Got questions?

Feel free to use this form and ask a public question, and we'll answer it in our Google Sheet below. If you'd like to ask us privately, please email

We also have some frequently-asked questions below. Feel free to read them first before asking to see if it's already been answered.

Frequently-asked questions

Q: I followed your guide under "How to Start" but the team keeps resetting.

A: This has been fixed in a new update.

Folding@Home 7.6.9 and later has fixed this issue. They have also added the option to prioritize folding COVID-19 proteins into the Web Control page. You can read more about it here.

Q: Do I have to use my actual name when creating an account?

A: Not necessarily.

Although the passkey application site has an entry labelled "Name", it's just the username you plan to fold as. Make sure it's something you want to stick with for a long time.

Q: I completed my Work Unit and got some points, but my point count didn't update and neither did the leaderboard.

A: WU and point counts don't update instantaneously.

As stated here, points don't update instantaneously. Your "Statistics" page will be functional once you complete your first Work Unit (WU). Your point count will update once per hour.

Q: FAHControl isn't showing up in Windows.

A: Try pinning the program to the Start Menu.

Assuming you let F@H install in the default directory, it should be located in C:\Program Files (x86)\FAHClient. If you right-click FAHControl and pin it to the Start Menu, then it will be easier to access.

Q: The number of points I get decreases over several hours.

A: This is F@H's stimulus to entice people to fold faster.

Once you've started folding with a passkey, folded at least 10-bonus eligible WUs, and complete at least 80% of WUs given to you, you will start receiving bonus points, which are added on top of base points. The amount of bonus points is quite high, and can be more than 10 times the base point value, depending on the scientific value and how quickly F@H wants it completed. Coronavirus projects will come with a TON of bonus points because it's such an important issue right now.

Total points is calculated as

(Base points) * max(1, sqrt(k * deadline length / elapsed time)

k is an arbritrary value usually set at 0.75 for standard projects, but it may be higher for more important ones like COVID-19. So if you stop F@H for the night and start again in the morning, the amount of points you'll receive will be lower than if you let your computer fold through the night.

Also, if you don't fold with a WU on hand for too long, it will pass the timeout period, lose its bonus points, and simply be reassigned to another folder. You will be assigned a new one if this occurs, but if the percentage of unsuccessful WUs exceeds 20%, you will have to fold more WUs before their expiration period in order to receive boinusu points again. But if you make sure to complete WUs as soon as they are assigned by allowing F@H to run in the background, you will receive the full amount of points. It's kind of like ordering Uber Eats--the sooner the driver arrives, the better tasting your food will be. If you wait too long, the food will become sentient and refuse to be eaten.

Q: My computer is running hot and loud when folding.

A: This is a normal occurrence. The point of Folding@Home is to use any unused compute power that your system has. If you want to make your computer quieter, there are solutions!

Our partnership with The IT Club means you can get fast, free repairs for these types of problems. Their repairs can drop operating temperatures by up to 20 degrees C and make your computer run far quieter than before.

If you'd like to try fixing this yourself, consider reapplying thermal paste. We recommend Noctua NT-H2 or Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut. After opening your device with the appropriate service guide, apply paste with this guide (scroll down a bit).

In desktops, consider installing a better cooler. In general, larger coolers with more fans and heatpipes (those long copper things) are better, and liquid cooling is better than air cooling.

The zero-cost alternative is undervolting or underclocking. This will dramatically decrease heat output at the cost of some performance. CPU undervolting and underclocking can be done with ThrottleStop, your computer's BIOS in a desktop, AMD Ryzen Master (with AMD CPUs), or Intel Extreme Tuning Utility (with Intel CPUs). GPU undervolting can be done with MSI Afterburner or Radeon Software (with AMD GPUs). Please ensure that your system is compatible with what you want to download.

Q: My computer is shutting down after getting really hot.

A: This is a symptom of your computer overheating. Try using the above methods to cool your computer down.

Also, make sure to clean any dust out of your computer, and make sure the heatsink/radiator isn't clogged. Once you're done, use something like Speedfan or the built-in temperature monitors in MSI Afterburner or Radeon Software. If you notice this, do not continue folding until you have resolved the situation. Usually, this issue arises from dust, inadequate cooling, or the thermal paste degrading over time. Macs and poorly-maintained PCs willl run hotter and could also have this problem.

Q: I told my computer to start folding, but it hasn't started yet.

A: Just wait and be patient. You'll receive a work unit eventually.

When Folding@Home announced their new COVID-19 folding campaign, the number of user jumped from 100.000 to more than 400,000, so there is currently a shortage of assignments. Folding@Home will automatically request new work units (folding assignments) on specific time intervals that can be seen in the Advanced Control program. If this interval becomes too long, reinstall the program to reset this. Don't worry, your progress will be saved.

Q: Is Folding@Home safe?

A: Yes!

This is definitely a legitimate concern with every program installed--nothing is 100 percent safe, and personal data and privacy is especially important. However, Folding@Home is a Stanford-developed research program launched in 2000 that has been regularly updated and maintained for almost 20 years. When you apply for Folding@Home, your email address is used to send you a personalized passkey that will allow you to track your points, but it is not shared with anyone else. Listed at the bottom of Folding@Home's page are sponsors and collaborators--notable ones include Intel, AMD, Nvidia, and hardware providers Gigabyte and EVGA. In fact, it has even been officially ported to the PlayStation 3 at one point, and there are many who dedicate computer hardware specifically to folding. It is the world's first ExaFLOP-scale supercomputer and holds the Guiness World Record for the most powerful distributed computing system.

Q: What's the difference between CPU and GPU folding?

A: GPU folding is generally faster.

When running Folding@Home, it will automatically try to fold on both your CPU (central processing unit) and GPU (graphics processing unit), if it is not Intel integrated graphics. CPUs have a few large cores (mini processing units), but GPUs have numerous tiny cores, and Folding@Home is much more optimized for this. Similarly, a CPU with more cores at lower clockspeeds will also let Folding@Home run faster. If you have an up-to-date system or a gaming PC, you will fold more points on the GPU than on the CPU.

Q: Resource usage jums to around 100% and/or normal use becomes slow when I start.

A: There is a workaround for this. Turning off or reducing CPU folding will let you regain your performance at the cost of some points.

If you have a GPU, it will fold far more points than your CPU, so disabling CPU folding will have only a minor impact on point usage. To do this, open up the Advanced Control program (FAHControl). Click "Configure" in the top left, click the "Slots" tab, select the CPU folding slot, and remove it. Remember to click "Save"!

If you don't have a discrete GPU (one from AMD or Nvidia), you will only see one CPU folding slot. Don't remove it if you only see one slot! Instead, click "Edit" in the bottom right. Change the number of CPU threads at the top to a smaller number. Check the number of physical CPU cores your processor has. It is advisable to reduce the folding usage by two physical cores (2-4 threads) from the maximum thread count to reserve those for general use. If your CPU only has two threads, set the number of CPU threads to 1. For a simpler fix, in the Web Control application, slide the "Power" setting to Medium or Light. Light folding uses 50% of the CPU and turns off GPU folding, medium folding uses 75% of the CPU and turns on GPU folding, and Full is the same as medium, with 100% of the CPU.

Q: Can I fold with multiple GPUs?

A: Absolutely! If you have old GPUs that are still fast enough, they will definitely help your folding effort.

They can be from either AMD or Nvidia, and they do not need to be in Crossfire/NVLink/SLI multi-GPU setups. However, re-applying thermal paste is advisable on older GPUs because it will harden over time and lower thermal conductivity.

Q: What's the best way to keep my system cool?

A: There are several important areas you should cover.

  • Clean out as much dust as possible. It clogs fans and keeps air from flowing through heatsinks, which can even lead to the early failure of your system. On desktops, simply remove the side panel and blow at the components with compressed air while the system is shut down (this can create a static gradient which could damage components if powered on). Make sure to get at the heatsinks and fans--those are the dustiest components.

  • Replace the thermal paste on the CPU and GPU. Remove the cooler, use isopropyl alcohol to clean off the thermal "paste" (it probably already hardened into cement), add thermal paste, and re-mount the cooler. The best thermal pastes will have a high thermal conductivity measured in W/mK. The ones recommended are Noctua NT-H2, Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut, and Thermal Grizzly Conductonaut. Conductonaut in particular is made of literal liquid metal. Its thermal conductivity reigns supreme, but it is also electrically conductive and hard to apply, so only experienced PC builders should use it. For general use, the former two are suitable. Thermal paste will squish and spread out, so think about how it will spread. Too much paste is better than too little. Excess thermal paste will spill out the sides while insufficient thermal paste will lead to overheating.

    • For square-ish GPU dies (the shiny silicon thing in the center), AMD AM2, AM3, and AM4 CPUs and Intel LGA115X CPUs, a pea-sized dot in the center is acceptable.

    • For rectangular GPU and CPU dies, a line parallel to the longest axis will suffice.

    • For LGA20XX CPUs, use a larger dot of thermal paste still in the center.

    • For Threadripper or EPYC processors, there is a special method, so please check online to see how this is done.

  • Get a better cooler. Look at your processor's model number and look for TDP figures. That's its heat output, but don't trust it entirely. Intel processors (particulary 8th gen, 9th gen, and 10th generation CPUs) will draw far more than this stated figure. Multiply the TDP of Intel processors by 2 for cooler calculations--a cooler processor will last longer. With AMD processors, their stated TDP is mostly truthful.
    The coolers below are just examples. Please check the socket compatibility before buying anything.

    • 0-65 watts: The factory-provided cooler is fine. If your processor did not come with one, something like a Cooler Master G100M looks like something from Area 51 but it also performs well for these processors.

    • 65-150 watts: A tower cooler with heatpipes is ideal. An Arctic Freezer 34 eSports Duo or similar will work well. The Freezer, however, performs exceptionally well for its price.

    • 150+ watts: Either get a really nice air cooler like a Noctua NH-D15 Chromax with two towers, or a liquid cooler like the Arctic Freezer 2 series.

For GPUs, Arctic also sells cooler upgrades that work well with almost all products due to their universal mounting system. An unmodified GPU will only run within its stated TDP, so if your GPU runs hot and the above methods did not work, this will certainly fix any thermal issues.

Folding@SiliconValley Q&A (Responses)