Tom's Gravity Pages

 Inside Gravity - Tweaks and Undocumented Information

  1. Use this information at your own risk.
    These hacks involve altering Gravity's default settings and editing the Windows Registry. If you don't know what that is you shouldn't be messing with it. See the HOW-TO link below for help saving Gravity's registry values.

  2. Do not edit the registry while Gravity is open, the settings probably won't stick.

Registry setting to change the URL for the Deja News button

Registry Path:

Variable: DejaNewsUrl
Default Value: dunno, forgot
Units: Any valid URL

NOTE 1: This only works in Version 2.2 and higher.

NOTE 2: I received an email from someone who did not have that key in the registry. However, he was able to create a new string value named DejaNewsUrl in the proper place and it worked out OK.

NOTE 3: This hack involves editing the registry. If you are not familiar with editing and restoring registry settings you could screw things up big time and should probably leave it alone. You might want to back up (export) the Gravity key first.

You can change the URL that opens when you click the deja news button. It doesn't have to be Deja News, it could be your own home page, or any page. Remember to shutdown Gravity before writing to the registry. The following URLS are for the Google (former Deja) archives.

Registry - Removing the Directories in Image Gallery

Registry Path:
HKEY_USERS\.Default\Software\MicroPlanet\Image Gallery\General

As far as I know, this is the only way you can remove directories from the Image Gallery. You can edit, or remove the DirMRU or MoveDirMRU entries. If you remove the some entries, I don't know what will happen if you leave some out of sequence, so you might want to edit them so there are no gaps in the dir numbers.

Registry Setting - Subject Threading

Registry Path:

Value: SubjMatch
Default Value: 20

This setting controls how many characters Gravity compares when deciding if two subjects belong in a thread together. You can increase it if you are seeing threads that shouldn't be lumped together.

This usually happens in groups where subjects frequently have a common leading clause. If you start with threads collapsed you will only see one thread. As an example, if you are set to 20 the following subjects would be considered part of the same thread.

Famous Stooges in History - Moe Howard, Ethics and Leadership
Famous Stooges in History - Larry Fine, Exercises for the Mind
Famous Stooges in History - Curly Howard Redefines Modern Dance 

In this case you would set the SubjMatch to 30. I would not set this to a ridiculous high number because it probably makes Gravity do more run time work. But if you have a group where this kind of thing ruins threading, you can change it.

Registry Setting - Quote Characters

Registry Path:

Value: QuotChars
Default Value: >:|}

These are the characters that Gravity uses to recognize quoted material. In some cases this causes "false" quoting (like in a batch file group where program lines may start with ":"

Registry - Settings for Increasing Retry Interval

Registry Path:
Value: iPauseCount (each server has one)

In Server - Properties there is a maximum limit of 120 seconds on the pause before retrying maximum. You may get a double connection warning if you retry too soon and Gravity will stall. James[m] gives us this registry hack:

Look for iPauseCount in the server key. I have successfully used 600 secs on this.

NOTE: If you return to Gravity's Server - Properties and you select the Connect tab, Gravity will force you to change back to 120 secs or less. Try to avoid using the connect tab if you can.

Enable Gravity's Secret Boss Key - Registry

Keyboard Command: ALT+SHIFT+F12

Registry Path:


These settings enable Gravity's secret boss key. When you press the keystrokes Gravity will disappear (it won't even show on the Win 95 task bar). Image Gallery will shut down also (It does not hide Image Factory). To restore Gravity hit the same keystrokes. I understand it works ok in Win 95, 98 and NT, so thanks to everyone who tested it.

To enable the boss key you will have to edit the registry when Gravity is not running. You will need to change both values (PanicEnabled and PanicKey). You might want to backup and save your Gravity registry key before editing the registry. Click here if you need help.

Registry fix for decoding articles containing "of"

Registry Path:

Variable: DecodeRE-Parts
Default String: [0-9]+$b(/| of )[0-9]+$c
Suggested String [0-9]+$b/[0-9]+$c

NOTE: As of version 2.3 the following fix is not necessary. Gravity now does not give an error when decoding "of".

If an article subject contains a number, followed by "of" and another number, Gravity assumes it is a multi part binary, even if it is a single complete binary and reports an error that all parts could not be found. The usual solution is to decode them manually.

This simple fix allows Gravity to overlook the "of" and decode the article automatically without the need for manual decode. If you want, the following registration file will make the change for you. Save the file to disk (right click and save target/link as),and double click it when Gravity is not running. If you need to restore the original value, use the default listed above.

regfile link Decode Regfile

Registry Settings for Download Speed.

Registry Path:

Variable: PumpHalt
Default Value: "1 5000"
Units: Kbytes

This setting affects Gravity's memory usage when downloading articles. In most cases you wont benefit from messing with it. I never was able to find any sweet spot for it I, and am back to using the defaults. I will keep the explanations here for those who simply have to hack at their settings.

With this setting you can adjust how Gravity uses available memory for the interaction between the download and database threads. If you are experiencing pauses when fetching from large groups this may help. However, if you don't have much RAM or do heavy multitasking you might cause more disk paging as Gravity gets more memory.

The PumpHalt variable contains 2 numbers, the numbers are in Kbytes.

Here is the technical info (thanks Al):

With some fast connections, the download thread in Gravity outraces the Database thread. This creates a logjam of articles that have not yet been written out to disk. As the Gravity downloads even more articles, the logjam grows bigger, more memory is taken up by waiting articles and the Database threads suffers even more and slows down even more.....

So basically a setting of "1 5000" says to pause the download thread when the waiting articles total about 5Meg and unpause the download thread when the queue is back down to 1K.

To adjust the settings:

  1. Exit Gravity (you cannot write changes to the registry with Gravity running)
  2. Use REGEDIT to navigate to
  3. You should see a variable called "PumpHalt", which is probably set to "1 5000"
  4. Double click PumpHalt and edit the two numbers. Exit REGEDIT.

So what numbers do you use? Unfortunately I don't know, you are kind of on your own. It depends on the amount of memory you have, the size of your groups and your connection/processor speeds. You will have to try various settings to see what works best. I am hoping that I will get some kind of feed back to assist in finding some guidelines.

If you have a small amount amount of RAM or you read only a few small groups, or are happy with your current setup you probably shouldn't bother.

Keep in mind that you may not ever hit the ceiling value so there may not be a noticeable difference. Fast processors may also let the database thread keep pace with the download thread.

At the time of this writing I have mine set to 500 10000. I don't know if this is optimal (I have 48 M RAM, Pentium 100 and cable modem) but wanted to give some kind of numbers for a starting point.

I would be interested in hearing about any improvements or problems you may experience with this setting. Feel free to email me. Let me know how much RAM, processor, how many groups and how big they are, etc. But I don't have any more answers (yet). If you read this you know as much as I do!

Exporting and Restoring the Gravity Registry Key

Before changing your registry you might want to save the whole Gravity key just in case you want to revert back and undo any changes. I don't know if the procedure is the same for NT but this works for Win95-98.
  1. Open REGEDIT (Start Button - Run - regedit)
  2. Go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\MicroPlanet\
  3. Highlight the Gravity Key
  4. Select the menu item "Registry - Export Registry File", be sure to select "Selected Branch" under Export Range unless you want to export the whole registry.
  5. Save the registration file anywhere.
  6. To restore the key simply double click the saved file.

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