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Making Usenet Easy With NZB Files
November 11, 2004
Thomas Mennecke
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Usenet, or the Newsgroups, have always been an incredible source of information. However, actually retrieving that information is the tricky part. In the past, if one is looking for a specific movie or file, it was necessary to download all the headers of a particular newsgroup. A header is an article headline that gives a general description of a particular post. Depending on the newsgroup and retention of the news server, there may be a half million or more headers per group.

While downloading a single header takes up an insignificant amount of time, downloading several hundred thousand headers can be a time consuming affair. This becomes even more frustrating when the file or archive you are looking for does not exist in the particular group you just spent 15 minutes downloading. In short, browsing the Newsgroups for the file you want was left up to two things: 1) chance, and 2) being at the mercy of those posting.

Although Usenet fans will always be at the mercy of those posting (requests notwithstanding), there is finally something that can be done about aimlessly browsing, spending excessive time downloading headers and leaving things to chance. NZB files are here to the rescue.

Recently designed NZB or NewzBin files were created to function along with your news reader. NZB files only download the headers specific to the file you are looking for. NZB files were developed by the folks at, a commercial newsgroup indexing site. Although their services are not free (a marginal cost of $4 for 6 weeks of services) they are almost as grand of a savior as Par files. To make things even better, NZB files are open source for anyone to use and implement.

Working in conjunction with the indexing services of, one simply has to search for the desired file, for example "Beethoven's 9th Symphony", and a list of various Beethoven results will appear. In addition to the results for Beethoven, that precious NZB file will also be available. Simply download the NZB file, import it to your newsreader, and it will automatically download the headers from the indexed location. NZB files mean no more wasting bandwidth and no more time wasted downloading countless headers.

Currently, the most popular binary newsreaders NewsBinPro (no affiliation to NewzBin), BNR, NewsLeecher and GrabIt are able to process (import and utilize) NZB files (In addition to many other news reader.) If you do not wish to spend the money at first and wish to try out NZB files, there are free alternatives. is a very good indexing/nzb site, however is not nearly as complete as In addition, there are actual newsgroups that contain NZB files. They include alt.binaries.ftn.nzb, alt.binaies.nzb, alt.binaries.nzb-files and alt.binaries.nzb-files.multimedia.

This story is filed in these Slyck News categories
Newsgroups/Usenet :: Indexing Sites
Newsgroups/Usenet :: Other

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