The New Tech-Forums Folding@Home Guide


Golden Master
In Gov't Regulated Cubical
First off, what is Folding at Home? If you don't know check out the Folding at Home website Folding@home - Main

But to summarize the Stanford FAQ Folding@home - FAQ-main

“Folding@home is a distributed computing project, that very simply stated, studies protein folding and misfolding. Protein folding is explained in more detail in the scientific background section
Protein folding is linked to disease, such as Alzheimer's, ALS, Huntington's, Parkinson's disease, and many Cancers.
Moreover, when proteins do not fold correctly (i.e. "misfold"), there can be serious consequences, including many well known diseases, such as Alzheimer's, Mad Cow (BSE), CJD, ALS, Huntington's, Parkinson's disease, and many Cancers and cancer-related syndromes.

What is protein folding?

Proteins are biology's workhorses -- its "nanomachines." Before proteins can carry out these important functions, they assemble themselves, or "fold." The process of protein folding, while critical and fundamental to virtually all of biology, in many ways remains a mystery..”


Guide to Getting Started with F@H


Which client is best for you, and how to get them running
How to monitor each client's progress
Where and how to find your folding statistics
Risks of Overclocking and Folding/Stability/Increased Heat


Passkeys are used for 2 reasons. The first reason is for security. The passkey ties your points submitted under your username to you. Usernames are not unique and so anyone can fold under your name. In a previous incident, a bot net was used. ALL the points submitted were deleted had your name been on the list, your points would have gone too.

The second use of a Passkey is for qualifying for bonus point programs. As seen below can make a 481pt unit worth 3000 to 4000 points.

Which client is best for you, and how to get them running

There is 2 ways to process data, aka "Fold". The first way is to use you CPU to do the work, like it would any other process. The second way is to use your video card to process the data. Newer video cards now have the ability to process simple data just like a CPU does.

And YES, you can do both at the same time.

There are 2 ways to get the following clients working. Manually, i.e. install the clients manually, and tailor them exactly how you wish, or use the easy to use GUI app called FAH GPU Tracker V2.

You can download the program here: FAH GPU Tracker V2 - Home

[FAH GPU Tracker V2 has, thus far, proven to be a simple way to run multiple clients through a single interface. I use it to handle both my SMP and GPU clients and have had no problems whatsoever from it. It even detects when I launch a game and stops both clients until I close the game. I can heartily recommend it. ~Trotter]

Continue reading below to decide which program will run best on your systems, and learn how to set up the clients manually.

-The CPU Client

The CPU clients can be done by any modern system, and has been active for over 10 years. These clients and cores use your CPU to process the data however there are 3 different types of work that is processed, but have different hardware requirements

The 3 types of work that can be done by the CPU are:

Classic Uni-core
SMP (multi-core)
SMP Big Advanced

Classic Uni-core client:

Run this if:
-You have your computer on for a few hours a day or have a slower processor.
-These have 45 to 60 day deadlines.
-okay points, Units are low in point value. 69-700pts

SMP Client:

Run this if:
-You have a strong dual/tri/quad core processor
-Your computer is on for all/most of the day
-These have 3 to 4 day deadlines
-Good points. 481 to 921pts per WU
-Qualify for speed related bonus points. Makes the pts worth 3400pts

Big Advanced SMP work units:

Run this if:
-You have a 8 or more core system that is always on.
-3 day deadlines
-Great points. 8000pts per WU
-Qualify for speed related bonus points. Makes these worth 70,000pts or more.


There is 2 ways to run the cpu client. First is via a console or by an installed systems tray app. Only the unicore work can be run as a systems tray application. You can d/l the installer from Here: Folding@home - Download the Folding@home software application
It's as easy as installing any other program, and the Official install guide can be found here: Folding@home - WinUNIGuide

With the latest version of the CPU client (version 6.32) all 3 of the CPU types are run from it. However, this is a console/cmd line program. The client can be Download from Stanford's Website here:
Yes it says win32 but it still works fine on 64bit systems.

The install is a lot different than the unicore, as it is just downloaded to a folder, extracted then run via the command window.
The best “How to” is from the Stanford website and can be found here:
Folding@home - WinSMPGuide

The most note worthy points of running the console client are setting the proper flags.
The flags control what type of work will be done, how many cores will be used, and the amount of error reporting.

These flags can be set in 2 ways. Via the startup executable or in the config of the client.

The easiest way to set the flags is to use a shortcut to run the cmd line exe.
By creating a shortcut of the original exe, the target path can have the flags placed there.

Eg: “F@H.exe” –smp 4 –verbosity 9

In the above, the –smp says to start working a smp type work using 4 cores and verbosity 9 is the error reporting level.
Side note, the 4 can be any number upto the amount of cores in your system. For an i7 it can be between 2 and 8.

The other way to set the flags is to add them to the client configuration.

When configuring the SMP Client and it asks you whether or not to change the advanced settings, be sure to type yes, it is here where you are asked for extra parameters, which are the flags.

Both of these methods can be seen in the Stanford official setup.

To run the Big Advanced work units is quite easy. All you do is add the flag –Bigadv to the startup.
Once again… These units are designed for 8 or more threaded cpus, and have very short time limits for 4 days.

Other Notes:
When asked about work unit size, be sure to select BIG to run the smp (It will offer small, normal, big).

The F@H folder doesn't like being put into the Program Files directory, so I would recommend that you place it in another location (eg. Make a folder for it in your User directory or its own directory in C:)

-The GPU Clients

Clients that use your video card's processing power. Unlike CPU setups, there is only 1 type of work, which makes deciding fairly simple.

Run this client if:
-You have an ATI 2xxx or newer graphics card, or
-An Nvidia 8xxx or newer card (any card that supports CUDA).

Basically the better the card the faster it will run. However, due to the programming, Nvidia cards are top producing cards, with lower end cards producing more work than a higher end ATI/AMD card.

There are currently 2 gpu clients available. GPU2 and GPU3. GPU3 is the newest client, however due to unstable work, gtx200 cards are better off using the GPU2 client. All other card types are best off using the GPU3 clients.

Run GPU3 if you have: 8 & 9 series Nvidia cards and all Fermi cards. All AMD/ATI cards
Run GPU2 if you have : gtx 260/275/280/295

-These do not like to share the gpu processor, so if you do graphic intense activities, like gaming, it's advisable to shut down/pause the client.
-The units are small, and take only a couple hours to complete.


-Download here Folding@home - DownloadWinOther . Select either the system tray or console client, the console client is a bit more of a hassle to work with but has the option of being run as a service.

-Follow installation instructions here (Folding@home - WinGPUGuide). Folding@home - WinGPUGuide

-Folding + Gaming at the same time = bad. If you want to play a game pause F@H, doing both at the same time can cause stability issues.
-If using 2 or more GPU's, follow the Multi-GPU instructions. Stanford advises that, if using Win Vista/7, you need to either have a monitor connected to each card or have a VGA dummy plug to fold with 2+ GPU's. A guide on making a dummy plug can be found here (The 30 Second Dummy Plug - -[ The 30 Second Dummy Plug - - ]
-If you are folding with ATI: ATI uses a lot more CPU than Nvidia does and can cause slow downs if you are using your CPU to fold also. Check out this page [ FAH-Addict : Articles - GPU environment variables ] about minimizing CPU usage using environmental variables.


You will need one of the 2 common monitoring tools:
-FahMon [ Home | FahMon ] or HFM.NET [ hfm-net - Project Hosting on Google Code ]

-Download and install/extract either programs.
-Once you have the monitoring window open, go to the "Clients" tab and click "Add a new Client." You will be asked for a name and location of the log file.
-Choose the name to be whatever you like, and for location click the "..." button and navigate to the directory of your F@H client.
-For GPU clients, an easy way (for the system tray client) is to locate the F@H icon in your taskbar, right cick->status->logfile and copy the launch directory into the location box..
-If running an smp client, the bonus needs to be calculated to get a better idea of the points produced. In the setup/preferences, Calculate ppd bonus must be checked.

--Your Folding Stats--

-There are a couple of sites that host stats for F@H, these are:
Official Stats: Folding@home - Stats
Extreme Overclock: News and Updates - EXTREME Overclocking Folding @ Home Stats
Kakao Stats: Kakao Stats - Teams Ranking

-Simply enter your username and click search.

--Notes on Overclocking/Heat/Stability--

-Something to note when overclocking and folding is that just because your overclock is LinX, Prime95 and OCCT stable, does NOT mean it will be for F@H. F@H stresses the CPU more than any of those programs so if you want to overclock and fold, use F@H as your 24/7 clock test, NOT Linx/Prime/OCCT.
Stresscpu is a gromac based stress program very much like Folding. If you are stable using it, the OC is most likely stable.
It can be downloaded here: Folding@home - DownloadUtils

-Because folding is very intensive (both on CPU and GPU) you way want to upgrade your heatsink (really only an issue when overclocking) or turn up the fan speed on your video card. GPU's tend to get pretty hot when folding on stock fan speed.
-Again because F@H is very intensive and bogs down the rest of your system, if you are going to play a game/run another intensive program I suggest that you pause F@H.

That's It!!! Happy Folding!!!

If you need additional help or have questions, post in the F@H forum.
It is best to post the log of the client when having an issue. Copy and paste the log into the post using code tags. [code] [/code]

Tech-Forums Folding Team number is 12864. hint, hint.


Grandfather of Techist, , ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Staff member
The South
I copied the Word document into the post and added the formatting. Patonb did all the writing (except for my blurb in red).


Daemon Poster
i may have missed this in there some place. but do you get paid for letting them use your computer? i did see where you get points, but does that exchange for cash, or games, or ???? of are you doing this for mankind's benefit? nothing wrong with that at all. but to do this i would need to modify my machine some.

PP Mguire

Build Guru
Fort Worth, Texas
i may have missed this in there some place. but do you get paid for letting them use your computer? i did see where you get points, but does that exchange for cash, or games, or ???? of are you doing this for mankind's benefit? nothing wrong with that at all. but to do this i would need to modify my machine some.
You do it for science. Cryptocurrency mining is done for money.