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File Sharing Tutorial

Summary of Uploading and
Downloading Procedures

The details of uploading and downloading large binary files are complex, but almost all of the work is done by special programs.

In the following sections of this tutorial, I will show you — step by step — what it looks like to upload and download large binary files. At each step, we will discuss the software you need to use, and I'll show you how to use it. After we go through all the steps with large binary files, we'll discuss how the procedures are simplified with small files. (Sharing small files is faster and easier, because it is not necessary to break them into parts.)

As you will see, there are seven distinct steps required for uploading large binary files to a Usenet server and seven steps required for downloading. (These steps are summarized in the two tables below.) In the olden days (before the early 2000s), you would have had to perform each of these steps manually, using a different, and complicated, command-line program for each step. Nowadays, there are easy-to-use GUI-based tools that will do the work for you automatically. All you have to do is understand the basic concepts and learn how to use the tools. It takes a bit of practice, but it is actually fairly easy once you are used to it.

What if you are interested only in downloading? Is it okay to skip all the uploading parts of the tutorial?

The answer is no. Even if you have no plans to share files of your own — which means you won't need to upload files — I'd still like you to read the entire tutorial. This is because if you don't have, at least, a general idea of how uploading works, you will find that the details of downloading will never actually make sense to you.

Perhaps just as important, once you see how easy it actually is to upload files, Usenet file sharing will stop being mysterious and you may be decide to share files of your own. (Before you do, be sure to read the section of this tutorial that discusses the legality of file sharing.)

Before we start our discussion, I'd like you to take a moment and look at the two tables below, in which I have summarized the steps involved in uploading and downloading large files. Next to each step, I have included the name of a program you can use to do the work. In fact, these are the programs we will be using in this tutorial.

For your convenience, I have linked each name to a Web site where you can download the program for free. However, please don't rush off right now and install all the programs. We'll do that together, one program at a time, as we get to them. The links are here, all in one place, merely as a convenience for future reference.


(New to Usenet?  Try the Usenet Tutorial)
(Are you experienced?  Quick Guide to Posting Binaries)

1. Introduction / Usenet Terminology
2. Binary Files and Text Files
3. Why Usenet File Sharing Works Well
4. Is File Sharing Legal?
5. Anonymous File Sharing
6. Limitations of Usenet File Sharing
7. Summary: Uploading/Downloading
8. Uploading Step 1: RAR Files
9. Uploading Step 2: SFV Files
10. Uploading Step 3: PAR2 Files
11. Understanding PAR2 Files
12. Uploading Step 4: NFO Files
13. Understanding yEnc Files, Segments
14. The Process of Posting a File
15. Understanding NZB Files
16. Looking Inside a Typical NZB File
17. Uploading Step 5: Preparing to Post
18. Uploading Step 6: Posting Files

Summary of Uploading and Downloading Procedures

Uploading a large binary file Software
 1. Compress the original file and break it into separate RAR files. WinRAR
 2. Generate an SVF checksum file for error checking. QuickSFV
 3. Generate PAR2 error correction files for restoring lost data. QuickPar
 4. Create an NFO (information) file to distribute to users. Coolbeans NFO Creator
and Mediainfo
 5. Create an NZB (retrieval) file with a list of all the components. Camelsystem Powerpost
Powerpost A&A
 6. Encode all the binary files into yEnc text format.
 7. Upload the encoded files, as separate articles, to a Usenet server.
Downloading a large binary file Software
 1. Download the NZB (retrieval) file from a Usenet server. Any full-featured
newsreader program
(I suggest NewsBin)
 2. Using the NZB file as a guide, download all the separate articles.
 3. Decode the encoded text files back into binary files.
 4. Check to see if there is lost or corrupted data.
 5. If necessary, use the recovery information to restore data.
 6. Uncompress all the pieces and recreate the original binary file.
 7. Read the NFO file for information about the file and how to use it. Any text editor (try GetDiz)

A Note About Usenet Software

Usenet is very old and software exists for many different platforms, including Windows, Unix/Linux, and MacOS, as well as apps for smartphones, tablets, and other portable devices. In this tutorial, I will be using Windows for all our examples, as it is the most popular file sharing platform. If you use a different system, your software will vary, but the general principles will be the same.

There is no official Usenet software, so you can choose any program you want for each of the file-sharing steps. You will find that there is a lot of Usenet software, and it can be confusing to know which programs to use. To help you, I will be showing you the software I think works best. My suggestion is to start with these particular programs, as they are used widely and are well-accepted in the Usenet community.

All of the programs I have listed above are free to download, and most of them are free to use. The exceptions are WinRAR and NewsBin: If you don't pay to register WinRAR, it will keep working, but it will eventually start to nag you; NewsBin, which is a newsreader, requires you to register after a free trial period (but it's worth it).

Still, everything is free to try out, so if you would like to follow along as you read the following sections, you should be able to get through this tutorial without having to pay anything.

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