LimeWire problems

There are so many problems with LimeWire, both aesthetic, and functional, that combined, they make LimeWire unfit for general distribution. Of course, those who are willing, or have the technical knowledge can manage, but for others who do not learn how it operates will make LimeWire poorly suited for their needs.

And that is the purpose of this page! If you read and understand what I wrote down, you can at least know the problems, and ways around them.

I do not know how it happens, but most important problems end up listed at the very end. This even seems beneficial, since you do need to read all other errors before you go away from this page (, educated). So, please stay with me until you get to the end of the page.

1) LimeWire does not save your searches

That is right. You might have 20 search windows opened, and close the program, or LimeWire crash on its own, and not only are those search windows are gone, you probably do not remember what you searched for!

2) LimeWire has a low limit set on the number or search windows opened

This can be modified during setup.

3) LimeWire has a stupid ordering algorithm

I will not even discuss the logic of showing files that are not downloading as being faster to finish than files that are being downloaded, but just tell to copy the way uTorrent does it. Period.

4) LimeWire has a huge number of files left over after a download session

The more files you download during the session, the more garbage files you will have left over after the session, and during all other sessions. They will "eventually" be deleted, but that is one of the worst solutions to the problem. Read more about this in setting up LimeWire and LimeWire operation.

5) After you hit the cancel button on any file, the partial download is still sitting on your hard drive

How stupid is that? Very stupid. Read more in #3 above. Solution: delete the partial download file if a file is cancelled. Since there is no way to undo a file cancel anyway from the partially downloaded file (as you will read shortly below), it is stupid to keep the partial file.

6) LimeWire sometimes says that a file is corrupted

Was it the source that was corrupted, or my download? The only option now is to click cancel. Guess what? The complete, corrupted file is left on your hard drive. Solution: restart the same file automatically, or present a search window with exact searches for duplicates. (More on exact searches below).

7) "Disk problem"

Related to #5, a disk problem is typically what happens if you are running out of hard drive space. LimeWire will work without stop even if Windows reports there is no space left. Files will continue to be downloaded. However, whenever a complete file will finish downloading, it will say that there was a disk problem. What is amusing is that other files will KEEP ON DOWNLOADING, only to say the same "disk problem" when the download is finished!!! This will, in effect, destroy all what you are downloading. No surprise, but partial files will not only be left sitting on your hard drive, but will be corrupt. (and add to that the fact that you cannot resume from an incomplete file or anything else for that matter).

8) The software is not designed for many files (more on this later), and unsupervised operation

Adding to #5 & #6, LimeWire does not automatically check again for "Need more sources" files. Whenever you check again for those files from time to time, most of the time you will find sources, and the file will download. Solution: periodically check again for all files that are not downloading or in queue.

9) Even if you pay 20 bucks for the pro version, you still have sponsored results listed

Besides sponsored results being absolute junk, it is bad practice to advertise when people just paid for the paid version. If not solved, users should simply never choose to download the sponsored or ad results/files.

10) You cannot specify an extension of a file, but instead forced to select "pictures", "video", etc

An ability to specify an extension is very important, especially when searching for a file you already downloaded, etc.

11) Searches are inexact

Much like Geegle, LimeWire freely interprets what you type in for a search. This maximizes number or results and number of junk, and makes your life harder. It is actually IMPOSSIBLE to search for an exact file. At least an option to search exact (or use " ") is a must. This could be also used for a temporary recovery solution, but since you will have to decide between too many file even if you type in the file name, complete with the extension, this further makes manual recovery impossible (even though this could ONLY be used for a relatively small number of files to recover).

12) Sometimes, if you see that the window title bar has become gray (inactive) and LimeWire does not respond to clicks, it might still be not frozen

Try to minimize other windows, maximize them, because a "what should I do with a duplicate file" dialog window might have become hidden BEHIND LimeWire. Since you cannot click anywhere until you say something to the dialog window, to see if it was indeed behind LimeWire is the only option to resume operation. I will not be surprised that this problem is due to Windows and not LimeWire, since I document a number of related <Windows stupidities with "windows" here>.

13) As I have said elsewhere, you will see an inordinate amount of junk, duplicates, fakes, advertisements, corrupt files, and even adult material when you download a large number of files, especially if you like to select most of the entries of the search window and pressing "download"

In the case of picture files, it will be easy to see ads, junk, and files that are too small. As an approximate rule, anything smaller than 100 kB are icons, ads, and likewise junk. Of course if you know what you are looking for, like photo files, the bottom limit will be much higher. You will have to develop a feel for wrong file sizes (something that will be a must for music files below). Generally, since you can pick junk at a glance, you will have to click-control-click thru all the junk in the file window where the files are being downloaded, and delete them. You can also arrow click in the Windows Pictures and Fax Viewer to go thru the list, and hit delete to delete files while you are viewing them. See details for corrupt files below. Also read about organizing files below.

Music files are a worse case. Since you cannot either preview (like for video files) or see (like for picture files) them, you will have to listen to them to verify they have been properly ripped. At least many music files are not ads and commercials, like with picture and video files. However, they do have their own unique problems.
The problems are many duplicates with slightly different lengths, and bad or wrong filenames or ID3 tags. Both problems cannot be easily fixed manually, and you will probably have to see them listed in a playlist in your music player to see same length duplicates, wrong titles and ID3 data, etc. Both problems need a software solution. There are programs that fix ID3 data automatically, and you should search for them, but I am not aware of a software solution to check for different quality and length of music files. Although I found out that the root of the problem, not surprisingly, is stupid ripping that Windows Media Player does. Nero has a better solution (but with a small problem, documented <here>) in that it goes online and retrieves the correct information for files. Also, a small tutorial for beginners would not hurt at all. Anything shorter than 1 MB is either fx or junk.

Video files are probably your biggest problem. Aside from many of them being junk, ads, copyrighted, encoded, corrupt, unplayable, fake, and much more, they take much longer to download and look thru.

In general, you will need VLC to play back many files that WMP will be unable to play. It will even play QuickTime files (99% of them anyways, sometimes I found that QuickTime can even ignore some errors that VLC has problems with, and sometimes it plays files better than VLC). Real Player is necessary for some of its proprietary file formats, but I would not install anything other than VLC for now. VLC has the added benefit of being good with <screen captures>.

In general, you will see the one--frame preview if you <set your window to display Thumbnails of files>. Some files will not display thumbnails, but it does not mean VLC won't play them. I don't recall which one, but one of the file formats (most probably QuickTime one), Windows cannot display thumbnails for it.

You will find out that much of your time and bandwidth, you are downloading duplicate junk and ads.

If you want to go on to movie downloads, I would recommend you do not use LimeWire at all. Instead, use uTorrent. uTorrent is a breeze compared to many problems of LimeWire.

Any video files shorter than 1-3 MB is most often junk, depending of the type of video you are downloading.

Downloading Micro$oft video files like wmv and asf is 99% a waste of your time, since they can be, and are, encoded. To play them, you will need to get a "license" from a website. I would recommend to never agree to this because: a) it will be possible to find out what you watched from your list of licenses, b) you are more likely going to be required to install adware to get a license, and c) are very likely to get tracking, viruses, and adware just from visiting that infested page.

14) Very corrupt files

I have no idea what LimeWire does, but I have encountered some strange corrupt picture format files. They do not display a thumbnail, if you right click them they do not show an option to delete them (wth???), and they do not respond to clicking. The only solution I have found is to move all other files that work to another directory, leaving all corrupt files untouched, and delete the FOLDER that they were in (with LimeWire not running, of course) (to see which folder I am talking about, read thru the LimeWire operation page). Then, create a new folder and name it with the name of the file you deleted. You can them move all the files back into this folder. Why not just leave them there? For a couple of reasons, and to list just one, in order to try to download a file with the same filename, hopefully not corrupt.

And this is what you have waited for. I seem to always the best for the last (just like in my page on Firefox problems. I have grouped in this section different problems that together all lead to the same conclusion: LIMEWIRE IS NOT SUITABLE FOR DOWNLOADING MANY FILES, OR WORKING ACROSS SESSIONS. If you understand and agree to this, you will at least know what hit you, and its effects, when you see LimeWire exhibit an error from this section, or crash completely. By across sessions, I mean not finishing all files before you close the program, and leaving them to finish the next time you open the program. It is only "safe" and "easy" in LimeWire to download a short list of files, and finish them, and your searching, before you close the program. Now read about what can hit you.

15) If you have a tendency to select all, or most of the results from a search window, and just pressing "download", then you will be hit with a certain dialog for so many times it will kill your urge to download that many files again

Of course the dialog I am talking about is "what to do about duplicates" dialog. I will not even describe all of its stupidity and just say that a solution is NEEDED RIGHT NOW: a) do not ask me about files with the same filename, length, size, and connection speed because how the heck can I know the difference about them?; b) if filename, length, and size are the same, but connection speeds are not, just download the one with the fastest connection; c) the option to "always append with #" apparently does not work, because in that cause I would never have to see the dialog again; d) the user has no way of knowing the difference between that 50 files with the same filename, so LimeWire must decide for the user; e) the problem of LimeWire of not being able to download or store many files with the same filenames is stupid and must be resolved in an intelligent way. This is very similar to the inability to parse the list if filenames, like what happens <in Windows when you try to copy or move files>. <Like I document elsewhere>, bad coding practices apparently start with Microsoft. Hey, at least present a dialog with a list of problem files, for the user to be able to select a number of them from a vertical list to either append a number, not download, etc. How hard is it for you (, developers) to think about this??? Subjecting a user to a hundred hits of this stupid dialog is more stupid than trying to give an option for the user on how to handle this beforehand. Users will just proceed to click very fast at the general location of the cancel button, only to miss it when the dialog resizes, or they hit the "cancel searching" button behind the dialog when it goes away. (And this speaks to the fact that <developers and engineers never field test their products and creations>).

16) Errors

It will drive you crazy when you have just spent half a day searching thru a hundred search windows, selecting to download a few hundred, a thousand, or a few thousand files, for LimeWire to download some portion of those files, for it to sit there unattended for a few hours, and then to crash either because it sat there for a few hours and is not error--hardened, you tried to do something else only to discover that Windows is not multi--taskable, or for Windows to crash without any help from you! Makes you test whether your computer can fly by tossing it out the window with wires still plugged in to the outlets, doesn't it? (Note from my knowledge: laptops are easier to test for ability to fly, pound at, or throw across the room because they are close to you, are lighter, and are not held back from flying by those stupid cluttering wires. But you then inevitably find out that laptops are more expensive, and any pounding inevitably makes them develop hardware problems. My suggestion: always pound only at the keyboard, and not the laptop or the desktop tower. It is cheaper and easier to replace.

Well, by now you should know that you will have to kill the LimeWire process, or it will kill itself. Or it might not even be apparent for you until you start the program again. The too--innocent "Sorry, cannot resume downloads" WILL DRIVE YOU MAD. At least, it WILL when you find out it is impossible for you to resume your downloads or even recover the list of files you were downloading (okay, you CAN make a list (see below), but it is of no use to you). And now you realize what I meant that LimeWire was not meant for downloading many files. Because even though it ALLOWS you to download too many files at the same time, the possibility of crash quickly shows you that it should not even allow anyone to download more than about a hundred of video or music files at the same time (i.e. keep that many entries in the download list), and slightly more than that for picture files (because they are downloaded so fast the list shortens fast). A temporary solution would be a download list maximum length option.

You will not frantically think, well I got that partial file names and that backup file, right? Wrong! First of all, I do not know whether the backup was a joke or not, but it is impossible to either access any recovery files from the program, or try to replace the primary file with the backup one by renaming. Secondly, although you have the list of partially downloaded files, and you can either look at them, or convert their filenames to a single text file (<with one of utilities like this one>), the list is no good, because if you search of it, you will get too many results for EVERY file that you search for. Therefore, you unwillingly will subject yourself to an even bigger problem. Not will it only take an inordinate amount of time to search for every file from the list, but you will again try to download too many files, and (please do not cry) again see LimeWire crash. Which just shows you that I am always right. There must be a low limit to the number of downloading files list. And there must be an automated recovery method. Either from a robust recovery file, or from the filenames or the partially recovered files.

And you see here how one bad solution leads to another. Other programs like uTorrent got it right, with torrents as original download starters, and ability to check or repair downloads, and a deletion of data not having an effect on the torrent file. With LimeWire, by using partially downloaded files as both the starters and the data, the problems are started. With the inability to check for errors or recover, they are adding on to the mistakes.

In general, downloading all of the results from more than 5 search results, or having more than 500 MB worth of files in the Incomplete folder, or letting LimeWire to sit downloading overnight guarantees that it might look normal when you see it later, but it will not be really downloading any files anymore, and if you try to restart it will tell that innocent "Sorry, cannot resume downloads" message. Guaranteed.

My suggestion: move all of the partially downloaded files (to get them out of the way, and for them not to get deleted after the set inactivity period) to another folder and forget about them until an automated recovery method is developed.

I have no intention of making you anymore sad, so I have just one more matter to discuss:

17) Organizing the files

If you know where LimeWire stores files, and know how it operates, naturally after downloading the file you might want to use it. Before that, you might have even went thru the folder to remove corrupt files, junk, and ads. You might then look thru the files, and decide either to delete it or move it to a structured system of folders for categorization (and otherwise very wise way to handle those pesky files). Well, this is a wrong move with LimeWire. Adding to the fact that a piece of junk or ad can prevent you (because of inability to store files with the same filename) to download the real version of the file you were trying to download, but deleting junk or moving files to another location will make you download the same files again. Why? Because of you keep the downloaded files in the same directory, and later do a search and download of a related search term, you will at least see the files you have already downloaded, and not download the same junk again (to again waste your bandwidth, hard drive space, need to remove same junk again, etc, etc). Even worse, when you again go thru the files to remove the junk, and decide which files to keep, and then move it to the proper space somewhere else in your file structure, Windows will tell you that there is a file with that file name already there. What is left is for you to move it somewhere else, and then have to compare the two files. They might be the same file, but they might not, since the same filename can mean an entirely another file in LimeWire. And there it goes over and over again, with you spending a large multiple of your time, effort, and bandwidth to download the same files and the same junk, and go thru it over and over again.

Which again tells you that I am right in saying that LimeWire is not suitable to downloading a large number of files.

A temporary solution would perhaps be "watch folders", a feature to specify in which folders completed downloads might reside, and "downloaded files" list that will always show the files you have downloaded before as downloaded. Because you have already went thru the pain of deciding whether it is junk, going thru the file, and either keeping or deleting it. There is no reason to go thru the process again. And please make the file robust so a stupid error or Windows reinstall will not destroy the file (keep it somewhere where it will be backed up).


Finally, I can conclude this page. How might these problems be fixed, and are they being fixed? You can look at the page that will document my progress in solving these problems. And if you are a LimeWire community programmer, or someone from LimeWire, be sure to e-mail me. Because I genuinely want these problems to be solved. And better than that, to prevent any other program from doing the same errors again when those programs are to be developed.

Thank you for your patience in reading this page.

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Page last modified 28-Nov-10 11:25:06 EST

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