Reading Newsgroups.

Here is a quick "walk through" for people who would like to read messages (posts) in newsgroups but don't know how to setup a program (a newsreader) to do that. You might like to print out this page if you would like to avoid the need to have a web browser running while you do things.

You will need :
(A) An internet connection (you need to be connected to the internet to do the following).
(B) A newsgroup reading program (Outlook Express comes installed with windows. It is often one of the icons on your "quick launch" toolbar and/or an icon on your desktop). If you still cannot find it and you know what folders/directories are then try something like "C:\Program Files\Outlook Express\msimn.exe" or look through your installed programs list.
(C) The name of one's news server. One can often guess what the news server name is. For example, suppose your ISP is called, then your news server at your ISP will probably be called .

The name of your "news server" is generally on the "home" page of your ISP (Internet Service Provider). If it isn't then it may be in a "Members", or "Subscribers", section. Or maybe under something like "Configuration". If none of these areas are there, or they don't help, then email or phone your ISP and ask them "What is the name of our *news server* ?".

(D) If you cannot find the name of your news server from your ISP's pages, AND you get an email reply from them that they don't have a news server, then you need to change ISPs or get access to a news server elsewhere.

News server access can be purchased from a number of suppliers. Or if you would prefer free access then consider going to or X-Privat.Org . If you have no luck there then consider a Google search for "Free News Servers" or "Free Newsservers".

(1) Okay, when you first open Outlook Express you will get an image something like :

(2) You now need to create a new (newsgroup) account. This is very similar to creating a new email account. You can go to Tools - Accounts and click on the "news" tab. Then click "add" and select "news". You should get something like the following. (I had another newsreader already setup so your window will probably be empty.)

(3) Next you will see something like ;

(4) Fill it in and you will then see something like ;

(5) Fill it in and you will then see something like ;

(6) Fill it in and you will then see something like ;

(7) Click "finish" and you will then see something like ;

(8) Choose "yes" and you will then see something like ;

(9) Here you can see the list of available newsgroups being downloaded from your ISP's news (NNTP) server (computer) into your newsreader Outlook Express. When that is finished you will then see something like ;

Don't be bothered by the names of many of the newsgroups. Your newsgroup list will probably include tens of thousands of topics. Some good. Some less so. Here we are only interested in two of them.

(10) To quickly find the newsgroups we want we can fill in some of the display criteria eg.

N.B. IF either, or both, of the above newsgroups are missing from your list then you should email, or phone, your ISP and ask them to add it/them. Sometimes it may take more than one email and/or phone call BUT most ISPs WILL add new newsgroups when requested.

(11) Now we can press the "Subscribe" (R.H.S.) button for both newsgroups. When that is finished you will then see something like ;

Without the dropdown selection.

(12) Click on "settings" and you should have things much the same as the above. I suggest you select "All messages" for your first download. You might want to select "New messages only" for subsequent downloads. When that is finished you will then see something like ;

Followed (when finished) by ;

(13) You can now see that there are 142 messages in one newsgroup and 93 in the other. Double click on one of the newsgroups and you should see something like ;

(14) Here you can see the list of "threads" (discussions) going on. Each discussion has a title. If I now want to see all the conversation in a thread then I need to click on the little box where the arrow cursor is pointing. It will change from compressed (a plus sign) to uncompressed (a minus sign). The name of the thread changed to the explanded thread. Showing all the individual posts.

(15) Clicking on a particular post (message) and you should see something like ;

Notice how the messages that have not been read (displayed in the bottom window) are all bold. The "read" ones are not. The arrow is pointing to a read message.

(16) You now can post a message to the newsgroup (where everyone can read it), or to the individual person directly (where only he/she) can read it. "Reply group" means to reply to the newsgroup while "Reply" means email directly to the person who made the newsgroup post. If you chose the former option then you should see something like ;

 As you can see it is almost identical to the window you see when making an email. The main difference to look out for is that it has a line called "newsgroups" where you would normally see a To: line.

Lastly, you will notice that you are now probably at the top of the message (see arrow). This is so that you can move down the message (with your cursor, or the down arrow on your keyboard) and delete the parts you aren't commenting on in your reply. You can then make your reply AFTER the original post.
If you are deleting part(s) of the original message (post), to make reading yours easier, then the usual thing to do is put < snip > wherever you deleted anything.

If you are new to all newsgroups, not just the two listed above, then you might like to know something about newsgroups (often called usenet) netiquette (network etiquette, the do's and don'ts of online communication) then you might like to look at pages such as The core rules of netiquette and How do I quote correctly in Usenet?
                                                                                                                             John Fitzsimons.

Follow this link to our other newsgroup page.