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The How-To Geek Guide to Getting Started with Usenet

usenetheader1What would BitTorrent look like if it was lightening fast, always available, completely private, and secure? It’d look a lot like Usenet. Read on to learn how to ditch Torrenting and enjoy super speeds and selection on Usenet.

What Is Usenet and Why Should I Care?

First, let’s talk about a system nearly everyone is familiar with, BitTorrent. Torrents are a form of distributed file sharing. You get a torrent file and that torrent file connects you to a tracker and in turn that tracker helps your BitTorrent client find all the other computer around the world sharing that file. Your ability to find and download files is dependent on other people sharing and the quality and speed of their connections to the internet. It’s also inherently not a private or secure activity because there is no way, even on the nicer private trackers, to engage in the entire process of torrenting without sharing your identity (or the identity of your proxy or seedbox at least). Torrenting is, even on a private tracker, a public activity.

By contrast Usenet is private, secure, and as fast as your broadband connection can handle. What exactly is Usenet and how does it provide these things? A bit of history is in order. Usenet is, by modern standards, an ancient internet system. Harking back to the early 1980s, Usenet was created to serve as a global distributed discussion system. Sub groups existed for everything from hardware hacking discussion to movie critiques to alternative lifestyles. The heyday of Usenet as a global discussion forum has long since passed (although some groups are still in use). Usenet, however, lives on thanks to the binary groups and the introduction of the NZB file.

For decades Usenet has had binary groups, sub groups that specialize in the distribution of non-text files that are broken up into pieces and shared as text blocks in thousands of sequential Usenet messages. Software, photos, music, movies, television shows, and more can be found in the binary groups. Accessing the binary groups was an arcane art and required multiple steps as well as a lot of frustration when files didn’t download or unpack correctly. Eventually people decided they’d had enough and the NZB file was created.

Although the origin of the NZB format is murky (some accounts claim it was created by Newzbin, others that it was first created by Dutch computer enthusiasts and lifted by Newzbin, etc.) the practical application of NZB files is perfectly clear. NZB files are XML indexes that make sharing and accessing files on Usenet extremely easy. Back in the olden days of binary sharing on Usenet you had to, by hand, find all the pieces of a shared file and reassemble them yourself using a variety of programs. In the early 90s, for example, doing something as simple as downloading a wallpaper pack was a multi-step and failure prone procedure.

NZB files did away with all that tedious hands-on activity and made it simple to retrieve the entire file set with nothing more than a single NZB file. To bring it back to the BitTorrent comparison, NZB files are just like Torrent files except instead of pointing you to all the thousands of file sharers around the world with the file, they point you to the thousands of pieces of the file on a high-speed Usenet server.

When you load an NZB file in a Usenet client you are establishing a direct one-on-one link with your Usenet provider. There’s no extra peers, outside access to your machine, or sharing of files from your collection back to the internet. It’s all the benefits of BitTorrent and none of the downsides.

All you need to get started with Usenet is a Usenet service provider, an NZB index, and a Usenet client. Let’s take a look these three things and get you up and running with Usenet.

One final note on Usenet before we continue: Usenet can be used to download all sorts of material ranging from open-source software distributions to television shows to movies. How you use Usenet is up to you. We’re in the business of creating and sharing useful and accurate how-to guides, not policing what you do with your free time and broadband connection. Keep your comments constructive and on-topic.

Selecting a Service Provider

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Unlike BitTorrent, Usenet is going to cost you some money. It’s a small price to pay for blazing fast downloads and privacy, however. Your ISP likely has Usenet servers available but there’s a 99% they’re unsuitable our purposes. If your ISP is one of the remaining ISPs that offer Usenet access they most likely don’t provide access to the binary groups making them useless for using Usenet as a file sharing service. Not only that the speed is likely restricted so between the poor selection and the poor speed it’s necessary to go with a third party provider.

Before we start suggesting potential providers, let’s highlight some critical terms and what you should be looking for in a Usenet provider.

Retention: Retention is the length of time the Usenet server retains the binary files. The longer retention the better. If you’re paying for a premium server you should expect retention on the order of years. Top providers usually have a retention rate in excess of 1,000 days. This is one of the most important things to look at as a server with a low retention rate will be nothing but frustrating. At minimum you should accept nothing short of at least 800+ days of retention.

Quotas/Monthly Caps: Providers offer tiered service that can range anywhere from 10GB a month to unlimited access. We’d suggest taking the free 30 day trial nearly every Usenet provider offers and then at the end of the month checking your usage to determine what tier you’d like.

Server Connections: This is the number of concurrent connections you can have with the main servers. Some people over emphasize the importance of this number. Nearly every Usenet provider offers 10+ concurrent connections and it’s easy to saturate even a 100MB broadband connection with only 5-10. If a provider tries to wow you by saying they offer 20+ connections it’s more for show than for practical application unless you’re sitting on an fiber backbone.

Security Features: The big one here is SSL encryption for your connection. You want SSL. This ensures that nobody between your computer and your Usenet provider knows what’s going on with your connection. You’re taking the effort to set up a Usenet connection for fast, private, and secure downloading. Don’t skip on SSL! Some of the high end providers offer additional security features like VPN services (useful if you want to keep torrenting to access rare files) and secure file storage (encrypted Dropbox like arrangements). Those addons are nice but not critical for our purposes.

Armed with these terms, it’s time to start looking at popular Usenet providers. We’re going to highlight three of the most popular providers here:

Giganews: Currently, Giganews is the Cadillac of Usenet providers. They’ve been around for nearly 20 years, they offer 1113 days of binary retention (the longest in the industry right now), they control their entire operation from the front end right down to the server racks (they’re a tier-1 provider), and they offer lightening fast tech support (in the course of writing this article we contacted tech support and received a reply in 17 minutes). Plans range from $5 a month for 5GB to $35 for their ultra-premium package which includes VPN service and a custom Usenet client. If you’re just interested in unlimited access with SSL, $25 a month will make it happen. The free trial period is 14 days.

Astraweb: If you’re looking for a no-frills service that offers you cheap Usenet access, good retention, and SSL, Astraweb is where it’s at. Giganews beats Astraweb hands down when it comes to added services but for those on a budget Astraweb is the clear winner. For a mere $15 a month you can get an unlimited account with SSL (use this link here and get a lifetime promotional rate of $11 a month). It’s a barebones service but you’ll save $120+ a year compared to an equivalent Giganews plan. For the non-power users they do have an attractive pay-as-you-go option, 180GB of transfer for $25 (thanks aISeen!) Astraweb only offers a 24 free trial.

Newshosting: Newshosting is another tier-1 provider. They offer free SSL, 1103 day retention, and unlimited speed on all their plans. Newshosting recently introduced a custom Usenet browser with built-in search. Plans range from $10 a month for their 50GB plan to $15 a month for their unlimited plan (use this link here to get a lifetime promotional rate of $10 a month or $100 per year). The free trial period is 14 days or 30GB, which ever comes first.

Once you’ve signed up for an account/free trial it’s time to configure your Usenet client.

Installing and Configuring SABnzbd

2011-08-23_151618SABnzbd is, by far, one of the best Usenet clients out there. It’s such a great client, so stable, integrates with so many helper apps, and offers such robust features we’re not even going to waste your time mentioning other Usenet apps. SABnzbd is written in Python and available for Windows, Mac, Linux, Unix, BSD (and other OS you can compile and run a Python application in).

One of the most valuable things about SABnzbd is how lightweight it is. Many Usenet apps are sloppily coded and enormous resource hogs—we’ve tested quite a few over the years that would redline a processor while simply idling, let alone actually downloading and unpacking files.

2011-08-23_144906

Grab a copy of SABnzbd for your operating system here. Run the installer, it’s largely a click-next kind of installation. The only thing you’ll want to do is check all the options on the Choose Components screen. You want SABnzbd to run at startup so it’s always working and you want to associate NZB files with the app.

After the installation finishes your default web browser will open up a connection to the local host on port 8080 where you’ll be greeted by the SABnzbd Quick-Start Wizard. Selection your language and click Start Wizard.

2011-08-23_150122

In the first step of the process you’ll need to plug in the server and login data for your provider. Make sure to use the proper port for SSL (usually 563) and check the SSL box. When you’ve filled everything in click Test Server to test your connection. If everything went well you should get a Connection Successful! confirmation as seen in the screenshot above.

2011-08-23_150547

In step two you’ll configure access to SABnzbd. If you won’t be using SABnzbd from any computer but the computer you just installed it on, you can leave all the default settings as they are. The web interface is enormously useful, however, and we recommend you check “I want SABnzbd to be viewable by any pc on my network” and set up a username and password

Step three is the NZB index configuration step. Skip this step for now; if you end up using the two services SABnzbd can interface directly with (Newzbin and NZBMatrix) you can plug in the information later.

Step four cycles SABnzbd, restarting the service. SABnzbd will give you a brief list of the URLs/shortcuts you can use to access the service from your network and then it will finish restarting and prompt you for the login information you created in step two. After you plug it in you should see a screen that looks like the following:

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While SABnzbd is ready to rock at this point, there are a few configuration settings you may want to tweak before moving on to the final step in our tutorial.

Click on the Config tab in the upper left corner. Within the configuration menu you’ll want to visit the General menu to change the port number for SABnzbd’s web interface if it conflicts with any other web-server apps on your computer. You’ll also want to visit the Folders menu and change the temporary download and completed folders to a secondary drive if you’re crunched for space on your primary drive. Finally you’ll want to set up a Watched Folder. We recommend creating a new folder like C:\NZB\ and sharing it with your network. SABnzbd will watch that folder for new NZB files and automatically load them. This is an enormously useful feature for those times you’re browsing NZB sites from another computer on your network and want to dump some NZB files into SABnzbd.

Those are the three most critical changes. Beyond that feel free to mosey through the sub-menus to take advantage of some of SABnzbd’s useful features like scheduling (to, for example, restrict it to downloading only during off-peak hours), create sub-categories for your downloads to enable easy sorting (TV, Movies, Software, etc.); you can read more about the individual settings of SABnzbd here.

The Care and Feeding of Your Usenet Client

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At this point you have a Usenet provider, you have a properly configured Usenet client, and all you need is some NZBs to feed to your client—without them you’ll have a bored client and an empty queue. The following are popular NZB indexing sites. Most have free access with limited retention and require some sort of signup and or nominal payment for full access (i.e. $10 a year). An important thing to consider is whether the index is raw or hand indexed. Raw indexes are simply giant searchable databases of all the files on Usenet—powerful to use but a little tricky for new users to navigate successfully—where as hand-indexed databases are sorted, categorized, and quality-vouched for you.

NZBMatrix: Neatly organized, rocks an API that integrates with SABnzbd, extremely easy to search and navigate. Requires a free account for basic access, premium access (which is well worth it) runs $10  for a 10 year upgrade—yes, you read that correctly, 10 bucks for 10 years.

Newzbin: Newzbin is the oldest NZB provider around. The quality of their service is still high but because they aren’t the only game in town anymore a lot of people have trouble stomaching the credit-based system that runs around $3-4 a month. Like NZBMatrix, they have a solid API and are supported by many clients and third-party applications.

NZBClub: NZBClub is one of the more popular raw indexes. If you’re handy with search terms and want to do some deep digging this is a great place to look. Free, no registration required.

Binsearch.info: Another raw index (it’s always good to keep a few on hand!); free and no registration required.

NZB.su: A free service primarily focused on indexing Usenet media for third-party applications. It does include a raw search but provides no hand indexing what so ever. Unless you’re using it for a specific third-party application it’s best to skip this one.

All you need to do to feed your client and get the downloads rolling in is visit one of the above indexes, grab an NZB file or two (or two hundred) and dump them into the Watch Folder. SABnzbd will grab the NZB files, start the download, unpack the files, and place them in your specified Finished Download directory. That’s it. Armed with a long-retention provider, SABnzbd, and a good index, you’ll never have to wait around on a slow, clunky, and public BitTorrent download again.


Have experience with Usenet providers, clients, or useful third-party applications? Let’s hear about it in the comments.

Jason Fitzpatrick is warranty-voiding DIYer and all around geek. When he's not documenting mods and hacks he's doing his best to make sure a generation of college students graduate knowing they should put their pants on one leg at a time and go on to greatness, just like Bruce Dickinson. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 08/23/11

Comments (38)

  1. Bradley G

    Giganews has been great for me. For the mac users Unison by Panic is hands down the best option as far as clients go. Happy downloading.

  2. alSeen

    I stand by Astraweb.

    While they only have a 24 hour trial, they do have a plan that gives you 180 gigs downloaded for $25. There is no time limit on when to use it. This lets you download an average of 2 gig a day for 3 months. If you find that isn’t enough, you can always switch to the $11 a month for unlimited.

  3. TheClaus

    Great article. I have been doing this setup for years. When I first started using usenet I went with Easynews since it was the easiest and before NZBs showed up. Then when I started draining my usage I switched to torrents. Never liked torrents though for the reasons you described so learned about nzb files and did some research and came up with the exact setup you offered.

    I use Astraweb for my provider and SAB as my client. With SAB I have it throttle the bandwidth most of the day so I can still use my internet connection. During the night when I sleep though it is opened up full throttle.

    nzbmatrix is the best I have seen and I got in before the whole 10 for 10 years so I think I am not on that plan even if I am who cares it is a buck a year for a wonderful service.

  4. Dolphinman

    I miss Grabit from the application list, which is an great dissapointment since it’s one of the greatest and biggest app around for downloading.

  5. GMonk

    Something not mentioned here, and it should be, is that Usenet contains some of the most persistent and virulent viruses out there. Why do you think hardly anybody uses it? Beware!!!!

  6. Flare

    Followed the instructions and now I’m in shock.

    I downloaded a video file yesterday, which spanned 20 RAR files; when I extracted the contents, what I got was another RAR file that contained the video file I wanted. It was password protected!

    Alonside the file; I got an exe file called “RARPassGen” and a text file with the instructions:
    Instructions to extract the archive:

    Step 1: Use RARPassGen to generate a password for the archive.
    Step 2: Extract and enjoy!
    Naively, thinking this was not LimeWire or BitTorrent; I simply went ahead and double-clicked the RARPAssGen executable.

    The file gave me an error and my AntiVirus caught a Trojan virus that was inside of it!

    WTF? Is this happening now? Are there infected files on Usenet? I thought this was not an issue since it’s an underground thing and trading viruses is not in anyone’s interest.

    I guess the password protected file should’ve been a giveaway. I’m disappointed.

  7. nfixit2004

    Is it just me or have usenet been a virus nest as of late?
    As of late it seems like usenet has become a huge nest for viruses. Iam currently using newshosting and UE for a reader( I have been using this combo for the last 3 years ). but alot of the usual groups that I frequent( in the last 4-5 years) have become filled with viruses and useless binaries. I always thought that newsgroups was low key and safe. Did I miss something in the last year, is usenet on its way out?
    Viruses have always been around but user support have seem to fall also, usually users would post their success or failure about certain post and that has become rare also.

  8. Lonewolf30

    I use NZB and trust me, pick a good anti-virus software to check what you download. I picked up a Trojan about a month ago and JUST NOW got rid of it… it can be on any newsgroup so be careful. It’s not just binaries…

    I did some more research and found that Usenet is the perfect breeding ground for spreading trojans, there’s pratically no way to remove an offending post.

  9. RMorency

    I agree with the last comments posted here. People shouldn’t be so naive to think that they can get something for nothing these days. The following is from a CNN article titles “Usenet may be a virus minefield” was posted in 2001. You’re kidding yourself if you think things are safer ten years later.

    “A part of the Internet that predates the Web, and once was one of the busiest places online, is becoming a breeding ground for some of the Net’s most vicious viruses, says one security firm.”

    Read the full article at

    http://articles.cnn.com/2001-07-06/tech/usenet.viruses.idg_1_newsgroups-usenet-virus-writers?_s=PM:TECH

  10. Rick

    The following is from a CNN article posted in 2001. You’re naive if you think things have become safer ten years later.

    “A part of the Internet that predates the Web, and once was one of the busiest places online, is becoming a breeding ground for some of the Net’s most vicious viruses, says one security firm.”

    To read the full artcile go to

    http://edition.cnn.com/2001/TECH/ptech/07/06/usenet.viruses.idg/index.html

  11. billybob

    Sorry to disagree but, I just dropped my recurring charges for Usenetserver. Nothing wrong with them at all, just got tired of dealing with all the viruses & bogus binaries. After 8+ years of usenetting, I’m out.
    (I download headers every day from multiple groups and then peruse them for stuff I’m interested in…as opposed to using an app to search for something specific on usenet and then just download that. does that make sense? convoluted, I know.)

  12. Randolph McGhee

    Kinda funny seeing usenet touted as the “new thing” – remember back in the 90s when most ISPs ran nntp servers as part of your basic intertubes? I’ve pretty much stopped doing usenet at all after being a very heavy user from somewhere in the early 90s to mid 2000s – just too much crap on there and p2p is generally easier if not always as fast. Plus p2p is free. Most of the old usenet folks I know have gone to private p2p but really there’s hardly anything worth arghhhing anymore – most new software is crap and the freeware alternatives are often better, music is dirt cheap (thanks to p2p) and between netflix and redbox i’m stocked on home movie/tv viewing. But hey, if you want to pay money to feel like you’re discovering something 20+ years old more power to you.

  13. jasray

    Persistent problem with a number of tech sites–all these old fads coming back to life sound magical, so the writers tell wonderful stories of far off lands rich with spices and women and food and drink marvelous to the senses.

    In short, if it sounds too good to be true, it is.

    “It’s all the benefits of BitTorrent and none of the downsides.” Opinion, not fact.

    “Your ISP likely has Usenet servers available but there’s a 99% they’re unsuitable our purposes.”

    Decipher please?

  14. Josh B.

    So correct me if I’m wrong, but an NZB is like a tracker that points to different usenet servers? So, is usenet similar to p2p but only specialized usenet servers are allowed to seed?

  15. Jason Fitzpatrick

    @jasray: The deciphering was right in the article. ISP provided servers almost always have low retention and no binary newsgroup access (thus they’re not very useful for downloading files).

    @Josh B.: In order for a file to be shared on Usenet it has to be broken into pieces where in each piece is at least as small as the maximum message size a Usenet server will accept. Think about it being like the old days of breaking up a large archive to fit on multiple floppy disks. The NZB file simply says “Here are all the file parts, plus the parity files, and which newsgroups they are located in.” It saved you the enormous pain in the ass work of, by hand, finding all those pieces of the main file and parity files. So rather than pointing to multiple Usenet servers it actually points to the newsgroups and tells your client where to find those all important pieces.

    As for uploading the Usenet… if you’re curious about the process here’s a basic guide to text-based and binary-based uploading: http://www.newsgroupreviews.com/upload-post-usenet.html

  16. g725s

    I had to leave during setup of SABnzbd and lost my progress. I was not able to select “I want SABnzbd to be viewable by any pc on my network”. How can I select this once I was unable to during initial setup?

  17. g725s

    Now you need to write an article on how to deal with the files downloaded. So if you end up with an NZB, a few PAR2, and a bunch of RAR how do you convert them into something usable?

  18. Tripkip

    @howtogeek In addition:
    Take a look at sickbeard, couchpotatoapp.com and the iOS app iCouchPotato for total awesomeness.

  19. Dave

    If you are using Chrome/Firefox you can get a Extension/Addon for SABnzbd so its a one click download straight into SABnzbd

  20. sprremix

    Provider: http://usenet-news.net/
    Download NZB via: Unzbin
    Search method: binsearch and u4all

    = imo best Usenet setup!

  21. Luc

    Take NEWSBIN for a spin.
    Been using that one for years.

  22. DaveS

    As mentioned by someone else. GrabIt is a very simple easy to use client. I use it with Giganews. I love the retention. The big thing missing in this article is how to actually SEARCH for something specific. Most usenet services will offer a search function but they’re expensive. I can easily search a single group, but I have to ahvee loaded the headers for it.

    Is there any way to actually search the newsgroups without spending a ton?

  23. Rick

    Been using newsgroups for years. When I downloaded the headers and did manual searches, I got viruses. Ever since I started using .nzb files from index sites, I’ve had no problems. Typically there’s a comment section and someone will tell you if there is a virus before you download. I also use sickbeard which is a fantastic companion app to Sabnzbd. Combine newsgroups with XBMC and you have a great setup. I also use the addon for firefox that sends the .nzb file directly to Sabnzbd. I also recommend setting up a dyndns account so you can send nzbs to sab when you’re away from home. There are apps for both iOS devices and Android devices.

    To the person asking about pars, rars, etc… Rar files are like zip files, you have to unpack them; and par files are extra bits of information used to repair incomplete or damaged files. Sabnzbd should automatically check the file, repair it if needed and unpack the rar files into a useable file for you. It will also delete the par files, rar files, and other files not needed after the process. You can even have post processing scripts that place the files into certain folders. My system is almost completely automated. I’ll never go back to torrents.

  24. Rick

    @DaveS, yes, use index sites. I used to use a client that had a search feature like what you described but it was a pain. Go to nzbmatrix.com. It indexes usenet for you, you can search for whatever you want and download the .nzb file. Then you just feed that to your client and it will go out and get the files for you. That site is $10 for a 10 year subscription. Well worth it. You can use the fee account to try out the service though.

  25. TheClaus

    For the people that complain about viruses. You need to check your sources. Check the comments from the index sites. That is the great thing about nzbmatrix is every NZB on there has a comments section and people will tell you if it has viruses or not and if it doesn’t play on X. I read the comments before downloading anything just to make sure that file or video is good or not.

  26. Mr. Eddard

    I was turned on to Usenet almost 2 years ago and haven’t looked back. Started with Giganews but eventually realized I could save $14 with Astraweb for the exact same service and made the switch (I have Fios and the slight difference in connections wasn’t noticeable at all).

    To all complaining about viruses: smart downloading habits are still applicable in the wonderful world of Usenet.
    1. Read the comments: Most people will let you know if a file is infected.
    2. Download only from trusted sources: most indexers have an option to read the nfo, a file with info ranging from the codec used on a video/music file to serial numbers used in activations. These nfos also let you know who originally uploaded the file (most come from the people who actually hacked/cracked/ripped/compiled the file aka “The Scene”)
    3. Scan downloads for viruses but note that Key Generators can be erroneously flagged as a virus (I sandbox them just in case)

  27. S4u

    Anybody try NZBmatrix lately? Their existence may be in question. Any suggestions on where they are?

  28. Paul

    “One final note on Usenet before we continue: Usenet can be used to download all sorts of material ranging from open-source software distributions to television shows to movies. How you use Usenet is up to you. We’re in the business of creating and sharing useful and accurate how-to guides, not policing what you do with your free time and broadband connection.”

    I’ve got a constructive comment for ya: Don’t piss on me and tell me it’s raining…..Way to go champs

  29. firewire

    Tip
    If your download does not compile correctly ….Try Quickpar to fix it and recompile.
    Also when you specify the server details, make sure you find out what the secure servers details is. It will almost always start with ssl.servername.com and have a secure port number to use.
    I have always find Grabit to be a good client. But no harm in trying new things. I always read the comments on a file before downloading. Some files have a rating number next to it. So when you glancing over a lot of similar files, pick the ones with the best ratings first. Will definitely save you tons of headache and wasted bandwidth. Also the uploaders names are sometimes specified, and you “learn” which ones you can “trust” after some experience.

  30. Ulysses

    I’ve been on Usenet for 12 years, on dialup, DSL & cable, from Win 95 thru Win 7. Over the years I’ve downloaded about 6 terabytes of material, mostly image & video files, & probably uploaded a terabyte myself. I have never encountered a virus. (I’m sure they’re out there, just not in the newsgroups I frequent.) Usenet can be a community & I enjoy the interchange & dialogue with posters & downloaders I know & am known to. There are more than 100,00 Usenet groups, so finding “your” group or groups may take some searching. Just like everything else in life: 80% is junk. You’ll have to wade thru it to find what you want.

    1 point in which I differ with the author: NZB files are hardly ubiquitous, altho they are being posted more frequently. UNZbin is a valuable little free nzb-client for when you do download an NZB file. I still use Xnews as my newsreader (I like the Zen-like simplicity of its interface). WIN-Rar, 7-Zip, & Quick PAR are essential for encoding & decoding your uploads & downloads; InfraRecorder (another freebie) a quick& easy way to burn your image or video files to DVD.

    Do be aware, however: Usenet can be just as dangerous a place as the Web. The same cautions apply to Usenet as apply to the Internet. Look around a bit before you start downloading – learn who is trustworthy and who’s not.

    Usenet is not as colorful as the Web, but then you also don’t have those damned pop-ups, banner-ads & redirects!

  31. Nigel

    @Ulysses

    Well said my friend, I to am a veteran of some 15 years or more. This past time, for most people is a hobby. To get into all this for a couple of bits of software is crazy.
    Regular posters really pride themselves on the quality of material they post, even to the extent of virus checking themselves. Study these people and their posts. Diving in all guns blazing will land you with a very sick machine with no cure but a dose of format medicine.
    Another thing to remember is this, the darker the group the bigger the risk.

  32. TechnoScotty

    You lost me when you misspelled “lightning.”

  33. Brian

    The first rule of Usenet is that you don’t talk about Usenet.

  34. Lee

    Hey signed up for Giganews put in my CC info and signed up for the Diamond plan next thing you know my account has this big Pending Fraud Review account status on hold.

    Well I contacted customer support and they tell me if I send them the information that I already filled out then they might be able to help me.

    Really??

    Did I miss the revolution where the company is king and the customer just has to suck it up.

    Well I dropped Giganews and I am going to give Astraweb a shot. Just wanted to share

  35. Chris

    Just set everything up, including extraction and virus scan on a virtual machine. Don’t move anything out of it unless it’s tested. Before make a snapshot or a copy of that virtual machine. If it gets infected simply delete it, make another copy of the original or revert to snapshot and you are back in the game.

  36. ProstheticHead

    WOW. I never thought I’d see the day when HowToGeek would be instructing people on how to enter the seedy and malware infested world of usenet. Disgusted.

  37. Kevalin

    Seriously? Usenet? During the brief period I used it, fully nine out of ten files I downloaded were flagged as virus-infested by my AV (Nod 32), which tends to be fairly good at not flinging out false positives. It pretty much succeeded at getting me out of the sharing market. I really don’t want to pay money for services that police themselves so poorly.

  38. Wayne Riker

    The Usenet may have more viruses than other Internet modes, but regular email is catching up. I’ve never caught one via Usenet or email, although I’ve used both longer than the Internet’s World Wide Web existed. I was online when Bulletin Boards were popular. I have, however, caught a virus from a school floppy disk (it infected a city district’s whole system) and an ad from Ebay. Usenet is a tool and a very useful one – that is with a little common sensical expectation of its use and some awareness of its limitations – mostly viruses. Many files I downloaded were flagged as viruses. I knew they would by their nature as many of them deal with disk partitioning, disk editing and other reverse engineering of files; but none were actual viruses.

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