Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS)

Definition - What does Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS) mean?

Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS) is a component of Microsoft Windows available starting with Windows 2000 which allows transfer of files between server and client, and the download of files from peers as well. Recent versions of Microsoft Update, Windows Update, Microsoft Systems Management Server and Windows Server Update Services use Background Intelligent Transfer Service to deliver the application updates to clients.

Techopedia explains Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS)

Version 1.0 of Background Intelligent Transfer Service only supports downloads, whereas starting with version 1.5, it supports both uploads and downloads. BITS works by making use of idle bandwidth for transferring data. Usually, Background Intelligent Transfer Service transfers data in the background, and in case of disruptions, it resumes transfers. Background Intelligent Transfer Service assists transfers over HTTPS, HTTP and SMB. It makes use of a queue to transfer files and performs the file transfers asynchronously.

The service is capable of suspending the transfer when the network connection is lost or slow and resumes the transfer when network connection is restored. It never forces a connection to transfer information. If a user logs off, BITS resumes the user's transfer job once the user logs on again. It makes use of round-robin scheduling to process updates or jobs with the same priority. This scheduling helps Background Intelligent Transfer Service prevent a large transfer or update job from blocking smaller update or transfer jobs. BITS has a built-in mechanism which is capable of recovery attempts and error handling.

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