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Introduction for beginners

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Downloading, the basic steps

Here are the basic steps. It is imperative that you do not skip a step.

Step 1: Get access to a newsserver

You have to have access to a newsserver in order to download from binary Usenet newsgroups. Some ISP's have their own (free to use) newsserver but you can also subscribe to a payserver like the ones on the left-hand side of your screen. Payservers aren't free but usually are much better (in terms of speed, retention and completeness of files) than a server of an ISP.

Step 2: Choose and install a newsreader

You need a newsreader in order to download files from binary Usenet newsgroups. That is a program that can connect to a newsserver (see step 1) and download the files from a binary Usenet newsgroup. There are several newsreaders and they all have their pros and cons. To help you to make a choice I created a comparative overview of newsreaders.

Step 3: Finding out what has been posted to binary Usenet newsgroups

There are hundreds of binary Usenet newsgroups. How do you know what has been posted to which Usenet newsgroup? If you do not know if something is available in a group, or to which group something has been posted and when this was done, then this is a challenge.

Category 1) You are looking for something and you want to know if somebody has posted it to a binary Usenet newsgroup. For this purpose usenet communities exist where people inform each other what they have spotted in which newsgroup.

Category 2) You know that something has been posted and you also know the filename or a part of the header (the visible title) but you do not know to which Usenet newsgroup it was posted. In this situation it is best to use a search engine for binary Usenet newsgroups and create an NZB file. Several search engines are listed at our Usenet NZB search engines page.

NZB is an invention that has made downloading a bit easier. A search engine can create an NZB file which you can open with your newsreader. And then it has all the information it needs in order to download the files for you. This saves you the effort of downloading the headers of a newsgroup first. More information: What is NZB?.

Category 3) You see something in a binary Usenet newsgroup but by examining the header (the visible title) you can not figure out what it is. In that case you can check whether the poster included an NFO file (with the extension .nfo). Usually there is some information about the post in the NFO file. You can view these files with an NFO Viewer (tutorial).

Step 4: Learn how to work with your newsreader & download the files!

We can download the files when we know where they have been posted. Of course we should first learn to work with our newsreader. Here at Binaries4all we have tutorials for every popular newsreader. You can find them in the menu on the left-hand side of your screen in the sub-menu of 'Downloading'.

Step 5: Verify the downloaded files: are they complete and undamaged?

Files can become incomplete or damaged while downloading (more information about the causes of incomplete files). This does not have to be a problem: we can use the program QuickPar to verify whether downloaded files are complete and repair them if necessary! Read our QuickPar tutorial for more information.

Step 6: Extract the downloaded files

Most of the large files in Usenet newsgroups are compressed with WinRAR so they are RAR files. Why? It is not possible to put a DVD as one large file (of 4GB+) in a Usenet newsgroup for example, it is too large. So it has to be split by WinRAR into parts with a maximum size of about 50MB per part.

If the downloaded files are repaired, then we can extract them. You can extract RAR archives with WinRAR but also with the freeware program 7-Zip. We also have tutorials for these programs (click on the hyperlinks). Of course it is also possible that you downloaded other types of files like MP3 or JPG. Obviously those do not have to be extracted.

Step 7: Burn to CD or DVD?

If you downloaded a DVD you might want to burn it to a disc. This is the next step. We do not have tutorials for this step at Binaries4all but we intend to write them in the future.

To the next chapter: Posting