How to Download NZB Files

by John Gugie

Usenet (user network) is a type of bulletin board that allows readers to read and download text or binary (images or videos) files, separated into sequential threads in categories, known as newsgroups. Threads are read and downloaded by newsreader software. Downloading text threads is simple because they are generally one part. Binaries are more difficult to find because large files, such as movies, can be separated into dozens or hundreds of smaller files, which can be lost. This is where NZB files come in. NZB stands for "NewZBin" and is a XML-based file format for retrieving newsgroup files that combines the thread location of all parts of a file into a single archive. The NZB is opened with a USENET binary grabber, which downloads each part. The parts are then extracted and merged back into one large file. Most Internet providers offer newsgroups but most only offer text access, no binaries, and short file retention. A separate Newsgroup Server account is usually required to be of any real use.

Subscribe to a reputable news server. It should have a long file retention of at least 7 days but 120 days is the standard by most premium news servers, which costs a small amount each month. "Giganews" is a popular server. Also, look at the number of connections allowed, which are the number of newsgroup file parts that can be downloaded simultaneously. More connections means a slightly faster download time. Once you are subscribed, proceed to the next step.

Download, install, and set up "GrabIt." Once installed, you can use most of the default preferences but you need to set up your server information. Go to the left column, find "Default server", right-click on it and choose "Server properties" to open it. Enter your "Connection parameters," which your server will provide. Click "Ok." Set the download folder by going up to "Edit," choose "Preferences," and choose your folders under the "Folders" tab. Click "Ok." It should be ready to use now.

Search for newsgroup files. Open your browser and go to the "Binsearch" website. Enter a file title to look for in the search box. Set the "Results per page" to 250. Set the "Maximum age of posts" to your newsgroup server's maximum file retention age. The older the better because the more files available means the better chance you will find complete archives. Click "Search."

Find the files you want to download from the search results. The key information to look at are "Subject" and "Age." A file that is under three hours old file might not yet be spread to your server and too close to your server's maximum retention means that parts of the archive might have been removed. A file that is a few days to a few weeks old is almost a sure thing. Look at the subject and note the "parts available," which shows how many parts of the archive are available on the server. If the number of parts is written in green, the archive is complete. Red means incomplete. Incomplete files may still be extracted if enough "par2" files, which are filler parts, exist.

Download and save the NZB file(s). Check the box or boxes next to the file or collections you want and click "Create NZB." The website combine all of the archive parts into one simple file. Save to a location on your hard drive.

Open the NZB file with the USENET binary grabber, GrabIt. It can be done at the time of downloading instead of saving, from a saved NZB file opened from Windows Explorer, or from within "GrabIt" by clicking "NZB Import" on the menu bar and adding the NZB files. The NZB will open with a list of files comprising the archive and begin downloading each. The number of connections can by controlled at the bottom right by checking and unchecking boxes next to each thread.

Wait for the NZB files to be completely downloaded by "GrabIt," which automatically repairs and extracts the archives. All of the archived parts are merged into one or a few files and saved in your download folder for access. If it fail, it can be done manually with the compression software, WinRAR.

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About the Author

John Gugie has been a freelance writer for a decade. His work is diverse, from editorials and research papers to entertainment, humor and more. He holds a degree in finance from Moravian College of Pennsylvania. He writes for several sites including Associated Content, Helium and Examiner.