• Welcome to Overclockers Forums! Join us to reply in threads, receive reduced ads, and to customize your site experience!

Instructions for Installing and Optimizing BOINC for Windows

Overclockers is supported by our readers. When you click a link to make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn More.


May 7, 2006
Anywhere but there
:salute: Many thanks to Careface for writing this fine step-by-step Installation Guide! :thup:

SETI in 3 easy steps: Install, Attach, Optimize!
by Careface

1. Installing BOINC

  • 1a. Download the latest BOINC application from SETI@Home and "Save to disk".
  • 1b. Run the downloaded file, click next, accept the license agreement, then click next to continue.
  • 1c. On this page you can specify where to install BOINC and where BOINC keeps it's data files.
  • 1d. If you're satisfied with these options click next then "Install". Depending on your system this will take about a minute.
  • 1e. Check the "Run BOINC manager" box then click "Finish" to complete installation and open the BOINC Manager.
  • (Note: Some systems may require a restart before you can open the BOINC Manager. [Ed. QI])

2. Attaching to the SETI project

  • 2a. Click on Tools -> Attach to Project
  • 2b. Click next to take you to the "Choose a project" screen
  • 2c. Scroll down and select "SETI@home" from the list then click next to communicate with the project.
  • 2d. Now you put in your details - If you don't have an account, then fill out the email address and password fields and click next. If you're an existing user, click the "Yes, existing user" radio box and fill out your details and click next.
  • 2e. Congratulations! You're now attached to the project. Click Finish to get things started.
SETI@home will now download all the necessary files it needs to run (we call this a "stock" application), along with some raw telescope data to analyze (we call these "WUs", or "WorkUnits"). You can see the progress of the downloads under the "Transfers" Tab on the BOINC Manager. Wait until everything here has downloaded, then continue.

3. Optimizing your client

Now comes the fun part! Getting the most out of your SETI experience, and turning your PC into a SETI crunching beast! :mad::mad::burn:

3.1 Determining which type of CPU you have, and what instructions it supports
  • 3.1a Download cpuz from CPUID.com and "Save to disk".
  • 3.1b. Extract cpuz to the location of your choice (default is a desktop folder)
  • 3.1c. Open the new cpu-z folder and double click on cpuz.exe
  • 3.1d. The logo on the right side will either be an AMD logo, or an Intel logo. This is important for later
  • 3.1e. About 1/2 way down find the line titled "Instructions"
  • 3.1f. The instructions we are looking for are SSE, SSE2, SSSE3, and SSE4.1
  • 3.1g. Write down the largest supported SSE instruction listed. For instance, if you have SSE, SSE2, and SSE3, then SSE3 is the one you want to remember. If your CPU supports SSE3 and SSSE3 (note the extra "S"), then write down SSSE3. Close CPU-z
3.2 Determine what version of windows you're running
  • 3.2a. Click on Start on the taskbar
  • 3.2b. Right-click on "My Computer" and click "Properties"
  • 3.2c. Under "System" you'll see what version of windows you're running. If you're running Windows 98, or Windows ME, then note that down. If you're running Windows XP or Vista, then Simply note whether or not it says "Windows [version] x64 Edition" or simply "Windows [version]"

3.3 Downloading the correct version of the Optimizer
  • 3.3a. Go to the Lunatics download page and, based on what version of Windows you have (Windows x64 Edition, Windows 98 etc.), get the version that matches your windows version. For example, if you have Windows XP x64 edition, then download the "Win64 Lunatics' Unified Installer". If you have Windows 98, or Windows ME, then download "Win98me Lunatics' Unified Installer.
  • 3.3b. Save to disk.

We're nearly there, just a few more steps to go and you're all setup :)

3.4 Installing the Lunatics' Unified Installer
  • 3.4a. Stop the BOINC client by right-clicking on the BOINC icon (spiky ball icon in the task bar) and click "Snooze".
    Then right-click the icon again, and click Exit.
  • 3.4b. Locate where you saved the Installer and run it.
  • 3.4c. Click next and accept the User Agreement. This will take you to the Select Application screen.

Before we continue, if you would like to run SETI@home on your video card as well as (or instead of) your CPU, then take a slight detour and head to Step 4. :) Otherwise, continue on to step 3.4d.
  • 3.4d. Now it's time to get the right applications installed to your pc. Remember those things I got you to write down earlier about Instruction Sets (SSE, SSE2, SSSE3 etc.)? Now's the time to put that info to use. Select the highest level of SSE that your CPU supports, for both "AstroPulse v5.05 & .03 (CPU)" and "MultiBeam (CPU AKv8b)". For example, if your CPU supports SSE2, then select "SSE" from the AstroPulse section (as SSE3 is higher than what your CPU supports!), and select SSE2 from the MultiBeam section. If your CPU supports SSE3, then we need to remember what type of CPU you have (AMD or Intel) and select the appropriate box :)
NOTE: If you select SSE3 (Intel) and you in fact have an AMD CPU or vice versa, then the application will fail to run, so be careful! Also, unless you're going to run SETI@home on your video card, leave the "MultiBeam (Cuda)" box down at the bottom UNCHECKED.
  • 3.4e. Once you've selected the applications you'd like to install, click next.
  • 3.4f. In case you've installed BOINC differently to how this guide suggested, simply click Install. If you've installed BOINC to a different location, then you'll need to change the Install Destination Folder to where you installed the BOINC data files, then click Install.
  • 3.4g. Restart the BOINC manager by clicking Start -> All Programs -> BOINC -> BOINC Manager

Checking your installation
As a final check on your installation take a look at the Window's Task Manager Processes tab while BOINC is running and you should see the optimized apps that you've just installed. Since installations and components are so varied the only thing I can say as a general rule is, check the version of the apps ("setiathome_ ..." is the basic app, not optimized!) and make sure they have a non-zero value in the CPU column. If the new apps are not listed or have a zero CPU value then exit BOINC completely and restart to see if that resolves the issue.

Joining the Overclockers.com SETI Team
To join the Overclockers.com SETI Team open up the BOINC Manager and click on the "Your account" button in the left-most section to access your SETI@Home account screen. Look in the upper right-hand corner for "Team", click "Join a team", then choose "Overclockers.com". It will sometimes take a day for the change to show on the team roster but your account screen should show the change immediately. Welcome to the Team! :)

You're Done! Congratulations on getting everything setup. :clap: Now your PC is fully optimized and is ready to do some serious crunching! Remember to post on the forums how your setup is going, and just generally have a chat. We would love to hear from you! :)
Last edited:
Installation of CUDA

Running SETI@home on a CUDA (nVidia) capable video card
by Careface

Installing CUDA SETI to run with SETI CPU applications

1. Checking compatibility of your video card(s)
  • 1a. Download the latest version of GPU-z (not to be confused with CPU-z!) from TechPowerUp and "Save to disk".
  • 1b. Locate the downloaded GPU-z program and run it.
  • 1c. On the main screen under "Name" it will have the type of video card you run. Take a look at This list, and if your card name appears here, then congratulations! You're eligible. If your card name doesn't appear here, or you simply don't want to run SETI@home on your video card, then head back to Step 3.4d in post#1.
2. Installing the proper CUDA drivers

NOTE: If you are absolutely certain you have the most up-to-date drivers, then skip on down to Step 3.
  • 2a. On the same screen in GPU-z, have a look down the bottom of the screen to "Driver Version". As of October 4th, 2009, the latest driver is "ForceWare 190.62". If you already have these installed, then head to step 3, otherwise, read on.
  • 2b. Head on over to the nVidia download page and select the video card you have from the three drop down boxes. For example, if your GPU-z screen says "NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260" under "Name", then fill out the boxes like this: Product Type: GeForce Product Series: GeForce 200 series Product: GeForce GTX 260. Then select the Operating System you're using (remember the info you got from System Properties? It's that information), such as "Windows Vista 32bit", then select language, and click Search.
  • 2c. The results page from your search will bring up the latest drivers for your video card. Click on Download, and agree to the terms and conditions of the nVidia site, and save to disk.
  • 2d. Locate the saved file and run it.
  • 2e. Unless you have a special setup requirement, just install to the default location by clicking next
  • 2f. Click next once, the nVidia install screen comes up, then agree to the terms of condition. The drivers will install.
  • 2g. You can either choose to reboot now or later. If you reboot now, you'll need to to repeat steps 3.4a to 3.4c in post#1. Otherwise, just continue.
3. Installing the CUDA SETI application
  • 3a. Head back to the Lunatics' Unified Installer screen which should still be open.
    (If its not, reopen it by following steps 3.4a to 3.4d in post#1.)
  • 3b. Tick the box that says "MultiBeam (Cuda)" and click next
  • 3c. Unless you installed BOINC to a different location than what this guide suggests, just click "Install" to install to the default location, then click "Finish".

4. Optimizing the CUDA SETI application
Apparently Lunatics does not support CUDA optimization anymore since the previously published link is broken. If anybody has information as to why this is please let me know. :)
- QuietIce, 4 Jan 2011

Installing CUDA SETI without CPU SETI
(Running SETI on GPU only)

This is useful if you have a single core CPU, or you would like to dedicate your CPU to other projects, or simply because you only want your GPU to crunch!
  • 1. Installing latest drivers - complete all of Step 2, "Installing the proper CUDA drivers".
  • 2. If you are starting from scratch/fresh install complete steps 1a to 3.4c inclusive in post#1.
  • 3. In the Lunatics' Unified Installer UNTICK the "AstroPulse v5.05 & 5.03 (CPU)" and "MultiBeam (CPU AKv8b)" boxes
  • 4. Tick the "MultiBeam (Cuda)" box, and click next, then "Install".

Setting things up on the SETI site
  • 5. Go to SETI Account information -> SETI Resource share and graphics prefs
  • 6. Edit default settings and untick "Astropulse" and "Astropulse v5" under "run only these selected applications", leaving only "SETI@Home Enhanced" ticked
  • 7. Untick "Use Central Processing Unit (CPU)" and save preferences.
  • 8. Repeat steps 2 and 3 for any other profiles you may use (Home/Work/School)
  • 9. Restart the BOINC client
Any CPU WU still in progress will error out and be removed from the list, with a message similar to
"2/10/2009 1:59:21 a.m. SETI@home [error] No application found for task: windows_intelx86 603 ; discarding"

As a side note, it will still request CPU work, but will say "No work sent", and only GPU work will actually be downloaded.

Seriously, these CUDA cards are absolute beasts! Happy crunching! Remember to post on the forums how you find your SETI experience, or even just to say hello :) Always happy to hear from you!
Last edited:
Nice work QuietIce...I mean Careface! Vote number 1 for sticky :salute:
Last edited:
Nice work QuietIce! Vote number 1 for sticky :salute:

Agreed. Another vote for a sticky.

some of the stuff that's currently a sticky is a bit out dated.

Good job on the instructions. It's actually 10x easier than you make it look. With all the 1a 2a 3a 1b 2b stuff, you make it look like a much longer process than it really is. But it's pretty much perfect for a first time boinc / seti user who has no idea how to install the optimizations, Which is now MUCH easier and faster since lunatics made the unified installer.

and yes, these cuda cards are BEASTS. I'm ONLY crunching with 2 8800 GTS's ( CPU isn't crunching ), and I'm currently 28th on the team in terms of RAC. A more modern computer with a more modern video card(s) can pump out some serious RAC. And with Nvidia's 300 series approaching, prices should drop on the current cards. And once SETI can use ATI cards, I expect the RAC of many members to jump quite a bit! ( If seti can get ATI support before I upgrade, I'm buying an ATI. Right now, SETI is the SOLE factor that decides what video card I will eventually buy. )
Last edited:
+1 sticky!!

For Windows 7 and probably Vista, for post #2 section 4d it would be on C:/ProgramData/BOINC/projrcts/setiathome.berkeley.edu for the CUDA files. I can't remember if this was visible before I set to show hidden and system files.
Nice work QuietIce! Vote number 1 for sticky :salute:
Nice work Careface!!!

What, you guys don't read the by-line? *tsk-tsk* I posted this only because I'm working with the mods to update the stickies in the SETI section. Careface wrote all of it and made it this detailed at my request. I think he did a fantastic job! :beer:

As soon as Careface OK's the minor changes I've made this will replace both the installation and optimization stickies we now have ...
Last edited:
Eagerly awaiting, my 5870 is hungry!!!

Hehe. Hopefully it'll come soon - I know the general idea of what to do to get ATI cards going, but given that (as of this post) only astropulse is supported, and there's almost never any AP work to go around, I can't really test to see if its installed correctly!.... That and I don't have a supported ATI card. I have no doubt in my mind however that eventually we will see MB WU support for ATI, but it might be a while. Oh, also, we -might- get to see some more AP work soon ;) I hear that the guys at berkeley have nearly fixed corruptions in the AP tables that's been hampering WU production for the last few months. Good luck to them!

I'll see if I can pick up a cheap HD 2600 Pro or something from a local auction site in the next few days, but.. we'll see :rain:

Man, I'm loving these new emotes :) especially the rain one :)

Oh, and thanks guys for your support ^^, hopefully the thread can be of use to people at some stage :D
I don't really know too much about the ATi Computing thing. Is it going to make as big of a splash as CUDA? I've had some great success with ATi cards in the past, but for some reason I always wind up back in the arms of nVidia
ATi is supposed to be similar to CUDA. Unfortunately, no one has written SETI code for it as yet.

I do believe there's an ATi code/app from AMD that will let CPU stuff run on the GPU but I guess it doesn't work very well, as yet - at least not for crunching ... :-/
You're Done! Congratulations on getting everything setup. :clap: Now your PC is fully optimized and is ready to do some serious crunching! Remember to post on the forums how your setup is going, and just generally have a chat. We would love to hear from you! :)

Not sure if I did something wrong but a few questions...
1) How do I know if I installed it correctly? (i.e. version number in BIONC?)
2) BIONC does work now, but my CPU now runs hot. I had BIONC on 70% before and when I relaunched it my CPU jumped up 40 C (never breaking 40 to 80s).
3) Looking at task manger I notice that all 8 'CPUs' look like they are crunching, but it is erratic, low percent (0 to 6) then jumps of 80% every few secs.

I would like to really do some crunching when this build is not in use but afraid of burning the CPU out now. Since I have had this on even at low (10 to 20%) trigger CPU hot warnings (80+ C).

Intel i7 960
ASUS P6X58D Premium
6 GB DDR3 1600 RAM (running at 1600)
Radeon GPU

Thanks in advance,
Last edited:
1) Outside of checking the BOINC version number (under Help/About BOINC Manager) the only other thing I do is check Task Manager to see that the right number of apps are running (8? in your case) and to see that it's the right optimizer (AK_v8_SSE41 maybe?, depending on Windows version).

2) For the Intel heat related problems I'd start a thread in the Intel CPU section. SETI isn't the only thing that can overheat a computer and stressing the CPU to 100% load (with programs other than SETI or Folding) is SOP for any new build around here. The Intel CPU guys can lead you in the right direction to solving the heat problem.

3) That may or may not be related to your heat issue. For all we know the CPU could be throttling itself because it's overheating. Better to resolve that first then come back to this if you're still running erratically ...
Last edited:
Just installed new CPU fan/heatsink, looks like other one was defective, at 100% on all eight and ran it for some time with CPS temp never exceeding 71C.

Thanks for the help :)
4. Optimizing the CUDA SETI application

This is a fairly easy and quick process, so don't worry, not long to go!
  • 4a. First, if the BOINC client is running (spiky ball icon in the taskbar), right-click and "Snooze", then right-click again and "Exit"
  • 4b. Download the latest CUDA dlls from the Lunatics download page and "Save to disk".
  • 4c. Locate the zip file and open it
  • 4d. Now, navigate to where you installed the BOINC data files (it will be different for different versions of windows - for example, in Windows XP it is located at C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\BOINC\Projects\setiathome.berkeley.edu\. If you do not see these folders, then its likely they are hidden; Go to Tools -> Folder Options -> View -> and select "Show hidden files and folders" -> click OK)
  • 4e. You should see a number of files in this folder; The important ones are "cudart.dll" and "cufft.dll"
  • 4f. Drag the files out of the zip file you downloaded, and into the BOINC data folder. It will ask you if you want to replace the files, the answer is YES!
  • 4g. Restart the BOINC client by going to Start -> All Programs -> BOINC -> BOINC Manager

Windows does not recognize the compressed .dll files. What program do you use to uncompress them?