Troubleshooting

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Newsbin Troubleshooting FAQ

The first step in troubleshooting should always be to look at all available information. In Newsbin the Logging tab (Status tab in versions prior to 5.50) is the place to look to see if there are messages giving more detail on an error.

If you are investigating a connection problem then it is a good idea to make sure that "Show Server Commands" is turned on under Options/Network so you can see more details of the messages passing between Newsbin and the News server.

If you cannot determine the problem either use the Newsbin forums as described below or send an excerpt of the Logging tab messages to NewsBin Technical Support with a description of the symptoms that occur. You can copy log messages by highlighting the text and hit Ctrl-C to copy to the clipboard, and then using Ctrl-V to paste into a message.


Contents

I see "Connection Failed" when I try to download

Look in the Logging tab (Status tab in versions prior to 5.50) for more details. If it says anything about Authentication Errors, see the next section. Otherwise, the most common problems are:

  • News server address entered incorrectly.
    You will probably see something like "address not found" or some DNS error in the Logging tab messages.
    On vary rare occassions if the message talks about a DNS error then it is possible that you entered the address correctly, but there is a problem with the DNS server at your ISP, and you need to contact them to get the issue resolved

  • Network Problems.
    It is possible that you have network problems that have nothing to do with Newsbin itself.
    To confirm this you need to make sure your machine has access to your news server independent of any applications. The best way to do this by manually connecting to your news server using the TELNET command from the Windows Command Prompt. For example, go to the Windows Command Prompt and type
    TELNET news.giganews.com 119
    and wait for a response that looks like
    200 News.GigaNews.Com

    NOTE: Vista does not have the telnet command available by default. To activate the command, open the Windows Command Prompt as Administrator then type in
    pkgmgr /iu:"TelnetClient"
    After that, you will have access to the telnet command.

    If you see the response then your machine can get to a news server (the Giganews server in this case). Try again with your specific news server address if you aren't a Giganews subscriber just to make sure. If you see the responses, then you have a valid network connection to your server. If it times out or you receive an error, there is a problem between your machine and the news server. This is independent of NewsBin so you need to either contact your ISP or check your internet connection.
    Another possibility is that your ISP or an external firewall is blocking Usenet access on port 119 (standard for NNTP). You can try to contact to giganews on an alternate port like 23 or 80 like this: "telnet news.giganews.com 23". Many corporate firewalls will block access to port 119, and in such a case you may need to use an alternative port (assuming your news server offers this as an option). If they do, then configure the Port in your Server Properties with the alternate port number, save the configuration, then restart NewsBin. Be sure, however, if you are on a corporate network that you are not abusing the rules laid down for accessing the internet.

  • Firewall blocking NewsBin.
    If you had to use an alternative port to access the network in the steps above, then you will need to check that this is the port set in your Newsbin settings for that server. If you got a response from the steps above for checking the network, but Newsbin still cannot access the network then it is likely that you have a local firewall blocking Newsbin access to the internet. Check your firewall settings to ensure that Newsbin is allowed to access the internet.


Username or Password Wrong

This is the username and password for your news server. We do not run a news service, so we can't supply your login information if you get this error. Some servers will display this error even if your username and password are correct so read the following possibilities before requesting your login information from your news service provider.

Possible reasons for this error:

  • Your username and password is incorrect.
    Re-type your username and password in Server Properties, save the configuration, and restart NewsBin to see if it fixes the problem. Note that some ISP news servers do not require a username/password - and if this is the case make sure the username/password fields are blank in the server propoerties and the "Requires Login" box is not ticked.

  • You are running too many simultaneous connections.
    Look in your Connections tab and count how many times your news server is listed. Then check with your news service and find out how many simultaneous connections they allow. Common limits are 2, 4, 8, or 10 connections. Few servers allow more than 10. When in doubt, set the connections to 2, save your configuration and restart, and see if the problem goes away.

  • You hit a download limit
    There may be different symptoms depending on whether you are using your ISP's news server or have an account with a commercial news service.

  • ISP
    If you are using your ISP's news server, they may have monthly download limits for Usenet. They will either reduce your speed when you hit this limit or block your access entirely. We have a list of ISP Limitations for reference. If your ISP is not listed, check their website or contact them and ask if they have limits on Usenet downloads. Some technical support people will either not know, or won't tell you so you may have to dig. If you find information on an ISP that is not listed, please contact us and let us know what you learned so we can make our list more complete.

  • Commercial News Server
    If you have an account with a limit (typically either daily or monthly), you may have hit your limit. You will not be able to download again until the period that the limit applies to has passed.

  • Account is not in good standing
    If your account has a monthly (or some other repeating interval) auto-bill and the credit card on file expired, this could happen. Your account may also be disabled due to a TOS violation.

  • Problem with the news server's authentication system
    If none of the other reasons apply, ask on our NewsBin User Forums if anyone else using the same news server is experiencing the problem. If it is a news server problem, you won't be the only one with the problem. Also check the news server's website to see if they are reporting having problems that would give this result.

Some news services have a "Control Panel" on their website where you can log in to check your account. That is a good test to make sure your username and password is correct as well as verifying that your account is active and in good standing.


Bogus MaxSpool Error

When a news server resets article counts in a newsgroup, this will happen. The solution is:

  1. Go under Options/Setup within Newsbin
  2. Set the Download Age to the number of days since you last received headers for the group
  3. Go to the Groups List
  4. Right-click the group, select Post Storage and then "Use Download Age"
  5. Right-click the group again and select "Download Latest"

After that, subsequent group updates will pick up new headers since the last time you downloaded from the group.

I don't receive my full speed when downloading with Newsbin

Many ISP's are limiting your speed when accessing Usenet. It is important to know that Usenet access is not the same as Web access. The data-rate checking websites check for HTTP download speeds, not NNTP (Usenet) downloading speeds so they will not uncover any blocks. The most common causes for seeing a Usenet download speed slower than your Web download speed are:

  • ISP is limiting Usenet Download Speed
    Some limit the speed all the time, some only limit the speed on "heavy" downloaders. Check our list of known ISP Limitations. A workaround is to access Usenet on an Alternate Port so it is not obvious to the ISP that you are using Usenet. If your news server supports SSL, enabling this could have the same effect. Many Premium News Service Providers support alternate ports and SSL.

  • Network is overloaded
    As more people on broadband connections find more content that require lots of bandwidth, the ISP's get more and more overloaded. At peak usage times during the day, your overall datarate could drop. If you get full data-rate at some times and not other, this could be the issue.

  • Pushing Network Too Hard
    We've received reports from some people on wireless connections (either wifi at home or a high speed wireless connection to their ISP) who cannot maintain a full datarate. This is because wireless is a shared resource and others may be using it or, if there is radio interference, you can't achieve full datarate because of the overhead of the protocol trying to correct damaged packets from the interference.

  • Not using enough connections
    Newsbin allows you to set up how many simultaneous connections can be used to your News Server. That way even though you may be limited in the speed you get from a single connection, by running several in parallel you can improve overall throughput. The number of connections is is set under the Properties of a server and can be changed by right-clicking the Server in the Servers tab and selecting Properties. Note, however, that each server typically has a limit to the number of connections allowed and you must not set Newsbin to attempt to use more than this or performance will be adversely affected. The maximum number allowed is normally specified on the help pages provided by the news server supplier.

  • Using too many connections
    More is not always better. If you are using the maximum connections allowed by your news service provider but aren't obtaining your full datarate, check the Logging tab (Status tab prior to version 5.53) for errors. You could be getting a "too many connections" error from the news server. This can happen if you have any intermittent connectivity issues and Newsbin tries to reconnect to the news server before the server realizes the original connection is gone. Another potential issue with running so many connections is that your system, your router, or your virus scanner (or all of them) is working so hard keeping track of the connections that it can't keep up with the data.

  • Anti-virus Scanner slowing things down.
    If your Anti-virus software has the feature of monitoring email, it may be monitoring Usenet traffic, too. Either configure your AV software to ignore Usenet (default port 119) or, run Newsbin on an Alternate Port if your news server supports it.

  • NewsBin's Bandwidth Limiter is Turned On
    Yes, it does happen, some people will have accidentally enabled Newsbin's built in speed limiter or, they forgot they had the speed limit timers set which automatically kick in as specified under Newsbin's Options/Network configuration screen. Newsbin release 5.31 and later give a visual indication of the limiter being active by turning the background of the data/rate field in the Status bar to yellow.

  • Using a slow external drive for downloads
    If you are using an external USB or a networked drive, the slow data I/O could be a bottleneck and slow down your download speed. Change the download folder to a location on your internal hard drive and see if your speed increases.


My datarate goes to 0 while downloading heavily

We have seen the following cases where this might happen:

  • Router is crashing under load.
    Older routers couldn't handle sustained datarates that are available today. The symtpom is, your datrate will go to 0 and the router will reboot. NewsBin should start downloading again when this happens if you are running version 5.05 or later (has automatic retries enabled). This can usually be fixed by downloading updated firmware for the router.

  • Cable modem is crashing under load.
    Same reason as the Router crashing. As cable companies increase their datarates, older cable modems can't handle sustained load. Ask your cable company to replace your modem if you are leasing it from them or, check to see if there are any firmware upgrades available for your modem.

  • Wireless network is generating errors
    If you are using a wireless network then it is possible that the signal strength is variable, so that errors occur and Newsbin has to do a lot of retries.


Checking Internet Performance (traceroute)

Sometimes you will find that your download speed starts fluctuating significantly for no apparent reason. Two obvious places to check are whether your ISP is having issues, or whether the servers you are trying to connect to are having issues. However many people forget that there can be many hops across the internet between your ISP and the servers, and issues at any of these intermediate nodes can also be a cause of performance problems. If intermediate nodes are getting overloaded then you can wide swings in your speed according to the level of congestion at these intermediate nodes.

The commonest way of looking for this sort of issue is to run a command to trace the route. On windows the tool to use for this is the TRACERT command. To run this command you need to go into a DOS Command Window and then type a command of the form:

tracert news.astraweb.com

This will give a list of all the nodes that messages from your location to news.astraweb.com go through with indications of the timings for each step. An example of such output is:

Tracing route to news.astraweb.com [193.202.122.109] over a maximum of 30 hops:
 1     4 ms     5 ms     5 ms  air.setup [192.168.1.1]
 2    13 ms    19 ms    17 ms  10.69.244.1
 3    14 ms    21 ms    15 ms  wtfd-t2cam1-a-ge911.network.virginmedia.net [80.3.2.25]
 4    87 ms   197 ms   198 ms  wtfd-t2core-a-ge-wan61.network.virginmedia.net [195.182.174.9]
 5    29 ms    20 ms    27 ms  wtfd-t2core-b-pc1.network.virginmedia.net [80.3.1.2]
 6    31 ms    13 ms    18 ms  pop-bb-b-so-710-0.network.virginmedia.net [80.3.1.137]
 7    16 ms    18 ms    20 ms  pop-bb-a-ae0-0.network.virginmedia.net [213.105.174.229]
 8    21 ms    23 ms    26 ms  amst-ic-1-as0-0.network.virginmedia.net [213.105.175.6]
 9    28 ms    33 ms    31 ms  nikhef.openpeering.nl [195.69.144.189]
10    26 ms    21 ms    22 ms  openpeering-10g.searchtechltd.com [82.150.153.234]
11    57 ms    56 ms    58 ms  unknown.ams.astraweb.com [193.202.122.109]
Trace complete.

although it will differ (especially for the first steps) depending on who you use as an ISP. The above example is for a VirginMmedia customer as the first few steps are through elements of the VrginMdia network.

If you highlight the text for running your instance of tracert (you may need to click top left of window and select edit->mark to be able to highlight it), copy it to the clipboard (click top left of title bar, select edit and then copy), and then paste it into a message it will allow us to see if you have any common elements in your route, and if any of them seem to be taking longer than expected. Note when pasting it into a message if you first select the [code] tag it will keep the formatting intact which makes it much easier to read.e between you and the target.

Some news suppliers may well have a facility on their web site to run the traceroute command from their end. If they do this will tend to be easier to use, but it may not give identical results as there is no guarantee that the message you send and the replies from them are routed exactly the same.

Once a problem node has been identified you should then be able get your ISP or news server support to contact the owners of the problem nodes to get them to fix the issue. Note however, that these intermediate nodes are not under the direct control of either your ISP or news server, so it may take some time (days or weeks) to get the owners of the problem node(s) to get around to fixing them as they tend to be very cautious about making changes to routing tables or networking hardware without checking them out carefully first.


My headers keep disappearing

New users to Newsbin regularly find that their headers apparently "disappear" and that they have trouble getting them back without downloading them again. This is an attempt to give some insight to how Newsbin handles headers; common reasons that can cause them to apparently be lost, and what you need to do to get them back and visible again.

Background Information

  • Where are headers stored
    Headers are stored in the SPOOL_V6 sub-directory of the Newsbin DATA path location. There will be a folder for each group. The headers are stored in .db3 extensions which contain headers in a compressed format. Newsbin is very resilient against these files being removed, and will simply recreate them again if needed as new headers are downloaded.

  • Viewing headers in a Post List
    Headers are normally loaded back into a Post List by highlighting the group(s) you want and using the "View headers" option from the right-click menu (keyboard shortcut CTRL-L). You can also load them by double-clicking which will in effect do a "Show Posts" followed immediately by a "Download Latest". Newsbin has the Mutli-Tab Mode setting (under options->Switches) that allows you to always reuse the same Post list, or open a new Post list every time you try and view headers.

  • When are headers deleted from the spool
    Headers are automatically deleted from the spool files when Newsbin downloads new headers and determines from the server response that previously downloaded headers are no longer present on the server. Any empty spool files are then also deleted. The user can also explicitly delete posts older than a given date by using the Post Storage->Purge to Display Age option on the groups right-click menu.

  • Using "Download Latest"
    This is the most common way of downloading headers. You can select it from the right-click menu in the group list, by using CTRL-G, or by double-clicking a group name. Newsbin simply downloads all headers for the given group(s) that are new on a server since it last downloaded headers for that server. Note that in very active groups this can be a lot of headers. If a group has not been accessed before, or if you have used the "Delete Stored Posts" option to remove an existing stored headers then Newsbin will only get the most n recent headers where n is the value of the First Time Records setting under Options->Setup. At all other times Newsbin will attempt to get all new headers since the last header download for the server/group combination whatever that number may be.

  • Using "Download All Headers"
    You can select this option from the right-click menu in the group list. This option will delete any existing headers for the group(s) selected, and then start downloading all the headers available for the group. This would normally only ever be used if you suspected that your local spool file was corrupted or something similar. It can also be sued the first time you visit a group if you want the First Time Records setting to be ignored.

  • Using Auto-Headers
    Newsbin has the facility to allow you to automatically get headers for all active groups at regular intervals. This is effectively an automatic "Download Latest" on all these groups. It has the advantage that the download header step can already have been recently carried out when you actually want to view the headers for the group(s) in question.

Common Pitfalls

  • Time and Date wrong
    This is one of the more obvious ones, but it surprising how often it occurs . If the date and/or time on your PC is wrong then Newsbin may incorrectly think that headers are older than the Maximum Post Age and should therefore not be loaded when you ask to view posts.

  • Display Age too low
    If you have used the "Show Posts" option (keybard shortuct CTRL-L) to load the posts into a Post list then Newsbin will only load from the local spool files posts that are newer than the Display Age setting. This is done for performance reasons as most of the time you are only interested in the more recent posts. If you use the "Show All Posts" option available on the group right-click menu this ignores the Display Age setting, so it is a good way to check if this is your problem.

    Note that if you are checking the Display Age setting that there is both the Options value and the Group Properties values to check.

  • Hide Old ticked
    If you have the Hide Old option ticked then only posts that have "new" status will be displayed.

  • Age Filter too low
    Newsbin has an option on the Post List filter bar to set a maximum age for the posts to be displayed. This is rather like the Display Age setting mentioned above, except that it is applied dynamically to the posts after they have been loaded and thus can be changed without reloading the posts.

NewsBin does not remember it's configuration

Newsbin stores the majority of its settings in a configuration file (with a .NBI extension). If anything goes wrong this file could get 'lost'. The following are possible reasons for this.

  • File not saved
    You closed NewsBin and cancelled out of saving the configuration file. Alternatively Newsbin was not closed down in a tidy fashion (e.g. it was killed via Task Manager), so you were never given the chance to save the file.

  • Registry Entry Removed
    Newsbin stores the name of the last configuration file used in the windows registry, and uses this on restarts to load the previous configuration. If you are running a Windows Registry cleaner/protector like ad-watch or Norton Internet Security that is either deleting the registry entry where NewsBin stores the location of the configuration file, or blocking NewsBin's access to write to the registry then Newsbin will appear to "forget" its configuration. The solution is to tell applications like these to ignore NewsBin. In this case, your configuration still exists and you can manually load it by finding the file (ends with a .nbi extension) and double-click on the file to launch NewsBin using that configuration.

  • Drive not available
    If you run Newsbin from network drive or a removable drive, then it is possible that this drive is not available when starting up Newsbin. Newsbin will then resort to a default (empty) configuration file.

The easiest solution to rectify all of the above scenarios is to find the configuration (.NBI) file that should be used and then start Newsbin by double-clicking it.

It is good practise to keep a backup of the configuration file. If you make any major changes to your setup do not forget to make a new backup copy.


I entered my Registration Information but I still get nagged.

Here are the most common problems with registration process failing:

  • Key information entered incorrectly
    The registration information is case sensitive. That means that upper and lower case letters must be preserved. Also, the key consists of the number 0-9 and the characters A-F. Do not enter the letter "l" instead of the number "1" or the capital letter "O" for the number 0. Using Windows Copy and Paste is the best way to enter this information as it reduces the chance for error.

  • Did not restart Newsbin
    Newsbin must be restarted for your registration to take effect

  • No connection to the internet
    Newsbin validates the key information against our key server.

  • Ad blocking, antivirus, or spyware software conflicts
    Some software is known to interfere with the registration process. Either temporarily turn this software off to register or, configure it to ignore Newsbin.

  • Possible Bug
    We believe there is an intermittent bug where Newsbin forgets it's registration information. The workaround is to go under Help/Register/Update Key and resubmit your registration information by clicking "Click Here to Finish Registration" then restart Newsbin.


Problems running on Vista or Windows 7

Newsbin works fine on Vista and Windows 7. Starting with Version 5.53, Newsbin was actually developed under Windows 7. If you are running an older version of Newsbin and have upgraded to Vista or Windows 7, you should upgrade to the latest release of Newsbin. This is a free upgrade for all registered users of Newsbin version 4 and above.

There is an issue if you install Newsbin on Vista or Windows 7 and then use a configuration file from an XP installation. For it to work on the new OS, you need to change your Newsbin Data Folder using this procedure


NewsBin won't open my files correctly

If you get a Windows error message that looks like this:

Windows doesn't have a viewer for this file: <filename>

This can be caused by:

  • Windows File Association wrong or missing
    NewsBin uses whatever the windows file associations are. To check, bring up windows explorer, go under Tools/Folder Options and select File Types. Then search for each extension and make sure an application is configured for "open".

  • ZoneAlarm or some other firewall preventing NewsBin to launch an external application
    Configure your fireall to allow NewsBin to launch external applications


Half my downloads are corrupted, what's going on?

If you seem to be downloading corrupted or Incomplete files, there are a number of things that might be causing this to happen. First check your Logging tab for errors. If you receive Bad Message-ID messages, then the problem could be one or more of the following:

  • Maximum Post Age too low
    The value of the Maximum Post Age (MPA) setting in Newsbin is set too low and you have not loaded all the headers for this post. This more likely to happen on large posts that can be posted over several days. The MPA can be set both at the global level under Options->Setup and also over-ridden at the individual group level (under Group->Properties).

  • Original Post Incomplete
    There are times when the original poster did not do a good job, and the post never made it complete onto Usenet. You would find that if this is the case users will be reporting problems with the post regardless of which News Server they use.

  • Newsbin Damaged
    Your copy of Newsbin was damaged by a virus, or you are trying to run a crack.

  • Virus Scanner
    A virus scanner is corrupting the data received from Usenet before Newsbin can decode it. Any virus scanner that scans Mail could also be scanning port 119 traffic. Panda Anti-virus and Norton Internet Security have been known to cause issues.

  • News Server
    The news server is having issues, check the news server's website to see if anything has been reported. In such a case users of a particular News supplier would be reporting problems while users of other suppliers find everything is fine. Even within a single supplier one can get conflicting reports as most news suppliers run a server 'farm' and it can be only some of the servers are not preforming as they should.

  • Hardware Issues
    Another type of error that can cause similar symptoms is hardware that is faulty in some way. It is surprising how many people have borderline hardware problems and are not aware of it as most of the time their PC runs fine, perhaps with an occasional crash. Many people seem to expect their PC to crash with some regularity, not realizing that with reliable hardware and modern operating systems such as Windows 2000 or Windows XP a system should run for weeks on end without crashing.

    The next section on Newsbin crashes covers the hardware issues that are most likely to affect Newsbin, sometimes in more subtle ways than an outright crash.

Newsbin Crashes on startup

Some users have occasionally got into a situation where was previously working but suddenly starts crashing when trying to launch it. The cause of this could be one of the more generic options mentioned in the next section, but a more likely scenario for causing this is that one of Newsbin's working files have been corrupted. the following are some simple diagnostics that can be done to try and identify the cause if the problem is file corruption:

  • Newsbin binaries corrupt
    To test for this simply re-install Newsbin and then see if it works. It can also be a good idea to re-boot your system as well. If it does you may then want to try and work out how the binaries got damaged. for instance a check for viruses would be appropriate.

  • Saved lists corrupt
    Newsbin saves the Download list, failed files list and Scratch lists in files with .nzz file extensions. They will only be present if you have such a list to save, so do not be worried if you cannot find any such files. These are saved at the location specified as the Newsbin DATA path. to check if these are the problem rename them to some name (e.g. add a .sav extension) and then see if Newsbin will launch.

  • Database file corrupt
    Newsbin has a number of files located at the DATA path location that have .db3 extensions (e.g. signature.db3, groups.db3) that it uses while running. Normally problems with these files will not cause crashes, but it is worth checking just in case. Rename them (e.g. by adding .sav to the name) and see if Newsbin then launches. new versions of these files will be created automatically as required.

  • Configuration file corrupt
    Newsbin stores its configuration data in a file with a .nbi extension. The location of this file is determined by the user. Corruption of this file is probably the least likely option to cause a crash as Newsbin would normally simply revert to default configuration values if there were problems with its Configuration file.


Newsbin Keeps Crashing

Newsbin is application software, and as such it can have faults that make the software fail. However crashes can also be caused by faulty hardware. The question is how do you tell these two cases apart?

  • System Crashes
    If the crash results in the whole system becoming unusable, and not just Newsbin then the cause is not Newsbin but an external factor. Newsbin runs at the application level within the operating system, and as such cannot directly do anything that will affect system stability. It is just that Newsbin has done something that triggered this external factor.

  • Newsbin Crashes
    If Newsbin crashes then either the system will tell you explicitly, or you will notice that the system becomes sluggish to use. In such a case it will be possible to open up Task Manager and end the Newsbin process, and once you have done that system response returns to normal.

    Newsbin undergoes extensive testing before it is released, so Newsbin crashes should be rare. To get them investigated, a way needs to be found to reproduce them so that the developers can investigate (and then fix) the issue. To help with this it is useful if you can provide:
    • Details of your system (Processor, RAM, disks etc) and in particular anything out of the normal.
    • Details of what virus checker, firewall, or other Internet related software you are running that might be monitoring downloads.
    • The exact steps that it takes to reproduce the problem. The simpler the case you can identify the easier it is to investigate.

It is also worth noting that although Newsbin might be crashing regularly for you this does not mean that it is doing so for everyone else. Therefore it is important that you help with trying to diagnose why you have a problem if you ever want it to be fixed in a future release of Newsbin.

Looking at different types of hardware issues that are likely to affect Newsbin:

  • Overclocking CPU
    Newsbin can drive your system particularily hard, so if you are overclocking your CPU, then Newsbin is likely to show up any instability that this has introduced. You can temporarily switch off the over-clocking to see if this stops the Newsbin crashes.

  • Memory
    It is not that unusual to have memory that sometimes fails at particular addresses. Also memory sticks can go bad during use, so just because it checked OK some time ago does not mean it cannot have since developed a fault. Memory faults can be transient where bits sometimes get dropped, and such faults are not picked up by the typical test a PC does during its boot sequence. To do more thorough test one uses a program such as memtest86. Another possible reason for memory problems is mis-matches between the memory you have and BIOS settings relating to memory timing. Some motherboards can be very picky on the memory that they work reliably with.

  • Disk
    Newsbin drives disk pretty hard and can show up problems in the disk sub-system. If it is the disk drive itself that is becoming faulty then it is likely that the issue will show up in other programs other than Newsbin. Most drive manufacturers provide software that can do a low level check of a drive and tell you if there are any issues with it. To get such software you visit the drive manufacturer's site and download it from there. there are also commercial alternatives such as SpinRite that specialize in identifying drives that are failing and recovering their data.

  • Disk Controllers
    Another less known area is to do with the disk controller chip-set and its ability to perform under heavy load. This issue seems to be particularly prevalent on older AMD based systems for some reason. The commonest result is that occasional writes to a disk drop some bits, but there is no outward indication of error until one tries to read the data again and find it is not exactly what was written. This is hard to check for, but another symptom that Newsbin user might notice is that when QuickPar is used to fix a bad post it runs through the fix process, and then finds there are still bad blocks left. The easiest work-around here is to use an external drive for Newsbin. Sometimes updating the Device driver relating to the disk controller can also help.

  • Bad Device Drivers
    This is the case where there is a fault in a device driver on your system. This can be any device that is used by Newsbin, although one of the common culprits are the Video card or the Network card (NIC). All one can do in such a case is check back with the manufacturer site to see if there are updated drivers.

  • Network
    Newsbin puts a heavy sustained load on your network hardware and this can make it freeze or crash. An indication is that rebooting your modem and/or router makes Newsbin start operating again. Wireless networks can also be unreliable, so it is worth checking if you still have problems if you eliminate the woreless part of your network by plugging your PC in directly to your modem and/or router./


NewsBin Error Codes

Some of the error messages that are displayed in the Logging tab can contain error numbers from the list below. These are standard error codes returned by Windows relating to socket handling.

10004 Interrupted system call

10009 Bad file number

10013 Permission denied

10014 Bad address

10022 Invalid argument

10024 Too many open files

10035 Operation would block

10036 Operation now in progress

10037 Operation already in progress

10038 Socket operation on non-socket

10039 Destination address required

10040 Message too long

10041 Protocol wrong type for socket

10042 Bad protocol option

10043 Protocol not supported

10044 Socket type not supported

10045 Operation not supported on socket

10046 Protocol family not supported

10047 Address family not supported by protocol family

10048 Address already in use

10049 Can't assign requested address

10050 Network is down

10051 Network is unreachable

10052 Net dropped connection or reset

10053 Software caused connection abort

10054 Connection reset by peer

10055 No buffer space available

10056 Socket is already connected

10057 Socket is not connected

10058 Can't send after socket shutdown

10059 Too many references, can't splice

10060 Connection timed out

10061 Connection refused

10062 Too many levels of symbolic links

10063 File name too long

10064 Host is down

10065 No Route to Host

10066 Directory not empty

10067 Too many processes

10068 Too many users

10069 Disc Quota Exceeded

10070 Stale NFS file handle

10091 Network SubSystem is unavailable

10092 WINSOCK DLL Version out of range

10093 Successful WSASTARTUP not yet performed

10071 Too many levels of remote in path

11001 Host not found

11002 Non-Authoritative Host not found

11003 Non-Recoverable errors: FORMERR, REFUSED, NOTIMP

11004 Bad address

More details IPSwitch Winsock Error Index

Newsbin Logging Tab Messages

This section covers some of the messages you might see displayed in the Newsbin Logging tab. The Logging tab (Status tab in versions prior to 5.50) is located in the bottom half of the NewsBin window by default. It is the last one on the right after the Download, Scratch, Failed Files, and Files tabs.

Most messages are relatively self-explanatory, so if you come a cross a message not listed it is likely that your best guess at the meaning will be correct.

Note that this list is not necessarily complete as the messages can change across different builds. Beta/test builds in particular are likely to have additional messages being displayed that are really only interest to the Newsbin developers.

  • The server reports that the Username or Password is Wrong - Contact your News Server Support Department. It's not a Problem with Newsbin.
    Really, it isn't a NewsBin problem. This message is used by many news servers for different reasons. It may be that the username and password are wrong but, more often, it means the the account is not in good standing. For example, a credit card expired so they couldn't bill you for the next month or, you are over a connection or download limit.
  • Failed to retrieve Article from servername
    Newsbin failed to retrieve a post. There will normally be an accompanying message saying why this happened.
  • Post Retrieval Error: 430 No such article
    This is a message returned from the server when Newsbin has asked for a post that is not on the server. Usually you've requested a post that is older than the server's retention capability. Other possibilities are the post is too new and has not propagated to the server yet or, the post was removed from the server.
  • High Speed File Creation Mode: Enabled
    This message is purely advisory. It indicates that Newsbin has found the version of Windows in use supports a file mode that can be used to boost performance. Newsbin will continue to work (albeit with slightly lower performance) if this facility is not found.
  • SSL Connection Server: servername Stats DHE-RSA-AES256-SHA 256 Bits Version: TLSv1/SSLv3
    This message indicates that a secure SSL connection has been made to the specified server. It typically is shown once per connection on Newsbin startup as the connections are established. The text folloing Stats gives more details on the exact variant of SSL used, but these details are likely to be irrelevant to most users.
  • Windows - Delayed Write Failed
    This is a message that Windows sometimes displayeds about a file that is used by Newsbin. What is means is that Windows told Newsbin that the write was OK, but has subsequently discovered that is not OK after all. Newsbin will not have been notified about this proble so will not be aware that there might be a problem. It usually means there is a hardware problem. For example, if you are using an external or networked drive that came unplugged or your hard drive is failing.
  • Error: Unable to Convert Server Name to Internet Address: server address: 11001
    This usually means the news server address is invalid. If the server address is "None", it means a news server address wasn't entered when the server was set up. Usually this happens due to a typographical error in the server address.
  • Failed to contact Server: server name - Will retry eventually
    NewsBin was unable to connect to the server for some reason. Usually it is due to a firewall blocking NewsBin. Another message should follow this one with an error code giving more information.



Using the Newsbin forums

One of the best places to report problems and look for answers is via the Newsbin forums. There are some guidelines that will improve your effective use of these forums:

  • Search for previous reports:
    It is quite likely that your problem has already been encountered by a previous forum user, so look for any previous reports. It is better to add new information to an existing thread on a topic than always create a new one. You can look for previous threads either by a manual inspection of the various forum areas, or by using the forum search facility using relevant keywords.

  • Use the correct topic area:
    The forums are divided up into a number of topic areas. It helps if you post any questions or reports to the most relevant area. It is never necessary to post the same question to more than one area as it will be noticed whichever area you use. It is useful if questions/reports on beta releases use the beta areas to avoid confusing non-beta users with discussions of features or faults that are not in the current production release.

  • Do not expect an immediate answer:
    The Newsbin guys are US based, and there are only 2 of them so do not expect them to be online 24x7. They will only be online for part of the day. Having said that, there are Newsbin users all around the world so it is normal that most questions will get some sort of answer within a few hours from someone.

  • Expect questions:
    No matter how clearly you think you have described your problem, there are sure to be those who will mis-interpret what you said. Therefore, unless you are particularly expert at formulating questions/reports, expect others to ask for clarification. Also do not be upset by what might appear to be irrelevant questions as one of the most common sources of error is User Error where Newsbin terminology has been misunderstood, or a relevant Newsbin feature or setting has been missed.

  • Keep it concise:
    Long rambling posts tend to either not get read thoroughly or in worst cases not read as all. Therefore try to keep posts as concise as possible. It is alright to cover several items in a single post if it can be kept brief, but if they each require a significant amount of prose then it is probably worth putting unrelated topics in their own threads.

When asking a question or making a problem report it is a good idea to include as much information as possible. If others cannot reproduce your problem it is unlikely to get fixed. Examples of information to include are:

  • Description:
    Give a description of the problem. Make it as brief as possible while still being complete. It a good idea to state here what you are trying to achieve as well as any symptoms as it helps put what you are attempting to do in context.

  • Newsbin version: Specify what version and build number of Newsbin you were using when it occurred. Newsbin undergoes frequent upgrade and/or bug fix releases, so it is important to know if you are on the latest releases or on an earlier release.

    Note that you may well be asked if you can reproduce the problem on the latest production release, or possibly even on the latest beta release (available from the beta area part of the forum)

  • Steps to Reproduce: Can you reproduce the problem reliably, and if so what are the steps that you go through to do this. This will allow others to see if they get the same symptoms under the same conditions. It will also make it easier to see if there is another way to achieve what you want within Newsbin

  • Investigative work already done: Point out anything you have already done to fault-find the problem yourself. This will stop you getting asked to carry out tests you have already done. In particular give details on any error messages (or lack of them) that are displayed in the Logging tab when the problem occurs. Note that if you are looking at a network related problem it is worth turning on the 'Show Protocol Commands' under Options->Network to get more detailed messages in the Logging tab.

  • System details: It is well worth giving brief details of the key characteristics of your system such as CPU; RAM; Disks; Operating System; and anything else out of the ordinary. If this problem appears to be network related whether you are using a router, and also whether you are using WiFi. PC systems vary widely and often it takes a particular combination to reproduce a particular problem

  • Software details: Give details of any Internet related software such as Firewalls, Virus Scanners and other download monitoring software. These can often interfere with Newsbin's normal functioning - sometimes in unexpected ways.

What are those .nb! files for?

Starting with version 5.42, NewsBin assembles posts in temporary .nb! files during download. Once the download completes, the files are moved to their final destination location and filename.

Tip

If you want the .nb! files to be kept separate from your normal files, then you can set the "Use Chunks Folder" option under Options->Aadvanced. This will cause the .nb! files to be put into the CHUNKS_V1 sub-folder of the download location. If download completes successfully and there are no .nb! files left then the CHUNKS_V1 sub-folder is autoamtically removed

If you have .nb! files sticking around after your downloads complete, it could be due to one of these issues:

  1. You queued an incomplete post for download.

    To assemble the parts of the post that were available, right-click the file entry from the Download tab and select "Assemble Incompletes". If you have a PAR file for the post, it can be used to correct the file. Some multimedia or sound files may still work without correction, depending on the file type.

  2. There was an error downloading the post and it could not complete.

    If this happens, the file may be sitting in the Failed Files tab. You can re-queue it for download if it was due to a temporary server error. If it still has errors, you can right-click on the file while in the Download tab and "Assemble Incompletes" to assemble whatever parts were downloaded successfully.

  3. There was an error moving the .nb! file to the final destination.

    This could be due to insufficient disk space, permissions problems or, performance issues if you are using a slow external drive or networked drive. There should be a message in the Logging tab indicating what went wrong. Sometimes you can force it to work by right-clicking the file from the Download tab and select "Retry Download".


Entries are not appearing in the AutoPAR tab

AutoPAR only works if valid .PAR2 files are available for the set of files you are downloading. The best way to use this feature is by queuing posts for download while in Compact View and only choose posts that have an icon to the left indicating the par files exist. 550 CompactIcon.jpg

The troubleshooting steps are:

- Make sure you have downloaded at least one .PAR2 file for the download in question. It is the downloading of a .PAR2 file that triggers the creation of the entry in the AutoPAR tab.

- Use QuickPAR to verify that the PAR2 file(s) are good.

- Determine if the autopar2.db3 file in the Newsbin DATA folder has been damaged for some reason.

  1. Go under Options/Setup and click "Open Data Folder" then exit Newsbin.
  2. Rename AutoPAR2.db3 to something like AutoPAR2.db3.sav.
  3. Open Newsbin and it will re-create a new empty version of the file. Note that deleting it will cause any existing entries in the AutoPAR tab will be lost, so make sure that is OK before taking this action.

- Try on another PC and see if you can isolate whether the issue is with the post or with your Newsbin configuration on the other machine.

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