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Note: I strongly advise using the FAH client version. This FAQ does not cover many screensaver-related issues.


  • FAH - Folding At Home.
  • GUI - Graphical client.
  • WU - a Work Unit.

Folding At Home FAQ

Getting started.

How fast does my machine need to be?

Well, it all depends on how much you'll be folding. Because of the time limit for proteins being returned, which is anywhere from 15-45 days. I'd advise that you shouldn't fold with anything less than a 600MHz machine.

I have a modem. Can I still participate?

Sure! You can go into your Windows settings and edit your modem's settings to Connect As Needed or some such thing.

If your modem is dialing in the middle of the night, and the beeping bothers you, add the "m0" setting to your additional settings area of your modem. that will turn the beeping off, as well as the screeching of the 2 modems connecting.

Any recommendations about installing FAH?

Install the program from the Folding website. Make sure you enter your Username and Team Name correctly!

Also, I suggest using the console and not the screensaver. Modern monitors don't suffer the "burn-in" of old monitors, so screensavers are not necessary.

The console, either the graphical client, or the no-nonsense console are the true workhorses of FAH. They'll do more work!

Hardware questions.

How do I set up folding on a dual processor?

Easy as pie, if you're not running the screensaver. The screensaver will only run on 1 processor!

Anyway, install it twice into two different directories, and then during the questions, set one console as Machine #1, and the other console as Machine #2. That's it!

How do I set up folding on more than 1 computer?

Basically, just install them on the 2 different computers as usual. They should both get a unique ID number. If you're truly worried about it, set one as Machine #1, and the other as Machine #2, but you shouldn't have to do this.

I have 6 computers, but only 2 IP addresses....

Get a proxy server.

Choose one of your computers to be the server. Plug 2 network cards into this server, and install the proxy server software. Set up your server like this:

Card 1: Set it up as normal to be able to get onto the internet. This is your card to connect there.

Card 2: This one goes to the hub. Give it the TCP/IP protocol, and set it's IP address to Done! Go to your other computers, and set them up as, and so on. Also, on your other computers, set up as your Gateway. You'll see the tab.
Don't forget hat if you want to surf the web, you have to go to your properties for your browser, and select Proxy Server.

Oh, all SubNet masks should be, and disable WINS resolution.

Which is better, AMD or Intel?

AMD, for now. Their processors do more floating point operations than their Intel counterparts.

However, times are changing. Intel has some good instructions on their CPUs that are starting to mature, so we'll see! It's been this way for a few years now.

Will this destroy my CPU?

Nope. Some say the lifespan of a CPU is 10 years minimum. Folding will not make a difference, especially considering your CPU, no matter how good it is now, will be worth $40 in 2 years.

Some also say that when you buy a new computer, having a 100% load on the CPU is a good thing for a few weeks. They call it "burn-in" and some swear that it speeds their CPUs up. I can't say it's true or false. No idea.

Of course, overclockers should consider that Folding will generate more heat because the CPU is working at 100%, so make sure you have a good heatsink!

Can I use RAMdrive? What is RAMdrive?

RAMdrive is basically a pretend hard drive that uses RAM instead of an actual HD.

There's been interest in using RAMdrive for FAH so that the computer's hard drive can actually power down when you're not using it. This is good. But there's drawbacks to RAMdrive.

If your computer crashes, locks, or the power goes out, you lose all the information on RAMdrive. You have to start fresh.

I personally use RAMdrive on my computer. I find that I like the quiet that comes along with it, but it's not for everyone! You need to have a really stable system.

Installing RAMdrive? Right now, you need probably 15MB of RAM. Well, Windows NT does not have power management, but it does have a RAMdrive running as a SERVICE. It's 32MB and you just click it on or off.

Windows 9X has ramdrive included in the software, but it doesn't allow for long filenames, so you need to find a third party program. I use XMSDSK, which is readily available online. Go to yahoo and type that in. You'll find it.

Unfortunately, this is just a FAQ, so email me if you have problems!

Overclocking? Undervolting?

Your computer has a heartbeat. It beats in MHz. So, the faster your computer clicks, the more work it's doing. Overclocking is where you increase the speed that your computer works. It's hard nowdays to do this, but one easy way is increasing the bus multiplier, the basic heartbeat. My computer runs at 333MHz, but I could increase it to 350. Unfortunately, system stability decreases to the point that your computer will no longer run! Caution! You can do damage doing this as well! See for details on overclocking.

As for undervolting, you should know that your computer's pacemaker runs on energy. As a person who doesn't like spending large amounts on an electricity bill, an option we have is to undervolt, which means turning down the signal to the heart. In reality, instead of the CPU running at say, 1.8v, it'll run at 1.75v, which is cheaper in the long run. Of course, you MAY make the system unstable, especially since FAH makes your system run at 100%. So test, and be warned :)

Other topics.

Can I get a virus?

I'd believe it to be impossible, or nearly impossible. Since I know a bit about computers, I know how viruses move, and I don't see it.

Can people use FAH to hack my system?

If you go to the Stanford site, and download their program, it's highly doubtful anyone could get in that way.