The company FrontCode developed this software as a client for the Open Nap
network, just like the old Napster. After the Shut down of Napster and
Scour, WinMX was the survivor and collected some of the broken pieces
from the big Napster crash.
One of it's bigger goodies was the ability to connect to different
servers simultaneously. This is called "Swarm-Download" these
days. Files are downloaded in little chunks from different locations
May 2001 It changed to a proprietary protocol named WinXP Peer
Network Protocol (WPNP). It changed several times according to
the different updates, what made it hard for other client
applications like Lopster to keep pace.
Another plus point was the complete absence of spy- and
Until mid-2002 the amount of simultaneous users
had reached the 1.5 million mark. It had a real community with
user forums and ongoing development of the software.
This changed in 2003 without evident reason. From
mid 2003 no update or improvement has been made to WinMX. Neither the
network itself nor the client software have been updated.
After some minor improvements in summer 2004
nothing happened any more. No updates, no more improvements, nothing.
Despite that, it still had it's community of heavy users.
On 20 September 2005 the homepage and the all important central
servers have been shut down under legal pressure from the Recording Industry Association of
As the structure of the WPNP needed the centralized
host cache servers, the whole network was
dead until a dedicated group of users, "The Source Code",
has developed a host file that allows clients to connect to the network
Already at the 25 September 2005, users were able to download a working
software patch for WinMX from two websites known as
WinMX Group and
Vladd44. These patches let
WinMX look up the new peer caches set up by WinMX users, instead of the
central servers that have been shut down.
This is the procedure in case you want to try.
1. Get the new host file from:
2. Now replace the "hosts" file in the following directories:
For Windows 95/98/Me: c:\windows\hosts
For Windows NT/2000/XP-Pro: c:\winnt\system32\drivers\etc\hosts
For Windows XP-Home:
3. For Win2k & XP users it may be necessary to use the
command "ipconfig /flushdns" from the command prompt.
4. Now, open the software and try to connect with primary connection!
While these patches seem to work pretty well, the future for WinMX is
probably doomed already. Because it's a closed P2P network, no alternative clients
could be developed and no source code is available to program future versions of
Despite the common efforts of it's users, especially the Italian
community, it seems to be inevitable that the whole network fades away
sooner or later.
It's rather surprising that this network is still alive.
We will see how the thread of legal actions affect the Peer-to-peer
file sharing business as a whole and how many other p2p services will follow the
destiny of WinMX.