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What is an NZB File?

NZB files make navigating Usenet much easier. In this article, you will learn about NZB files, their origin and how they are like a roadmap which can lead you to the exact post or binary file you need.

An NZB file is a means by which the downloading of Usenet posts is greatly expedited. The file functions to make the task of sorting through the sometimes millions of posts on newsgroups into a more manageable affair. 

Essentially, one can think of the file as a sort of road map that leads exactly to the post they want which allows them to avoid downloading all of the posts and, thus, to avoid sorting through each and every one to find the desired article. These files make Usenet much easier but will not work with all ISPs. 

The NZB file was invented by the NewzBin search service. The feature allows for easier searching of posts, as well as downloads. The NewzBin service does not actually provide Usenet access, so one must necessarily have a separate newsgroup service provider to actually download the posts. 

New users to newsgroups have likely already experienced the affair of downloading an entire newsgroup's current postings and, therefore, understand just how time-consuming this can be when done one by one. This file format makes this task remarkably fast, acting as a very targeted means of downloading one specific message, denoted by its message ID. 

Every message posted to Usenet is provided with a unique ID, a numerical code, by the server. The various NZB reader programs use the NZB file to find exactly that message, select it out of the vast number of other messages and download only that message to the computer. 

Some of these programs allow for the reading of binaries and some do not. As is the case with any binary, if it cannot be opened in the reader it can be saved and opened in the appropriate program. Either way, NZB makes finding those files much more convenient. 

The effectiveness of an NZB file will depend somewhat on one's ISP. The ISP can change message ID's. This rarely happens but, in some cases, this will be done to fix erroneous messages or simply as a matter of course by the ISP. If the NZB points to the wrong message ID, it will obviously not find the desired post. 

The best way to avoid this is to use a third-party News Service Provider or to complain to one's own ISP. This practice of changing message IDs, however, is very rare and, when it's done, it's usually necessary because of one error or another. 

An NZB file can be posted separately on a newsgroup allowing it to be shared between users. If one downloads these files, they should always be opened in a program that will not run any macros contained within the file. Plaintext editors such as Notepad are the safest ways to examine these files.

While they will allow access to the XML code that makes the NZB function, they will not allow the running of any macros which can be a major threat to the security of one's machine. Some NZB readers provide this securityScience Articles, as well. 

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