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Participating in Internet Newsgroups : Setting Up a News Account, Working with Newsgroups in Windows Mail

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5/24/2013 5:42:46 PM

Setting Up a News Account

Now that you know a bit about Usenet, it’s time to get down to more practical matters.

First, however, you need to know how to set up an account for the new server you want to use. I mentioned earlier that Windows Mail automatically adds an account for the Microsoft Communities groups (msnews.microsoft.com). If you want to set up an account for another server, here are the steps to follow:

1.
In Windows Mail, select Tools, Accounts to display the Internet Accounts dialog box.

2.
Click Add to display the Select Account Type dialog box.

3.
Click Newsgroup Account and then click Next.

4.
Type your display name—this is the name that will appear in the From field when you post a message—and click Next.

5.
Type an email address and click Next. The Internet News Server Name dialog box appears.

Caution

Why do you need to specify an email address for Usenet? Because people might want to respond to one of your posts privately, rather than to the newsgroup itself. Unfortunately, many spammers harvest the email addresses of Usenet participants for their nefarious ends, so it’s not a good idea to use a legitimate address in your news account.

6.
Type the name of your server in the News (NNTP) Server text box. If you must log on to the server, activate the My News Server Requires Me to Log On check box. Click Next.

7.
If your news server requires a logon, type your account name (your username) and your password and click Next.

8.
Click Finish. Your new account appears in the News tab of the Internet Accounts dialog box, as shown in Figure 1

Figure 1. Your Internet news accounts are listed in the News tab.

9.
Click Close. Windows Mail asks whether you want to download newsgroups from the news account.

10.
Click Yes. Windows Mail downloads the groups (note that this might take quite a while, depending on the speed of your connection), and then displays the Newsgroup Subscriptions dialog box.

I show you how to use the Newsgroup Subscriptions dialog box in the next section, so keep it open for now.

2. Working with Newsgroups in Windows Mail

With your news account defined, your next chore is to subscribe to one or more newsgroups. If you don’t have the Newsgroup Subscriptions window open from the previous section, use any of the following techniques to display it:

  • Select Tools, Newsgroups

  • Press Ctrl+W

  • Click the news account in the Folders list and then click the Newsgroups toolbar button

If you have multiple news accounts, click the one you want to work with in the Account(s) list. (If you elected not to download the account’s newsgroups from the server during the account setup, Windows Mail automatically downloads the newsgroups now.) Windows Mail displays the account’s newsgroups, as shown in

Figure 2. Use this dialog box to work with newsgroups in Windows Mail.

Newsgroups are at the heart of Usenet, so you’ll need to become comfortable with basic newsgroup chores such as subscribing and unsubscribing. The next two sections take you through the basics.

Subscribing to a Newsgroup

Before you can read or post articles, you have to add a newsgroup or two to your news server account. You have two ways of doing this: You can subscribe to a newsgroup or you can open a newsgroup without committing to a subscription.

Either way, you must first display the group you want in the Newsgroup list. You can either scroll through the groups or type all or part of the newsgroup name in the Display Newsgroups That Contain text box. Note that Windows Mail looks for group names that contain the text you type. If you type wine, for example, Windows Mail will match alt.food.wine, rec.crafts.winemaking, and so on. Figure 3 shows this example.

Figure 3. Windows Mail matches newsgroup names that contain the text you type.

Downloading Newsgroup Descriptions

Some newsgroups have descriptions that give you a brief overview of what the group is about. By default, Windows Mail doesn’t download these descriptions because it slows down the group retrieval process.However, if you have a fast connection, you should tell Windows Mail to download the descriptions. To do that, return to Windows Mail and select Tools, Accounts. In the News tab, click the news account you want to work with and then click Properties (or just double-click the account) to open the account’s properties sheet. In the Advanced tab, activate the Use Newsgroup Descriptions check box and then click OK. Open the Newsgroup Subscriptions window again, click the new server, and then click Reset List. Windows Mail downloads the newsgroup names and their descriptions. To include the descriptions when searching newsgroup names, activate the Also Search Descriptions check box.


After you’ve selected a newsgroup, use either of the following techniques:

  • If you just want to view the group without subscribing, click Go To— You’ll be returned to the Windows Mail window with the newsgroup displayed. If you later want to subscribe to this group, right-click the group name in the Local Folders list and then click Subscribe.

  • If you want to subscribe to the group, click the Subscribe button— You can repeat this process for any other newsgroup subscriptions. In each case, Windows Mail adds the name of the group to the Subscribed tab. (To subscribe to multiple groups at once, hold down Ctrl, click each group, and then click Subscribe.) When you’re done, click OK to return to the main Windows Mail window.

Unsubscribing from a Newsgroup

If you get tired of a newsgroup, you can unsubscribe at any time by using either of the following techniques:

  • In the Newsgroup Subscriptions dialog box, display the Subscribed tab, select the newsgroup, and click Unsubscribe.

  • In the Windows Mail window, right-click the group name in the Local Folders list and then click Unsubscribe.

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