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Downloading Music Using WinMX

This lesson will teach you how to do one of the most popular activities online: downloading music. I've chosen to use the program WinMX because of personal experience and preference, but there are hundreds of programs online. Here's a short review:

Napster - Ah Napster...This used to be the best program out there, then singers and bands started suing and Napster became so limited that it was virtually useless. I think now if you pay some amount ($3 I believe) per month, you can download any song, but why pay when other programs will let you do the same thing for free?

Morpheus - This program is one of the most popular today. Many users and therefore many results. You can also download video files, still images, text, and programs with this. It's pretty good but I avoid it due to damaging spyware.

Kazaa - Let's can I describe about... "EXACTLY like Morpheus except a few different icons and a different name". Pretty good but I avoid it because of spyware and rumors of a virus included in the program. 

WinMX - Excellent program. Tons and tons of results. You can find almost anything and everything. You can download all the same file types as Morpheus and Kazaa, and there is NO spyware (I checked with a program called AdAware that alerts you of any spyware on your computer and lets you delete it) and no advertising either.

Limewire - I don't know much about this program. I had it for a short time and didn't really like it. I didn't get many results when searching for a song and the program is generally confusing. I guess it's OK if you learn how to use it, and I believe it works for macs.

eDonkey - This is a very popular program but it's more for advanced computer users. I personally didn't like it much as I couldn't get one complete download. I'd avoid it.

Downloading & Installing WinMx

OK like I said, we'll be using WinMx. First, go to and download the latest version. Make sure to check where you download the file. When the download is complete, go find the file and double click on it. 

Accept the agreement (don't worry I know what I'm doing)

Make sure the files are installed to C:/Program Files/WinMX

Accept the agreement if it comes up

Make sure you are connected to the internet and click next

Choose a username (the username actually has little to no purpose so you can type in gibberish if you like)

Select your continent

Choose where the files you download with WinMX will go. C:/My Documents/My Music is easy to reach and remember so I would stay with that.

OK now let me explain something. When you use these so called P2P (peer to peer) programs as the ones mentioned above, every time you download a file you are downloading it from another person. And every time someone downloads a file there's a possibility they can download it from you. If they do, the file doesn't get taken away from you. It's just copied to their computer. Now if no one shared files, there would be no P2P programs. Here you may choose to share files and what types of files. I heard not sharing files can speed up your downloads but I'm not sure if that is true. So you can choose to share or not here. It's up to you.

If you chose to share files, it will ask you which folders you want to share. If u have 3 songs in C:/My Documents/My Music, those 3 files will be shared as long as C:/My Documents/My Music is shared. If this is getting a little complicated, just select any folders in the list and click "Unshare Selected Folder(s)"

Select your connection type. Most likely you have 56k so select that.

If you get the message that says you are unable to get TCP connections, just click next.

Select the color scheme you like better.

Click Finish

It's now installed and ready to use. The square will be yellow for a few seconds. Wait until it turns green.

Let me explain the toolbar.

Networks: The screen you are at now with the green light. Don't mess with anything here. Once you get more experienced you'll be able to use this screen to get more servers and more results but you don't really need to do this to find the file you want.

Shared Files: If you are sharing files, and you click on this folder it will show you the folder you have selected to share and all of the files in it.

Chat: Chat with other users.

Search: Search for files

Hotlist: Like a buddy list

Transfers: Check and see how your downloads are doing.

Bandwidth: For advanced users. Just ignore for now.

How To Search

Click on Search on the toolbar.

1: Here you type the name of what you are looking for. You get best results if you type the name of the Artist/Group on one line and the song name on the other. Such as

2: Here you select what type of file you are looking for. If you are looking for music, just leave it on MP3 Audio - Any Bitrate. If you want video, select it from the drop down list or click it on the left.

3: Ping All Results. The ping is the the amount of time it takes for a bit of information to get from the other person's computer to your's so the smaller the better. Click this after you're results start to appear.

4: Here is where your results will appear. (Note: this area may be white if you selected the white color scheme)

Now that we've typed in our song and selected our options, let's see our results. Make sure to click one time on "Status/Server" to list the results in order of availability.

A + next to the file name means more than one person has the same exact file and they are grouped together.

When selecting which file to download, there are many things to consider. We'll do them in order.

Bytes: The bytes is the size of the file. I know those are pretty big numbers but if you read the Bytes, Kilobytes, and Megabytes lesson, you know that it isn't much. You want one that is about 3 to 5 million bytes for a song that is 3 to 5 minutes long. If you're searching for a 3 minutes song, don't select the one that is 11 million bytes.

Time: This shows how long the song is. For the top result, it means 4 minutes and 36 seconds.

Bitrate: 128 is average. Try to stick to it.

Freq: I'm not perfect. I don't know what this means. I just ignore it.

User: If there is a + before the file name, you'll see a number under User. If there isn't (meaning only one person has this file), you'll see the User name of the person.

Speed: Hard to expain the ? + ? system. Basically, the green ones are high speed and the red are low speed. So 5 + 2 means that out of the 6 users that have this file, 5 have a high speed connection and 2 have a low speed connection. Go for green.

Ping: I explained what this is already. Go for the lower numbers. My ping results are in the 100-500's because I have Optimum Online. You're might be in the thousands if you have 56k.

Status/Server: Let's look at the top result. The status/server says 11 + 6. This means that out of the 64 users, 11 are available to download that have high speed connections, and 6 are available to download that have low speed connections.

So after considering all of this. You can easily see that in this case, the top result is best. Double click it and you will be taken to the Transfers screen.


OK soon you're download should start. As you can see, mine is almost finished. The only thing you have to know on this screen is K/s which means kilobytes per second. The higher you get the better, but if it's kinda low (under 2) try a different file on the search screen. The time left is how long it will take for you're download to finish. Mine says two seconds left because I took this picture when it was almost done.

Now if you get a message like Disconnected or anything else in red, You should click it and select retry.

Well that's the gist of it. You'll learn more as you go along. I suggest if you have a huge file to download, right click it in the transfers screen, select Auto-Complete, and leave your computer on overnight. Your file should be done by morning if it's around 100 million bytes. Most music videos are about 40 million bytes and should take 3 to 4 hours to download. Episodes of popular programs such as the Simpsons can also be downloaded and are usually also 40 million bytes. That's bassically all.

Happy Downloading.

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