The unPoster

Note to Life Hacker visitors: The unPoster is designed for advanced users. If you are new to Usenet, we recommend getting started with one of our NZB programs instead. Please see our NZB tutorial page.

Back to the unPoster pitch:

Have you ever tried to see what files are available in a Usenet newsgroup with millions posts? Not easy, right? We have designed The unPoster to take all the work out of downloading files from these, and smaller groups. The unPoster’s Watcher will continuously download message-headers from your favorite newsgroups and analyze them. Then, when you are ready to download something, open up the unPoster’s Lister and simply select the files you want.

If you have a cable-modem or DSL line, the unPoster can process many millions of message-headers each night while you sleep. It can monitor newsgroups on several different servers, and download many files from many newsgroups simultaneously.

Download for Windows (10, 8, 7, Vista, XP)
Download for Mac OS X

Mac users – Use Safari if your browser doesn’t know what a DMG file is.

Note: The screenshots below were made on Windows, but The unPoster looks exactly the same on the Mac.

The Watcher – Below, you see a screenshot of the unPoster’s Watcher (click picture to enlarge):

unPoster - Usenet newsgroup downloader.

The humble-looking Watcher is the revolutionary part of the unPoster that can’t be found in Brand X – at least until the lamers at Brand X, Inc. steal the idea! In old-fashioned newsreader software, when you start the program and go into a newsgroup, you have to sit there and wait for it to download the “message headers” – and that can take hours in many binary groups, which often have millions of posts. With many old-fashioned newsreaders, it is literally impossible to see all the posts in large newsgroups, let alone download them. With the unPoster, you set-up the Watcher with your favorite groups, and let it run in the background. It will then download all the message-headers, no matter how many millions there are, analyze them, and then store a list of files in its database. Once the Watcher has downloaded all the posts, it will continuously check each group and download new message-headers as they arrive on your Usenet server(s). The end result is that you always have a complete list of files available for downloading at your command with zero time wasted.

Here we see that the Watcher has scanned over 1.5 million headers in two newsgroups as it works its way through a list of five newsgroups on two servers. It has found 130,206 files and is analyzing headers at the rate of 963 per second. To see what files the Watcher has found, we open the Lister window – see below.

The Lister – Below, you see a screenshot of the unPoster’s Lister (click picture to enlarge):

unPoster - Usenet newsgroup downloader.

The Lister is where you browse through the files that the Watcher found in your newsgroups. Outside of the NZB method, this is the fastest way to locate files in newsgroups.

The Downloader – Next is the Downloader:

unPoster - Usenet newsgroup downloader.

Each time you click the Download button on the Lister, a new Downloader is created. You can run Downloaders while the Watcher is running, and while you are using the Lister. Here we see the Downloader working on a typical RAR/PAR set. Notice also at the bottom of the Downloader where it shows which files it will use to launch automatic unPARing and unRARing.

Technical Specifications

  1. Number of servers allowed: unlimited.
  2. Number of newsgroups allowed: unlimited.
  3. yEnc support: of course.
  4. File-type support: The unPoster can scan for and download any type of file. It comes set-up with many file types, and you can add more. If you download obscure file types, make sure to add them before you start up the Watcher.
  5. Error recovery: Both the Watcher and the Lister will wait patiently if the Usenet server goes off line, or your internet connection drops, and will then resume downloading – no matter how long it takes.
  6. Database technology: The unPoster uses the open-source SQLite database engine. You can edit the unPoster’s database files by using any program that can open SQLite files, which use the “.sdb” file extension. One such program is SQLiteManager, which is available for Windows and Mac. SDB files can be copied from Windows to Mac, and vice versa.
  7. Database structure: The unPoster does not store headers, but only files. So, if there is a video file in a newsgroup that is comprised of 200 posts, the unPoster will create one database record which will contain, among other things, the article numbers for all 200 posts. Storing all the headers for large binary groups would create a lot of processor, and disk overhead. Even without headers, there is still quite a lot of data, and the unPoster gives you the flexibility to handle it. Each newsgroup’s data is stored in its own database file, which can be located anywhere. The same is true for the storage of parts and completed files: each newsgroup can have its own folders for this data.
  8. Security: Newsgroups can be given nicknames which will appear on the Watcher, the Lister, and elsewhere. So, if you were using a newsgroup such as, you could give it a nickname such as “Fine Art” or “Classical Music”. And that’s all that anybody glancing over your shoulder will see.
  9. Usenet server connections: The Watcher will open one connection to the server when it is analyzing a newsgroup. If you use the Lister to view a picture, the picture window will open one connection, get the picture, and close the connection. The same is true when you use the “Read” button to view a text post or NFO file. Each Downloader will open one connection to the server. So, while you can have an unlimited number of downloaders, the number that you can run simultaneously is limited by the number of server connections you can have. Usually, the ISP you use to connect to the internet will allow a paltry number of connections – like two, and a third-party Usenet service such as Easynews will allow a lot more. So, with only two connections, you could run the Watcher and one Downloader, or you could turn off the Watcher and run two Downloaders. The number of connections is important when you want to download a file fast. With one connection, you might be able to download a 4gb DVD in 12 hours. With more connections, you could create 4 Downloaders for the file, and get the job done in perhaps 4 hours. Different Usenet servers give different error messages when you try to go over the number of allowed connections. If you see something like “too many connections” or errors mentioning “authorization”, then you might be over the limit. Only your ISP can tell you what the limit is, so be sure to call and ask if they don’t mention it on their web site. Having access to lots of server connections on a few different servers is the best way to max out your throughput. When one server is being balky, the others will take up the slack. If you have access to 500 connections, go nuts – the unPoster will not limit you.

Documentation Pages

How to Reset a Newsgroup
Setup Usenet Server
The Pause Setting
Incomplete Files
The Downloader
Debug Mode
File Types
The Lister
The Watcher
Setup Newsgroups
RAR File Extraction
PAR File Processing
The Headers Setting
Download Newsgroups
The Auto-Expire Option