Subscribing to Other Newsgroups

This post deals specifically with the NETSCAPE Navigator Newsreader, 3.x versions. Please know that this is NOT intended as a "promotion" for that product. This information is included in this website because we have seen many postings from newusers asking for help with certain common problems with using the product.

To see the list of all groups available to you, go into Netscape and open up the news window. Then, under OPTIONS select Show All Newsgroups and WAIT for the full list of newsgroups to download. If it doesn't work right the first time, go back to OPTIONS and select Show Active Newsgroups, and then do Show All Newsgroups once more. That should do the trick, but be patient. It will take several minutes for the download of all the newsgroups names to complete and doesn't really look like it's doing anything during that time (unless you closely watch the Status Bar at the bottom of the window).

If you happen to interrupt the download process [Show All Newsgroups] you will cause your file (list of newsgroups) to be cut short. A suggested possible solution is included near the end of this page.

You should have a whole range of hierarchies to choose from (beginning with everything from A to Z), such as alt.*, comp.*, rec.*, soc.*, z-net.* and the like. From there, you just click on one to see the next level of groups and hierarchies within it.

To subscribe to a group that you've found and like, click in the box in the check-mark column to the right of a newsgroup name. When you've found a bunch of groups you want to be subscribed to, then select OPTIONS | Show Subscribed Newsgroups. That way you only see the ones you're subscribed to.

Remember, when you're subscribed to a group, it will hide any messages that you've read, so you only see messages that are new to you. If you want to keep a message you've just read, just click where the green dot next to the message was, and it'll keep it marked unread. You can go to OPTIONS and decide whether you want to show ALL messages or you can show UNREAD messages.

In older versions, you should probably choose Save Preferences before closing; in 3.0 you should be able to just exit and have your choices saved. Just make sure you select "Show Subscribed Newsgroups" when you return.

When you first enter a group, you may have as many as two week's worth of messages in the news spool. Netscape will only show you a certain amount at a time (the default is around 500 messages). You can change this by selecting OPTIONS | Mail and News Preferences | Servers and stating anywhere from 35 to 3500 messages at a time. It is VERY wise to not select more than 1000 at a time, since the program operation will become increasingly sluggish as the number of article headers it holds increases.

To get more messages displayed, click on the name of the newsgroup in the newsgroup listing, or go to FILE | Get More Messages.

If you see a highlighted newsgroup name while you're browsing the web, clicking on it should launch the newsreader window. This is the same as typing in your browser LOCATION line "news:news.newusers.questions" (without the quote marks {"}) and pressing ENTER on your keyboard. Try it!

Finally, if you know the name of a newsgroup, you can either type it in your browser as above, or you can open the newsreading window, go into FILE | Add Newsgroup and then type in the name as "news.newusers.questions" or whatever the newsgroup name that you want is (you don't need the quote marks there either, nor the "news:" part before it in that case).

For more information, please read:

  1. Search the Netscape Knowledge Base

  2. Unfortunately it seems that Netscape/AOL is no longer including information on the 3.x versions in the help section of their website. Thankfully it is likely that very few people are using those 3.x versions now and there is good information on the 4.x, 6.x and 7.x versions there.

  3. The Unofficial Netscape FAQ (An Excellent Source of Information!)

How to see ALL newsgroups in Netscape 3.x versions (solution to a common problem)

  1. In Netscape 3.x, go to "Options | Mail and News Preferences | Servers", and note the "News RC Directory" entry. On my system, running the GOLD version, the file name is "nntp.rcg" and the path to it is C:\Program Files\Netscape\Navigator\News\nntp.rcg
  2. Exit Netscape
  3. Using Windows Explorer, go to the News RC Directory (the "News" folder)
  4. Delete the file "nntp.rcg" (the file is "news.rcg" in regular Navigator)
  5. Restart Netscape and open the News Window
  6. Select "Show All News Groups" from the Options menu and WAIT until you see "Document Done" at the bottom of the screen (this could take several minutes and must NOT be interrupted!)
  7. Netscape should now display a full list of the newsgroups that your ISP is making available to you.

The next time you choose "Show All Newsgroups" the list will appear in seconds rather than minutes, since NS will read this list from your computer. From time to time choose "Show New Newsgroups" from the Options menu to keep your list updated.

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Last Updated: Monday, January 3, 2005

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