›› Background Intelligent Transfer Service

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The Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS) does pretty much what the name says: it transfers files over a network in the background. BITS is "Intelligent" because this service will continue to transfer your data even if you exit the application you were working in, as long as you remain logged on and keep your network connection. Even if you do log off or lose network connectivity in the middle of a file transfer, BITS is smart enough to remember where the transfer left off, and resume once you log on again and establish a network connection.

For example, if User A were downloading a 100 MB file to his computer and he shut down his computer after downloading 70 MB, BITS would remember how much data had been already transferred and allow User A to transfer the rest, 30 MB, once he logs onto the computer and establishes network connectivity again. BITS is able to accomplish this by transferring data in small pieces and reassembling the data once it gets to the final destination.

Downloading and uploading used to be a nightmare in the days before BITS. Imagine the agony associated with downloading a rather large file over a modem. After eight hours of downloading, you get about 90 percent done when, all of a sudden, your connection goes down. In the days before BITS, that 90 percent that was already downloaded would have been lost, and you would have had to start the process all over again.

As mentioned previously, the Background Intelligent Transfer Service works in the background, without the user being aware of the process. BITS utilizes unused bandwidth for its file transfers. As the user uses the network (web browsing, downloading/uploading), BITS uses any bandwidth this is currently not being used to process its jobs. This allows the user to have the majority of bandwidth so as not to affect their experience on the network or slow them down. Once network traffic has slowed, BITS increases the amount of bandwidth that it is using in order to complete its jobs.

A few more facts about BITS that you might want to know. Using BITS, you are able to prioritize transfer jobs, ranging from high to low priority. Higher priority jobs always trump low priority jobs and get transferred first. BITS also requires that the server it is communicating with supports the HTTP/1.1 protocol. BITS can use an HTTP/1.0 server as well as long as it meets certain requirements that allow file transfers to resume. In addition, BITS is used by the Automatic Updates Service and the Windows Update website to download recent updates.

There are differing opinions as to whether to set this service to Manual or Disabled. Some people say that this service should be set to Manual because many other services rely on it, including RPC Locator. Some others say that if you have already Disabled the Automatic Updates Service, then you should Disable BITS. They say that there is no need to keep this service running all the time, and your computer will be safer for it. Only you know what is best for your computer based on how you use it, but we recommend at least keeping this service set to Manual, especially if you rely on the Automatic Updates Service for your updates.

Service Name BITS
Display Name Background Intelligent Transfer Service
Executable File Name svchost.exe
Dependencies Remote Procedure Call (RPC)
Reciprocal Dependencies None
Default Startup Type Manual
Recommended Startup Type Manual

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