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    Moderator VJ's Avatar
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    Mar 2001

    Lightbulb BOINC: setting up an offline machine


    How to use a computer that doesn't have an internet connection to perform calculations (and have you trickles count)?

    A. The requirements
    [list=1][*]a computer with network access (hereafter referred to as PC1)[*]one (or more) computers without network access (referred to as PCx)[*]a means of transferring data from one PC to another (CD/DVD/USB storage/...) (removable storage)[/list=1]
    We will call the folder where BOINC is installed (d:\program files\boinc) the BOINC folder.
    For the next steps, we assume that you have registered at BOINC and downloaded a client.

    B. Configuration
    [list=1][*]Install a boinc client on PC1. This PC can now start working, but it doesn't really matter.[*]Install a boinc client on PCx. note: on both PCs I have installed it on my d: drive, I'm not sure if the procedure works if you use different driveletters on both computers. [/list=1]

    C. Downloading workunits, uploading results
    [list=1][*] stop the client on PCx (exit !)[*]make a backup of the BOINC-folder of PCx (i.e. rename it to boinc_remote), and copy it to the removable storage (any crunching on PCx after this point will be lost).[*]stop the client on PC1 (exit !)[*]rename the BOINC-folder of PC1 to something else (i.e. boinc_local)[*]copy the boinc_remote folder from the removable storage to PC1, so that it becomes the new BOINC folder[*]start the client on PC1[/list=3]
    It will now connect to the server, and download workunits. To the server, this will be a different computer with the same specifications and IP adres (regardless of the specs of the PC you will run it on).

    Adjust the general settings of the BOINC client to your liking. Important things:
    • <s>set the 'work when user is active' to yes (you'll have to suspend manually). </s>edit: Set it to whatever you like.
    • if you set the time the computer will not connect to the network too long, it could download additional workunits.

    When the download is completed, and PC1 is calculting (notice it has the same id as PC2), stop the BOINC client and exit.

    D. Restoring the clients on the different computers
    [list=1][*]move the current BOINC-folder from PC1 to the removable storage[*]restore the backup made in step 5 (rename 'boinc_local' to 'boinc')[*]move the BOINC-folder from the removable storage to PC2[/list=1]
    If you start BOINC on PC1, it will continue where you stopped it in step B3.
    Starting BOINC on PC2 will cause it to continue its workunits (don't forget to disable network access, this must be done every time).
    If everything works, you can delete the backups.

    E. Remarks
    • When uploading the data from the non-networked computer (step 7), it is possible that the server thinks you are connecting a new client. Simply merge the two clients that represent the same computer to restore this.
    • it is important that you never merge the different boinc folders. So if in the above steps you have to copy a folder from location to another, make sure the target folder doesn't contain any files
    • if you use CD or DVD as medium, make sure that the boinc folder and the files are not readonly when coping from the media to your harddisk
    • the boinc-folder zips very well
    • to upload data at various intervals (this procedure keeps count of your credits), you have to perform the procedure described in C and D. The client will automatically connect and upload.
    • if in the general settings you have set a relatively large time between network connects, it is possible that a new workunit will be downloaded before the old one has finished.
    • machine architecture appears not to be a problem (my PC2 is a dual Xeon, my PC1 is a P4), but it could lead to incorrect estimates of the total time a workunit will take.

    Best of luck!

    Last edited by VJ; 29th November 2004 at 07:43.
    Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die tomorrow. (James Dean)

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