SETI@home Work Unit Buffering

by Mike Bader

was from Terry Lee

Terry Lee

modifications by Mike Bader for WindowsME, WindowsXP, and Windows2003 etc.

Current version:  SETIBuf version 3.0.8

Release Date:  May 14, 2003

SETIBuf is a set of *.bat files and instructions, created by Terry Lee.  They are offered on an as-is basis without charge, and may be freely redistributed as long as the integrity of the installation package is preserved.  If you wish to distribute SETIBuf with modifications, please include the unaltered file along with your modifications in your own package, and call it anything other than SETIBuf.

The batch files provided use SETIWatch 4.1.11 and SETILog 3.2 from Mark Loukko to log completed Work Units and display running and completed Work Units (because they are such nice tools!).  However, instructions for doing the work unit buffering without using these programs are part of the SETIBuf.doc document.

IMPORTANT:  The SETI@home command-line client may not run on Windows 95.  You should be running Windows 98, WindowsME, Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000, WindowsXP, Windows2003 in order to use the command-line client or this procedure.  If you are running Windows 95 and do not wish to upgrade, then you can use the SETI@home GUI (screen-saver) version. If you wish to try Windows95, there are several versions of Windows95. Try later than version 4.00.950. 7-11-95 and install the Microsoft Winsock2. Windows95 version dated 8-24-96 appears to work.

Legal Notice

Use SETIBuf at your own risk!  No one connected with the creation of SETIBuf can be held responsible or liable, in any way, for lost work units or for any incidental, indirect, or consequential damages whatsoever (including, without limitation, damages for loss of business profits, business interruption, loss of business information, or any other pecuniary loss) arising out of the use of or inability to use SETIBuf.

General Description:

One Work Unit (WU) is kept in each of the active 1 thru 9 folders. 

To keep any of the 9 folders from participating in the Work Unit cycle, rename the SETI.ok file it contains to  To reactivate such a deactivated folder, rename the file to SETI.ok.  The original distribution files have folders 1 thru 9 activated; if upgrading or reinstalling, this scheme retains the settings you currently have.  By renaming the SETI.ok/ files in those folders according to the above scheme, you can control the size of your work unit buffer.  WU sending/downloading/processing will only be performed if there is a SETI.ok file present and there is not a file present.

To stop a running SETI instance at any time:

  1. Restore the window if it is minimized
  2. Type CTRL+C
  3. Reply Y to the 'Terminate batch job (Y/N)?' prompt

To stop processing on one WU and move on to the next WU folder:

  1. Restore the window if it is minimized
  2. Type CTRL+C
  3. Reply N to the 'Terminate batch job (Y/N)?' prompt

When you try to reboot a Win98 computer with a SETI instance running, you will get a message box that advises you that Windows cannot stop the process.  Proceed as follows:

  1. Press the OK button. The SETI window will restore if it is minimized
  2. Type CTRL+C
  3. Reply Y to the 'Terminate batch job (Y/N)?' prompt

Whenever SETI.bat is started, it first checks all the activated buffers, sending in any completed Work Units and replacing any sent in with new ones, and filling any empty buffers.  After all the activated buffers have been filled, it then begins processing at the point where processing was last interrupted.  If no process was interrupted, it begins with the lowest-numbered active folder.

Whenever a WU is completed, all the activated buffers are checked again, and refilled as required.  Following the buffer filling, the WU processing resumes with the WU in the next activated folder.  This way, the maximum number of work units will always be available.

If you wish to connect to SETI@home manually instead of automatically, rename the AutoDial.ok file in the SETI directory to, and use SETICall.bat to send in all completed work units and refill all WU Buffers.  You can also use SETICall.bat to send/refresh any buffers which were not automatically filled due to connection problems.

Additional processing scenarios are supported. See SETIBuf.doc for details.

Multiple concurrent Work Units (for machines with multiple processors) are supported by SETIBuf.  Full instructions are included in SETIBuf.doc.

Files and Documents:
Download the full package, including installation and usage instructions.
Download the installation and usage instructions only, in case you want to read it without the whole package.  This document is in Word 97 format.  If you do not have a program which can open such a document, then obtain the Microsoft Word 97/2000 Viewer (32-bit) from
Quick Start
My friend Ray (Raymond J Hallquist) has created a set of Quick Start instructions, which you may find useful.
Mike Bader