Background Intelligent Transfer Service

Definition of Background Intelligent Transfer Service

Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS) is a component of Microsoft Windows that enables the efficient and asynchronous transfer of files between machines using idle network bandwidth. As a non-disruptive service, it adjusts file transfer rates based on the availability of network resources, ensuring minimal impact on the user’s experience. Primarily used for software updates and downloads, BITS is particularly helpful in situations with intermittent or limited internet connectivity.


The phonetics of the keyword “Background Intelligent Transfer Service” is as follows:Background – /ˈbækɡraʊnd/Intelligent – /ɪnˈtɛlɪdʒənt/Transfer – /trænsˈfɜr/Service- /ˈsɜr.vɪs/

Key Takeaways

  1. Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS) is a Windows component that efficiently transfers large files or downloads in the background, using idle network bandwidth without interfering with the user’s computer performance.
  2. BITS supports built-in resume and recovery features that provide a reliable mechanism to handle disconnections, restarts, and errors during file transfers or downloads, thus ensuring the successful completion of those tasks.
  3. Common applications that utilize BITS include Windows Update, Windows Defender, and other Microsoft products that require large file transfers and updates, providing a seamless and efficient user experience.

Importance of Background Intelligent Transfer Service

The technology term Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS) is important because it enables the efficient and prioritized transfer of data between machines using idle network bandwidth.

This ensures minimal impact on regular network activities.

Developed by Microsoft, BITS is a crucial component for various services such as Windows Update, automatic deployment of application updates, and system diagnostics.

By incorporating asynchronous, peer-to-peer and prioritized data transfers, BITS helps maintain optimal system performance and security without hampering the user’s experience.

Additionally, it supports automatic data transfer resumption in case of network disruptions, making it a reliable and robust solution for data transfers in the background.


Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS) is a vital component in various scenarios where efficient data transfer is required, predominantly while operating with minimal interference on the user’s end. Its purpose is to facilitate the smooth exchange of files, particularly large ones, between systems by utilizing network bandwidth that is not being used actively.

This service comes in handy when running applications like software updates, application deployments, or system backups, ensuring that these tasks do not impede the user’s primary work on the device. One significant advantage of BITS is its adaptability in an array of network conditions; the service can automatically adjust the transfer speed based on network availability.

Moreover, it can resume interrupted file transfers from the point of breakage, a valuable feature for scenarios like intermittent network connections or planned pauses in data transfers. Various system administrators and software developers rely on BITS to optimize data transfer and improve the overall user experience in their applications.

By aiding the transfer of files while minimizing the user’s notice, BITS contributes to a more efficient and seamless computing environment.

Examples of Background Intelligent Transfer Service

Microsoft Windows Update: Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS) is a crucial component in the Microsoft Windows Update system. It enables the download and installation of critical security patches, operating system updates, and software upgrades in the background, without interfering with users’ ongoing tasks. By using BITS, Windows Update ensures that system resources are efficiently utilized, and updates occur seamlessly, keeping users’ systems secure and up-to-date.

Microsoft OneDrive: Microsoft’s OneDrive, a cloud-based file hosting and synchronization service, utilizes BITS for efficient data transfer. OneDrive leverages this technology to upload and download files in the background, ensuring smooth and uninterrupted transfers, even when the network connection is slow or unreliable. BITS automatically adjusts transfer rates based on network conditions and allows the resumption of file transfers if the connection is interrupted, providing users with a reliable and efficient file-sharing experience.

Large-scale data transfer in enterprise environments: Many companies and organizations employ BITS technology to distribute large sets of data, such as software updates for internal applications, across their networks in an efficient manner. By using BITS, these organizations can ensure that data transfers occur during periods of low network usage or scheduled maintenance windows, avoiding congestion and ensuring minimal impact on the overall network performance. This, in turn, allows the administrator to distribute software and updates with reduced risk of causing disruptions or conflicts in the IT infrastructure.

Background Intelligent Transfer Service FAQ

What is Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS)?

Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS) is a Windows component that provides the ability to transfer files asynchronously between a client and a server. It manages file transfers in the background to optimize bandwidth usage and improve transfer efficiency.

How does BITS work?

BITS uses a system of priorities and network usage settings to ensure file transfers minimize resource usage and do not interfere with user activity. It also supports resuming interrupted transfers automatically, even after system restarts or network disruptions.

What file transfer protocols does BITS support?

BITS primarily supports HTTP and HTTPS protocols for transferring files. It also supports authentication, proxy settings, and can work with Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption.

Can BITS be used for downloading and uploading files?

Yes, BITS supports both downloading and uploading files. Windows Update, for example, uses BITS to download updates in the background. It can also handle uploads, making it useful for a variety of applications.

How to control BITS settings and configurations?

BITS settings can be managed through Group Policy or the BITS PowerShell module. Administrators can configure automatic throttling, background or foreground mode, and set priority levels for various file transfers.

How do I troubleshoot BITS issues?

To troubleshoot BITS issues, you can first check the Event Viewer for any related error logs. Additionally, you can use the BITSAdmin command-line tool or the BITS PowerShell module to manage and diagnose BITS jobs and transfers.

Related Technology Terms

  • Asynchronous data transfer
  • Bandwidth throttling
  • Microsoft Windows
  • Windows Update
  • Peer-to-peer caching

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