2.0-

  • First version with GUI.
  • Beta release and limited fucntionality.

V1.2.2-

  • Corrected false positives with few antiviruses due to packaging softwares.

V1.1-

  • Corrected some major bugs and improved functionality

V1.0-

  • First release of Auto-connect.
  • Featured DOS interface, which was complex, though worked.

Plug-ins for Chrome

Plug-ins for Chrome, Chrome fights back …

*** Note : With release of stable version 4.0 onwards, chrome got extensions working on stable channel too. This post hence just remains like a little antiquity which reminds us of old days ***

Firstly, being sport, I will have to admit the fact that the major chunk of internet users use Firefox … But the striking fact is that its not because of the features it offer, but its due to the fact that other guys too use it. As a matter of fact, many users of Firefox don’t utilize the range of features it offers.

Enter Chrome, which got into picture in December 2008, and managed to strip off pretty good number of Firefox loyalists to its side. Chrome sports an innovative look that is often referred to as you either would love it or you won’t. The most important feature of chrome is its speed. Open the application in a blink of a second and load the web pages much sooner than other competitors.

But the major drawback which Chrome suffers is lack of any plug-in mechanism in stable channel, which gives an edge to its competitor Firefox, which has a rich collection of plug-ins available. Chrome rolls out its new versions in three categories-

a. Stable versions – These are updated not too often and are updated only once the new version is found to be very stable. As of now, stable version doesn’t support plug-ins.

b. Beta versions – These are updated nearly monthly, new features constantly being added. They are a little unstable at times, the next update fixing it. New beta versions have been added with plug in system.

c. Dev versions- These are the development versions, the newest ones which are released nearly weekly. They can get very unstable. These ones support add-ons, and developers are making a plenty of them.

Here, we will learn to embed a popular Ad removing plug-in, called Adsweep, and use it in stable channel chrome.

Nearly all websites put Ads on them to generate revenue … Yahoo puts Ads of matrimony and newer version of Yahoo messenger, Piratebay and Isohunt sport pics of half stripped chicks which gets annoying if you are being watched, would you not like to strip them off fully, from the browser page I mean … :p !! And other Ads of online games, software applications etc which keep on appearing on nearly all web pages. If you aren’t interested in any of them, it makes sense to get rid of them, since not only do they consume bandwidth (though merely little), but also diverts attention!

Firefox have a plug-in AdBlock that works wonders, but what about we chrome loyalists? Developers fought back and came out with AdSweep. It is pretty good in blocking Ads and can be relied upon. One drawback is that it requires little tricks and gimmicks to get it working. For this reason I am working on making an installer for the same to ease the task, though I don’t promise, will try to get it done soon. Follow these steps –

1. Download this java script file here .

2. Go to this directory –

C:\Documents and Settings\<user>\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\

In the above directory, make another directory named “User Scripts”. Inside this directory, paste the saved java script.

3. Right click on the Chrome short cut on desktop and enter its properties. In the Target field, you will have an entry like this –

“C:\Documents and Settings\Aijaz\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe”

Add ”  –enable-extensions –enable-user-scripts to the end of it.  Hence, it becomes –

“C:\Documents and Settings\Aijaz\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe”  –enable-extensions –enable-user-scripts

4. AdSweep has a bug which makes it not to work if window is launched from other place like a chat message or a hyperlink on documents etc. To fix the issue, edit these registry keys to these values –

a.) HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\http\shell\open\command

The default value is like-

“C:\Documents and Settings\Aijaz\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe” — “%1”

Simply add ” — enable-extensions –enable-user-scripts — ” in between, as shown –

“C:\Documents and Settings\Aijaz\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe\” –enable-extensions –enable-user-scripts — “%1”

Similarly edit these entries to these keys –

b.) HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\https\shell\open\command

Key: C:\Documents and Settings\Aijaz\\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe\” –enable-extensions –enable-user-scripts — “%1”

c.) and, HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\ftp\shell\open\command

Key: C:\Documents and Settings\Aijaz\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe\” –enable-extensions –enable-user-scripts — “%1”

Now, go to http://www.adsweep.org and see that there is no Ad on the top and a red box on upper left side notifies the version of AdSweep installed. Now on, you can surf the internet without caring for annoying ads. Adsweep was closed some time ago and the project have started again, but this time there is no support for mainstream chrome. Hope Google is soon going to enable API which will let us embed plugins on stable versions too.

You can download other popular plug-ins for chrome from this website and embed them too.

http://www.chromeplugins.org/

Though Chrome has many advantages over rival browsers, lest Google itself develops a plug-in integration system, Chrome will continue to face adversaries. But Chrome has always had its loyal knights, who are ready to fight back for her!!

Enter the torrents

torrents

In the world of file sharing, there is no greed….. You give what you have and take what you want… The more you give, the more you will get… And when file sharing is in discussion, there are many players- Rapidshare, Aries, Kazaa, Limewire, Shareaza, e- Mule, etc… But Bittorrent sharing, popularly known as torrents is the best… In this post we will learn torrent basics, how to download files using torrents, a few tips to unleash the beast within BitComet and scheduling torrents for download during happy hours.

Torrent network- How it basically work:

A .torrent file is a file that contains the basic information about a file or set of files. This includes the file names, sizes, the date created and some other information. The torrent file also contains an info hash – which is basically just a unique code for that torrent. No other set of file(s) will have the same info hash as this one. The final thing contained inside the torrent is a list of trackers. If you have some torrent files, you can’t open them in a text editor because they are encoded. You will need to open them in torrent client software.

A tracker is a computer on the Internet. The tracker’s role is to manage live torrent files and keep track of statistics. When you open a torrent file in your client software, your client software contacts the tracker specific to that torrent. You client tells the tracker how much of the actual files (described by the torrent) that you currently have.

A seeder is a person who has 100% of the files described by the torrent. If a torrent has no seeders, then no one (currently talking to the tracker) has anything to give.

A peer is a person who is looking for the files described by the torrent. The more peers the more people are actively looking for the files described by the torrent. A peer while downloading the file uploads it as well. When he finishes his download, he continues to upload it, thus becoming a seed.

A leech is a person who initially acts as a peer but after he finishes his download, leaves the swarm, freeing his part of bound bandwidth. Hence, if more and more people start to leech, older torrents will die out since there will be no seeds left.

A Bit Torrent client is any program that implements the Bit Torrent protocol. Each client is capable of preparing, requesting, and transmitting any type of computer over a network, using the protocol.

Working: To share a file or group of files, a user (seeder) first creates a small file called a “torrent” (e.g. MyFile.torrent). This file contains metadata about the files to be shared and about the tracker. Peers that want to download the file must first obtain a torrent file for it, and connect to the specified tracker, which tells them from which other peers to download the pieces of the file. Then the peer opens the file in a torrent client, which analyses the data stored in torrent file and downloads it from the seeder and other peer. Depending on number of seeds, and no of peers having data more than you, your download speed will be proportional. More the seeds and more the peers having more data, your download speed will be higher. But if no of peers become too high, then it causes a negative impact since there is more competition for bandwidth of seeds.

But torrent clients have this option which can limit the upload limits of data when they are acting as peers or seeds. Hence, some users misuse it to merely download and upload near nothing. Bittorrent network works on a principle of give and take, that is users who share more data while acting as peers or act as seeds once downloads complete are awarded with more download speed, while punishing those who don’t and lechers. But when a peer joins a swarm, he has no data, thus cannot seed. Hence, theoretically, he should be getting any data from seeds and other peers. But Bittorrent network has this feature of Optimistic Choking, which provides an initial bandwidth to new users, letting them download without uploading.

A few lines on downloading using torrents:

  1. The first step is to download the torrent. They are available at sites of trackers. Eg, Pirate Bay, ISO hunt, Mininova, etc. Search in these sites for your required data.
  2. When results turn up, choose the torrent that has maximum seeds and minimum peers, ie, greater seed/peer ratio. They help you attain more speeds. Also read comments, they are really helpful, avoiding embarrassment after having downloaded the data!
  3. Having downloaded the torrent, you need a torrent client. I prefer Bitcomet, feature rich, light and zippy …. A good interface when compared to other clients, and equally feature rich. Compared to others like Azureus (now Vuze), it has simple settings, which can easily be tweaked. Download and install Bitcomet.
  4. Open the Torrent file in Bitcomet, just double click on the file, it opens. It automatically starts downloading.
  5. Depending on speed, torrent download finishes and it starts uploading itself. Do upload for a while, since there are a many users who now depend on you for the file. The more you upload, the more you get back in terms of speed. If everyone starts to leech, the torrent will die.

Tips to improve BitComet performance:

BitComet can reach amazing speeds with a few little tweaks. The problem is that most users stick to default settings that came when they installed. Also people expect magical speeds even though they intentionally or unintentionally don’t upload anything! We now will tweak BitComet a little, so that it lives up to our expectations.

Open BitComet main interface, go to tools -> Options. Now start tweaking:-

  1. Upload speed: In connections tab, there is choice to alter the download and upload speeds. Download can be set to unlimited without any issue, but when you upload, if the upload speed crosses your limits, downloads suffer. Hence, know your capabilities first. Setting an unlimited in upload too isn’t advisable.  Run a speed test first-

http://www.dslreports.com/stest

You will know your speeds now. In TCP/IP networking, every piece of data received has to be acknowledged as received by sending a small packet of data back to sender that previous data packet is received and receiver is ready for another. In case you are uploading at maximum speed, it becomes tough to send that acknowledgment data packet, hence another data packet is delayed, causing download to suffer. This is known as ‘choking’.

To prevent this, set your upload limit to 75 % of your maximum upload limit.  The speed shown in test is in terms of kbps (Kilo bits per second) but we enter it in terms of kBps in BitComet. Hence to convert, divide the speed by 8 and multiply by 0.75. The result should be set as upload limit.

  1. ii. Listen port: By default a listen port is assigned. Since this is default, there will be a lot of traffic there. Change it to any random port between 49152 and 65534. Listening improves your speed greatly, hence should be enabled at all costs.
  2. iii. Port mapping: Tick enable NAT\Firewall configuration, this will let Bitcomet register its listening port in Windows Firewall. But enabling UPnP mapping sometimes causes stability issues, hence can be left un-ticked.
  3. iv. Tasks: In the task main menu, under download, tick auto resume tasks at program startup. This will help us out later in scheduling. Also limit number of concurrent download tasks to 3-5. This setting depends on your modem and connection. Letting only one task run, if it’s not well seeded, costs you more time since you are capable of more. At least set it as 3. This will cumulatively help in utilizing all of available bandwidth. Experiment what suits you and set it.
    1. a. BT task: In auto stop task, un-tick the option, its better left un-ticked for better speeds.
    2. b. In upload, set maximum rate of upload per task as global upload speed ( found in step i) divided by number of concurrent tasks you chose. Choose a minimum of at least 5 KBPS.
    3. c. Enable long time seeding and set the upload speed as chosen as max upload speed per task. Long time seeded torrents will upload themselves continuously, and fetch you more speed.
  4. v. Integration: In integration, if you have unlimited bandwidth scheme, choose to start Bitcomet at windows startup, else for limited plan users, un-tick it. This will assist us in scheduling purposes.
  5. vi. Advanced: In main menu of advanced, set network maximum connecting connections (max simultaneous half open TCP connections) as 70 -100. Choose a value that suits you. Also set network maximum connections (Global maximum connections) as 200-250. This will prevent your modem getting disconnected in case of heavy overloading due to multiple connections torrents develop.
    1. a. TCP/IP limit: Set TCP/IP limit as 70 -100. By default it is 10. This will greatly improve your download speed with torrents.
    2. b. Schedule : According to plan details, you can either leave this option for unlimited or choose the max speed time as happy hour time in limited plan and set rest as turnoff…Accordingly set upload speeds, since they supersede the global upload speeds.

Apply these settings and restart you PC. Register an account with Bitcomet. Registered users get better speeds. Now it is time to verify if your listening port is forwarded properly or not. Just connect to internet and view the right most button in bottom toolbar. It should turn yellow on establishing a listening port. Usually, dial up connections have this forwarded easily. The PPPoE mode users need to get into their modem configuration wizard and change NAT policies to enable it. Follow this procedure-

  1. In address bar type 192.168.1.1 as address. This is address of your modem. Both User name and password is admin. In some other cases, username is admin and password is password.
  2. This will open your modem configuration settings. In advanced setup, go to NAT. Depending on different modems, you will have to do according now.
    1. For the type 1 provided by BSNL, UTstar com r2u, in NAT, just enter DMZ host ip address as 192.168.1.x, where x should not be 1 if DHCP is enabled. Choose it as 192.168.1.2 . Save and apply.
    2. For some other modems, you will need to add a profile in NAT and then enter the IP. Some other ones ask you the port too. Add your selected Bitcomet port. Just enter the data, save and reboot the modem.
    3. The IP mentioned is the static ip provided by BSNL. If you happen to have a dynamic IP, enter it accordingly.

After having configured your modem, its time to configure the firewall. Add Bitcomet to list of trusted applications and allow it privileges to access all services. Various firewalls have different in particular methods. Use one which is torrent friendly. Like AVG firewall blocks all outgoing communications, though configuring Bitcomet as trusted. I switched to outpost free then, its working fine now. Visit this site for more assistance-

http://firewalling.com/routers.htm

Now, open Bitcomet and check if third light on bottom toolbar is glowing. This verifies port is forwarded. Remember, slower downloads can be attributed to mainly these reasons-

  1. Port not forwarded in modem\router.
  2. Firewall blocking communications.
  3. Upload slot is too narrow, increase the limits.
  4. Default TCP\IP settings.

Having tweaked your client lets move on to scheduling downloads….

Scheduling torrent download tasks:

For the limited bandwidth plan users, it’s a curse to wake up late in night and start the download and again early in morning to stop it. Though Bitcomet comes with a scheduler, but off the happy hours, keeping Bitcomet active will cause long time seeding, also adding electricity bill if you keep your PC on, and waiting for happy hours.

Isn’t there a way out of this vicious circle? So that you may go to bed early and wake up late, …. and still download?? Realizing your dilemma, I reacted and churned out a solution in recent days when I was idle at home, thanks to my holidays. So, I present before you- Auto-connect, the download scheduler. Download it from downloads section, you will always find the latest version there. Or visit the Auto Connect support page-

Download Auto-Connect

Since I have already mentioned a lot of Gyaan in the help file, I prefer being a bit lazy and not repeating it all back here, will just outline the download procedure.

As I had already mentioned while tweaking Bitcomet, tick “Auto resume tasks on program startup” and un-tick “start Bitcomet on login windows”. This will prevent accidental downloads during off happy hours when you log on windows. Also auto resume tasks will help automate downloads, since downloads will start as soon as you launch the client, no need to start tasks manually.

Note: In “Auto resume tasks…” , only those tasks will resume which were running when you closed the client last time. The paused and stopped tasks don’t resume.

Scheduling involves these steps:

  1. First set up auto connect and schedule a dial up task. This implies to only to dial up mode users. Schedule a connect task at least 5 minutes inside the happy hours slot. Also enable wakeup from sleep feature for this task.
  2. Then go on and schedule a disconnect task at least 5 minutes before end of happy hours. This will disconnect you connection at scheduled time.
  3. Then schedule an application run task, a minute or two after the time of connect task. Choose the application as Bitcomet.
  4. Then go on and schedule an application close task. It should be a minute before the scheduled disconnect task. Choose the application to close as Bitcomet.
  5. Then schedule a sleep task. Set the time as a minute after the disconnect task .This will put your PC back to sleep again.

Caution!! :

  1. PC wakes only from sleep or hibernation, it won’t wake up when it was turned off.
  2. Keep you modem turned on when you go to sleep. Schedule will resume, but my software unfortunately can’t press the modem power ON button if it is off!!
  3. You may keep your monitor turned off to save power.
  4. There is no need to wonder how to enable hibernation, if it was off in your PC. Auto connect will turn it ON on first run. But be sure space equivalent to your RAM is free on you windows drive, else hibernation can’t be set!
  5. You need to schedule an application close task for Bitcomet at end of happy hours to hibernate, since Bitcomet won’t let your PC hibernate when a download is in progress.

This schedule will wake up your PC from sleep at dial up task time and connect to internet. Then it will launch your Bitcomet client. Since auto resume tasks have been chosen, downloads will start automatically. At near end of happy hours, Bitcomet will close as scheduled, internet disconnects and then PC goes back to sleep.

Note: The users of PPPoE or always ON mode don’t need steps 1 & 2. They can directly schedule an application run task, with wakeup option, to run their suitable modem reboot module as mentioned in Auto connect support page. PC will wake up, modem will reboot, reconnect to internet and resume scheduled download. Other steps follow accordingly.