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2012-12-26

Automatic Torrent Downloading With RSS

One thing that is difficult about using torrents is the inability to automatically download new releases. When a new release of an OS or product comes out via torrent, they are usually updated on a specific tracker which can be subscribed to and filtered on.

uTorrent has an RSS feature that will allow you to subscribe to specific feeds or torrent search queries.

Finding an RSS Feed

RSS feeds just provide uTorrent with a constantly updated .torrent file every time a new one comes out. As long as the RSS feed provides a .torrent file in each update uTorrent will add it to it's download queue automatically.

RSS feeds can be found in many different locations.
  1. The easiest/most common is to use the RSS feed provided by an official torrent tracker. Subscribe to a tracker and constantly get a consoldated list of official releases via that provider.
  2. Sometimes you can find feeds built into a webpage by viewing the page source and searching for 'atom' or 'rss'. I generally use a google chrome addon to find rss feeds on a page so I can subscribe to them https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/rss-subscription-extensio/nlbjncdgjeocebhnmkbbbdekmmmcbfjd?hl=en
  3. Another method would be to go to a torrent search site like http://www.thepiratebay.se and perform a search. The results of the query can be subscribed to and filtered using uTorrents RSS filter.
  4. Another really easy way to get RSS feeds is to use a site that will automatically populate/generate content for your RSS feed like http://showrss.karmorra.info/. You will just have to sign up, add shows, and get your feed. Any changes you make on the site will automatically be rolled up into your feed added in uTorrent.

Adding an RSS Feed

All you need to do to add a new RSS feed is go to the options bar
File>Add RSS Feed
Add - your Feed URL
Select - 'Automatically download all items published in feed'
Use - the 'Use smart episode filter' if you do not wish to receive all of the items in the feed.
For example: You don't want the 64-bit version of linux automatically downloaded

Filtering Feeds

To filter feeds you'll have to go to the options bar
Select - RSS Downloader
You'll see a list of feeds in the left side that are checked as to whether they are enabled filters or not.
The main options you'll need to remember are the "Filter:", "Not:", "Quality:" as these will likely be the main categories you will filter torrents based on.

The filter options arent quite regex but they do share some similar functionality such as:
* - match everything
? - match single character
| - OR

Some examples would be:
Filter: CentOS*
Downloads all CentOS distributions that have been released in that feed.
Not: *x86_64*|*LiveCD*
Do not download 64bit OSes or the live cd that is in the feed.

There are a few very good resources that describe how uTorrent Filter syntax works. Those are located here:
http://www.utorrent.com/help/guides/rss

There is also a simplified method of filtering that I have not yet tested called uTFilterManager that may make filtering easier. But the current method that I use seems to work fine for me: http://sourceforge.net/projects/utfiltermanager/

Testing Filters

This is where it can get a little confusing. If you have already matches a bunch of torrents then of course there will be no matches. Sometimes you'll need to wipe out the history of matches to ensure your filters are working properly.

On the RSS Dowloader Page (Options>RSS Downloader).

There is a "Reset" Button on the bottom right that will reset the filter history. After that is completed there is a "?" button as well beside the "Delete" button that you can use to ensure that your filter is matching appropriately.

Alternatively, you can go to the "History Tab" in the "RSS Downloader" page and just manually delete the ones you want to have removed to test your feed and then try the "?" again.

The last method of clearing history that might work for you is just going to the main interface of uTorrent and selecting the feeds from the dropdown menu at the left > Right click > Clear Feed History. 

Keep in mind though, if you clear your entire history, you will likely be downloading all past downloads all over again.

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