This post is also available in: Nederlands (Dutch)
GrabIt is a freeware newsreader for Microsoft Windows, which is very useful for Usenet beginners. Newsreaders are programs that allow you to download data from Usenet newsgroups. GrabIt can be used to download binaries (such as videos and audio files) from newsgroups. In this article we will explain how you can get started with GrabIt quick and easy!
Note: To download with GrabIt you will need access to a news server. This access is obtained with a subscription to a Usenet provider. Make sure to have a look at our overview of the best Usenet providers.
Advantages of using GrabIt
GrabIt has some advantages compared to other newsreaders:
- GrabIt is very easy. We would argue it’s probably one of the easiest newsreader for Usenet beginners.
- Clear and intuitive interface.
- Support for NZB files, so you don’t have to download headers. This saves a lot of time.
- Binaries are automatically repaired and unpacked after download.
- There is a built-in search function.
Disadvantages of using GrabIt
GrabIt also knows some disadvantages. We’ll list them below:
- You can only download from one server at a time. In practice, this leads to the following situation: If the file is not available on one server, Grabit will not look at another server in case there is access to more servers.
- Processing downloaded headers takes a while, especially when large groups are involved.
- If you use the free version of GrabIt version, you have a limited number of searches per day. If you want unlimited searches, you must pay a monthly fee.
GrabIt instruction manual
Do you think GrabIt is a suitable newsreader for you? And would you like to get started with GrabIt right now? Then see our extensive manual below on how to get started.
Download GrabIt yourself
As mentioned earlier, GrabIt is a free newsreader that is only compatible with Microsoft Windows. If your computer uses another operating system, then you need to switch to another newsreader. You can download GrabIt using the green button below.
GrabIt’s installation is very straight-forward. We’ll walk you through the different steps.
On the homepage of Shemes you click the big green button to download GrabIt.
A GrabIt .exe file will commence downloading. You can find view the download in the bottom left corner of your screen (your browser screen). Click on the .exe file to commence the installation procedure.
In the screen titled Select additional tasks make sure to select the following: ‘Associate GrabIt with NZB files’. You can also select here to create a shortcut on your desktop for GrabIt. When you are finished, click ‘Next‘.
You;re finished with installing GrabIt. In the next screen that appears make sure to mark ‘Launch GrabIt’ and to press ‘Finish’.
After the installation you have to configure the news server. For this you will need login details from your Usenet provider. We’ll illustrate the following steps in this GrabIt guide by using our own Eweka account and login details as an example. Even though we use Eweka, the configuration of GrabIt is the same regardless of the Usenet provider you are using. When you sign up for a Usenet account, you’ll receive the necessary login information from your Usenet provider, like username, password and server information.
Enter the Usenet hostname. In our Eweka example this is: news.eweka.nl. Then click ‘Next‘.
On the next page you fill in the user name and password of your Usenet account. Then click ‘Next‘.
Finalize the subsequent steps you are presented with. GrabIt will prepare a list of available newsgroups and present you with an overview.
In the menu on the left side you can right click on the name of your news server (in our case news.eweka.nl). Subsequently you choose ‘Server properties’ in the drop-down menu.
In the ‘server properties’ menu you can configure the server. For instance, it’s possible to make changes to the server address (hostname) and the ports. You can also activate a secure SSL-connection if your Usenet provider supports this feature. And you can change the number of connections, with a maximum of 50 simultaneous connections. The higher the number of connections, the faster your downloads will be. It will depends on your Usenetprovider and your subscription how many connections you can use. In our reviews you can see the number of connections offered by each provider.
In the top menu you can select ‘Edit’ > ‘Preferences’ to change many settings. The standard settings will generally suffice, so you most likely won’t need to change a lot here. GrabIt will automatically generate a new sub folder in your regular download folder. All files downloaded through GrabIt will end up in that folder by default. But you can set a new destination folder for your downloads if you like using this menu.
Downloading with GrabIt
Now the configuration has been completed, we can finally start using GrabIt. Downloading with GrabIt can be done in two different ways:
- By using ‘Headers’.
- By using NZB files.
- GrabIt can arrange newsgroups based on keywords (indicated by the first arrow in the image below).
- You can also choose to select newsgroups based on the number of ‘articles’ in that group. This is the minimum number of files you want that group to possess (indicated by the second arrow in the image below).
- Double click on a group to subscribe. By subscribing you can download headers and comment on posts (indicated by the second arrow in the image below).
- Due to the huge size of many newsgroups, it is advised to keep your newsgroups updated. Then you will always see the current files available in a newsgroup. This can be done in the left hand menu, by right clicking on a newsgroup and selecting ‘Incremental update‘. You can also ‘Update groups‘ as a whole in the header menu.
- If you’ve opened a binary newsgroup, select the files you want and right click them. You can now choose to ‘Grab’ these files. This means you will download them.
- If it’s not a binary file but a text file you’re interested in, you can follow the same step as described above. But instead of selecting ‘Grab’ you select ‘Read article’.
Most people that use GrabIt in combination with Usenet choose the option to use NZB files. An NZB file is a very small file which simply contains information about where a larger file can be found on Usenet. This larger file is the ‘real’ file you’re looking for, for instance a video, a book or an audio file. If you want to download something through Usenet, then you first have to download the corresponding NZB file. The NZB file gives GrabIt the information which is required to locate the ‘real’ file and to subsequently download it.
Some of the best websites to find and download NZB files are:
- nzbserver.com (Spotweb)
(Be aware that some of these sites require a paid subscription).
Once you found a proper NZB file and download it, then you have to add this file to GrabIt. You can do this in the following way:
- Click on ‘My GrabIt’ under ‘Subscribed groups’, on the left side.
- Click on ‘NZB Import’, in the upper menu.
- Select the server you want to use (in our example that’s the Eweka server).
- Click on ‘Add’, and select the NZB file you want GrabIt to use. This NZB file is what you downloaded earlier using the NZB site.
- Click on ‘Grab’ to begin downloading.
Your download starts automatically and will end up in the download folder of GrabIt. In the upper menu you can easily select this folder, as it’s simply called ‘Download folder‘.
GrabIt Usenet search
You can use GrabIt for free, but you have a limited number of searches per day. For a monthly fee you can use GrabIt without limitations.
GrabIt is possibly the best free newsreader with which you can download both headers and NZB files. If you are looking for a complete newsreader without spending a lot of money, then GrabIt is a solid option. Other popular newsreaders you could consider in addition to GrabIt are SABnzbd, Newsleecher, Newsbin Pro and Spotnet.