Windows XP : Participating in Internet Newsgroups - Setting News Options

9/1/2012 9:10:58 PM
Outlook Express has all kinds of options and settings that enable you to customize many aspects of the Outlook Express email client. There are also quite a few options related to newsgroups, and this section runs through them all.

Options for Newsgroups and Messages

The options related to newsgroups and messages are in the Options dialog box, which you can get to by selecting the Tools, Options command.

Setting General Options

The General tab contains just two Usenet-related settings :

Notify Me If There Are Any New NewsgroupsWhen this check box is activated, Outlook Express polls the server for the names of newsgroups added since you last connected. If there are any, Outlook Express displays a dialog box to let you know. (A list of the new groups appears in the New tab of the Newsgroup Subscriptions dialog box.)
This Application Is NOT the Default News HandlerThe default news handler is the program that loads whenever you run your web browser’s news command. (In Internet Explorer, for example, select File, New, Post to post a message to a newsgroup.) If Outlook Express is not the default news program, click the Make Default button. (This button is disabled if Outlook Express is currently the default news handler.)

Setting Read Options

The Read tab boasts the following message-related settings :

Automatically Expand Grouped MessagesActivating this check box tells Outlook Express to expand all downloaded threads.
Automatically Download Message When Viewing in the Preview PaneWhen this check box is activated and you’re online, Outlook Express downloads and displays a message when you highlight its header. If you’d prefer not to have messages downloaded automatically, deactivate this check box.
Get X Headers at a TimeUse this spin box to specify the maximum number of news- group headers that Outlook Express downloads when you select the Tools, Get Next X Headers command. Increase this value if you read busy newsgroups with lots of messages. (The maximum value is 1,000.)
Mark All Messages as Read When Exiting a NewsgroupActivate this check box to force Outlook Express to mark all the messages in the current newsgroup as read when you select a different newsgroup or folder.

Setting Maintenance Options

You’ll find a few more message-related options in the Maintenance tab, shown in Figure 1. Most of these options affect the local storage that Outlook Express uses for downloaded messages. Here’s a summary:

Delete Read Message Bodies in NewsgroupsIf you activate this check box, each time you exit Outlook Express, the program deletes from local storage the bodies of those posts that you’ve read.
Delete News Messages X Days After Being DownloadedWhen this check box is activated, Outlook Express deletes any downloaded message a specified number of days after the download.
Clean Up NowClick this button to force Outlook Express to compact its local storage space immediately.
NewsActivate this check box to have Outlook Express maintain a log of commands sent to and from the news server. This log is stored in a file named account.log, where account is the name of the news account. The log file is saved in the server’s subfolder of your Outlook Express identity’s application data folder:
   %UserProfile%\Local Settings\Application Data\
Identities\ID\Microsoft\Outlook Express

Figure 1. The Maintenance tab contains various options related to the local storage of downloaded messages.

Options for Individual Newsgroups

Outlook Express also maintains a few properties related to individual newsgroups. To view these settings, right-click a newsgroup and then click Properties. The property sheet that appears contains three tabs: General, Synchronize, and Local File. The General tab tells you the name of the newsgroup, the total number of available messages, and the number of those messages that are unread.

The Synchronize tab, shown in Figure 2, enables you to set the default download setting for this newsgroup. These are the options that appear when you select the Tools, Synchronize this Newsgroup command.

Figure 2. Use the Synchronize tab to set the default download option for this newsgroup.

The Local File tab, shown in Figure 3, contains settings that control the newsgroup’s local message storage, which is a .dbx file (for example, rec.running.dbx) in your Outlook Express identity’s folder:

%UserProfile%\Local Settings\Application Data\Identities\ID\Microsoft\
Outlook Express

Figure 3. Use the Local File tab to control the local storage for the newsgroup.

The File Information group shows you the total size of the storage file, the size taken up by message headers, and the amount of wasted space in the file. You can adjust this storage by using the following buttons:

CompactYou saw earlier that Outlook Express deletes downloaded messages after a certain time, and it deletes read messages when you quit the program. These deletions create gaps in the local storage, which is the source of the Wasted Space value. To close these gaps and remove this wasted space, click the Compact button.
Remove MessagesClick this button to remove all the downloaded message bodies that are in the local storage file.
DeleteClick this button to clean out all the downloaded headers and message bodies from the local storage file.
ResetClick this button to clean out all the downloaded headers and message bodies from the local storage file and to reset messages marked as read or watched. This enables you to download these headers again, which is useful if you’re having trouble accessing the newsgroup or if the local storage file becomes slow or inaccessible due to its large size.
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