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I've been using the 4.0 alpha bundles especially the one with meek and obs4 to try them out. I've also just used the newest meek transport for Microsoft Azure listed here: https://lists.torproject.org/pipermail/tor-dev/2014-September/007525.html

My question is: Is there a way to check that the pluggable transports are actually working as advertised while you are browsing? (I'm assuming that if I click on them and the browser goes to where I ask it to, then the transport is working).

However, I'm a wee bit concerned that if the transport doesn't work, does the Tor Browser Bundle simply default to 'basic Tor' instead, thus making me visible for using Tor? Or will it simply just not work at all?

And on the same theme, if I start using pluggable transports and some time during the session it stops working, will the browser revert to 'basic Tor' or will it stop completely, forcing me to start the whole Tor Browser Bundle again using some other transport?

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Is there a way to check that the pluggable transports are actually working as advertised while you are browsing?

tor's log will show you which bridge you are using. Alternatively you can use netstat (or similar tools) to see that you only have connections to where you expect.

I'm assuming that if I click on them and the browser goes to where I ask it to, then the transport is working

This is also correct. If the transport is configured but not working the bootstrapping process will fail.

However, I'm a wee bit concerned that if the transport doesn't work, does the Tor Browser Bundle simply default to 'basic Tor' instead, thus making me visible for using Tor? Or will it simply just not work at all?

If you have a pluggable transport configured and it doesn't work, it will fail closed (nothing will work).

And on the same theme, if I start using pluggable transports and some time during the session it stops working, will the browser revert to 'basic Tor' or will it stop completely, forcing me to start the whole Tor Browser Bundle again using some other transport?

It depends on the failure mode. If you are using obfs4 and I shutdown the test bridge, you will need to use another transport. If it is something like a temporary network outage, things should reconnect automatically.

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