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I installed Vidalia and it says I am connected to the Tor network. But https://check.torproject.org/ says I am not using Tor. How can I troubleshoot the discrepancy?

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Both are correct. Vidalia did start Tor, which did connect to the Tor network and is now waiting for programs to use it. But Tor is only a proxy and Vidalia is only a controller; it does not automagically set your entire OS to use Tor automatically – you have to configure each program manually, and in some cases use additional tools.

When started, Tor can be used as a regular proxy server; it is listening on connections at 127.0.0.1 (localhost) on port 9050, using the SOCKS protocol. For example, in Firefox the configuration would look like this:

Firefox screenshot

For programs that do not support SOCKS proxies but do support HTTP, the Vidalia bundle also includes a HTTP proxy server called Polipo, which listens on port 8123 and sends everything through Tor. You might need to start Polipo manually.

For programs that do not allow using a proxy at all, you'll need tools like FreeCap or WideCap or torsocks that hook into the system.

All of this is described in Step Two: Configure your applications to use Tor of the Tor install instructions, as well as the Torify HOWTO linked from the same page.

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