[tor-talk] endless list of scrubbed circuits

Joe Btfsplk joebtfsplk at gmx.com
Sat Apr 9 17:02:53 UTC 2011

On 4/8/2011 5:35 PM, Mike Perry wrote:
> Thus spake Joe Btfsplk (joebtfsplk at gmx.com):
>> Using vidalia bundle 0.2.10 / 0.2.30 w/ Torbutton 1.3.2a in Vista x64,
>> Firefox 4.0
>> There's an endless, constantly increasing list of scrubbed circuits -
>> like below.  It just keeps going thru them like a ticker tape.
>> "Apr 08 14:36:37.277 [Notice] We tried for 15 seconds to connect to
>> '[scrubbed]' using exit 'politkovskaja'. Retrying on a new circuit."
>> NOTE:  I CAN connect to some sites using Tor - so it IS working, it's
>> just so slow, apparently because of all the scrubbed circuits, it's of
>> no use for anything.
>> Any ideas what's causing this behavior?  I did uninstall / reinstall tor
>> bundle.  Have closed Tor&  browser, then restarted - no joy.
> One of the things that can cause this is a set of bad guards (the
> first hop in your Tor circuits). If you got unlucky and Tor picked
> only slow guards, this can cause you poor performance.
> You can check them out in the vidalia window by noting the first hop
> in your circuits. There should only be 3 different nodes chosen for
> that first hop. Note you should not post your guard list in public, as
> it can be used to identify you.
> If that is the issue, you can try using bridges to see if that helps,
> or you could try to stop tor and wipe away your tor state file, which
> will cause new guards to be chosen.

Are you saying a "bad" guards can cause an ENDLESS, rapid stream of log 
entries:   "We tried for 15 seconds to connect to '[scrubbed]' using 
exit 'xxxxxxxxx'. Retrying on a new circuit"?
When it is doing this (it seems) the listed speed of the 3 nodes in the 
1st hop are often listed as high.  Listed speed may mean nothing.  If it 
* does * mean anything, then that isn't the only problem in my case, 
because they often show higher speeds. But I digress.

If we're talking about same thing, the entry guard - in Tor Network Map, 
1st entry under "connection" column in L pane?  When select that 1st 
connection, shows 3 nodes in R pane, w/ their IP address, bandwidth, etc.

Early last evening, after reinstalling Vidalia bundle again, I was able 
to load pages * almost as fast as w/o Tor. *  (yes, I'm sure Tor was 
working)  I tried a # of pages - all worked well.  Looked at the Vidalia 
log - didn't see constant stream scrubbed circuits.  It was still quite 
early & would've been lots of traffic.

Regardless of what the 1st 3 nodes look like, it  *seems * when I'm able 
to connect to a site - at all - the behavior of an endless stream of 
scrubbed circuits in the log is NOT happening.
When it IS happening, connecting to any  site (not high traffic ones, or 
very slow servers) either fails or takes well > 1 min (usually more, IF 
at all).  Usually, by then it times out.  It's not the site's servers, 
because can stop Tor & same sites load instantly.

I've tried this on numerous sites, days & times, that I know to usually 
be fast w/o Tor - or w/o it.  If this was the typical state / function 
of Tor network, no one would be using it, so I know it can't be 
happening to everyone on a regular basis.  This is now the norm rather 
than exception, for me.  As it is, Tor is useless for me > 90% of time 
(I mean it won't load pages - at ALL).

Today, checked it again & basically can't load pages at all - even 
though (at times) the 3 nodes in entry guard all show fairly high 
speeds, while still unable ot load pages.  Again, at times, entry guard 
changes frequently.  I stopped Tor, wiped the Tor state file (the "lock" 
file - what ever it can contain - is empty now).  It did cause pages to 
load much faster - for now.  If "bad" entry guards are the problem AND 
if happening to most users MOST of the time, like me, I'll need a "clear 
Tor state file" button addon. :-(

By design, how often does the entry guard (and the 3 nodes in it) change 
/ get refreshed - w/ no user intervention?
I've noticed at times, mine seems to change quite often - sometimes 
every 30 - 60 sec or so.  When I AM able to load pages normally (by Tor 
standards), I don't think the entry guard is constantly changing, but 
the log definitely does not show a constant stream of scrubbed entries.

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