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Getting Started – Sign up for BOINC and download the software

You can sign up to participate in BOINC and download the software here:

There are two ways to sign up:

1. If you had an account in the original SETI@Home Classic project as of 14th May 2004

The folks at Berkeley took a snapshot of all the original SETI@Home accounts on 14th May 2004. If you had an account in the original SETI@Home Classic project as of 14th May 2004 then your account information, including profile and team information, has been transfered to the BOINC project. You now need to activate that account.

You will be asked to enter the e-mail address of your original SETI@Home account. Your new 32 character BOINC account ID will then be e-mailed to that address and you are required to enter it on the activation web page in order to activate your BOINC account. (This is not the same as your original SETI@Home password ID)


If you no longer have access to your e-mail account used to set up your original SETI@Home account then you'll need to set up a new BOINC account

You will then be taken through the settings page (the defaults should be OK for most users) and onto the download page. Download and run the installer for your operating system (Windows, Mac OS/X, Linux or Solaris). When BOINC first runs it will ask for a project URL and an account key. Enter the following to run the SETI@Home project (you can add other projects later):

Project URL:
Account Key: this is the 32 character account ID that was just e-mailed to you (keep this somewhere safe).

BOINC will now try to connect to the project entered. Assuming you chose the SETI@Home project URL, it will first automatically download the latest SETI@Home client and launch it. It will then start to download work units and start processing them.

2. If you wish to set up a new BOINC account

You may set up a new BOINC SETI account here. Using this link will create an account that is automatically a member of this team (the SETI Team). The rest of the procedure should be similar to that described in (1) except that you will provide a new e-mail address for your new account.

How to cache work units

Unlike classic SETI, BOINC has the facility to cache SETI work units built in so there is no need for additional add-on utilities.

Go to the BOINC home page and click on Your Account , and view Preferences General and edit the value for Connect to network about every X days .

This may be set to between 0.1 and 7 days. This setting controls how often BOINC will connect to the servers to request more work and how many days work will be cached on your machine. It appears to work on a min/max basis where the maximum is twice the minimum. So, for example, if set to 1 day it will cache between 1 and 2 days worth of work; if set to 7 days, it will cache between 7 and 14 days worth of work.

The maximum setting of 7 days, giving a maximum of 14 days worth of work, is derived from the fact that work units expire after 14 days. There is a trade off to be reached in ensuring that you cache sufficient work in case the servers are unavailable, but not too much work so that units expire before they are due to be returned. There is also a download limit of 50 work units per day maximum so very fast machines may never achieve a full 14 days worth of work.