Why Do I Need to Reset Newsgroups?

Sometimes a newsgroup is “reset”. Usenet servers are large, expensive, and complicated. They are usually configured as a server “farm” that consists of several of the fastest computers, the largest disk array, and the fastest network available. And since Usenet traffic grows at an incredible rate, it is often necessary to re-arrange things. When this happens, a newsgroup is sometimes emptied and then re-filled with posts, which are numbered sequentially as they arrive. This isn’t an ideal way of organizing posts, but it is the standard. The consequences are that posts are numbered differently from server to server, and if the group is reset on the same server, then the posts will be re-numbered. Actually, what happens is that the group is emptied and then re-populated. Sometimes the group will re-fill only with new posts, and sometimes with old as well as new. It all depends upon how your ISP manages it. Another thing that sometimes happens is that your ISP will simply re-direct traffic to a different server. Perhaps they are out-sourcing, or maybe they have merged with another company and are consolidating, or maybe they set up a new server a while ago, let it fill up with new posts, and are now switching over to it.

News-reader programs keep track of the last post processed by storing the post number. Suppose that you used your news-reader to look at alt.binaries.test, and the last post you viewed was number 1,234,567. Then you closed the program, and your ISP decided to reset the group. The next time you start up your news-reader, it will be trying to download new posts; that is, it will ask the server for posts with numbers greater than 1,234,567. The server will reply that it doesn’t have any such posts because they have all been re-numbered and now range from 1 to 123,456. Also, any headers stored in your news-reader will be useless because when you try to use them to retrieve the associated post, it won’t be found because the number has changed.

When your news-reader program accesses a newsgroup, the server first tells it the numbers of the first and last posts, which are always changing as new posts arrive and old ones are expired. Sometimes, a bug in the news-server software will cause it to tell your news-reader the wrong numbers, and this may cause your news-reader to think that the group has been reset, or other problems. If you see this sort of behavior repeatedly, complain to your ISP. Of course, the bug could also be in your news-reader.

So, when a newsgroup is reset, you have to tell your news-reader program to start over from the beginning of the group.

Instructions to Reset a Newsgroup in Some News-Reader Programs

The unPoster

  1. Select the group on the Lister window.
  2. Click the “Clear Group” button.
  3. Answer “yes” when the program asks you if you want it to scan from the beginning.


  1. On the Downloader window, click on the newsgroup to select it.
  2. Click the “Edit Group” button.
  3. Click the “Starting Point” button.
  4. Enter zero in the “Starting Point” box.
  5. Click the “Save” button.


  1. Go onto the “Commands” menu and then to “Reset this Group” .
  2. Repeat for each newsgroup on the server in question.


  1. Go onto the “Setup” menu and select “Newsgroup Start”.
  2. Click on the number in the “Last Post Downloaded” column.
  3. Type a zero, and click “Save”.


  1. Select the newsgroup on the Reader window.
  2. Go onto the “Commands” menu and choose “Reset Group”.

Outlook Express

  1. Right-click on the newsgroup name in the left-side panel.
  2. Select “Properties” from the pop-up list.
  3. Click the “Local File” tab.
  4. Click the “Reset” button.