NZB files work the same way on all computers. So, whether you use Windows or Macintosh, the first thing you need is an NZB client app.
Step 1 – Download and Install
NZB Client Software
SuperNZB imports an NZB file, and then downloads the files listed within the NZB:
(SuperNZB runs on Windows 8, 7, Vista, XP, and all versions of Mac OSX.)
Step 2 – Find NZB Files
You can find NZB files in various ways, but the primary method is with an NZB-Indexing web site. Most of these sites are free, or charge a very small fee. NZB files are standard text files, so they can be used on any kind of computer. If you are on a Mac, you don’t need to find special NZB files, or a special NZB site.
Step 3 – Find Usenet Newsgroup Server Info
NZB files contain a list of pointers to files that live on Usenet, the most-ancient part of the internet. All NZB programs require that you enter information for at least one Usenet “newsgroup” server such as Easynews. Usenet servers can be accessed by any kind of computer, and the information below is identical no matter what kind of computer you are using.
Just about every ISP used to provide a free newsgroup server for their subscribers. However, many no longer do so. Check with your ISP, and if they provide a server, get this information from them:
- The server URL – Example: news.yourisp.com
- Username/password – if required.
- Port Number – which is almost always 119.
- Number of simultaneous connections allowed – The more connections a program like SuperNZB can make to the server the faster it can download files.
While you are talking to your ISP, you can ask them about how much data you are allowed to download, and if there is a speed limit on the server. If there are strict limitations, don’t worry about it now. Once you have learned the basics, you can use the information in Step 9 to find a faster server.
If your ISP does not provide Usenet access, or blocks access to the “binary newsgroups” then go to Step 9.
Step 4 – Handle PAR files
NZB files will usually contain PAR files. This is because Usenet does not have automatic error-correction. But don’t panic! This turns out to be only a small inconvenience. The PAR files contain error-correction data and are used to check, and if needed, repair the files you download. Most NZB clients like SuperNZB have automatic unPARing built in.
Step 5 – Handle RAR files
NZB files often contain RAR files. RAR is popular because it is a very good compression method. In most cases, the PAR files from Step 4 are used to check/repair the RAR files. Then you extract the files contained within the RAR archive.
RAR archives often come in sets of files. That is, a large file will be chopped up and stored in dozens of RAR files. So, once you are done downloading the NZB, you will have a folder full of PARs and RARs. Once you have extracted the files contained within the RAR, you can throw way the PARs and RARs. Keep in mind that if you are working on such a “segmented” RAR archive, you need to obtain all the segments before you can extract the files within. If you are missing one or two segments, you can usually have the PAR files magically recreate them, but in general, you want to make sure to collect all the segments.
SuperNZB has automatic unRARing built in, and contains a RAR decoder that you can use on RAR files that you find by other means. SuperNZB makes the entire PAR-and-RAR process very easy.
Step 6 – Download Codecs to Play Files
Many of the people who create the files that you will download via the NZB method are audiophiles and videophiles who are very exacting about the files they create. They will use any technology that makes their files better and smaller, and use a wide array of methods. They often “encode” their files with “codecs” that don’t come with your computer. You will need to install these codecs, but they are free and easy to use.
At a minimum, you will want to install the DIVX video codec, and the AC3 audio codec. If you play a video file and only get audio, then that is a sign that you don’t have the right video codec installed. If you play an audio or video file, and can barely hear it, then that is a sign that you don’t have the right audio codec installed. See our Fix Videos page for further information.
Step 7 – Handle the Files Found Within RAR Archives
A RAR archive may contain any sort of file, and there is usually no way to tell in advance what you will find when you are selecting the NZB file. Sometimes you will get a simple file such as an MPEG that you can just double-click on to play. Other times, you will get files that you never heard of before and your computer will be baffled when you double-click on them. Not to worry. Suppose you get some “.ts” files – just go to this page, find “ts” in the table, and click the link.
This may seem very confusing and elaborate, but there are a limited number of variations, and it doesn’t really take that long to learn them all.
Step 8 – Burn Large Files to CD and DVD
Some of the files you find inside a RAR can’t be played directly on your computer and have to be burned to a CD or DVD first. Also, if the file was created in a different country, it may not work on your DVD player. See this page for further info, and for a link to a cheap DVD player that can play just about anything.
Step 9 – Subscribe to a Premium Newsgroup Server
Many ISP’s do not offer free Usenet newsgroup servers anymore, and most that do put speed and/or download limits on their servers. And worst of all for NZB downloading, most ISP’s only allow a small number of simultaneous connections to their server; usually just two. If you are not satisfied with what your ISP offers, you can sign up with a “third party” news-service-provider or “NSP” such as Easynews. You connect to your NSP’s server over your current internet connection, and you use the information (Step 3) provided by your NSP in your NZB client software (Step 1).
Step 10 – Deal With the Limitations of the NZB Method
If you are fanatical about acquiring certain types of files, you won’t want to rely upon the NZB method exclusively. You will want to plunge directly into Usenet itself. Take a look at The Limitations of NZB Files.