IB Trader Workstation - FAQs


The Login box includes the checkbox Use/store settings on server. Check this box to have TWS automatically save any session changes to the server, and use that saved version the next time you log in from any PC.

If you are not yet an IB customer, use the TWS demo. If you are an IB customer, you can open a paper trading account, which allows you to use the full range of IB trading facilities in a simulated environment using real market conditions.

Visit the Paper Trading page for more details.

First, be sure that you are logged into the correct version of TWS; i.e. If you read about a feature in the TWS Beta notes, you must log into the TWS Beta version to use it. To find features within TWS, use the "Help/Ticker Lookup" search box in the upper right corner of both Mosaic and Classic TWS.

The nightly log off is required for maintenance and cannot be disabled. However, you can modify the log off time from the Lock and Exit page of Global Configuration.

Find margin information for options on the Options tab of the Margin page.

Order types are defined in the Order Types matrix.

You need to set the timing to "Allow order to be activated, triggered or filled outside of regular trading hours." You can define this setting from the Timing section of the Order Preset for a specific asset type, or on a per-order basis from the Time in Force field checkbox "Fill outside RTH.". If outside regular trading hours is not available for the specific order you are submitting, you will not be allowed to populate the checkbox.

TWS Quickstart for an overview for the Mosaic interface.

You can record mouse-click shortcuts for specific order creation and transmission commands, such as buy, sell, transmit and cancel and many others. See the TWS Users' Guide for details.

See the Trailing Stop order page and the TWS Users' Guide for details.

The TWS settings file is named tws.xml and is located in a subdirectory of c:\Jts. Search (CTRL F) the c:\Jts directory for the most recently modified file. TWS Log files are named log.day.txt (e.g., log.Wed.txt) and are located in the c:\Jts directory.

Commission structures are described in detail on the Commissions pages, sorted by instrument type.

For up-to-date information on market data and allocation examples, see the Market Data Display page.

TWS runs on Windows, MAC and Unix operating systems. To ensure that you have an adequate Internet connection and proper system requirements to run TWS, please see the Minimum Requirements details,

The table below outlines our suggestions for both minimum and recommended system requirements to run the IB Trader WorkstationSM.

  PC Minimum
PC Recommended Requirements Mac Minimum
Mac Recommended Requirements
Operating System Windows Vista Windows 7 or higher Mac OSX 10.7 Mac OSX 10.9.5
Browser   Internet Explorer 11.0 and higher
Firefox 32.0 and higher
Chrome 37.0 and higher
  Safari 7.1
Firefox 32.0
Chrome 37.0
Java Oracle Java 6 Oracle Java 7 Oracle Java 6 Oracle Java 7
Screen Resolution 1024 x 768 Dual Screen, 1280 x 1024 1024 x 768 Dual Screen, 1280 x 1024
Processor 2.2GHz Intel Core2 Duo Intel Dual Core Processor
Intel i3 and higher processors
Intel Dual Core Processor Intel Dual Core i3 and higher processors
Memory 2GB Ram (Average Trader) 4GB Ram (Power Trader) 2GB Ram (Average Trader) 4GB Ram (Power Trader)
Internet Connection 56K Dial-up or higher Broadband with Dial-up Backup 56K Dial-up or higher Broadband with Dial-up Backup
  Linux/Unix Minimum
Linux/Unix Recommended Requirements    
Operating System Kernel 2.6 Kernel 3.0 or higher    
Browser   Firefox 32.0
Chrome 37.0
Java Oracle Java 6 Oracle Java 7    
Screen Resolution 1024 x 768 Dual Screen, 1280 x 1024    
Processor 2.2GHz Intel Core2 Duo Intel Dual Core
i3 and higher processors
Memory 2GB Ram (Average Trader) 4GB Ram (Power Trader)    
Internet Connection 56K Dial-up or higher Broadband with Dial-up Backup    

Find download instructions and the necessary files on the Installation Instructions page.

If you have a slower computer or Internet connection, we recommend that you use the standalone version of TWS.

  • The standalone requires that you manually update to newer versions of TWS.
  • To use from multiple machines, you must install the standalone separately on each machine, and you must set the TWS login setting toUse/store settings on server.

If you use the browser-based version, you can access TWS from any internet PC, and do not have to manually update to get the latest version. Both require that you install the minimum recommended version of Java..

Go to the Java Upgrade Instructions page and select the Windows or Mac operating system. Follow instructions for upgrading the Java plugin. Note that if you want to upgrade to a newer Java version, you must first remove the existing plugin and then install the upgraded version.

The beta release is a pre-production version of an upcoming release that allows you to actively trade while you test new features. You must deliberately elect to use the beta at your own risk when you log in. Since the beta is under construction until production release, we welcome your input on its performance. The beta will be promoted to production after it has been tested both in-house and externally over a specified time period. Please note that although the software is "in beta," you are still trading your IB account and are responsible for all transactions.

The login page includes links to both the beta and production release notes. These notes briefly describe new features that have been added and problems that have been fixed.

If you are running the standalone version, the update wizard will automatically check for TWS updates each time you log in to your computer. You can also manually check for updates from the Start menu by selecting Programs and then Startup and clicking Check for TWS Updates. Customers running the browser-based version can get the most recent production release by selecting Trader Workstation Latest from the Login menu.

First, uninstall TWS by going to add/remove programs and removing TWS. You can then reinstall TWS from the TWS Software page.

You will receive this message for one of the following reasons:

  • You are not entering the proper username (check to be sure the Caps Lock key isn't on)
  • Your account has not been set up yet
  • You've entered your password incorrectly more than 10 times

Instant help resources include the TWS Release Notes, TWS Users' Guide, and both live and recorded feature webinars. If you still cannot find an answer to your question, contact Customer Service.

IB has two distinct departments that handle specific types of TWS questions:

  • Customer Service deals with everything involving trading, accounts, funding and execution. See the Customer Service page on the IB website for contact details.
  • The Technical Assistance Center (TAC) can help you with issues concerning your connection to IB and problems with the software involved. To help you more quickly, please:
    • Call while you are experiencing the problem;
    • Have your computer turned on and ready to troubleshoot;
    • Have your account information ready.

In the US, call 877-442-2757 during regular business hours for support.

You can also email us at tac@interactivebrokers.com. Please include the following information:

  • Your username and account number
  • A detailed summary of the problem
  • A timeframe of when the problem occurred or occurs.
  • Detailed system specifications if possible, including:
    • The Windows version you are using.
    • The type and version of browser you are using, including cipher strength. For example, Internet Explorer 7.0 or Firefox
    • The brand names of any Network Interface Cards installed in the computer.
    • Your processor generation and speed.
    • The amount of memory installed in your computer.
    • The type of Internet connection you are using.
    • Any other troubleshooting you have done on your own or with our staff.

Technical FAQs

You may experience problems with TWS if you are running the software without meeting the minimum system requirements. When troubleshooting problems, start by making sure that your computer meets our minimum system requirements.

Browser Problems

  1. This may be a problem with Java.
    • Remove all instances of Java.
    • Follow the Direct-download instructions.
  2. Your browser may be outdated or corrupt. Check the version you are using from the browser's Help menu by selecting About. If your browser version is below the recommended version, please upgrade.

A. Your Internet connection may drop off due to connectivity or Internet Service Provider (ISP)-based issues.

Consult our connectivity FAQ if you suspect if this is an issue.

B. This problem has also been known to occur with problematic Ethernet cards.

Account and Login Problems

This may be due to a corrupted or improper install of TWS or the Java Applet.

  1. Remove all instances of Java and Trader Workstation.
  2. Follow the Java Direct-download instructions
  3. Download a new version of TWS.

Outdated or corrupted browsers can cause this to occur. Please upgrade or uninstall if necessary.

Or, your browser display settings may be preventing you from viewing the entire screen.

  • Using the "view" menu in your browser, set your font size to the smallest setting.

Your browser's cache may have a problematic page stored in it.

  • Hold down the "ctrl" key and hit "Refresh" at the top of your browser. This will force the page to reload from the server.

Dial-in customers or customers with a poor connection may periodically experience problems loading an applet through a browser. Browser download and installation of applets tend to stall on slower connections.

  • Using standalone TWS will bypass this problem entirely.

This typically occurs if:

  • The connection to IB is interrupted
  • You are trying to log on more than once, or have duplicate login sessions. You cannot log into more than one instance of your account from any IB trading platform, including TWS, WebTrader or mobileTWS.

Your ports are being blocked by either:

  • Local PC Firewall
  • Your ISP
  • Loss of your internet connectivity

This may happen for a variety of reasons. Try the following:

  • Wait. It may take several minutes to complete loading the trading pages, depending on the number of pages and symbol population on the pages and your speed of connection. Clean out ticker symbols and pages that you no longer require.
  • Reconnect to the Internet
  • Check your network connection for problems.
  • Make sure your system has the proper minimum system requirements.
  • In the case that your user preference files may have become corrupt, contact Technical Assistance for help in resetting the information.
  • A corrupt Java installation will cause this to occur. To verify that this is the problem, go into the control panel and double-click on the Java plug-in. The same gray screen will result if the plug-in is corrupt. If this happens, uninstall and reinstall Java.

This may happen for a couple of reasons. Try the following:

  • Wait. It may take several minutes depending on the amount of information and speed of connection. If this is the case, clean out symbols and pages that you no longer require.
  • Make sure your system has the proper minimum system requirements.

This indicates there is a problem with your network connection. Refer to our Network FAQ and your system Administrator to check for latency and network problems.

This may be the result of a problematic Ethernet card, or improper driver installation of display adapters. Download the latest version of your video drivers. You may have other PC problems which require immediate attention by an authorized PC technician.

This occurs when the page file becomes corrupt from a disk error.

System Troubleshooting

To open the Control Panel, click Start, then select Settings>Control Panel.

With Windows XP, click Start>Control Panel.

Depending on the version of Windows you are using, its appearance may vary slightly from what we describe.

If you need to uninstall software, you should only do it from Add/Remove Programs window accessible from the Control Panel. Use this window to remove Trader Workstation or Java, or to repair your browser. When you uninstall a program, you will usually get a confirmation message ensuring that you do indeed want to remove the item that you have selected.

Note: Java does not support automatic upgrades. Before you upgrade Java, you must uninstall the current version.

Important: If you are uninstalling for reinstall purposes, Windows may ask you to restart your computer. DO NOT IGNORE THIS REQUEST. Shut down and restart your computer to allow files to be unlocked and removed from memory.

From the Trading menu on the IB website, select Trading Platforms and then choose the application your would like to install.

Whether you're downloading an encryption upgrade, a new browser or a service pack, all official Windows upgrades can be acquired from http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com/, shown above. Click on the "products update" link on the left-hand side, select the updates you wish to install, and follow the instructions.

System Information

  1. Go to the www.java.com website.
  2. On the right side of the page under Popular Downloads, click "Java SE"
  3. Where it reads JDK 6 Update 25, Click on Download
  4. Read the license terms and conditions and click "Accept."
  5. Click the download link.
  6. In the "Save As" window, save the file to your desktop.
  7. Once the download is complete, return to your Desktop and double- click on the "jdk-6u5-windows-i586-p.exe" icon to install the Java plugin.
  8. Read the "Software License Agreement" and click "Yes" to continue.
  9. Choose the default destination and click "Next" to install the Java program.
  10. Installation is complete. You can now run the Java-based Trader Workstation 4.0.

Note: If you are running a non US-English version of Windows, you need to install the international plug-in.

Network Information

Depending on the amount of data you are receiving (number of ticker symbols entered) most TWS sessions will function properly on a reliable 56k connection. However, the use of other network applications while you are using TWS may slow down your connection. The typical TWS client will utilize 6.5k/second to retrieve market data for 100 symbols of data.

TWS does not use any UDP.

TWS will function in a shared environment, provided that a reliable connection exists. The connection that a TWS machine receives must have sufficient bandwidth to operate. Users should take care when using NAT (Network Address Translation) and DHCP. While TWS will work if NAT and/or DHCP are configured properly, data loss and unpredictable behavior can result from improper configurations. For more information on NAT and DHCP, review the section below on those topics.

There are many types of broadband available. Cable, xDSL, Corporate Networks (T1, T3, Frac-T), Dial-on-demand ISDN and Satellite are all broadband solutions. All of these services provide much higher throughput (compared to a dial-in line) and typically use routers or special modems to become part of a hardwired network. Some services emulate this method rather than actually performing this way. Availability of different services may be limited in certain areas; contact vendors in your area for a list of available services.

TWS connects to our servers via ports 4000 and 4001; it will not function on any other port. To use TWS from behind a firewall, users should download the standalone version, and will be prompted during installation to specify proxy settings that will be used by TWS for all http requests. For details on configuring standalone TWS for use through a firewall, refer to Steps 7 and 8 in the Installation Instructions page.

Testing with these systems has proved inconclusive. Some satellite providers list trading software (or anything that requires a reliable connection) as an "at your own risk" practice. Customer feedback has indicated that satellite services are sometimes unreliable.

As with any type of connection, be sure the provider allows TCP/IP routing with open access to Internet service ports. TWS connects to our servers via port 4000 using a source port in the publicly addressable space above port 1024. Our servers listen on port 4000; it will not function on any other port. For users behind firewalls, the installed version of TWS includes provisions for using a specified outbound port.

For the ultimate in reliability, speed and security, some customers choose to install a dedicated connection to our servers via leased line or frame relay interface. Please contact an IB sales representative about leased-line connections.

Services and Protocols

Be aware of the protocols and network devices that may affect you. The following is information about your TWS connection that you or your Network Administrator will want to know when troubleshooting your connection to us.

DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) is a way of automatically assigning IP addresses. If your DHCP server is assigning a private address (addresses which are not associated with the Internet) the server may be doing NAT (Network Address Translation) to get to the outside Internet Depending on the particular configuration, the router or server may be trapping requests from our server to your computer.

TCP/IP is the basic protocol from an Internet service provider. This, along with DNS (Dynamic Name System) and basic socket access are all that is required for a "functioning Internet connection" and for running TWS software.

NAT (Network Address Translation) is one of the basic components behind home routers (and some professional private routers). Done properly this should be transparent; the address on the outside should translate to your internal (non-Internet) addresses without your PC knowing the specifics of the routing.

Connectivity Troubleshooting

Extraneous network adapters and drivers which are not connected, are inoperative or unnecessary should be removed from your system. These can cause unpredictable network behavior.

  • AOL and other proprietary adapters may work fine if you have the service and are actively using it. If, however you are not using the adapter, it may be configured improperly and has been known to cause connectivity issues.
  • NDSWAN and other VPN adapters can be problematic if they are not in use. PPPOE (Point to Point Protocol Over Ethernet) may be used in some DSL or Cable connections; if it is not used, it may cause problems with the connection, and should be removed.
  • Client for Netware Networks and IPX/SPX are protocols used in corporate Novell Networks. If this protocol is not needed, it should be removed.
  • NETBEUI is a Microsoft Protocol that, as above, may be in use in a corporate network. If it is not in use, it is better to remove this adapter
Important: If you are not sure about any of the adapters in your Network settings, consult your network administrator before removing them.

Latency due to physical distance from your ISP, routing within your ISP's network, packet loss and many other factors can affect the reliable operation of your TWS. Please review the connectivity troubleshooting tips below to test the quality of your connection.

The Ping command will test the quality and latency of your connection. If it shows 4 round-trip reports without a reply (does not say not found, timed out, etc.) your connection is healthy. To use this, type ping gw1.ibllc.com at the command prompt. A healthy ping should look as follows:

Pinging gw1.ibllc.com [] with 32 bytes of data:
Reply from bytes=32 time<10ms TTL=254
Reply from bytes=32 time<10ms TTL=254
Reply from bytes=32 time<10ms TTL=254
Reply from bytes=32 time<10ms TTL=254

If the ping results show excessive latency (>500ms), timeouts/packet loss, or no replies, a network problem exists between you and the IB network.

The tracert command is used to isolate routing issues. This will show you all of the "hops" from your connection to our network. A timeout, indicated by "*" or time above 200, indicates a slow or dead hop and may be a problem. Over 15 hops can also be a problem.

To look at a traceroute, type tracert gw1.ibllc.com at the command prompt.

The following are sample traceroutes. Included is an explanation and suggested course of action. This traceroute is an example of a healthy connection. The ping times and the number of hops are low (lower is better). No course of action required.

1 gatekeeper ( 1 ms 1 ms 2 ms
2 jfk-edge-19.inet.qwest.net ( 19 ms 26 ms 21 ms
3 jfk-core-03.inet.qwest.net ( 22 ms 19 ms 24 ms
4 ewr-core-03.inet.qwest.net ( 20 ms 19 ms 20 ms
5 ewr-brdr-01.inet.qwest.net ( 20 ms 26 ms 19 ms
6 ( 30 ms 20 ms 22 ms
7 sl-bb23-nyc-3-0.sprintlink.net ( 20 ms 19 ms 19 ms
8 sl-bb22-pen-6-0.sprintlink.net ( 25 ms 37 ms 21 ms
9 sl-bb26-pen-9-0.sprintlink.net ( 21 ms 26 ms 22 ms
10 sl-gw26-pen-4-0-0.sprintlink.net ( 24 ms 23 ms 24 ms
11 sl-thllc-4-0-0.sprintlink.net ( 35 ms 31 ms 29 ms
12 ( 28 ms 28 ms 30 ms

This is an example of a marginal connection. The ping times and number of hops are fairly high, but the connection should still be usable. Contact your ISP to see if this is a common occurrence. If this is what you can expect, you may want to shop around for another provider. Higher times indicate line latency (slowness) and the high (17) number of 'hops' results in a higher potential for outage, in the event that one of the providers involved experiences a problem.

1 ( 3.258 ms 2.325 ms 2.32 ms
2 athens-teiath-ATM.grnet.gr ( 3.894 ms 3.546 ms 2.935 ms
3 athens-2-athens.grnet.gr ( 3.299 ms 4.549 ms 13.643 ms
4 grnet1.uk1.uk.geant.net ( 78.624 ms 72.213 ms 73.457 ms
5 uk.se1.se.geant.net ( 104.912 ms 105.978 ms 104.695 ms
6 so-6-0-0.ar2.CPH1.gblx.net ( 142.148 ms 115.03 ms 114.235 ms
7 so2-1-0-622M.cr2.CPH1.gblx.net ( 113.658 ms 116.135 ms 114.903 ms
8 pos1-0-2488M.cr2.LON3.gblx.net ( 134.768 ms 138.151 ms 132.05 ms
9 pos1-0-622M.br1.LON3.gblx.net ( 130.876 ms 131.726 ms 134.405 ms
10 sl-bb21-lon-5-0.sprintlink.net ( 132.904 ms 131.369 ms 134.111 ms
11 sl-bb20-msq-10-0.sprintlink.net ( 209.434 ms 212.069 ms 209.79 ms
12 sl-bb20-nyc-11-3.sprintlink.net ( 215.735 ms 208.302 ms 207.316 ms
13 sl-bb20-pen-10-0.sprintlink.net ( 400.633 ms 352.33 ms 274.419 ms
14 sl-bb25-pen-8-0.sprintlink.net ( 212.023 ms 215.237 ms 215.472 ms
15 sl-gw26-pen-0-0-0.sprintlink.net ( 213.755 ms 212.104 ms 211.378 ms
16 sl-thllc-4-0-0.sprintlink.net ( 218.742 ms 221.021 ms 217.51 ms
17 ( 218.028 ms 222.549 ms 218.867 ms

The next example shows a network outage. The connection fails between hop 8 and 9. In the event that this occurs, you should contact your ISP and give them this information. These types of outages are very obvious and are the easiest for an ISP to troubleshoot.

1 kauge.aso.ee
( 0.432 ms 0.323 ms 0.357 ms
2 uninet-gw.aso.ee ( 1.094 ms 7.688 ms 2.332 ms
3 ( 1.489 ms 1.403 ms 1.425 ms
4 kista-atm.uninet.ee ( 135.413 ms 129.594 ms 136.073 ms
5 Pos5-0.GW7.STK3.ALTER.NET ( 141.723 ms 140.031 ms 122.782 ms
6 so-3-0-0.XR2.STK3.Alter.Net ( 113.354 ms 98.346 ms 90.857 ms
7 ge-1-0-0.TR1.STK2.Alter.Net ( 94.762 ms 115.168 ms 130.034 ms
8 so-4-0-0.IR1.DCA4.Alter.Net ( 257.747 ms 288.965 ms 255.057 ms
9 request timed out * * *
10 request
timed out * * *
11 request
timed out * * *
request timed out * * *

The last example is possibly the hardest to troubleshoot and the most frustrating. The occasional timeout (marked with *s) appears several places in the traceroute. This indicates that intermittent packet loss is taking place. These types of errors are elusive and may not have been reported yet. Contact your ISP about this issue.

1 <10 ms <10 ms 10 ms
2 <10 ms 10 ms 10 ms sl-gw26-pen-5-0-1.sprintlink.net []
3 <10 ms 10 ms <10 ms sl-bb25-pen-0-7.sprintlink.net []
4 <10 ms * <10 ms sl-bb21-pen-8-0.sprintlink.net []
5 <10 ms 10 ms 10 ms sl-bb23-rly-0-0.sprintlink.net []
6 10 ms 10 ms *
7 10 ms 10 ms 10 ms sl-ameronl-14-0.sprintlink.net []
8 10 ms 10 ms 10 ms bb1-ash-P1-0.atdn.net []
9 10 ms 10 ms 10 ms bb1-dtc-P0-2.atdn.net []
10 10 ms 10 ms 10 ms pop1-dtc-P14-0.atdn.net []
11 * 10 ms 10 ms ow3-dtc-P0-0.atdn.net []
12 10 ms 10 ms 10 ms ow1-dtc-P9-2.aol.com []
13 10 ms 10 ms 10 ms www2-dr6-P0-0.aol.com []
14 * * * Request timed out.

Miscellaneous Questions

Not for TWS. IB does support HTTP proxies for WebTrader, but this application has limited capabilities.

IB supports proxies that can emulate open sockets.

Create a snapshot of your computer screen and e-mail it to IB.

  1. Launch the window that you want to capture, and press Alt + PrtScrn (Print Screen). You can't tell, but you've just captured a picture of your screen.
  2. Open a new MS Word document, put your cursor on the page and select "Paste."
  3. Name and save the file, and send it to IB Customer Service as an attachment, along with a detailed verbal description of your support issue.

Basic Troubleshooting

Try logging in and testing with another computer that you know works (with the same account) to see if the problem is the same on both computers.

If you have multiple Accounts, try another one of your accounts on your machine. If you don't have a second account, try using our demo system, or having a friend try their account on your machine will help to determine if there is a common issue among accounts (or systems) and where that problem may be.

Trying both systems may indicate that the problem is with a component installed on your computer or somewhere else.

Interactive Brokers Canada Inc. is a member of the Canadian Investment Regulatory Organization (CIRO) and Member - Canadian Investor Protection Fund. Know Your Advisor: View the CIRO AdvisorReport. Trading of securities and derivatives may involve a high degree of risk and investors should be prepared for the risk of losing their entire investment and losing further amounts. Using borrowed money to finance the purchase of securities involves greater risk than using cash resources only. If you borrow money to purchase securities, your responsibility to repay the loan and pay interest as required by its terms remains the same even if the value of the securities purchased declines. Interactive Brokers Canada Inc. is an order execution-only dealer and does not provide investment advice or recommendations regarding the purchase or sale of any securities or derivatives. Our registered office is located at 1800 McGill College Avenue, Suite 2106, Montreal, Quebec, H3A 3J6, Canada.

Know Your Advisor: View the CIRO AdvisorReport