The community for beta and abandonware collectors.

BetaArchive Database

Download Manager Help/FAQ

Getting started with BetaArchive downloads

How does our download system work?

BetaArchive uses a token based download system. A token is a time limited URL specific to you, your account, and your IP address, for the file you want to download. It consists of the location of the file accompanied by a unique token in the URL which is used to authenticate that it is you downloading the file.

For example:

A download token is valid for 24 hours from the time it is created and can be extended up to a further 24 hours.

To download you must have an account on the forum, be logged in and have contributed to get archive access. Once you have this:

  • Visit the database and choose a release.
  • Click into the release and find the file(s) you would like to download.
  • Click "Download" or select the checkboxes for each file then select "Download Selected". This will generate download tokens for the file(s).
  • Click the download button from the token page or "My Downloads" in the navigation to begin downloading.
  • You have 24 hours to download the file before the token expires.

We encourage you to read the rest of this page to understand how our system works.

My Downloads Page

What does everything on the download table show me?
Download table example

  • File Name:

    This is the name of the release and the specific filename you have chosen to download. An (!) appears if the file is detected as a duplicate of another download which still has a valid token.

  • IP Lock:

    This shows the IP address that is allowed to download the file. A tick indicates it is valid. A cross indicates it is invalid. If you need to update the IP lock, you can click the refresh button in the actions section. Note that you can only do this once per download.

  • Created:

    This is how long ago the file download token was created. Hover over it to see the time/date. Downloads are valid for 24 hours.

  • Expires in:

    This is how long before the file download token expires. Hover over it to see the time/date. Once expired, the download cannot be started and you will need to generate a new token for that file. If you're currently downloading this will continue unless you stop the download or lose connection to our server.

  • 1st DL:

    This is how long ago since the file was first downloaded. Hover over it to see the time/date. Once first started, a file token cannot be deleted since it is now used.

  • DL Count:

    This is how many connection attempts have been made to download the file. We limit this to 25 per token to prevent server hammering. Once you hit this number the token will no longer let you download and you will need to make a new token. If you are experiencing a high number or you hit 25, this can be due to having an unstable connection or your download manager is initiating too many connections.

  • Size:

    This is the size of the file and how much quota it will use.

  • Actions:

    Download - Downloads the file
    Delete - Deletes the token. This can only be done if the file has not been downloaded at least once and the token is still valid.
    Refresh - This updates the IP lock and extends the expiry to 24 hours. This can only be done once and only if the token is still valid.

Where did my downloads go?

Only valid download tokens appear in the main table. Expired downloads will move to the download history page which can be accessed using the button underneath the main table.

Unused tokens which have never been started and have expired, are removed from the system after 48 hours.


Why can't I delete some tokens?

Once a download has been started it is classed as used and counts towards your quota, and therefore can't be deleted. You can either continue the download, or wait for it to expire and its quota will be returned to you.

My connection is being reset when downloading.

This can happens if:

  • You try to open too many connections. We limit the maximum number of connections per IP to 6, so make sure you have less simultaneous connections or downloads than this. You may have to wait up to an hour before you can download again if this gets triggered.
  • Your connection isn't stable. If your ISP is having issues or there is bad internet routing then this may contribute to the problem.
My download token expired during a large download, now I can't resume it.

This should only happen if your connection drops during the download after the token expires (active connections will continue even if the token expires). We have put in place the ability to extend your download token time once per file for another 24 hours to help overcome this, but it needs to be done before it expires. Unfortunately if you did not extend it before it expires, you'll need a new download token to resume it again.

My IP address changed and now I can't download using my token.

Each token can be updated once using the refresh button. This will extend the expiry time and also update the IP lock.

If your IP address changes too frequently you may find it difficult to use our download system.

Why is the number of download attempts (DL Count) so high? I only downloaded it once.
I can't download my file anymore and my connection count is 25 or more.

The connection count will increment every time the download URL is accessed and the download is authenticated.

Reasons why the counter increases include:

  • You access the download URL via your browser or a tool such as a download manager.
  • Your download is interrupted and needs to reconnect and resume.
  • Your download manager opens more than one connection.

We allow a maximum of 25 download attempts (connections) per download token to allow for disconnections and so that you can use a download manager.

Once you exceed 25 download attempts, the token will no longer work and you will need to create a new one.

We have this limit in place to prevent "hammering" our servers with connections which can impact performance for everyone else.

Download Managers

Can I use a download manager?

Yes, absolutely, however you should note that we do not officially support download managers. You should use them at your own risk on the understanding that you may experience errors and odd behaviour.

For the best experience, we recommend the following:

  • Limit to 4 connections - we have a maximum limit of 6 per user. Using more connections will result in rejected connections or your download count increasing until it reaches maximum, rendering your download token invalid.

Note that we do not currently support HEAD requests to verify file information ahead of your download. Attempting to do so will look like the start of a download to our system.

My download count hits maximum when I use a download manager

This happens if your download manager uses too many connections, or closes the connection and opens a new one when it starts a new chunk. Reduce the connections or use another download manager.

Download Speed

Why is my download speed so slow? I have a super high speed connection!

Download speed is affected by a lot of factors, most of which are completely out of our control.

Bandwidth is expensive and since BetaArchive operates free to you on a limited budget there is only limited bandwidth to go around. Once the available bandwidth is used then the download speed for everyone will begin to drop as this bandwidth is shared between everyone.

Reasons why you might be experiencing slow speeds could include:

  • Your ISP's connection to the internet may be poor.
  • You live in a country far away from Europe and have poor latency.
  • Internet routing between your ISP and BetaArchive may be congested.
  • Your WiFi strength is poor or is suffering interference.
  • Your bandwidth may be being used by other computers on your network or software on your computer.
  • Other users on BetaArchive are also downloading and you're getting a fair share of the available bandwidth.

There are things you can do to try and speed up your downloads:

  • Use a download manager that supports multiple connections. Be sure to read the "Can I use a download manager?" question if you decide to do this.
  • Pause your current downloads from other sites.
  • Try another connection to see if your ISP is an issue.

Unfortunately we are not able to influence the majority of things that cause slow downloads.


Why do we have a quota system?

We only have a finite amount of bandwidth, and additional bandwidth is expensive, so to keep it free, fair and fast for everyone we need to limit how much you can download so that everyone has a fair chance.

Every user receives 50GB of quota per day, which is reallocated to you on an hourly basis (see below for details on how this works).

How does the quota system work?

Each user normally gets 50GB/day of quota, which is reallocated to you on an hourly basis at a rate of 2.083 GB/hour. In many cases this should allow you to continue downloading something sooner than having to wait a full 24 hours.

Quota is only taken from your allocation when you start a download for the first time.

You can still download files which are larger than your available quota, but your quota will go above 50GB and the used quota will slowly decrease each hour. Overall your average download usage cannot exceed 50GB/day.

If you download a very large file, you may find that you go a long period of time (more than a day) without quota available to you.

If your quota is over the maximum allowed you won't be able to start a download until you are below your maximum again.

I've generated a download but the quota wasn't deducted off my allowance.

Quota is only deducted when you start the download for the first time.

My quota is over the maximum allowed. Is that a bug?

No this isn't a bug. We have files larger than 50GB so if we didn't allow this you would never be able to download them. However, you won't be able to start a new download until your quota has some allowance left. This may take longer than 24 hours depending how far over your quota is.

Your average download amount will always average out at a maximum of 50GB per day.

Why is my quota less than 50GB?

You have had your quota limited because you broke our fair usage policy. Usually we will give you a warning to adjust your downloading habits, but if you ignore them then we will limit your download quota to protect our other users.

You may appeal a reduction in your quota by speaking to Andy or mrpijey on the forum.

Error Messages

Error 401 - Unauthorised

Your download token was not valid. Ensure that it is correct, has not expired, has not exceeded the number of connections (DL count), and the IP lock is valid.

Error 404 - Not Found

The file you were looking for could not be found. This usually happens if our database has not been updated after a directory or filename change. These changes are automatic within 24 hours, but sometimes we need to make manual corrections. Let us know if you have this issue and we'll investigate. (In future these errors will be automatically reported to us).

Error 500 - Internal Server Error

There was a server error on our side. These are usually temporary and resolve themselves quickly, but if it continues for more than 30 minutes, drop us a message.

Error 504 - Gateway Timeout

Something went wrong when we tried to connect you to our archive. This is often temporary, but do let us know if you get this error so we can resolve it quickly.

Fair Usage Policy

Over recent years, BetaArchive has unfortunately been forced to implement a fair usage policy on the download system.

The reason for this is because a small percentage of BetaArchive users do not play fair when it comes to downloading from the archive. These users are the reason that we first introduced the 50GB/day average download limit, and then later the addition of the fair usage policy.

In order to protect our infrastructure from abuse by a minority of users, which then impacts those who do play fair, we have had to put in place the following policies:

  • We monitor each user's daily download amount.
  • We limit download quota to an average of 50GB/day per user.
  • We terminate a users access to the archive if they regularly download near the maximum quota over a period of time (usually weeks) and ignore our warnings.

To avoid being hit by our fair usage policy, you should:

  • Download files for personal consumption only.
  • Not attempt to mirror all data (this would take a long time even if you tried).
  • Refrain from hitting near the 50GB/day quota regularly.
  • Take immediate action if you get a warning from a site admin.

Whilst we have rarely needed to take action on any account as a result of this policy, we should mention that any user can have archive access limited or removed without prior warning if the fair usage policy is broken. You may appeal such an action, but it is unlikely that our decision will be reversed if you have ignored warnings.

We have no plans to change the allowed daily quota or our fair usage policy in the near future, but as our infrastructure evolves changes may be possible. Obviously we never want to impose limits on any users, so please don't give us a reason to enforce the guidelines above.

Please remember, BetaArchive is a free service and bandwidth is limited. Play fair so that all users have an equal opportunity to download and enjoy the archive.

Cold Storage

Why are some releases unavailable to download?

We have some releases which are unavailable to download when their release date is in the future.

We don't release all files immediately because we have specific criteria that we follow to ensure that the original author is not impacted by our archive.

These criteria a release must meet includes (but is not restricted to):

  • The time since release is 10 years or more
  • Existing product support has ended
  • There are no more OEM sales of the product

Releases will become available to download on their listed release date.

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