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alt.usenet.offline-reader.forte-agent FAQ v1.5 (modified 9/14/97)

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From: wguynes@mav.net (William Guynes)
Newsgroups: alt.usenet.offline-reader.forte-agent
Subject: alt.usenet.offline-reader.forte-agent FAQ v1.5 (modified 9/14/97)
Date: 24 Jun 1999 13:31:37 GMT
Message-ID: <off-line-readers/usenet/forte-agent_930228931@rtfm.mit.edu>
Reply-To: wguynes@mav.net
X-Last-Updated: 1997/09/15
X-No-Archive: yes

Archive-name: off-line-readers/usenet/forte-agent
Posting-Frequency: 15 days
Last-modified: 1997/9/14
Version: 1.5
URL: http://mav.net/wguynes/forteagent/agentfaq.html

-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----

     Unofficial FAQ for alt.usenet.offline-reader.forte-agent

                         By William Guynes

                       v1.5 updated 9/14/97

========
CONTENTS
========

[1] Introduction
   [1-1] Differences between Agent and Free Agent.
   [1-2] What are the latest versions of (Free)Agent?
   [1-3] Changes since last version of this FAQ.

[2] Obtaining (Free)Agent
   [2-1] How do I buy Agent?
      [2-1-1] Can I get Agent in stores?
      [2-1-2] How much does Agent cost?  What do I get?
   [2-2] Where can I get (Free)Agent?

[3] Technical questions
   [3-1] Connectivity
      [3-1-1] My 16-bit version of (Free)Agent won't autodial my
              Win95 winsock.  What's wrong?
      [3-1-2] I'm using (Free)Agent 32-bit with Win95 and keep
              getting "#10047 WSAEFNOSUPPORT" error when I try to
              connect.
      [3-1-3] How can I force (Free)Agent to connect to two news
              servers?
      [3-1-4] Why do I keep getting Winsock error #XXXXX?
      [3-1-5] Why won't (Free)Agent or Dial-Up Networking remember
              my dial-up password?
   [3-2] Email
      [3-2-1] Everyone is talking about "getting their email," but I
              can't find options for it in Free Agent, what gives?
      [3-2-2] Are there "Return Receipts" in (Free)Agent?
   [3-3] Posting
      [3-3-1] How do I crosspost using (Free)Agent?
      [3-3-2] I keep getting a "more included text than new text
              error."
      [3-3-3] How can I add an "X-No-Archive: yes" header?
      [3-3-4] How can I add "Control:" and "Approved:" headers?
      [3-3-5] How can I add a custom header?
   [3-4] Display
      [3-4-1] Why do all my Usenet messages have a 0 in front of
              them?
      [3-4-2] How can I make a folder in a folder? How can I move a
              newsgroup into a folder?
      [3-4-3] How can I sort my newsgroups list?
      [3-4-4] I want to sort/thread my headers by XXXXXXX.
      [3-4-5] Why are all the dates on my messages wrong?
      [3-4-6] My friend says my messages have "=20" all over them.
              I didn't type those!
   [3-5] Retrieval
      [3-5-1] I am getting an "operation timed out" error when
              retrieving my list of groups.
      [3-5-2] What are these little red Xs next to my messages?
              They say, "message no longer available."
      [3-5-3] Why is my news server always missing/repeating posts?
      [3-5-4] (Free)Agent tells me there are too many groups to
              retrieve.  What can I do?
      [3-5-5] (Free)Agent tells me there are too many articles to
              retrieve.  What can I do?
      [3-5-6] How can I automate news retrieval in (Free)Agent?
      [3-5-7] Why don't my newsgroups all act the same way?
      [3-5-8] How can I change my high message pointer for newsgroup
              message retrieval?
   [3-6] Attachments
      [3-6-1] I "attached" a text file in my email to a friend and
              it got sent as bunch of garbage characters.
      [3-6-2] Why is (Free)Agent using the wrong program when I
              launch an attachment?
      [3-6-3] When I try to decode a binary, Free Agent tells me
              there's no attachment.  I know there is!
      [3-6-4] Where do my attachments go when I decode or launch in
              (Free)Agent?
   [3-7] Data Storage
      [3-7-1] What are all these IDX and DAT files on my disk?
              They're huge!
      [3-7-2] I've purged/deleted a lot of messages.  But my IDX and
              DAT files aren't any smaller.
      [3-7-3] What format are the databases stored in?
      [3-7-4] How can I find out which IDX/DAT file pairs are for
              which newsgroup or folder?
   [3-8] ISP Specific
      [3-8-1] Netcom
         [3-8-1-1] I can't get (Free)Agent to work with Netcom, I
                   keep getting repeated/lost messages.  What's
                   wrong?
      [3-8-2] Worldnet
         [3-8-2-1] How do I configure (Free)Agent for use with
                   Worldnet?
      [3-8-3] Demon
         [3-8-3-1] (Free)Agent appears to lose messages with Demon.
      [3-8-4] America Online
         [3-8-4-1] Can I use (Free)Agent with AOL?
      [3-8-5] Microsoft Network
         [3-8-5-1] Can I use (Free)Agent with MSN?
      [3-8-6] MindSpring
         [3-8-6-1] How can I configure (Free)Agent for MindSpring?
      [3-8-7] Netscape News servers
         [3-8-7-1] Can I use (Free)Agent to connect with Netscape's
                   secnews servers?  I want to be able to access the
                   netscape newsgroups.
   [3-9] Operating System specific
      [3-9-1] OS/2
      [3-9-2] Windows
         [3-9-2-1] Can I use (Free)Agent 32-bit under Windows 3.1
                   with Win32s?
   [3-10] Miscellaneous
      [3-10-1] How can I stop specific tasks?
      [3-10-2] When I edit a message, what I type covers up what was
               already on the screen.  It's really getting annoying.
      [3-10-3] Whenever I close (Free)Agent I get a message "XXX
               e-mail and XXX usenet messages ready to send."
      [3-10-4] Is there any way for me to password protect
               (Free)Agent?
      [3-10-5] What are the differences in Properties and Default
               Properties in (Free)Agent?
   [3-11] Known Bugs
      [3-11-1] My cut and paste are grayed out!  I need to use them.
      [3-11-2] Filter bug

[4] Features
   [4-1] Does (Free)Agent have crosspost management?
   [4-2] Does (Free)Agent have kill/watch capability?
   [4-3] How can I do a (global) text search string of all messages?
   [4-4] In Free Agent, can I click on a URL to launch it?

[5] Support
   [5-1] Where can I get support for (Free)Agent?
      [5-1-1] Help files
      [5-1-2] alt.usenet.offline-reader.forte-agent newsgroup
         [5-1-2-1] Binaries in the newsgroup
         [5-1-2-2] Crossposting in the newsgroup
         [5-1-2-3] Suggested message format in the newsgroup
         [5-1-2-4] Why did everyone ignore or scream at me when I
                   asked for an email response?
      [5-1-3] Direct email support
      [5-1-4] Other support resources
   [5-2] Where can I get Internet help?
      [5-2-1] How do I create my own newsgroup?
   [5-3] Where can I find this FAQ?

[6] Conclusion
   [6-1] Credits
   [6-2] Copyright

================
[1] Introduction
================

[1-1] Differences between Agent and Free Agent.

   Free Agent is a freeware off-line newsreader that is compatible
   with the Winsock (Windows Sockets) standard.  It offers limited
   send email capability, but does not receive email.

   Agent is the registered version of Free Agent and contains many
   new features, including POP3 or SMTP email reception, address
   books, kill/watch lists, URL launching, and crosspost management.

   From here on, this FAQ will use "(Free)Agent" when the topic
   applies to both Agent and Free Agent.

[1-2] What are the latest versions of (Free)Agent?

   Free Agent v1.11 is the latest release of the freeware version.

   Agent is currently in version 1.5.

   Both are available in 16 and 32-bit versions.

[1-3] Recent changes to this FAQ.

   v1.43
      - Added [1-3]
      - Modified [1-2] to reflect new version of Agent
   v1.44
      - Modified [2-2] to reflect new version of Agent
      - Modified [3-5-4] to show new information on group limits
      - Added [5-1-4]
   v1.45
      - Modified [5-3] to reflect new FAQ web location
   v1.5
      - Modified [1-2] to reflect new version of Agent
      - Modified [2-1-2] to reflect new release scheduling
      - Modified [2-2] to reflect new version of Agent
      - Modified [3-6-1] to better redirect binary questions
      - Modified [3-6-2] to include WindowsNT
      - Modified [3-8-5-1] to include new Agent/MSN abilities
      - Added [3-11-2]
      - Modified [4-3] to add Global Search for Agent
      - Modified [5-1-3] to reflect new Agent releases
      - Modified [5-3] for shorter html link
      
=========================
[2] Obtaining (Free)Agent
=========================

[2-1] How do I buy Agent?

   Go to this web site for the latest details on ordering Agent.

      http://www.forteinc.com/store/aghow.htm

[2-1-1] Can I get Agent in stores?

   At the time of this writing, Agent is not available in stores.

   This section used to contain availability info for foreign
   countries, but this FAQ got flooded with requests for "free
   advertising."  I find this distasteful.  If removal of this
   information becomes a problem, we'll work something out.

[2-1-2] How much does Agent cost?  What do I get?

   $29.00 to download Agent from Forte's ftp site.  The key to
   activate it is provided via email.

   $40.00 for the "shrink wrap" version.  Same as above, plus you
   will receive Agent on diskette, in 16-bit or 32-bit, along with a
   printed manual.  If you choose cd-rom media, both bit versions
   will be included.

   Forte will alert you via email when this package is available
   for shipment.

   You also get limited direct email support.  (see [5-1-3])

[2-2] Where can I get (Free)Agent?

   A list of Free Agent ftp sites is available at...

      http://www.forteinc.com/getfa/download.htm

   A list of Agent ftp sites is available at...

      http://www.forteinc.com/store/getagent.htm

   Filenames to look for
      Free Agent (16-bit) : fa16-111.exe
      Free Agent (32-bit) : fa32-111.exe
      Agent (16-bit) : a16-15.exe
      Agent (32-bit) : a32-15.exe

=======================
[3] Technical questions
=======================

[3-1] Connectivity

[3-1-1] My 16-bit version of (Free)Agent won't autodial my Win95
        winsock.  What's wrong?

   AGENT WEENIE ALERT!  Do not ask this one in 
   alt.usenet.offline-reader.forte-agent or you will be labeled a
   weenie for the rest of your natural life.

   No 16-bit Windows application can auto-activate the Windows 95
   Dial-Up Networking (DUN).  You will have to make your connection
   manually or upgrade to the 32-bit version.

[3-1-2] I'm using (Free)Agent 32-bit with Win95 and keep getting
        "#10047 WSAEFNOSUPPORT" error when I try to connect.

   Most likely problem, your (Free)Agent is 32-bit and your
   Operating System is also 32-bit, but your winsock is 16-bit.
   You need to talk with your provider about switching to a 32-bit
   winsock.  The Win95 Dial-Up Networking (DUN) comes highly
   recommended.

[3-1-3] How can I force (Free)Agent to connect to two news servers?

   First, let me point out the difference between multi-user and
   multi-instance.

   Multi-user means two or more separate configurations for more
   than one person; or, can also be one person who desires multiple
   news servers.  This is easily done using any version of
   (Free)Agent.
   See Help | Search for Help on... | Multi-user configuration
   for how to do this.

   Multi-instance means more than one instance of a program actively
   running at the same time.  For example, two copies, both
   downloading messages from separate servers while using the same
   Winsock stack.

      "Agent will allow multiple instances of itself to run,
      provided each instance is using a different directory."

         - Agent Help File

   Important note to people with 16-bit operating systems:
      For multi-instance use, the .exe files must to renamed in
      order to be unique from each other.

[3-1-4] Why do I keep getting Winsock error #XXXXX?

   A rather complete listing of Winsock errors, and what they mean,
   can be found at...

      http://www.sockets.com/a_c.htm

[3-1-5] Why won't (Free)Agent or Dial-Up Networking remember my
        dial-up password?

   See...

      http://www.creativelement.com/win95ann/win95ann5.html#10

   for many possible fixes.

[3-2] Email

[3-2-1] Everyone is talking about "getting their email," but I can't
        find options for it in Free Agent, what gives?

   Free Agent does not have email receive capability, but can send
   email.

   Agent has both send and receive email capability.  (see [1-1])

[3-2-2] Are there "Return Receipts" in (Free)Agent?

   (Free)Agent does not support "Return Receipts."  There are two
   arguments against this feature...

   One.  Return receipts are no guarantee that the reader has read
   your email message.  Just verification that their system has
   accepted said email.

   Two.  There is no Internet standard for the format of return
   receipts.  Anything devised by Forte would require that the
   recipient was also using (Free)Agent.

[3-3] Posting

[3-3-1] How do I crosspost using (Free)Agent?

   (Free)Agent does not allow one to crosspost by highlighting
   groups in the newsgroups list.  One must manually type in each
   newsgroup name, separated by commas and no spaces.
   
   If you read somewhere in the (Free)Agent helpfiles that this is
   possible, it was a typo.

   There is no expectation for this to change any time in the near
   future.

[3-3-2] I keep getting a "more included text than new text error."

   Your news server has set a limit on the amount of allowable
   quoted text and is rejecting the message.  (Free)Agent is just
   passing the message on to you.  There is nothing it can do about
   it.

   Your options are:

   - Cut down on the excessive quoting.  (preferred method!)
   - Ask your news server administrator to remove/alter the limit.
   - Subscribe to an alternate news service.  (drastic)
   - Change your quote character.  
        (NOT recommended, it makes your messages look horrible)
   - Pad the message with characters at the end.
        (NOT recommended, will probably result in annoyed email
         responses)

[3-3-3] How can I add an "X-No-Archive: yes" header?

   In Free Agent this is not built in.  (see [3-3-5])

   For Agent users, this header may be toggled on using...
   
      Group | Default Properties | Post
      (see [3-10-5])
      
   and checking the appropriate checkboxes.

[3-3-4] How can I add "Control:" and "Approved:" headers?

   Help | Search for Help on... | Index | AGENT.INI
   [Message] section
   ShowAllFields variable

[3-3-5] How can I add a custom header?

   (Free)Agent does not have facilities to add user-defined custom
   headers.

   Workaround:  Many people have hex-edited their Agent.exe file to
      remove existing, unused headers and replace them with a custom
      header.  A problem with this is that the header string must
      not be longer than the existing string, or important code can
      be overwritten.

[3-4] Display

[3-4-1] Why do all my Usenet messages have a 0 in front of them?

   "Agent doesn't set the Lines field (the field that tells how many
   lines there are in the article) when posting an article, because
   we thought all news servers added it automatically.  It turns out
   that some don't, so any article posted through them will end up
   with a header claiming that it has 0 lines.  The article text is
   still there and can still be viewed, but many newsreaders will
   display it in the browser with a line count of 0.

   This problem will be fixed in a later release."

      - Lance Boehm, Agent Support team

   FAQ note: Has not been fixed yet.

[3-4-2] How can I make a folder in a folder? How can I move a
        newsgroup into a folder?

   (Free)Agent does not have nestable folders or newsgroups.
   It has been mentioned as a possible, future Agent feature.

[3-4-3] How can I sort my newsgroups list?

   At the moment, sorting the newsgroups list is not possible within
   the program. Forte is aware of the desire for this feature, but
   has assigned it a low priority on "the list" of new features.

   There is a third party program called "Agent Group Order (AGO)"
   that can currently reorder your groups and folders to your
   liking.

   Agent Group Order can be found at...

      ftp://ftp.netcom.com/pub/jo/jonzonk/agent/

[3-4-4] I want to sort/thread my headers by XXXXXXX.

   "In both Free Agent and Agent, there are settings (Under
   Options | Preferences | Navigation in FA, under Options | General
   Preferences | Message List in A) which control how threading is
   done.

   Agent (not Free Agent) also has sorting capability, which can
   override the threading preferences.  Clicking on the column
   titles in the header pane sorts headers by the title criterion
   (also available on the Group menu).  Subject, Author, and Date
   are toggles, and Thread/Size rotate through the choices.  The
   sort criterion in use is underlined.

   If a newsgroup is not threading when you expect it to, in Agent
   first check which column is controlling sorting, changing as
   necessary, and in both programs doublecheck your threading
   preferences."

      - Don Kirkman

[3-4-5] Why are all the dates on my messages wrong?

   The Internet is a global network of computers and not everyone
   lives in your timezone.  (Free)Agent comes preconfigured to use
   Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), also called Universal Time (UT), for
   timestamping messages.

   Your computer's internal clock is, usually, set to your local
   time.  (Free)Agent, by default, converts to GMT when posting and
   from GMT when reading.

   If you desire your posts to be stamped with your local time,
   hand-edit "GMTDates" field under [Message] section in the
   Agent.ini to a 0 value.  Like so...

      [Message]
      GMTDates=0

   (Free)Agent 16-bit has configurable options to set your time
   zone.  Check under Options | Preferences | System Profile.

   (Free)Agent 32-bit reads your local time zone off of the
   operating system.  Check your O/S configuration to correctly set
   these values.

   For more information on time zones, web to...

      http://tycho.usno.navy.mil/tzones.html

[3-4-6] My friend says my messages have "=20" all over them.  I
        didn't type those!

   This is an option in Agent called "MIME quoted printable" text.

   The Internet, being a collection of different types of computers,
   is limited to 128 different possible characters.  Now that the
   Internet has gone global, there has entered a need for foreign
   language support beyond the normal ASCII character set.

   Since it is not efficient to upgrade all the hardware on the
   Internet at once, the "MIME quoted printable" system has been
   implemented to "encode" extended characters and "decode" them on
   the other end.  Your friend's computer is not decoding.

   Agent currently does MIME quoted printable.  Free Agent does not.

   Either your friend must get a program that correctly decodes, or
   you must turn off MIME quoted printable text in your copy of
   Agent.

   The MIME quoted printable option can be configured separately for
   each language you have configured in Agent.  See...
   
      Options | General Preferences | Languages

   under Usenet Text and Email Text.

[3-5] Retrieval

[3-5-1] I am getting an "operation timed out" error when retrieving
        my list of groups.

   This is a classic "lag" situation.  Your news server is slow, or
   has unusually heavy traffic, so (Free)Agent thinks your link is
   dead and times out.
   
   In Free Agent under...

      Options | General Preferences | Online

      Adjust the "Go offline automatically after XXX seconds of no
      activity" value to something higher.

   In Agent under...

      Options | User and System Profile | Online 

      Adjust the "Go offline automatically after XXX seconds of no
      activity" value to something higher.

[3-5-2] What are these little red Xs next to my messages?  They say,
        "message no longer available."

   An out of synch server farm can cause this problem.
   (see [3-5-3])
   If this is not the case, read on.

   Your news server has limited space.  Once a message has reached a
   predetermined age, it is purged and the space is made available
   for a new message.

   If you get new headers, wait a while, and attempt to retrieve the
   bodies, they will have expired in the meantime.  (Free)Agent
   is telling you that those messages have been deleted since you
   last got headers.

   Your options are:
   
   - Quit waiting so long to get the bodies.
   - Ask your news server administrator to lengthen the purge time
     for that newsgroup.
   - Change your news provider to one that retains the posts longer.

   If using Agent and you have reason to believe a message
   previously marked with the red X is, in fact, available, use the
   Agent function...
   
      Message | Mark Available

   to allow the message to be marked available for downloading
   again.

[3-5-3] Why is my news server always missing/repeating posts?

   First, make sure missing posts are not just being delayed.
   Usenet can sometimes take up to 5 days to fully propagate a
   posting.  Just because your friend got it today doesn't mean
   you will.

   Posts DO get lost on Usenet occasionally, so don't jump to
   conclusions.

   If you're sure this is not the case, and it is truly a chronic
   problem, you probably belong to what is called a "news farm."
   Large amounts of singly repeated posts are a sure sign of a news
   farm.

   When the Internet was young, each news server was one machine.
   When you got headers, it had no problem "remembering" where you
   left off the last time.  Today, with these new mega-providers
   appearing, one machine can't handle the load.  They have large
   "farms" of machines and each time you logon you get a different,
   randomly assigned, machine.  This machine might not be correctly
   synchronized with the others, so it does not give you messages
   you should be getting.

   Some actions you can take are:

   - Find out if there is a way to force a connection to the same
     machine every time.
   - If using Agent, Options | User and System Profile | System,
     check the box titled "Server Creates messages out of order."
   - If using Free Agent, Group | Default Properties | Retrieving,
     check the box titled "Server Creates messages out of order."
   - Get a real, and smaller, provider.  Ha!

[3-5-4] (Free)Agent crashes when refreshing groups.  What can I do?

   The 32-bit versions of (Free)Agent are not a problem.  Somewhere
   along the lines of 4 billion groups are allowable.

   The 16-bit versions have a limit of 65535 (or 64k) groups.

[3-5-5] (Free)Agent tells me there are too many articles to
        retrieve.  What can I do?

   This problem is covered in Forte's own FAQ...
   
      http://www.forteinc.com/agsup/csfaqrd.htm#TooMany

   "At this time, there are no plans to increase the 32k headers per
   group limit."

      - Lance Boehm, Agent Support Team

[3-5-6] How can I automate news retrieval in (Free)Agent?

   For an FAQ on automating (Free)Agent's operations, web to...

      http://crash.ihug.co.nz/~geoff/agentfaq.htm

[3-5-7] Why don't my newsgroups all act the same way?

   You have probably lost track of your individual newsgroup
   configurations.  (see [3-10-5])

[3-5-8] How can I change my high message pointer for newsgroup
        message retrieval?

   The term "high message pointer" is kind of out of date when
   referring to (Free)Agent.

   With the advent of "news farms," (see [3-5-3]) messages no longer
   got received and posted in a nice, neat order.  So an alternate,
   out-of-order, method has come into use.  This screws up the
   "highest message retrieved" concept.

   The high message pointer configuration has been replaced with the
   Sample Headers option...

      Online | Sample Headers from Selected Groups...

[3-6] Attachments

[3-6-1] I "attached" a text file in my email to a friend and it got
   sent as bunch of garbage characters.

   These files were encoded binaries.
   Try taking this course on Usenet binaries to better understand
   the difference in binary and text postings.

      http://www.newbie-u.com

   If you don't want the file encoded (works only for text files),
   try using File | Insert Text File instead of using Attachment.
   Encoding a text file creates unnecessary overhead.

   Binaries (i.e. anything not text) MUST be encoded.

[3-6-2] Why is (Free)Agent using the wrong program when I launch an
        attachment?

   (Free)Agent does not know what type of program or file it is
   executing.  All it knows is to pass the file on to the operating
   system, which uses the extension of the file to determine how to
   "run" it.  These are commonly called "associations."

   Under Win95 and WindowsNT, associations can be set in Windows
   Explorer under View | Options | File Types.

   Older versions of Windows use File | Associations in the File
   Manager application

   For Agent users only:

      The introduction of MIME in Agent complicated things about
      filename extensions being used to determine the file type.

      "(Note:  this explanation excludes 'executables', which are
      handled somewhat differently in some sub-cases.)

      1.  Agent checks the content-type (for uue it assumes
      'application/octet-stream').

      2.  If there is an application named on the line of the MIME
      table corresponding with the content-type (real or assumed)
      that application is launched (regardless of the .ext of the
      attachment, if any).
      
      3.  If the content-type (real or assumed) matches a line of
      the MIME table but #2 doesn't apply, the program associated
      in Windows with the .ext of the attachment (if any) will be
      launched.

      4.  If the content-type (real or assumed) matches a line of
      the MIME table and neither #2 nor #3 applies, the application
      associated in Windows (if any) with the default .ext on the
      line of the MIME table (if any) will be launched.

      5.  If none of the foregoing apply (that is, the content-type
      isn't in the table, or it is in the table but there is neither
      a default .ext nor an actual .ext on the attachment) Agent
      will pop a dialog box when the attachment is launched to allow
      the user to select a 'viewer'."

         - Jim Bradley

[3-6-3] When I try to decode a binary, Free Agent tells me there's
        no attachment.  I know there is!

   There are different methods for encoding binary files.  Free
   Agent only supports UUencode.  Binaries using other encoding
   methods are not detected.

   Base64 is one of these.  MIME, although technically more than an
   encoding scheme, also can not be "seen" by Free Agent.

   Agent decodes most all popular formats without problems.

   Free Agent workarounds:

      - Get Wincode (freeware).  A 3rd party decoding program.  Save
        the binary as a text file and use Wincode to do the
        conversion to binary.  The help files, on the contrary, are
        not freeware.
        Wincode can be found at...

           http://www.members.global2000.net/snappy/index.html

      - Get WinZip (shareware).  Another program that can decode
        MIME text to binary format.  Also does neat other things.

           http://www.winzip.com

      - Get SJHB64 (freeware)

           http://www.sjhdesign.com

[3-6-4] Where do my attachments go when I decode or launch in
        (Free)Agent?

   Using Free Agent, when decoding (saving) a binary, it is decoded
   and saved to disk in the directory specified under...

      Group | Default Properties | Attachments |
      Binary Attachments Directory
      (see [3-10-5])

   Launching under Free Agent first does a decode, then launches it
   from this location.

   Agent separates these two functions further by allowing the user
   to specify a special temporary directory just for launching.
   The contents of this temp directory are deleted by Agent
   when Agent is closed.
   Both settings can be found under...

      Group | Default Properties | Directory
      (see [3-10-5])

   This was done because many people want to launch an attachment
   before deciding whether to keep it.  (Myself, I like inspecting
   zip files before deciding on it's worthiness of my hard drive
   space.)

[3-7] Data Storage

[3-7-1] What are all these IDX and DAT files on my disk?  They're
        huge!

   Free(Agent) is an off-line newsreader. This means that the
   messages are transmitted from the news server and stored on the
   user's hard drive until purged or deleted.  Those IDX and DAT
   files are your messages, stored in database format.

   If you want to reduce their size, try adjusting...

      Group | Default Properties |
      "What to purge" and "When to purge" options

   Important: See [3-7-2] for important information on purging.

[3-7-2] I've purged/deleted a lot of messages.  But my IDX and DAT
        files aren't any smaller.

   Purging (or deleting) a message does not actually remove the
   message from the hard drive.  Doing so would require a complete
   rewrite of the entire database file each time you deleted one
   message.  Instead, each "deleted" message gets a little deleted
   flag on it, but the information contained in it is still present.

   Compacting a database actually deletes all of these marked
   messages and rewrites the database without them.  This is the
   only way to recover used space.  In (Free)Agent, this is
   accomplished using File | Compact Databases.

[3-7-3] What format are the databases stored in?

   The file format of the databases is proprietary and has not been
   published by Forte.

[3-7-4] How can I find out which IDX/DAT file pairs are for which
        newsgroup or folder?

   Help | Search for Help on... | Index | AGENT.INI
   [Debugging] section
   ShowUID field

[3-8] ISP Specific

   FAQ note: If anyone has provider specific solutions to FAQs,
      please email them to me.

[3-8-1] Netcom

[3-8-1-1] I can't get (Free)Agent to work with Netcom, I keep
          getting repeated/lost messages.  What's wrong?

   Netcom (in the US) is a news farm. (see [3-5-3])
   UK Netcom does not seem to have these problems.

   The problem is a synchronization error with Netcom's news
   servers.  Try selecting a direct server.
   --
   For configuring third party apps through Netcruiser:
   instructions:
      http://www.webster-image.com/iis/PCsHelpPage/index.htm
   news: ixnewsX.ix.netcom.com  (X is any number between 2 and 9)
         nntp.ix.netcom.com  (assigns one of the above at random)
   smtp: smtp.ix.netcom.com
   pop3: (yourId)@popd.ix.netcom.com
     or: POP3 Server: popd.ix.netcom.com
         Mail id: your ID

[3-8-2] Worldnet

[3-8-2-1] How do I configure (Free)Agent for use with Worldnet?

   "Run Customer Care Tools, and click the Account Info button.
   Read/print/save the resulting text file and copy the info.  That
   text file will have all the connection info needed: your local
   access number, IP addresses, your logon name/password and email 
   name/password (NOTE: these two +are+ different!), news server,
   email servers, etc.

   Also, there is the Worldnet User's Reference Desk.  The address
   for help configuring Free Agent to worldnet.att.net is:

      http://204.127.237.208/wurd/newsreaders/Agent.htm"

      - Jeffrey Kaplan

[3-8-3] Demon

[3-8-3-1] (Free)Agent appears to lose messages with Demon.

   Demon has long been a chronic news farm case.  (see [3-5-3])

[3-8-4] America Online

[3-8-4-1] Can I use (Free)Agent with AOL?

   (Free)Agent can be used with AOL, but not to access their news
   server.  AOL users can use AOL to connect to the Internet, but
   must find some other 3rd party news server to access.  This
   incompatibility resides on AOL's side.

   Make sure, however, that you have AOL's 32-bit winsock before
   attempting to use 32-bit (Free)Agent.

[3-8-5] Microsoft Network

[3-8-5-1] Can I use (Free)Agent with MSN?

   "MSN requires the use of a proprietary encrypted password
   authentication method to access their news servers."

      - Lance Boehm, Agent Support Team

   Free Agent does not support this method.

   Agent now supports it.  See...
   
      Help | Release Notes | Secure News and Email Logons

[3-8-6] MindSpring

[3-8-6-1] How can I configure (Free)Agent for MindSpring?

   Free Agent 32-bit...

      http://help.mindspring.com/modules/w95/cfg/agent.htm

   Free Agent 16-bit...

      http://help.mindspring.com/modules/win/cfg/agent.htm

   MindSpring has no Agent configuration pages, but one could safely
   assume the configurations would be similar to the Free Agent
   ones.

[3-8-7] Netscape News servers

[3-8-7-1] Can I use (Free)Agent to connect with Netscape's secnews
          servers?  I want to be able to access the netscape
          newsgroups.

   No.  You cannot.  Only Netscape and Microsoft News can currently
   connect to secnews servers.

   Forte has indicated that they aren't planning to support secnews
   either.  This is, possibly, due to steep licensing fees that
   Netscape might demand to make (Free)Agent secnews compatible.

[3-9] Operating System specific

[3-9-1] OS/2

   "Our beta testers have given us mixed reports about running Free
   Agent under OS/2 3.0 (Warp). Some can't make it work at all,
   while others are able to get it working more or less smoothly.
   It's possible that at least some of the difficulties are caused
   by problems in Agent, while others may be setup problems in Warp.
   We intend to make Agent work correctly under OS/2, so we are
   setting up an OS/2 installation ourselves to evaluate the
   compatibility issues."

      - Forte Web Pages

[3-9-2] Windows

[3-9-2-1] Can I use (Free)Agent 32-bit under Windows 3.1 with
          Win32s?

   During the first release of the 32-bit version of Agent, Forte
   specifically warned against expecting this combination to work
   without problems.

   "Except for the known limitation on multiple threads Version f/32
   works fine under Win3.1 here.  There was one glitch in the
   installation: the CTL3D32.DLL distributed in the full f/32 .zip
   replaced the version already in my \windows\system directory
   without warning.  Until I restored the prior version from a
   backup, every WIN32S application which tried to use it popped the
   error message 'This version of CTL3D32.DLL will run only under
   NT' (or words to that effect)."

      - Jim Bradley

[3-10] Miscellaneous

[3-10-1] How can I stop specific tasks?

   (Free)Agent's tasks are currently an all-or-nothing affair.
   There is no way to stop certain tasks.  This is a frequently
   requested enhancement.  In other words, "we know... we know..."

[3-10-2] When I edit a message, what I type covers up what was
         already on the screen.  It's really getting annoying.

   "This is not really a (Free)Agent problem, but you've somehow
   bumped that 'Ins' key down in the lower right corner of your
   keyboard.  Check the last block on your status line; if it says
   'OVR' you're set to overwrite your previous text.  Just hit the
   'Ins' key again, intentionally this time."

      - Don Kirkman

[3-10-3] Whenever I close (Free)Agent I get a message "XXX e-mail
         and XXX usenet messages ready to send."

   At some point, you attempted to send a message that did not get
   sent.  (Free)Agent has buffered it in the Outbox and it is still
   waiting.
   
   Go to Window | Open Outbox and find the message that does not
   have a yellow smiley face.
   
   Either delete the offending message (highlight it and hit the
   Del key) or open it again (double click on it) and send it.  You
   can, of course, re-edit the message to suit your needs.

[3-10-4] Is there any way for me to password protect (Free)Agent?

   There is no built-in way to password protect (Free)Agent.  There
   are a variety of 3rd-party programs that claim to be able to
   protect files, but this author recommends caution about relying
   on their security against a determined attack.

   FAQ note: I am entertaining email suggestions for any programs
      to place here.  Please provide details on the level of
      protection involved and any obvious holes in the security.
      "XXX, written by my brother, is great!" ain't gonna cut it.

[3-10-5] What are the differences in Properties and Default
         Properties in (Free)Agent?

   In (Free)Agent there are some settings that apply globally to the
   whole program and others that apply directly to the newsgroups.

   Most all of the truly global settings are under the Options menu.

   Other settings are more closely related to the newsgroups.  These
   settings are under...
   
      Group | Default Properties

   Almost all of these default settings can be overridden for
   specific groups if the user so desires.  To do this, first
   highlight the group (or groups) you wish to override in the
   groups pane, then select...

      Groups | Properties

   The dialog box that appears will look almost exactly like the
   Default Properties one, but with a few changes.  Note that any
   changes you make in Properties will only affect the groups you
   had selected before opening it!

   Warning:  Changing more that one group's property overrides at a
      time can become problematic.  The settings for the various
      selected groups may differ, so (Free)Agent doesn't know how to
      show you what the "current settings" are.  In this case, the
      "problem settings" will appear grayed out.  The user can alter
      them, however; at which point they will turn white again.

   Hint:  Email uses the Default Properties configuration.

[3-11] Known Bugs

[3-11-1] My cut and paste are grayed out!  I need to use them.

   Menu options in general are context sensitive and will sometimes
   be activated or deactivated according to which pane/window has
   the focus.

   It seems that, in certain situations where it would be useful,
   the cut and paste menu options are grayed out.

   This bug, although annoying, is not insurmountable.  

   Try using Ctrl-x, Ctrl-c, and Ctrl-v for Cut, Copy, and Paste,
   respectively.

[3-11-2] Filter bug

   Starting in Agent v1.5, the program seems to have a problem
   associating a filter with the other parts of a multipart post.
   The last part received is the only part that receives the action.
   
   Forte has been notified and have acknowledged the problem.

============
[4] Features
============

[4-1] Does (Free)Agent have crosspost management?

   Crosspost management is a common feature among newsreaders to
   help the reader avoid having to read the same message over and
   over.

   Free Agent does not have crosspost management, of any sort.

   Agent has basic crosspost management.  Once a message has been
   downloaded once, the user can configure Agent to either mark any
   further posts read or delete them entirely.
   
   Agent can also detect multi-posts to an extent, by comparing the
   poster, post length, and subject header Agent will assume a
   multi-post to be a crosspost.

   Crosspost management abilities that Agent does not have:
      - the ability to spot messages posted to more than a
        user-specified number of newsgroups
      - the ability to spot messages that are also crossposted to
        user-specified newsgroups

[4-2] Does (Free)Agent have kill/watch capability?

   Free Agent does not have kill/watch capability.
   It does have a limited ability to ignore or watch threads,
   though it is lacking in what most users think of as kill/watch.

   Agent does have kill/watch filter capability.
   Agent's kill/watch format is proprietary and is not compatible
   with other news reader's kill/watch formats.

[4-3] How can I do a (global) text search string of all messages?

   Free Agent
   
      This frequently requested enhancement (FRE) is not an option
      inside the program.

      There is an external utility "Agent Global Search" (AGlobS)
      that can do this.  AGlobS can be found at...

         ftp://ftp.netcom.com/pub/jo/jonzonk/agent/

   Agent
   
      Edit | Global Search...
      (or ctrl-g)

[4-4] In Free Agent, can I click on a URL to launch it?

   Although Agent does this, there are no known plans to incorporate
   this into Free Agent.

===========
[5] Support
===========

[5-1] Where can I get support for (Free)Agent?

[5-1-1] Help files

   (Free)Agent's help files are extensive.  Before posting or
   emailing for help, make sure you have read them thoroughly.

[5-1-2] alt.usenet.offline-reader.forte-agent newsgroup

   Public support for (Free)Agent can be found in the newsgroup
   alt.usenet.offline-reader.forte-agent.  This group is not
   officially supported by Forte, although many employees frequent
   the group.
   
   All of the people there are donating their own time, for their
   own reasons.

[5-1-2-1] Binaries in the newsgroup

   It is a non-binary newsgroup!  Do not post files there.
   No attachment will get a positive reaction from people.

[5-1-2-2] Crossposting in the newsgroup

   Do not post or crosspost your (Free)Agent questions to
   alt.usenet.offline-reader, unless absolutely necessary, as they
   are thoroughly sick of seeing (Free)Agent questions.

[5-1-2-3] Suggested message format in the newsgroup

   Do not type your entire question in the subject header.
   You will miss out on lots of answers this way, as most readers
   will just ignore or flame you.
   
   Summarize the problem in the header and elaborate in the body.
   Not everyone has time to read all the bodies every day, and they
   might just be the ones who can help you!

[5-1-2-4] Why did everyone ignore or scream at me when I asked for
          an email response?

   Question:  Why is requesting an email-only response to questions
      considered unacceptable?

   Answer:  First and foremost, it deprives others of possibly
      valuable information.  The regulars are here for the benefit
      of the group.  (The answer to the second question also applies
      to this one)

   Question:  Why is requesting an email & posted response to
      questions considered unacceptable?

   Answer:  This newsgroup is very active.  Most everyone here is
      dedicating their private time to supporting and promoting the
      Forte products Agent and Free Agent.  As these two programs
      have grown in popularity, the traffic has increased.  This
      brings with it a responsibility for all potential posters to
      do a minimum level of research before posting.

      This can consist of:
         - reading help files
         - searching for and reading FAQs
         - lurking (i.e. reading the newsgroup for a period of time
           to see what is considered an appropriate post)
         - even searching the Usenet archival services
           (e.g. Dejanews) for previous answers in the group

      It stands to reason that if a person is too busy to read
      this newsgroup for answers to their question (a minimal thing
      compared to the effort we put into answering them), they
      certainly didn't take the "minimum" time or effort to find it
      via some other method.

      The end result is that these hit-and-run type tactics really
      do get old and give the impression that the original poster
      wants their answers handed to them on a silver platter.

[5-1-3] Direct email support

   Free Agent

      "Forte does not provide direct technical support to freeware
      users."

         - Forte Web Pages

   Agent

      Agent users get free email support for up to 90 days after
      their purchase.
      
      Customers who have purchased Agent before the final version 1
      release get free email support for up to 90 days after the
      final release date.
      
      To contact a member of the Agent Support Team, please post
      your question by choosing Post | Support Question from the
      Agent menu. 

      Please note:  Forte does not offer direct telephone support to
         individual Agent customers.

      Commercial sites should refer to your contract, or contact
      your Forte sales representative for the terms and conditions
      of your customer support agreement.

[5-1-4] Other support resources

   Lance Boehm, as a member of the Forte support team, has set up
   his own web page with lots of Agent-links at...

      http://sd.znet.com/~lance

[5-2] Where can I get Internet help?

[5-2-1] How do I create my own newsgroup?      

   To create an alt group, check out the alt.config newsgroup and
   try to locate the "So you want to create an alt group" FAQ 
   document.

   To create a newsgroup in comp.*, rec.*, etc., read
   news.answers or news.admin.misc for the FAQ called
   "How to create a new USENET newsgroup."

[5-3] Where can I find this FAQ?

   This FAQ is posted every 15 days in the
   alt.usenet.offline-reader.forte-agent newsgroup.

   Via ftp...

   ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/pub/usenet/
      alt.usenet.offline-reader.forte-agent

   To view it via the World Wide Web...

      http://mav.net/wguynes/forteagent/agentfaq.html

   The Web site might be out of date occasionally, but the RTFM ftp
   site above will always have the latest version.  Sorry, but I've
   got to set priorities.

==============
[6] Conclusion
==============

[6-1] Credits

   I would like to thank the following people for helping me compile
   and proofread this FAQ.

      Don Kirkman, Jeffrey Kaplan, Walter Gould, Chris, Jim Bradley.

   I have given them credit by placing their ideas in quotes when I
   was quoting them directly.  In other cases, I needed to change
   their comments a little, which prevented me from quoting them
   directly.  I apologize for this necessity.

[6-2] Copyright

   Copyright (c) 1996, 1997 by William Guynes, all rights reserved.
   This FAQ may be posted to any Usenet newsgroup, on-line service,
     or BBS as long as it is posted unaltered and in its entirety.
     The definition of "in its entirety" is "the included PGP
     signature and all text contained within it."
   This FAQ may not be distributed for financial gain.
   This FAQ may not be included in commercial collections or
     compilations without express permission from the author.

- -- 
William Guynes
Don't bother sending email to the address this was posted with, as
I don't read it.  Visit my webpage if you want a real address.
http://mav.net/wguynes

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