How to View Alt Binaries

By Chase Hasbrouck

Text newsgroups yield a wealth of digital content.
i computer image by blaine stiger from

The USENET discussion board system was created in 1980, and established a hierarchy of categories known as newsgroups in which users could discuss various topics. USENET has generally been replaced by websites for discussions, but it still lives on as a mechanism for posting binary---non-text--- content. These files, which are limited to the alt.binaries category---and all subcategories---can be accessed via several different methods.

Check to see if your current Internet Service Provider provides USENET access. While ISP's used to provide USENET access almost universally, many no longer do after its popularity declined.

If your current ISP does not provide USENET access, purchase it from an online provider. Several options exist, including GigaNews, AstraWeb, and UseNetServer.

Configure your desired newsreader for the USENET access you previously established. You may choose an integrated email/news client, such as Microsoft Outlook or Mozilla Thunderbird, or you can choose a dedicated USENET application such as Forte's Agent or DJI's Newsbin Pro. Once access is enabled, simply browse through the newsgroup tree to alt.binaries to view everything available.