newsgroup guide.main1.0learn newsgroups quickly
Below you will find a quick newsgroups guide to get up and running with newsgroups quickly. This runs over the very basics of newsgroup software and I would advise reading the more in depth newsgroups guides after you have completed this to fully understand the software.
The newsgroup server is the source of the data files. The better the newsgroup server you select the better your newsgroup experience is going to be. There are defining factors upon which newsgroup server you select, however they all tend to come down to cost. Most Internet Service Providers (ISP's) provide a free newsgroup server, this is usually called news.ispname.com. Some tend to be very good and others not great. If your ISP provide a free service its a good starting point. You will get extremely fast download speeds due to the low ping rate.
However newsgroups do tend to have bad retention and broken files. If you want to go with quality newsgroup providers at a cost I would recommend Giganews or Newsdemon. They both offer high retention at fairly low costs. They offer a differnt range of newsgroup services, I personally use unlimited plus with Newsdemon.
Ok so we have now picked a newsgroup server I hope. All you need is the provider name ie (news.provider.com) and a username and password if required.
There are so many newsgroup clients out there from the basics of outlook to the advanced Newsbin pro. My personal favourite is Newsleecher, it isn't overly expensive, however you buy it on a yearly subscription basis. The most popular free client tends to be Grabit.
Since its free I will focus on Grabit for the quick setup, however you can find guides for the others througout the site. It should be a straightforward installer. Once the program is launched you should right click on the My Grabit and select add server. You should be prompted by a screen that looks like this:
You should enter in the profile name a nickname that you would like to use for the newsgroup server. The hostname should be the newsgroup server you selected before usually news.myprovider.com. The port will be given to you by your provider, this is usually port 119 by default. Account Name and password are self explanatory, leave blank if not required. Finally "Maximum allowed connections" is quite important. This is usually dictated by your provider and going over the limit can get you banned. If you are unsure stick with one, however most paid providers will allow you 10+ connections.
You should now be able to right click on your newly added newsgroup server and select refresh grouplist. If this has worked you will now see a list of groups in the system with an associated article count. If you see this then congratulations your client is now setup correctly.
There are two main ways to find the files you are looking for, the hard way and the easy way. If you feel like taking the hard road, then you want to first of all subscribe to a newsgroup, with grabit you can do this by either double clicking on one of the groups or right clicking then selecting subscribe. You will now see at your left hand side the new group you have added. You can now right click on this and you will have a few options. The main ones being full update or incremental update.
Incremental update will only update the headers of files within a short period of time or since your last update. Full update will update all the headers back to your maximum history limit. In most instances you would select full update the first time (This can take a while) and then incremental each time after that. So what are the headers? Headers are short descriptions of the file, usually only a few kb in size. Therefore what you see in your articles pane is a description of the file. To actually download it you would click on this description and it would download.
Your downloaded files folder should be setup in your preferences, it doesn't matter where you download the files too, as long as you can find it. To change this you can go into Edit -> Preferences -> Folders and then edit the "Download" field.
You will however find that most files are not whole, they are split into multiple parts, usually with a program called WinRAR. You can find this later on in the tutorial. Therefore you will often see multiple files with a similar name i.e. File name Part 1 of 15, File name Part 2 of 15, File name Part 3 of 15.... and so on. You will require all of these files to make a whole. You therefore must search for each file you require and download them all.
You may think its stupid to split files, however it has many advantages. First of all newsgroups have a file size limit, so it means that you can split a 5Gb file into loads of little parts and never exceed the limit. Second of all if you start to upload a file and it fails then you have to start all over again, imagine how frustrating it must be to upload 4.9Gb and then it fails in the last 100Mb. If you split the files, you upload the first 50Mb, post it and so on. If you fail the most you will ever have to upload again is a 50Mb file.
Ok back on track, you want to know the easy way don't you? Well they are called NZB files! NZb files are little XML based files that you really don't need to understand how they work (If your really interested then you can look in one of our more in depth guides). NZB files are generated by people and they do all the work for you, they go to your newsgroup, find the files and allow you to start downloading them. This means that you do not have to spend 20 minutes download all the headers for a newsgroup and look through them for the files you require. One click and you will get exactly what you want.
So how do we load these files? Its simple select your newsgroup server at the left in Grabit, select the batch tab and you will see a NZB Import. Click on this and select file type NZB, your server name and then click Add to browse to your NZB file. When you click Grab it will go away and get all the files you require. Its as simple as that. Oh and you are probably wondering where to find these NZB files. Well there are loads of different web sites depending what you are looking for. My favorite at the moment is NZB Matrix due to the amount of freeware linux applications it has. However be careful as a lot of sites post content to copyright material.
Parchive files (.par or .par2) are parity check files. These are very important to newsgroups and are going to save you a lot of time and effort. Quite often on newsgroups you will find that some of your files are incomplete or corrupt. You could for example have 45 good files out of 50, however without the remaining 5 files you have no chance of completing your file. So this is where a parity check comes into play. There are two types, PAR files and PAR2, the later being the older version, which is not used much anymore. Now I won't go into detail about how these work here, however you can just imagine that they magically rebuild your missing files from nowhere. Whenever you download a split file you should always download the par files that go along with it.
The difference between the two is upon how the files are regenerated. Each file part is also made up of blocks, now if one part has 49/50 blocks then it is almost complete with only one corrupt block. It seems such a waste to throw the whole thing away. With PAR2 files it can regenerate that one block and boom it is fixed and ready to go. With a PAR it can still regenerate the missing file, but it has to rebuild all 50 blocks from scratch.
Ok this is boring you with facts, what do we need? Well its simple we need a tool to do this and I find the best to be QuickPar. When you install this it will associated itself with the par2 files. So once you have downloaded a release you can double click on the par2 file, QuickPar will open and check that all the necessary files exist. If they don't exist it will check and see if there are enough PAR2 files to repair the file. If it says repair needed then just hit repair and it will do the rest for you. No need to download every file again. Don't worry if this doesn't make sense just now it will once you try it for yourself.
Not every file will come in rars, some may be complete and there is now need to use this section. However if you are in that scenario and you have now managed to use quickpar to check that your rar files are not corrupt, then it's time to unrar the files. Now briefly what are rar files? They are compressed files which are in essence archived. By raring a file we can reduce the file size and split it into smaller parts. So how do we open it? We need a program called WinRAR. They offer a free trial, however its fairly cheap if you wish to purchase it. Ok so install it as you would a normal windows program. If you need more help then see our full install guide.
All you want to do is right click on the first file of the rars, this usually has a file extension of .r00 or .part01. You should have a option to "Extract Here", click on this you will see it extracting. The time this takes will depend on the specification of your computer, the compression ratio and the size of the file. Its as simple as that your file should now be extracted.
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