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Decoding Usenet Binary Files

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Have you even wondered why it is that on Usenet you cannot simply download usable files in one step like you can with other programs? You have probably noticed that files are usually posted as multiple small files and you may be confused what to do with them and how to make them work once you have downloaded all the parts.

First off, I would like to explain why files are posted as multiple parts on Usenet. The first reason is because most Usenet providers limit the maximum size of articles that can be posted. This is because Usenet was originally to transport only small text messages and it is not well equipped to handle large files. If you attempted to post a large file as one part, your news server would simply reject it.

The second reason is for convenience. Many internet users still have low speed connections. Breaking your binary files into multiple small files allows such users to download only the parts that they do not already have. This is handy if their connection was dropped while downloading.

A third reason is data integrity. When you use a program to break a binary into multiple smaller files, parity data is added. This helps to prevent data corruption that would cause files such as executable binaries not to run. When recombining the file, the decompression utility will warn you if one or more of the files is corrupted, thus enabling the user to download those parts again, from another server if necessary. If the file had not been posted as multiple parts, the entire file would be useless.

Now that you know why Usenet binaries are posted as multiple parts, I will explain how to handle them. There are two options. The first is to install a newsreader program that has encoding and decoding technology built in. One such program I suggest is GrabIt. This type of newsreader does all of the decoding work for you.

If you are already comfortable with a newsreader that does not have built in decoding technology, you will need to use a separate program, such as WinRAR, to recombine the numerous parts for you. To proceed, simply download all of the file parts into a directory and show the decoding program where they are. It will then recompile the binary file back into its original, usable state. Once this is done, you can safely delete the file parts you downloaded before.

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