OK, I feel almost idiotic asking about this, but everytime I follow a link to a newsgroup my OUtlook opens and asks me how I want to connect, etc etc. I’m already online!

How do I get to be in on the newsgroup thing?

This is just a guess here (I gave up on USENET newsgroups quite awhile ago when they seemed to become spam catchers - perhaps that problem has become resolved), but Outlook is probably asking you for the name of your news server. Newsgroups are maintained by servers (just as this message board is maintained by

To connect to usenet, you need to provide the name of a news server, and possibly log into it. If you haven’t yet set this up in Outlook, it doesn’t know what machine to talk to to get news from. If your ISP provides a news server, they should have told you what its name is, eg. “” or something. They should also tell whether you will be required to log on to use it or not, which may be neccesary information to provide to Outlook.

Outlook sucks for reading news. Try freeagent from free, excellent newsreader xxcellent mail program. Not compatible with AOL.

Next up Netscape or IE newsreaders, they are part of the menus…on Netscape, its under Communcator:newsgroups.

Outlook’s okay for newsgroups, and if you spoof your return address, you can avoid most of the spam.

The problem you’re having is that too many programs from Microsoft don’t trust their own operating system enough to connect to the internet. Thus, they offer to do it automatically. I don’t feel like booting up the PC right now (as opposed to my Mac) to give you specific instructions, but all the PC versions of Outlook and Outlook Express have connection options that you can set.

Look for something that gives you options akin to the following: always ask; dial automatically; LAN. If you’re always going to be connected to the internet before you run Outlook, then check LAN, because for practical purposes that’s what your dial-up connection is.