Running the Tor client on Microsoft Windows
Note that these are advanced installation instructions for running Tor. If you want to use Tor just for anonymous web browsing, simply download the Tor Browser Bundle and you are done.
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 Bundles for Windows contain Tor and Vidalia (a graphical user interface for Tor). They come in different flavors, preconfigured for a convenient setup: The Relay bundle is set to forward traffic for other Tor users, the Bridge bundle turns your computer into a bridge. Apart from that preconfiguration, all Vidalia bundles are the same and can easily be reconfigured.
For anonymous web browsing, please use Tor Browser and not one of the Vidalia bundles. If you want to use Tor as a client for other applications, download one of the Vidalia bundles and turn it into a client (Settings -> Sharing -> Run as a client only).
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.
If you want to use Tor for anonymous web browsing, please use the Tor Browser Bundle. It comes with readily configured Tor and a browser patched for better anonymity. To use SOCKS directly (for instant messaging, Jabber, IRC, etc), you can point your application at Tor (localhost port 9050), but see this FAQ entry for why this may be dangerous. For applications with HTTP proxy support, but no support for Tor's SOCKS proxy, try polipo. 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:
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 50 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!