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OFFICIAL: Folding@Home Team Getting Started, Discussion, Bragging, and Community Support Thread

darksarcasm 931 November 4, 2006 at 05:32 PM
moved to wiki
mod: please remove this post

Community Wiki

Last Edited by Libertarian July 20, 2011 at 04:58 AM
This guide is designed to make getting started easy and convenient for novice computer users running Windows that want to participate for Team Slickdeals. Participation is optional, any information listed here could be wrong, install the suggested software at your own risk, enjoy!

Folding@Home (F@H) is a way to participate in a distributed computing project done by Stanford Univeristy to research the way human proteins assemble (fold) themselves. This research will assist biologists to greater understand the causes of disease such as Alzheimer's Disease, Cancer, Huntington's Disease, Osteogenesis Imperfecta, Parkinson's Disease, Ribosome & antibiotics, etc. The purpose of participating is to donate your otherwise idle computer power to assist modern medical science in finding cures to these diseases.
More info:

How it works:
You install a small software program on your computer which downloads data, processes it, and send the results back to Stanford. Ideally this program should be running whenever your comptuer is on, and ideally running on computers that are left on all the time. The software program is designed to work when your compuer is idle by setting the process priority to low. This basically means that the F@H program pauses when applications you are using are busy, and it resumes when the applications you are using are idle. You should not see any performance loss when the program is running. There should be no exceptions to this, even if you are running processor intensive applications like 3D games or CAD, but you can easily pause the F@H program temporarily if for some strange reason you find it interferring with whatever application you are using. The research project is open to anyone with an internet connection and a Windows, Mac, or Linux computer. There are also optional "teams" which you can join to give the participation an added sense of accomplishment and competition.
More info:

About the software:
There are two versions of F@H, the "graphical" version and the "console" version. Technically these descriptions refer to the configuration portion of the software, once you configure the software you no longer do anything with it except let it run and do its work in the background. There are many pros and cons for either version:

Graphical version:
  • configuration is fast and easy through a typical window-style user interface.
  • gives you instant access to pause, resume, or quiting the software.
  • gives you instant access to its status, current activity, team and user stats.
  • gives you an animated visual representation of the current work being done.
  • takes up slightly more resources because its system tray application must always be running, which can take anywhere from 900kb to 12mb of RAM.
  • some of the advanced options are not in the user interface, such as "MachineID" so you can run it on multiple computers, but this option is available through the INI file.

Console version:
  • all configuration is done through the command prompt, like DOS.
  • uses Windows' services control panel, or you can create a shortcut, to pause, resume, or quit the software.
  • has an option to install as a service, so it starts automatically before you log into Windows, and there are other benefits of running as a service which advanced users may want to use.
  • all status and activity are saved to log files.
  • takes up slightly less resources because it doesn't use any graphical interface.
  • every option in the software, including all the advanced options, are available through the command line interface.

[B]If you want to use the graphical version for Windows, follow the steps immediately below.

For the console version for Windows, skip down to the next section.

Graphical version Installation and Configuration for Novice Users:
1) Go to
2) Click on Downloads.

3) Click the download link for the Windows 2000/XP/Vista Graphical Client (or the client that corresponds with your correct operating system).
4) Follow your internet browsers prompts to save the file to your computer. I suggest you save the file to a separate folder, perhaps a new folder named "FoldingAtHome" inside your "My Documents" folder.

Wink I always recommend manually scanning downloaded files for viruses before running them. Most antivirus software offer the option to scan specific files in the right-click menu. Right-click the downloaded file and select scan for viruses (your antivirus software may not have this feature).

5) If the file you downloaded is a ZIP file:
(the beta client is typically a ZIP file), then you will need to unzip the file: if you have Windows XP/Vista you can right-click the zip file and select "Extract All" then follow the on-screen prompts to extract the file to the current location.

Locate and double-click the EXE file. The beta client will probably run from its current location without going through any installation. The non-beta client will probably go through an installation, follow the on-screen prompts to complete the installation. You can typically use all the default options during the installation.

Wink if you are prompted by your software firewall to grant access (or unblock) the F@H client, select the option that allows the program to access the internet.


6) You should now see a new icon in the system tray.
7) If the configuration window does not automatically open, then right-click on this icon and select "Configure".

8) Select the "User" tab.
9) Enter a desired username where it says "user name". You might as well use your Slickdeals username.
10) Enter 49191 where it says "team number".
11) Click Ok.

12) Double-click the F@H icon in the system tray.
13) You will now see the main window and the program doing its work.
14) You can close this window by clicking the "X" in the upper-right corner, the program will continue running in the background.
15) If you need to force the program to quit for whatever reason, you can do so by right-clicking the F@H icon in the system tray and select "Quit".
16) The program will automatically start when you turn your computer on, but it will not show the main window, it will only display the F@H icon in the system tray.

Wink if the F@H system tray icon does not appear when you turn your computer on (make sure you click the little arrow to show all the icons), then the program is not running, and you will need to manually add a shortcut to your startup folder. This will most likely be the case if you downloaded the beta graphical client, which does not appear to go through an installation. This will work for Windows 2000/XP, not sure about Vista: open "My Computer" and browse to the EXE file, right-click the EXE file, select "Create Shortcut", right-click over the shortcut, select Cut. Go to Start, Programs, right-click over the "Startup" folder, select Paste.

17) After a few weeks of participating, you should see your stats listed on the F@H Team Slickdeals website:

Remember, the purpose of this software is to let it run silently in the background. You don't necessarily do anything with it.

If you just followed the directions above you can stop now you are done. This next portion is for the console text-only version, not the graphical version.

Console version Installation and Configuration for Advanced (Windows) Users:

Most of the console prompts offer a pre-determined default value which you can select by just pressing the Enter Key. I cannot verify that these default values will remain the same for each operating system or version of the service, so I provided a recommended value for each setting. The values I recommended may not work best for everyone, but they should work well enough to get anyone up and running quickly and easily with a minimal amount of problems.

1) Create a new folder for the application. This is where the program will run and register itself as a service, and where its log files will be stored. This must be a permanent folder for the program. The program will register itself as a service the first time you launch it. Moving the EXE file to another folder or renaming or otherwise changing the program path can cause problems.

2) Go to

3) Click on Downloads.

4) Download the appropriate console version for your operating system, save the file to the new folder you created.

5) Run the program.

6) "User name" = enter a desired name, you might as well use your Slickdeals username.

7) "Team number" = 49191.

8) "Launch automatically at machine startup, install this as a service" = yes, unless you are re-configuring the software then this question changes to "Do not this program automatically, remove the service?" and you should enter no. When first configuring the software, entering no would be absolutely idiotic, and would defeat the entire purpose of using the console version. It would be better to install the Graphical version than to install the console version without the service install option.

9) "Ask before fetching/sending work" = no.

10) "Use Internet Explorer Settings" = no. Make sure you select no, selecting yes may prevent the F@H application from accessing the Internet. When you select no, you may be prompted if you want to use a proxy, or to enter proxy settings.

11) "Allow receipt of work assignments and return of work results greater than 5mb in size" = yes, unless you are using dial-up or for some reason dont want to download large assignmnets then enter no.

12) "Change advanced options" = yes, unless this is the only computer you are installing F@H on and you always leave your computer on then enter no and skip to item #23.

13) "Core Priority" = idle.

14) "CPU usage requested" = 50. I recommend starting with 50 until you can determine that there is no significant change in CPU temp. If everything runs smoothly, reconfigure the service at a later time (instructions are at the end of this post) and enter 100.

15) "Disable highly optimized assembly code" = no.

16) "Pause if battery power is being used" = no, unless you are using a laptop then enter yes.

17) "Interval, in minutes, between checkpoints" = 15.

18) "Memory, in MB, to indicate" = press the Enter key to use the default (max) setting.

19) "Request work units without deadlines" = no, unless you turn your computer off frequently then enter yes. Keep in mind if you enter yes, that sometimes there are no work units without deadlines meaning that the service wont do anything until some are made available. If no work units are available, the logs/console will report errors when attempting to fetch work units.

20) "Set -advmethods flag always, requesting new advanced scientific cores and/or work units if available" = no.

21) "Ignore any deadline information" = no.

22) "Machine ID" = 1, unless this is an additional installation of F@H then enter a unique number for each computer. For example, on the first computer enter 1, on the second computer enter 2, on the third 3, etc.

23) The installation is now complete and the console client and service is running. At this time you will have a console window open showing some status and logging information. Do not close the F@H console window now, otherwise the service will stop. Leave this program running until it displays "Completed 0 out of XXXXXXXXX", then close the console window.

24) To easily start and stop the service, create shortcuts with the following targets. The format is "net.exe start " followed by the service name surrounded with quotes. You can find the service name by going to start, run, services.msc. Its basically "FAH@" followed by the path to exe with backslashes replaced with plus symbols. Don't forget to replace C:+Program Files+FAH+FAH504-Console.exe in the examples below with the F@H service name on your computer. Don't forget to start the service after you have closed the console window!
  • Here is an example shortcut target to start the service:
    net.exe start "FAH@C:+Program Files+FAH+FAH504-Console.exe"
  • Here is an example shortcut target to stop the service:
    net.exe stop "FAH@C:+Program Files+FAH+FAH504-Console.exe"
25) To easily re-configure the software, create a normal shortcut to the exe and add " -configonly" (without the quotes) to the end of the target. Stop the service, run the config shortcut, configure as desired, close the window, then start the service.

Other commands are available which you can also create shortcuts for. Here is a list of all the console commands:

Feel free to ask questions on how to setup/configure the program in this thread.

Lots of new users need help figuring out which version of the program to install.
The original guides (written by darksarcasm in 2006) are still valid for those with SINGLE CORE PROCESSORS. If you have a dual or quad core processor, your computer can probably handle "more difficult" work units and provide a larger contribution (and earn more points) by installing the SMP version of F@H.

Here is a basic summary of all of the program options:
Version 5.03 - graphical install (easier for novice users) for single core processors
Version 5.04 - console install (answer approx 20 yes/no questions to configure the program, see post #2 below) for single core processors
SMP 5.91 beta 6 - this is the typical version for a dual-core or quad core computer, console based install, can now be setup as a service fairly easy (automatically runs when you turn on the computer, no open window)
The three versions above cover the vast majority of users, and there are also the various clients for linux, mac, GPU (hgih end ATI graphics cards) and PS3 (scores a lot of points).

If you dont know which version(console or graphical) to install, install the console. it is much more light weight(will effect your computer less) and runs in the backround seemlessly

How to show off your folding score in your slickdeals signature:
You may now show off your folding score in your signature, or in the forum posts by enclosing the user name in the [fah] tags, for example:
PHP Code:

If you have special characters in your username, you can use the [fahuid] bbcode. You'll need to find your userid # over at EOC.

For Dr. Who, it would be
PHP Code:

For detailed info on team or individual stats go to:

Helpful Links:
Points per Work Unit
Useful install guide []that has worked well for those who want to use the SMP (multiple CPU) client

During setup, answer no to the question "Use Internet Explorer Settings"
This often causes a problem submitting completed work units. In repeated threads on they tell you to change that to "NO"

For those of you REALLY serious about folding, here is a basic setup you can get for cheap:
CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 boxed $199.99 at microcenter
Motherboard: Asus P5B, supports the new Penryn 45nm too! but don't count too much on overclocking. $60
Memory: 256MB is enough, I bet many of you have tons of 1GB left around due to 4GB deals lately.
USB: 128MB USB drive is enough. You don't need a harddisk!!
Total is $260 if you have memory and USB key laying around, which most of us do. Add in $40 for the power supply.
There, $300 and a very powerful crunching machine.

For a bit more money, here's an updated system that will net many more points a day with -advmethods and/or -bigadv
I'm assuming if you know how to overclock, you know how to pick out your own stuff, so this is for a NON overclock build which is cheaper and doesn't require a dedicated video card, since sandy's have one built in.
Case.. Antec 300 or Cooler Master Centurian 5.. around 50 bucks
CPU: Intel Core i7 2500 ($199 average price) or 2600 ($299 average price, 8 threads lets you fold "bigadv" units)
heatsink.. an aftermarket heatsink is highly recommended but not required.... Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus ... 25 bucks avg price
Motherboard: ASUS P8H67-M LE ... $99 ... there are cheaper ones but sometimes it's worth 20 bucks for good reviews and better build quality
Memory: GSKILL RIPJAWS DDR3 memory can be found for 50 bucks for 4 gigs, or 100 bucks for 8 gigs. RAM is cheap these days. I recommend 1.5 volt or less for the ram's volt rating.
hard drive: well pick up whatever SATA drive you want, they are in all sizes and price ranges.
Power supply: Antec Earthwatts 650 watt power supply... 65 bucks

Total price 400-600 range depending on your CPU and hard drive choices, less if you reuse stuff or get stuff from relatives. This system will, at stock speeds, blow any other processor away, at their respective stock speeds. Remember to do the latest a3 units, or -bigadv units if you have a 2600. There are links above that tell you want you need to do, or use this link below this paragraph. Overclocking is so easy your grandma could do it, and will net significantly better results as it's easy to take these right up to 4.3 GHZ with a bit of extra cooling, but it will cost more too. PM me (dissident) if you want me to post a list here of overclock friendly components to supplement this list which is strictly for non overclockers.

Here's some information on -advmethods.. basically with a good quad core processor and the SMP client (for multicore processors) and the right settings you can fold the newer projects and you can get bonus points (if you use a passkey and fold 10 bonus qualifying units first, then you start getting points) and with the system I suggested above net a good 15000 points a day or more, to above 30,000 if you are using an overclocked system with 8 threads (2600k processor)

*added addendum for an alternative Folding setup: Purchase a Playstation 3 and youll get a free blu-ray player and a gaming system for $349 or less.

Reported EUE's (Early Unit End):
2665 (R2, C188, G16) Client-core communications error: ERROR 0x7b - 61%
2665 (R2, C306, G14) Client-core communications error: ERROR 0x7b - 1%
2665 (R2, C707, G20) Client-core communications error: ERROR 0x7b - 35%
2665 (R2, C882, G13) Client-core communications error: ERROR 0x7b - 23%
2665 (R3, C646, G15) Client-core communications error: ERROR 0x7b - 7%
2665 (R3, C985, G13) Client-core communications error: ERROR 0x7b - 3%
3062 (R2, C42, G78) Client-core communications error: ERROR 0x7b - Warning: long 1-4 interactions
3065 (R4, C59, G45) Client-core communications error: ERROR 0x7b - 27%

2665 (Run 2, Clone 335, Gen 10) Client-core communications error: ERROR 0x7b - 0% (savethelinoleum)

Flag Options


Use this option to access the console client setup options, make changes as needed, and then start folding. Supported in client versions v3.x, 4.x, 5.x.


Use this option to access the console client setup options, make changes as needed, and then exit the client. Supported in client versions v3.x, 4.x, 5.x.

-delete x

Deletes the work unit from position x in the queue. Positions are 0-9. This switch is usually not necessary, and is only to be used as a last resort when the only way to continue folding is to delete a work unit. Supported in client versions v3.x, 4.x, 5.x.


Displays the EULA (end user license agreement). This switch does not work well added to a Windows shortcut. Run it from a Command Prompt. Supported in client versions v3.x, 4.x, 5.x. 


Instructs the client to write information to the fahlog.txt file about any work units in the queue, and then exit. Positions are 0-9. Supported in client versions v3.x, 4.x, 5.x.

In addition to the usual client startup text, this switch displays information for each work unit in the queue. Data fields include the status (READY/FINISHED/EMPTY), originating server IP and port, date when the unit was received (local time in GMT), deadline date if the server sent that information, and WU Tag info.

-send x

Attempts to send the individual work unit in position x back to the project work servers then exit the client. Positions are 0-9 or "all" to "-send all". This switch is not commonly used as each time the client is started, it attempts to upload all completed work units to the project servers. This switch is generally useful for sending leftover results files prior to client removal, or when Sneakernetting. Supported in client versions v3.x, 4.x, 5.x, 6.x.

-verbosity x

Sets the detail level of the output written to screen and to the fahlog.txt. Options are from 1 to 9 (max). The default is 3. Level 9 is helpful for diagnosing problems and helpful when reporting them to the F@h development team. Supported in client versions v3.x, 4.x, 5.x, 6.x.


Instructs the client to exit following the completion of one work unit. The client will attempt 3 uploads before exiting. This is recommended when planning to shut down a machine for a few days (e.g. for a vacation), or are planning to un/re-install F@H after finishing the current work unit. Supported in client versions v3.x, 4.x, 5.x, 6.x.

Note: If the client is started again with this switch, the client will download new work, finish, upload, and quit again. This switch is not persistent from one startup to the next. Also, if the current work unit errors out, the client may download a new work unit. -oneunit does not take affect until a work unit is completed.


Instructs the fahcore to use processor optimizations, such as SSE or 3DNow+ assembly instructions if possible, even if the core has previously determined the computer may not be handling the client well. Stable systems do not need this switch, although it may be helpful for stable systems running on not-so-stable power grids without UPS intervention. Supported in client versions v3.x, 4.x, 5.x, 6.x.

This switch will add this warning to the fahlog. 


This switch has been discontinued, and replaced by -forceasm. Instructed the fahcore to use SSE optimizations if possible, even if the core has previously determined the computer may not be handling the client well. Supported in client versions 3.25 and 4.x only.


Instructs the client to request work units from new late-stage beta test projects, before they are broadly released to the folding community. Please post any observations (positive or negative), questions, or issues at the Folding forum. Supported in client versions v3.x, 4.x, 5.x, 6.x.


Instructs the client to read its configuration information from the local directory in the client.cfg file rather than, on Windows, from the installation directory specified in the registry, or, on Macintosh, from the Library/Folding@home directory. This switch is vital on Windows and Macintosh running multiple clients on a machine. This switch has no meaning on Linux and is ignored. Supported in client versions v3.x, 4.x, 5.x, 6.x.

Information such as the user name, team name, proxy information, and Machine ID are maintained in the client.cfg file. The flag ensures that work from multiple clients do not conflict. Use "-local" only if you are planning on running more than one instance of Folding@Home on the same machine (this is only useful if you are running on a multi-processor machine).

For assistance setting up multiple clients on one machine, see the entry on installing multiple clients.

This switch is also required when switching from the GUI to console client.


Instructs the client to list the available command line flags and then exit. Supported in client versions v3.x, 4.x, 5.x, 6.x.

Linux Specific Options


Sets the universal client v6 beta for Linux to run SMP work units. The client will default to run CPU client work units without this switch. 


For use by those wishing to use the Linux client on a machine running FreeBSD. See our FAQ for details on how to do this, but with this flag, all Cores downloaded will automatically be branded as being a Linux executable.

IIRC, this option is no longer supported in v5.91 and above.


For use by those wishing to use the Linux client on a machine running OpenBSD. See our FAQ for details on how to do this, but with this flag, all Cores downloaded will automatically be branded as being a Linux executable.

IIRC, this option is no longer supported in v5.91 and above.

Windows Specific Options


Instructs the windows client to pause after finishing and trying to send current unit. Allows a user to shut down after finishing a unit, by pressing Ctrl-C, without then getting new work to process. Supported in client versions v3.x, 4.x, 5.x, 6.x.

Similar to the more commonly used -oneunit flag, but without the automatic client exit.


Sets the client to run in service mode (for programs such as firedaemon). This prevents the client from exiting when it detects the current user is logging out. If this option is used when the client is not run as a service then it will run normally, but will not shut down automatically if the user logs out, and a "Wait for program to close." dialog box will be displayed. Supported in client versions 5.x, 6.x CPU console client.

This switch is more commonly used by 3rd Party service installers.


This flag is used if you configure the console client to be run as a service (through the standard client Configuration). The user should NOT give this flag manually, it is automatically given by the Windows scheduler and is just listed here for information. Supported in client version 5.x, 6.x CPU console client.

-gpu x

This switch is used with the GPU client, to run on the specified display number (x = 1,2,3,4). For use with multiple GPUs, and/or with multiple GPU clients. v5.91, v6.x.


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Joined Dec 2007
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People are folding elsewhere or not folding at all. It's charitable cause but with electric bill costs, many will always ask if it's worth it even for the cause. Just waiting on the new Maxwell 20nm GPUs to drop to make a big surge again.
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Just started yesterday, this reminds me of seti@home back in the day; not sure if it's still around. At least this is more useful then finding aliens Smilie
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Joined Dec 2007
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Far more meaningful and useful.
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Joined Nov 2004
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The Slickdeals folding team will hit half a billion points in about 4-5 days. Way to go!
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====> Insert witty comment here. <====

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I recently upgraded my system with a GTX 970. Should provide a little boost to the team Smilie
BTW If you haven't seen the numbers they're pretty crazy. PPD ranges from 70k to 240k depending on the WU. Oh and since this is a deal site after deal on the card I got but I was due for an upgrade and didn't feel like waiting.
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I am in.
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Great to have you on board!
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Looks like I'm getting almost exclusively core 15 projects right now...terrible for points but great at heating the room
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550,235,947 now.
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