Running the Tor client on Microsoft Windows
Note that these are the installation instructions for running a Tor client. The easiest way to do this is to simply download the Tor Browser Bundle and you are done.
Note that these are the installation instructions for running a Tor client on Microsoft Windows (XP, Vista, 7, and Server Editions). If you want to relay traffic for others to help the network grow (please do), read the Configuring a relay guide.
Freedom House has produced a video on how to install Tor. You can view it at How to install Tor on Windows. Know of a better video, or one translated into your language? Let us know!
The Vidalia Bundle for Windows contains Tor, Vidalia (a GUI for Tor), and Torbutton (a plugin for Mozilla Firefox) packaged into one bundle, with the three applications pre-configured to work together. Download either the stable or the experimental version of the Vidalia Bundle, or look for more options on the download page.
If you have previously installed Tor and Vidalia you can deselect whichever components you do not need to install in the dialog shown below.
After you have completed the installer, the components you selected will automatically be started for you.
Tor comes configured as a client by default. It uses a built-in default configuration file, and most people won't need to change any of the settings. Tor is now installed.
After installing Tor, you need to configure your applications to use them. The first step is to set up web browsing.
You should use Tor with Firefox and Torbutton, for best safety. The bundle installs the Torbutton plugin for you. Restart your Firefox, and you're all set:
If you plan to run Firefox on a different computer than Tor, see the FAQ entry for running Tor on a different computer.
To use SOCKS directly (for instant messaging, Jabber, IRC, etc), you can point your application directly at Tor (localhost port 9050), but see this FAQ entry for why this may be dangerous. For applications that support neither SOCKS nor HTTP, take a look at SocksCap or FreeCap. (FreeCap is free software; SocksCap is proprietary.)
For information on how to Torify other applications, check out the Torify HOWTO.
Check to see that Vidalia is running. Vidalia uses a small green onion to indicate Tor is running or a dark onion with a red "X" when Tor is not running. You can start or stop Tor by right-clicking on Vidalia's icon in your system tray and selecting "Start" or "Stop" from the menu as shown below:
Next, you should try using your browser with Tor and make sure that your IP address is being anonymized. Click on the Tor detector and see whether it thinks you're using Tor or not. (If that site is down, see this FAQ entry for more suggestions on how to test your Tor.)
If you have a personal firewall that limits your computer's ability to connect to itself, be sure to allow connections from your local applications to local port 9050. If your firewall blocks outgoing connections, punch a hole so it can connect to at least TCP ports 80 and 443, and then see this FAQ entry.
If it's still not working, look at this FAQ entry for hints.
Once it's working, learn more about what Tor does and does not offer.
The Tor network relies on volunteers to donate bandwidth. The more people who run relays, the faster the Tor network will be. If you have at least 20 kilobytes/s each way, please help out Tor by configuring your Tor to be a relay too. We have many features that make Tor relays easy and convenient, including rate limiting for bandwidth, exit policies so you can limit your exposure to abuse complaints, and support for dynamic IP addresses.
Having relays in many different places on the Internet is what makes Tor users secure. You may also get stronger anonymity yourself, since remote sites can't know whether connections originated at your computer or were relayed from others.
Read more at our Configuring a relay guide.
If you have suggestions for improving this document, please send them to us. Thanks!