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Here are some of the more common problems folks have reported to me, if you have any others please don't hesitate to email me at steve@thebytefoundry.com

PCNewz freezes whilst downloading messages, with a Status message similar to '12345 Bytes' in the main window. [Fixed in PCNewz 1.6]

I get an error 'Runtime Error 76' on the PC when I try to synch PCnewz to my news server.  [Fixed in PCNewz 1.6]

If you've already had PCNewz working, try doing a 'catchup all' - this sometimes clears the problem. If, however, you've never had it working, or if trying to open the 'Options->File Locations' dialog also causes the same error, it's because the synch folder is incorrectly setup in the registry. I'm going to try and put something in the next release to prevent this occuring, but the following will work if you're familiar with regedit.

Take a look at

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\VB and VBA Program Settings\PCNewz\Configuration\SynchPath

It should be something like

E:\Pocket_PC My Documents\PCNewz\

(where this is a folder in your Pocket_PC My Documents folder. The default location of this is different for different PC operating systems, so you'll have to find it for your machine. Change it and restart PCNewz - everything should be ok. Note that the path must have a backslash as the last character.

I use the Windows Scheduler to automatically launch PCNewz - but it doesn't synch. [Fixed in PCNewz 1.6]

There's a problem when launching PCNewz from the scheduler in Windows 2000. The synch won't start until PCNewz has the  mouse focus - which doesn't happen when the scheduler launches it automatically. If you click on it the synch will occur.. I will fix this in the next release

I get an error (or no groups) after downloading the groups from the server after I've added it. [Fixed in PCNewz 1.5]

PCNewz 1.1 has a bug where it will crash or not show groups (it depends on which OS you are running) if there are more than 32,767 groups on your server (I've had reports from GigaNews, @Home and freeserve users on this, most other servers seem ok).

Upgrade to the latest version of PCNewz to fix this problem (This has been tested with over 68,000 groups)

When I use the Add Server Dialog I get an error saying I'm not authorized (or need to logon) (PCNewz 1.1) [Fixed in PCNewz 1.5]

Some New Servers require you to be logged on (with a username/password) before you download the group list. I didn't see this on the test servers I used (they required a logon after the list was downloaded), but I hope to release a fix for this in the next few days. Now fixed - Download and install the latest version of PCNewz to fix this problem.

My PC Takes hours to synchronize some busy news groups [Fixed in PCNewz 1.1]

Until version 1.7 of PPCNewz was released, the PC used a tool called NewsPC to synchronize to the newservers. A lot of users had problems with this, so I've written a replacement (PCNewz) which uses a different method to synchronize. This is a lot faster, and resolves the problem. Upgrade to PPCNewz1.7 or later is recommended.

There are thousands of files 5 bytes in size in my NewsPC message folders [Fixed in PPCNewz1.5]

There was a bug in all PPCNewz versions prior to 1.5 which will left hundreds (or even thousands) of  files  with the extension '.newspc' (and of size of exactly 5 bytes) in the message folders. To fix this upgrade to v1.5 or later. Note - it is normal for there to be files of 1 and 3 bytes (.PNZ) in length in these folders - don't worry about these!

A couple of users contacted me after upgrading to v1.5 to tell me they still have hundreds of these small files on their system. As long as these files are only one byte in size, that is not a problem - they will be deleted at some point (ensuring the space consumed by messages doesn't exceed the maximum size configured in NewsPC) You will know if v1.5 has succesfully fixed the problem - each news folder will contain a small file called 'fixed.txt'.

I've upgraded to PPCNewz v1.5 or 1.6 from v1.4 or earlier, and when I close PPCNewz it seems to hang [Not an issue in PPCNewz 1.7 on]

It's not hung - it's deleting the thousands of files that were left over from the bug in earlier versions. Your first ActiveSynch with the PC after this upgrade will probably also take a while (on my PPC I had over 10,000 files to delete...)

NewsPC Takes forever to synch the first time (or may not complete) [Fixed in PCNewz 1.1 & PPCNewz 1.7]

Upgrade to PCNewz to fix this problem.

My PC disk has no disk space left, the message folders are using 20Mb but all the messages seem to fit in 3 Mb of RAM on the PPC. Why?

The disk you are storing them on (on the PC) is formated as FAT. As a result any 'small' files (which means all your message files) are stored very inefficiently. This is commonly a problem on Win95 systems or NT systems where the default C:\ format is DOS FAT. Note that this affects ALL files synched to your PPC, it's just that PPCNewz has a lot of files.


  • First check whether you can free up space by emptying the recycle bin or temp folders (on WIn2000 there are separate temp folders for each user located under the \Profile\Local Settings folder). You'd be amazed at how much disk space is normally wasted by these...
  • For the brave running NT or Win2000: reformat the disk as NTFS (there is a utility called Partition magic which can do this without reformating the disk or loosing data)
  • Another solution, if you have other disks or partitions partiioned under FAT32 or NTFS, is to change the synch folder on the PC. To do this you'll need to edit the registry settings for ActiveSynch. Obviously this assumes your familiar with the registry editor and the risks associated with this!! Note, if you've not yet installed ActiveSynch, you might want to select a different folder to synch when you do install - it doesn't let you change it after you've installed, without modifying the registry as follows:

Look for the key Briefcase Path. It will be in a location similar to the following in the registry:

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows CE Services\Partners\016e3029\Services\Synchronization]

Change it to be something similar to the following (making sure the folder exists first!)

Briefcase Path=E:\Pocket_PC My Documents\

Copy any files from the old location to the new one on your PC. Don't delete the originals until you know it's all working!

You will also need to select  a new folder in the NewsPC configuration window (which MUST be a subfolder of the folder referenced above e.g. E:\Pocket_PC My Documents\PPCNewz), and reboot your PC. It is possible that ActiveSynch will crash the first time it is run after this change, but it seems ok after that.

When I try to select a folder for the messages in PPCNewz I don't get a green highlighted folder.

Check the following:

  • You have configured NewsPC and succesfully downloaded messages for at least one newsgroup (use NewsRD to confirm this). NewsRD is a simple PC Newsreader, and is included in the NewsPC.zip file.
  • You have configured ActiveSynch to synch files.
  • The folder in which NewsPC is saving it's messages is a subdirectory of the synch folder specified in ActiveSynch.
  • You have synched your PPC with the PC since downloading the messages.
  • You have re-started PPCNewz since downloading and synching the messages

Note that it recommended to install NewsPC and check you are succesfully downloading messages using NewsRD before even installing PPCNewz.

The first NewsPC download may take a while; try it first with one small news group (not microsoft.public.pocketpc!) to check everything works.

I get an error message (usually "Element not found" or "invalid filename") when loading a group on the PPC  [Fixed in PPCNewz1.4]

This was caused by invalid (or slightly non-standard) message headers on downloaded messages. I believe I've fixed these problems in v1.4, but if I've missed something, please let me know. It's a good idea if you can include a zipped copy of the specific news folder with the problem, as I can then determine which message is to blame (and give you a quick workaround by deleting it)

I get a 'Type Mismatch" error reading sMyVersion at Startup  [Fixed in PPCNewz1.6]

This was a bug in 1.5 Beta and earlier versions, when running on machines with Norwegian or German locale settings (or any other locale where the default decimal place delimiter was not a period or full-stop.)

This has been fixed in v1.6, and you should upgrade.

Note, if you were succesfully using PPCNewz on a machine with this problem, after having manually modified the .CFG file as per the workaround instructions posted here earlier, you will need to delete the old .CFG file from the PPCNewz install folder before upgrading.