Tom's Gravity Pages

Frequently Asked Questions

MicroPlanet FAQs


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FAQs-Troubleshooting and Fixes

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Gravity will not show complete binaries

Gravity 2.7 Open Source from SourceForge uses Perl Compatible Regular Expressions (PCREs). If you switch from versions 2.3, 2.5 or 2.6 to 2.7 (or if you switch back to 2.6 from 2.7) you may need to set the regular expression in the following Windows registry key.


The expression for versions 2.3, 2.5 and 2.6 should be


The expression for version 2.7 (open source from SourceForge) should be


Gravity does not decode yEnc encoded binaries

Certain versions of Zone Alarm will corrupt yEnc articles. If you are using Zone Alarm try shutting it down (do not just minimize to the tray - disable it). If yEnc binaries decode ok you know the problem is Zone Alarm.

Trouble Installing Free Version 2.5 (hangs at splash screen).

Some people cannot install the free version 2.5 - it hangs at the splash screen. One solution that seems to work most of the time is to install version 2.3, then install 2.5 over it.

Note: Win XP and 2K Users - If you do not have administrator rights, you may not be able to install Gravity in the default "C:\Program Files\" location. You should be able to install in another directory. The important thing is that you have write permission for the directory.

Can Gravity Decode Articles Encoded With yEnc?

Yes (decode only, not post). You will need one of the builds of Version 2.6 (Super Gravity). Earlier versions can not decode yEnc.

Visit the Super Gravity Page

What is Super Gravity?

Super Gravity is an unofficial Version 2.6. Al Choy, from MicroPlanet, made some very nice additions after MicroPlanet closed. So far, Super Gravity adds a "Complete Binaries" filter, which shows only complete multipart binaries, yEnc decoding, SMTP authentication, a Quick Filter dialogue, a speed meter, the ability to copy filters, set signatures for different groups, and RFC 2047 Quoted Printable character set support for ISO-8859-xx (or an option to send raw 8 bit chars).

To learn more visit the Super Gravity page.

Spell Checker Stops at Every Word

The following fix was posted in alt.usenet.offline-reader:

Subject: Re: [Gravity] Spell Checker messing up
From: pdtar <>
Date: Tue, 23 Apr 2002 07:30:49 GMT

Happened to me as well. From Options| Spelling I deselected all items and 
from Advanced| Dictionaries removed all files. Closed Gravity, restarted 
and added Spelling|TLX files. Works for me now.

Can I View X-Faces with Gravity?

Matthijs Laan wrote a patch for Gravity. See his web page for more information. I have used it successfully with version 2.6 build 2039.

Note: At the time of this writing, the patch does not work with builds after 2039

Why do the articles disappear after I read them?

You have the display filter set to show "unread" articles only. To see the other articles, switch the display filter to show "all articles". See the Display Page for more information about Gravity's display. You can set a new default filter, create your own filters, or link a filter to a specific group.

Making a "less than" rule condition.

Gravity provides a "lines greater than" rule condition but no apparent "less than" condition. You can easily create a "less than" condition by using the NOT operator (look for it on the left side of the rule condition page with OR and AND). The rule condition should look like this ..

Lines > 290

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The article jumps to the beginning when I try to click a link

If the article scrolls back to the top when you try to click inside the article pane: Go to Global Options - Preferences and enable "When opening an article, put focus in the article pane."

This may affect your keyboard navigation, depending on your habits. Pressing the "2" key puts the focus back to the thread pane.

How do I make bozo bin discard?

In versions 2.2, 2.3 and later, you can't. The bozo bin is hard coded to mark the article as read. If you want to delete the bozo articles you can make a rule manually. A regular expression makes a tidy rule:
From contains reg. expr. "bozo-01|bozo-02"
Set the rule action to delete. You can add as many bozos as you wish. Separate them with the vertical slash and no spaces. Here is another tip, you can kill anything from a whole domain like or
From contains reg. expr. "bozo-01|bozo-02|aol\.com"

Note that the dot or period is escaped intentionally with a backslash, as is required in regular expressions. It would work without the escape, but may get more false hits.

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How do I make the display filter stay the way I want?

You can set the default display filter under
Newsgroup - Define Display Filter - Default

You can also " Lock " the current filter under
Newsgroup - Lock Filter (the pushpin icon locks it also). This is my favorite setting. If you don't lock the filters or have a filter linked to a group Gravity will change back to the default filter when you start up or switch groups.

You can also link a filter to any group, which will act as default when the group is opened. Note that if the current filter is locked it won't switch.

See the Display Page for more information about Gravity's display.

Does Gravity show if all parts of a multi-part binary are available?

** UPDATE ** - Gravity 2.6 (Super Gravity) will show complete binaries. Go to the Super Gravity Page for more information.

Earlier versions do not have this ability. There is an icon which shows incomplete binaries, but this only appears after you have tried to decode the article and failed because of missing parts.

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How do I get older articles, or all articles in a group?

If you are subscribed to the group right click on the group (or go to the newsgroup properties menu), select PROPERTIES - GENERAL. The slider indicates the highest read server article.

To get more articles, drag the slider to the left. To get all articles available for that group, drag the slider all the way to the left.

NOTE: When you do this all of your articles will be marked unread.

You can also specify how many articles to get when you subscribe. If the sliders won't allow you to go back far enough, type in some huge number.

(TIP: One way to save which articles you have read is to export a newsrc before moving the slider. Import the newsrc when you are finished. Use the menu items FILE EXPORT/IMPORT NEWSRC file)

Decoding stopped but I see hour glasses

Hourglass You probably have decoding paused. Open Image Factory (not Gallery) and click "resume", after you have re-established the connection. You can configure Gravity to automatically resume decoding in global options.

How can I stop decoding a binary attachment or cancel decode jobs?

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Gravity is showing too much header info."

Press the "H" key. You are showing full headers, which is toggled on and off with "H". To see the other keyboard shortcuts check out the drop down menus or check out my keyboard commands page.

In Reply To My Message does not work.

Sometimes using the "In reply to my message" does not work in a filter or rule. Check these settings:

Gravity tracks replies by keeping a list of IDs. Gravity inserts an MPG in your ID as such:

Message-ID: <>

Check your message IDs, if the MPG is gone, it is a sign the server, or another program is altering the ID. Make sure you are allowing Gravity to assign the ID.

But, if you checked the above settings and the server continues to change the ID, there is not much you can do except use some other rule, filter or scoring method.

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Articles posted to several groups don't show up.

If you have cross post management turned on (under server properties) the article will be marked read in all groups after you read it in one. If your filter is set to show unreads only you will never see the others (but they may be there). To see if the article really is there switch to a filter that shows all articles.

NOTE: If you have read a cross-posted article, and the headers have not been downloaded in the other groups, Gravity may not download the cross-posted article at all. This is different from the way that many other readers function. If this bugs you, the way around this behavior is to fetch headers for all groups before reading.

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How can I find an article by the Message ID?

One of Gravity's quirks is that you cannot go to an article by clicking on a message ID number. Gravity thinks it is an e-mail address and opens a mail window.

Note: Super Gravity Build 2046 and higher sends the ID to Google and opens your web browser, or prompts you for an action.

You can find the article with a rule, if it is available on your system. I have a rule in my rule examples that does this.

Note that Gravity will not search the remote news server, the article must be available on your system.

How do I decode single part binaries with subjects that contain two numbers and a forward slash or "of"?

NOTE: The "of" thing was fixed in version 2.3, but if you are using an earlier version, use manual decode (CONTROL + M). Or, I posted a registry fix for version 2.2, and earlier, on the Undocumented Page. NOTE: Do NOT use the registry fix for version 2.3 or higher.

However, you may still run into single-part binaries with two numbers separated by a slash, which will give a decode error (Gravity thinks there are missing parts). For these, use manual decode.

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Where can I find the keyboard commands?

Use one of these:

How do I backup Gravity ?

See my General Tips Page. To use the backup program in a batch file click here.

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How can I extract a file from the installer?

The new installer inst2046.exe is zip-compatible. For the version 2.3 and 2,5 installers, use the /X switch from the command line to browse or extract files in the install executable. Use like this:

grav23.exe /X

Can I set the retry interval greater than 120 seconds?

I am told YES, but it requires editing the registry. Go to the Undocumented Page.

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Can I move my Gravity installation to another machine?

Yes, use the backup utility (backup.exe) to create a mirror image.

  1. Install Gravity on the second machine.
  2. Run backup on first machine.
  3. Copy the backup file to the second machine, it may be large, so you might need to use a zip disk or use disk spanning.
  4. Use backup.exe to restore the file on the second machine.

  5. At some point enter your registration number and name on second machine.

Note 1: The backup file will only restore to the same directory path. Read GravityBackup.txt in the program directory for more details.

Note 2: I have heard that backup does not copy over your user-added words (files in spell\*.tlx). You might want to save those custom dictionary files and restore them manually.

ZoneAlarm Problems

You need to give Gravity permission to connect on the "programs" tab in ZA.

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Automatic re-connect to your ISP

These instructions are from Tom, no not me, the one who gave us the tip about ordering your groups using spaces. I don't use an automatic dialup because I have a weird one-way cable modem setup. Thanks again Tom!

First, go to Global Options, then Decoding, and check the box to Resume Decoding when connected. Then go to your Server menu, then Properties, and then there is a tab for Dial-Up, check the box for forcing a dialup connection, this will allow Gravity to reconnect your modem should you get disconnected from your ISP. Gravity will attempt to reconnect to the server if it times out, but after so many tries it will give up, so if there is a connection or server problem between you and the server than Gravity will not be able to resume the connection.

You can change how long Gravity will wait before trying again, as well as how many times it will try, by going to the Server menu and choosing the Connect tab, it is in there you can change that. I hope it works for you, I know it works for me, and works very well too. :)

A Windows setting that can disconnect you

Go to Control Panel - Modems - Properties - Connection and make sure Disconnect a call if idle more than ... is NOT checked. Apparently, Windows considers downloading or keep-alives as idle time. So, if you leave Gravity unattended to download you will be disconnected after xxx minutes.

NOTE: You may have a valid reason to use the setting. For example, if you pay by time spent on-line and forget you are connected you might rack up a bill. It can be safeguard.

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Trouble logging in to Earthlink or Sprintmail

The following is taken from the MicroPlanet FAQs.


If you use Earthlink, use the following under Server/Properties/Setup/Logon using:

Name: <logon name>
Pass: <logon pass>

For example, if your logon name is "fred" and your password is "flintstone", then it would be as follows:

Name: Fred
Pass: flintstone


If you use Sprintmail, use the following under Server/Properties/Setup/Log on using:

Name: <logon name>@sprint
Pass: <logon pass>

For example, if your logon name is "Fred" and your password is "flintstone", then it would be as follows:

Name: Fred@sprint
Pass: flintstone

If that does not work, try:

Name: Fred@sprintmail
Pass: flintstone

Technical Explanation

Earthlink enabled a user authentication method known as AUTHINFO. Gravity has always supported the AUTHINFO command, but the Earthlink servers will disconnect a newsreading client if session is as follows:

authinfo user <user_login> ( this is the form Earthlink told Gravity users to use)
authinfo pass <user_pass>
mode reader

As soon as "mode reader" is issued the Earthlink servers will disconnect. Note that if the user login name is simply the account name without the "", the "mode reader" command does not cause a problem.

For SprintMail customers, the syntax that will not cause disconnection is a little different, and is outlined above on this page.

Using X-No-Archive

There are 3 places to use custom headers. For x-no-archive enter this string (include the space after the colon). I'm not implying you should use it but pointing out where to set it or any custom header if you need to.

x-no-archive: yes

1. To use it for every article all the time go to global options - posting - advanced and paste or type it in custom headers.

2. To use it only for certain groups go to newsgroup - properties - over rides.

3. To use it for an individual article click the Advanced fields button in the posting window.

Should I un-install Gravity before upgrading?

No, the install program should find your existing installation and update it. You will also keep all of your filters, rules,custom settings, servers and databases. If you uninstall first you will lose all these settings.

Can I have a different identity for separate groups ?

Yes, right click on the group name and select properties - overrides (or use the menu under newsgroup). You can use a different e-mail address and full name.

Update: Super Gravity Version 2.6, Build 2056 or higher, allows you to set a default signature for any group.

Earlier versions do not allow this. However, you can set up multiple signatures under global options and select them from the drop-down menu in the post window.

Can I use a different signature for separate groups ?

Update: Gravity Version 2.6 Build 2056 allows you to link a signature to any newsgroup. Use Newsgroup - Properties - Signature.

Earlier Builds: You have to do this manually. You can't configure Gravity to automatically insert different sigs. You only have one default. However, you can set up multiple signatures in global options and select them manually when posting or following up. The list is in a drop-down box in the post window. If you use several signatures, you may want to set the default to "none".

How-to get rid of the splash screen ?

Put /nologo after the executable name and path in your Gravity shortcut properties in the target box. If you are using a directory name like Program Files you need the quotes as shown. This is in the help file with the other startup options /safestart and /socket (both of which are of limited or no use in later versions)

"C:\Program Files\Gravity\Gravity.exe" /nologo

How-to change the URL for the search DejaNews command.

See this link on my Undocumented Page

What is the command line to start in VCR ?

Specify the file with /vcrfile:FILENAME in the shortcut, after the executable. You could make different shortcuts to start with different files. First, you have to save the file from the vcr command window. Here are two examples using a vcr file named tom.vcr. Remember that if you have Gravity in Program Files you will probably need quotes because of the space.

E:\programs\Gravity\Gravity.exe /vcrfile:tom.vcr
"C:\Program Files\Gravity\Gravity.exe" /vcrfile:tom.vcr

Can I configure Gravity to use another email program ?

Yes and no. You can set (in Global Options) Gravity to use your registry associated email program for "clickable" links only. With the current version you can NOT set Gravity to use your email program for replying to a post when you press 'R' or use "reply".

Can I put my data on a different drive?

For version 2.3 see the new Microplanet FAQs

For earlier 2.x versions, follow this link.

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Setting up one server two (or more) times.

UPDATE: As of Gravity Version 2.2 you can set up the same server multiple times with other names. So, the below methods are unnecessary unless you are using an older version.

The easiest way to do this is use the server name for one and the IP address for the second. (Or see the alternate method listed next). To get the IP (in the following example it is open a DOS box and ping the server like this.
 Pinging [] with 32 bytes of data:
 Reply from bytes=32 time=102ms TTL=254
Why might you want to do this? Several reasons. For one, two people can have their own list of groups with read and unread articles. Or, you might want to keep the "main" groups in one list and less frequently used in another. This method limits you to two lists. The following method allows more.


Use Notepad or another text editor to create the file named hosts with no extension. You can find samples, look for hosts.sam (or lmhosts.sam). They are usually found under c:\windows (for Win95). Basically you enter the IP, one or more spaces, then the server name you want it to have on each line.

For windows95 (and I assume 98),
Create a text file named hosts (no extension) and save it in the windows directory. Add entries separated by at least one space. See hosts.sam for a sample. You can map as many names as you want to an IP address. Like this server1 server2 server3

After you create the file set up the servers in Gravity by the nicknames you used for the mapping. Note you will have an entire group list for each "server".

The requested name is valid but is not directly reachable

"Error: An online error occurred
When: Connecting to news server
Reason: The requested name is valid but is not directly reachable."

I know people who have solved this problem by using the IP address of the server in SERVER - PROPERTIES - NEWS SERVER ADDRESS rather than the name. To get the IP address, open a command prompt (DOS window). Ping the server like this:


Pinging [] with 32 bytes of data:

Reply from bytes=32 time=62ms TTL=240
Reply from bytes=32 time=46ms TTL=240
Reply from bytes=32 time=47ms TTL=240
Reply from bytes=32 time=48ms TTL=240

Ping statistics for
(It should be obvious that is the IP address)

Backup and Restoring Problems

First of all, Gravity can NOT be running when you use backup.exe. Also, you must restore to the same directory name. Also note that Gravity does not backup your custom dictionary files.

Backup files are huge but they zip nicely, at least 70 to 80%. If you have really valuable stuff you should really save it out to text files.

Problems restoring a backup file with Win 2K (maybe NT also)

Happens when backing up Gravity in Win98 and then attempting to restore to the same named directory on Win2k. Thanks to Doug for helping to find this fix.

Specific errors recorded:
You must install Gravity to the same location as before.
Current database path: C:\INTERN~1\GRAVITY\newsdb
Database path found in your backup file : C:\INTERNET MISC\GRAVITY\newsdb

In fact, when I reinstalled Gravity under Windows 2000 the Win2000 registry put the directory name as Intern~1 instead of Internet Misc -- I've edited the registry to correct this and everything is fine.

Doug edited DatabasePath in:

This may have happened because of using a directory name longer than 8 characters and/or using a space in the name, but that could also happen when using "Program Files" which seems to be the default install location for many windows programs.

No Watch or Ignore Thread Rule

If you don't have these default rules the fix is simple, just press W for Watch or I for Ignore and Gravity will create the rule.

Error in Function GroupDB::Serialize2

You have a corrupted group database file, this usually happens when you crash during header download.
  1. Switch to the affected server to bring up the error message and click "more."
  2. Note the group name, it ends in ".g"
  3. Under the appropriate server folder delete that group file while Gravity is not running. You will have to re-subscribe to that group.
This was a fairly common error in version 2.2 and 2.3 virtually eliminates it. But you may run into it, usually if you crash during header retrieval.

Version 2.3 recovers from this error and doesn't crash, but it leaves the corrupt group file which you should delete. In 2.2 Gravity would not start at all. You should be able to apply this fix and only lose that one group. The error message should give you a group name which ends in ".g" You may have to click "MORE" when the error message displays. The fix is to delete this group file when Gravity is not running. For example:

 Error in Function GroupDB::Serialize2
 Error reading the newsgroup object from
 Error 2 opening OLE Stream:NG
You should delete the file alt.groupname.g in the folder and path C:\PROGRAM FILES\GRAVITY\NEWSDB\\.

Crash when retrieving headers (all groups)

Some people report crashes when using this command. I am told a way around this is to select all groups (CTRL A, or with the mouse) and use the newsgroup command to "retrieve headers for selected groups". There is a tool bar button you can add for this command, it is a single newspaper with a down arrow.

The backup utility won't work

The backup utility will not run if Gravity is open. Close Gravity first.

Modereader error

This is explained in the release notes (also in your program folder) under the section titled Changes and fixes in Gravity 2.3b1 (build 1751). Version 2.3 includes a new setting you can disable in global options.

Version 2.3 Betas 1 and 2 (build 1672) hang at splash screen

NOTE: Beta 3 v 2.3 fixes this. You should upgrade.

Forward is Grayed-Out (no email)

This happens if you did not set up an SMTP server under SERVER - PROPERTIES. Sometimes other email problems occur if you don't have a valid email address set up.

How-to re-dock the filter, rules or outbox bar

Are we having fun yet? Right click on the button (run, filters, or outbox) and check "allow docking." Then drag the box by the title bar to the bottom. When it changes shape, let go. Or, double click the title bar after allowing docking.

Toolbar taking up two rows or misbehaving

This from the MicroPlanet FAQs:

My toolbar is taking up two rows or is otherwise misbehaving. What can I do?

Gravity uses a third part library that has the problem. The method that seems to work for the most users is to maximize Gravity (double-clicking on the title bar will maximize Gravity if you are not already maximized), adjust the toolbars, and then exit Gravity. Re-start Gravity, then un-maximize it, and the toolbar should be the way you arranged it.

Can't restore a window (stuck on Taskbar)

Symptoms: You can't restore a post, follow-up or other window but you can maximize it or see its icon on the task bar. The cause is the window is off-screen. There are several ways to fix it, the first fix is the easiest (for Windows 95/98 at least).
  1. Right click on an empty space on the Taskbar (that thingy on the very bottom of the screen with START button). Select CASCADE. (This works with other applications too, but you need at least two icons on the bar for it to work.)

  2. Here is method number 2.

    • Press ALT - SPACE (This invokes the standard windows move and size commands. You can see them in the upper right corner of any window)

    • Next use M to move the window around until you can see it.

    • When finished, hit ENTER.

    If you still can't fix it, see the next tip about restoring a default display (unless you can figure out the window geometry in the registry).

Restoring Default Display Settings

If window or toolbar problems get too far out of hand you can restore default display settings by deleting all the registry keys that begin with ControlBars under the following registry path. Sometimes it is the fastest way to fix display problems.

Be forewarned, you won't lose your data but you will lose any custom display settings.

Remember to just delete the keys beginning with "ControlBars" when Gravity is not running.

Unable to Subscribe to Groups or View New Groups (Crash)

Note: I have only seen this once. It comes from a corrupt Newsgroup List file. When you try to subscribe to new newsgroups, you get an error message:
"error while subscribing newsgroup"
If you click the "more" button, you get:
"writing outside text region"
"gravity terminating due to TException"

The fix that worked without losing any data was to first subscribe to the same server under a different nickname. Then the new Newsgroup List was copied to the old server directory.

Save the old group list just in case this doesn't work and you need to put it back to remove the server. Of course if you run backup frequently you wouldn't need to be looking here.

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