Review of file-sharing (P2P) programs
by Angela Zaharia

Originally published @ searchlores in March 2002     Updated in June 2003
Addendum, by littlefish, June 2003

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People at searchlores are constantly discussing countless clever ways of using search engines to hunt for stuff/info. Well, how about the easy way? Why not use a file-sharing utility (also known as Peer to Peer or P2P) instead? Why go on a long hunting expedition for a specific obscure mp3 on an FTP site, and waste your time jumping thru countless useless web sites when everything is right under your nose? Yeah, recently I was able to find an olde country song named "The Battle of New Orleans" in 2 minutes flat using WinMX.
All I did is logged onto WinMX, typed the name of the song and presto, I was given a choice of over 20 different users sharing that very same song! Think just because Napster was killed, it was all over for sharing files?? You cannot be more wrong!! P2P are like strong weed, the more the government, big corporations, etc try to kill them, the more will appear, and they will be harder and harder to kill. KaZaa was supposed to have been stopped long ago, and yet they are still going strong and recently were nominated for the MOST downloaded software on the Internet! Why don't you take a peek at See the long list of available P2P, all waiting to be downloaded and tried? But which ones are the good ones? Which ones have the most users and carry the wider variety of stuff? Here i will review several of the most popular file-sharing utilities, their strengths and weaknesses. This is what the article is about, so let's get to!

WinMX ver 3.31

is my current favorite, and has been for the past 2 years. You can search for mp3s, videos[avis, mpgs, etc], images. .zip .iso .rar .exe. I get the most hits when looking for something as general as Jimmi Hendrix mp3s to something obscure as Shinohara Tomoe mp3s.
Ads free for now, which is a big great plus for me. Uses port 6699 for all you people behind a firewall, but you can specify any other port too. The interface looks a bit complicated at a first glance, because of the variety of options. Just remember WinMX's three most important folders are TRANSFER[where you see the filers you are sharing and transferring], SEARCH and SHARE. You can do multiple searches at one time, and you can update the searches too. The annoying thing about WinMX are all the leechers who are now using it, who are just grabbing and NOT sharing anything! I take a great pleasure in canceling their d/ls and sending them a little message:

so where are YOUR files? where are YOUR files? where are YOUR files? so where are the files YOU are sharing? don't u think you should be sharing files too?

A little trick I discovered: You CAN play a song still being d/led by opening it in WinAmp.
WinMX will let you look at other people's shared folders for more files that could be of interest to you. Has a send message to users, but I don't think that option works too well. known WinMX bugs: do NOT search for 2 or more different things at the same time because all the relevant hits will be placed in the same folder.
If you line up too many items to copy and d/l (20 is the limit I found), WinMX stops responding and needs to be restarted.

WinMX is great for brand new just-came-out-into-the-theaters stuff, but be aware of fake files. For example, while searching for the 1979 German movie Christiane F, I had to go through 5 fake movies before i zeroed in the real thing. So check the files you start to d/l!

[Note: incomplete .avis won't open and play because their indexes are at the END of the file. You will need the free DivFix from to fix the index. Make a copy of the incomplete .avi, open the copy in DivFix, rebuild the index and play it.]

A bunch of people from have set up a special just-for anime WinMX server that's free of charge, but you DO need to signed up for it. You will need the older 3.2 version of WinMX for it. Definitely check it out if you are into anime. WinA note of warning: when setting up ANY file-sharing program, MAKE sure you do NOT give access to ALL the folders in your HD, but ONLY to the designated folders. The mistake is easy to do, especially with Kazaa and Morpheus. Personally, I did it with Kazaa, and then noticed a considerable slow down of my PC as all of its folders began to be constantly being scanned.
searching tips, tricks 'n' tests:
Of course, it should be obvious that naming is everything. Searching for "Shinohara" MP3s will get you hits for both Shinohara Ryoko and Shinohara Tomoe, while searching for Tomoe images will get you sailor saturn (Tomoe)images.
Users keep on coming and going and new users log on all the time, so its a good idea to do a new refresh search every 5 minutes. You'd be surprised.
Time of the day factors should also be taken into account. Using the file-sharing programs in the middle of the day obviously won't be as I started with something fairly obscure, a Japanese pop singer by the name of Aki Maeda. Morpheus returned only 3 hits, and 2 of them were for her most popular song Daijobu. WinMX did much better, it returned 16 hits total. 4 for Daijobu, and 2 for each of her other songs.


can be used to search for MP3s, videos (avi, mpg, mpeg, and etc), images (jpg, png, gif), software, and so on.
KaZaa is THE most popular and certainly the most famous P2P utility right now, but that doesn't mean much really. The first problem with Kazaa is that it feeds you constant a constant diet of ads.
Will not let the user specify different d/l and share folder, so you will have to dump everything in the same place. It generally has much less files to share than WinMX. All the files being d/led are saved in NNNNNNNN.dat format, where NNNNNN is a string of numbers, which makes it difficult to see/hear if its what you are looking for, but of course I found a walk-way around that little problem. I simply copy the file into a different directory/folder, change the extention to whatever I think it is (.mp3 or avi or .jpg) and it works. To stop the ads from reaching your PC, grab and use the free Web Washer. It is about 85% effective.


differs from the usual P2P because they don't have a specialized central server, but runs off distributed servers placed around and maintained by volunteers. Sure, individual users are welcome and encouraged to set up their own servers. Each server carries their own files, so finding a specific file can be tough, especially if you want to restart. The people on eDonkey prefer to use it to share complete theatrical movies, but you certainly find mp3s, p0rn and so on. eDonkey saves the files being exchanged as .tmp files, so the user has NO way of knowing if the file he/she is d/ling is the real thing and not a fake. You cannot hide your the folder where you d/load to from other eDonley users, so you MUST share whatever you are d/ling with at least 2 other users. Use it ONLY if you are on a high speed connection, eDonkey is NOT recommended for modem users.


is the son of eDonkey.

Morpheus ver 1.3

has also copied the KaZaa interface. You can search for MP3s, videos, images. The big turn off again is the constant ads feeding. The interface is a bit clunky, but easy even for the average luser to figure out and use. it doesn't have as many files to share as WinMX.


now uses the KaZaa desktop interface. It is now serving ads. I haven't used it in a while, it was all right a year and so back when I tried it.


is a different type of P2P, not running off centralized server. Personally I have never used it, so I can't talk about it.


is positively THE WORST P2P I have ever tried. It is infected with at least 20 different spywares and free offers. I read about Grokster, and how horrid it wuz, so i decided to see if it was really as bad as the writer claimed. I'm sorry to report it was worse. When Grokster ran for the first time, a separate programs popped up, asking me what my country and zip code was. It was called Newton Knows Best. Since I didn't remember allowing it to install, instead of just removing it, I decided to observe what it what and what it would do. So far I am not very happy with it at all. It seems to have added an extra bar to my Internet Explorer that I had trouble removing. I found newton while running Proccess Explorer and I launched Netscape. Newton jumped up and stared too. It even booted the self-Updated Newton exe. I am disgusted. This is yet more of the countless shameless companies who surreptiously install software on my PC WITHOUT ASKING ME FIRST, then begin to monitor my surfing habits. To learn more, I went to their web site and read it. Newton bills itself as a personal search companion. It claims it will help us get the most out of the Internet. Here's what they say: "If Newton finds anything relevant while I am using the Internet, he'll let you know by showing you a small link in the corner of your active browser window. If you like what he's found, just click the link and Newton will take you there, if not, the link will disappear after a few moments." NO thanx!

I definitely recommend that you stay away from it as far away as possible. You have been warned. Sheesh!


is dead for now and they are coming back as a "paid service". Uh huh. Oh well, it was good while it lasted. Ah, the memories..;-)


was discontinued several years ago when threaten with a lawsuit. I am giving it an honorary mention here because it was the first P2P for more than just MP3s.

fun stuff to do: mess with people's heads and fish for perverts: I used to share innocent sailor Moon anime images on Scour. Funny thing is I kept on getting hits after hits on a few of them named "Mother and daughter", "Oh boy!" and "lol". At first I couldn't figure out why SO many people would be interested in these particular images, then it (finally) dawned on me people were looking for kiddie porn and assuming those were these kind of images by their names! So as a test I renamed a few very silly and funny "porno" pictures of old women (50+, 60+) posing naked as "young girl sücks big côcks", "college girl gets anàlly fücked", etc, placed them in my shared folder, sat back and observed the rush. Damn, I couldn't stop laughing! People would d/l them like they were hot bread! The same thing continues even to this day with a particular Shinohara Tomoe image named dsc.jpg" which is a scan of the lettering of one of her album covers. I keep on wondering what "dsc" stands for, because SO many people are interested in it. Yet another mystery, hehe. happy sharing!

I can be reached at

Addendum, by littlefish, June 2003
A great essay on +Fravia's! Just in case you havent seen it, I thought I'd mention the great KazaaLite:
"Kazaa Lite is a FREE and clean version of Kazaa Media Desktop. It contains absolutely no spyware, adware or other unwanted software.
The new K++ Edition even adds some cool extra functionality to the program: Unlimited searches, better multi-source downloading, constantly the highest Participation Level, a custom startup page, improved performance"
I was a longtime WinMX User (since napster died way back when, I liked its Nap functionality :-) but have recently switched to KL because MX is buggy/unstable and I rarely found speedy peers with what I wanted. KZ has a bigger network (although more 'mainstream', perhaps), faster peers and with the KL client it is lovely to use - with previewing mp3s built right in you cant go wrong ;-)

MMM... so, what is DSC? :-)

answer: DSC is how digital cameras name their pictures. It is DSC000000 where 0 is the number. Since people save them n their PCs,a lot have been falling into the habit if searching for "DSC"-named images, since a lot of people share their hole, sorry whole C:\ drives by mistake.

File sharing appz are Honeypots for zombies!
Hence, if you use ANY File sharing utilities, be careful and install:
  1. a good firewall: [blackice fosi]  or  []
  2. a good IP-network sniffer: []
  3. a good "ad cleaner": []
Visit the tools and software reversing tools pages!

Published @ searchlores in March 2002     Back to underground     Back to Essays

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