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A file-sharing program is used to directly or indirectly transfer files from one computer to another computer over a network (e.g. the Internet). While the term may be used to describe client-server disk sharing (also known as shared file access or disk mounting), it is more commonly used to describe file sharing using the peer-to-peer (P2P) model.

Peer-to-peer file sharing typically operates using a network, such as Gnutella or Bittorent. There are tradeoffs to using one network over another network. A variety of file-sharing programs are available on these different networks. It is common for commercial file sharing clients to contain abrasive advertising software, or spyware.