PicoTorrent is an open source lightweight Bittorrent client for Windows

Jan 4, 2020
Updated • Jan 9, 2020
Software, Windows software

qBittorrent is arguably the go-to choice for many users, with Deluge and Transmission being good alternatives. And if you're still using uTorrent, you probably shouldn't.

PicoTorrent is another option that you could consider if you're in the market for a lightweight Bittorrent client. The program is free, open source, and written in C++ (Qt).

The interface of the program is, well, as you would expect to see in most Bittorrent clients. But somehow it is much cleaner, and that can be attributed to the lack of a toolbar. You can add torrents to it by dragging and dropping them, or by using the File menu and selecting a torrent file, or pasting a magnet link.  Oh, and this is what the "Add torrent" window looks like.

Once a torrent's been added to PicoTorrent, you'll see its name, position in the queue, size, status, progress %, estimated time to arrive, download and upload speeds, the availability, ratio, number of seeds and peers, the date when you added the torrent and when it was completed. Right-click on any column to customize the list. The only other column (which is not enabled by default) is the "size remaining" option.

The program's detail panel has four tabs. The Overview tab can be used to view the name of the torrent, the path where the data is saved, the info hash and pieces downloaded. The Files tab shows the available files in the torrent, their size, progress and priority. You can set the priority to Low, Normal, Maximum or Do not Download. The latter can be useful for unchecking files that you don't want to download.

With an active torrent, the Peers menu lists all peers who are connected to the torrent with their IP, Client, Flags, Download/upload stats and their progress. There is no option to add a new peer, block one, or even copy the IP:Port (qBittorrent has these). Finally, the tracker tab can be used to view the torrent's tracker information. Right-click on a url to force re-announce, copy the url or remove a tracker. You can manually add a tracker by right-clicking on an empty area in the tracker tab.

The statusbar at the bottom displays the number of torrents, the DHT node information, and the current download and upload speeds.

Torrent context-menu

This is where the program felt too bare bones to me, because you can't limit the download/upload speed or share ratio of a torrent. There is no option to set tags or categories either. Sadly, PicoTorrent does not have a copy magnet link option in the torrent context menu. If I remember correctly, it was the lack of this feature that made me switch from Deluge to qBittorrent many years ago. It may not be a huge deal breaker, but is a convenient option to have.

Enough of what it can't do, the options that the context-menu lists are Resume, Force Resume, Force Announce, Force Recheck, Move (to a different folder), Remove (Torrent or torrent and files), Queueing, copy info hash and open in Explorer.


Click on View > Preferences to manage PicoTorrent's settings. You can set the program to start with Windows, minimize or close to the system tray. The default save path can be chosen from the "Downloads" tab. The program has a global speed-limiter to restrict the download and upload speeds (in KB/s), which is good if you don't want to hog all the bandwidth. And you can define the total number of active torrents, active downloads and seeds.

The Connection settings can be used to bind PicoTorrent to use a specific network adapter or port. You can enable encryption for incoming/outgoing connections, which is recommended. The program supports DHT, LSD, PeX, all of which are enabled by default. The Proxy tab is useful for configuring the network protocol manually.

Warning: I scanned the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of the program (installer and portable) on VirusTotal, and it found 2 detections for the x-86.zip. Manual scans via Windows Defender, Malwarebytes and Emsisoft Emergency Kit turned out to be clean (for all versions). So, it's likely a false positive.

The application is based on Libtorrent. You'll need the Visual C++ 2017 redistributable installed on your computer for PicoTorrent to work.

PicoTorrent is pretty basic compared to the likes of qBittorrent, Deluge and the rest. There is room for improvement, but even in its current state it is very usable, if you don't care about advanced options like managing peers or restricting the connection on a per-torrent-basis.

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  1. kan said on January 7, 2020 at 11:50 am

    Tried PicoTorrent once but uTorrent 2.2.1 is much lighter

  2. Danny said on January 6, 2020 at 1:26 pm

    Still using uTorrent 2.2.1 after all these years. I’ve tried using qBittorrent, Vuze, Tixati, Deluge, and Transmission within the past five years and they’re not compelling enough for me to change.

    1. jan said on January 9, 2020 at 3:33 pm

      uTorrent 2.2.1 was released around 2010 or 2011 I think and still might be superior to all those “new” developments, I guess!

  3. jan said on January 5, 2020 at 11:44 am

    WTF is the reason to review a piece of mediocre SW. Are we filling up space due to the lack of subjects worth writing about???

    1. Addy T. said on January 6, 2020 at 12:52 pm

      I didn’t know this application because there are other things I have to do in life. The article did help me, but I don’t know yet how much. The author doesn’t have to explain anything to you.
      You, on the other hand, wrote a completely useless and nasty comment that makes you look like a very angry and unstable person. A 12-year old person, perhaps. Or why are you so angry? Has your girlfirend dumped you? I have no idea why she’d do that to such a gentleman.

      1. Steve said on December 3, 2023 at 1:45 am

        PicoTorrent has a flaw, keep lowering process priority till it chokes to non responsive state and then crashes and that while i’m working on it. Why do developers use this drop process priority functions in windows ? Its at total algorithm. Opera browser One has use this in some version and behave similar. I wrote to Opera about this problem and they fix it in next update so Opera no longer chokes when i click on it, even if i left it for days to be active. So god job Opera developers and not so god for Picotorrent ! This way it is completely useless.

    2. Robert Morris said on January 5, 2020 at 9:37 pm

      WTF is the reason for reading an article you don’t like and then complaining you didn’t like it?
      Are you only complaining because you lack more interesting things to do with your life?

      1. jean said on January 6, 2020 at 10:48 am


  4. Mo said on January 5, 2020 at 12:59 am

    When I did used to do a lot of “torrenting” I used either use Deluge or Transmission. I did use official Bittorrent client when it first came out, then moved to bit-tornado (www.bittornado.com), then went to ABC (yet another bittorrent client – http://pingpong-abc.sourceforge.net ), then to deluge (when I moved from Windows XP to Ubuntu), then to Tranmission when it became official client on Ubuntu. Nowadays I just use either qBittorrent or Ktorrent. Both are great, have a lot of features and seems snappy on my system (Kubuntu 19.10). Here I thought torrenting was stalled. Good to see it is not.

    1. Danny said on January 6, 2020 at 1:30 pm

      I remember those days. My history was official client, then Shad0ws experimental client, then burst!, then bittornado, then ping-pong abc, then azureus, then bitcomet, then finally utorrent. I’ve tried other clients since (qBittorrent, Vuze, Tixati, Deluge, and Transmission) both on Windows and Linux, and I still prefer utorrent 2.2.1 as my main torrent client.

  5. mysiak said on January 4, 2020 at 9:34 pm

    “…copy magnet link option in the torrent context menu. If I remember correctly, it was the lack of this feature that made me switch from Deluge to qBittorrent many years ago.”

    CopyMagnetURI plugin for Deluge has been available since 2014.


  6. MeH said on January 4, 2020 at 2:09 pm

    At least for me, Tixati (Tixati.com) is the best one. It’s quite powerful, ad-free, and has an official portable version.
    It’s just the best ;)

    1. Addy T. said on January 6, 2020 at 12:45 pm

      I use Tixati, too, but it could do well without the occasional window that nags you for donations.
      Why not just include a “donate” button instead of harassing the users?

    2. alpha said on January 5, 2020 at 10:09 pm

      +1. Tried many of the others mentioned here at one point or another, but always end up back with Tixati.

  7. Anonymous said on January 4, 2020 at 1:46 pm

    Weird name choice.. My 320kb uTorrent is much smaller than this

    1. Robert Morris said on January 4, 2020 at 10:11 pm

      Does your 320kb client has the adware removed?

      1. Anonymous said on January 5, 2020 at 3:31 pm

        Educate yourself. The old uTorrent does not have any ads.

  8. Anonymous said on January 4, 2020 at 1:33 pm

    No binary files for download. Can’t build the executable.

    1. gasdas said on January 4, 2020 at 4:25 pm
  9. Rob said on January 4, 2020 at 1:07 pm

    Quite nice and looks really tiny :) I’m using qBittorrent (opensource too) and I’m quite satisfied :)

  10. Anonymous said on January 4, 2020 at 11:25 am

    200kB torrent client again? No.

    1. Anonymous said on January 5, 2020 at 3:32 pm

      It’s 12mb. What’s wrong with 200kB?

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