PSE - Winsock Information

Last modified 2002 AUG 26 15:36:16 GMT
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What is Winsock?

Winsock is a "communications stack" for communicating using the TCP/IP protocol. In more basic terms, it is a standardized interface for communicating with various types of machines, and enables you to perform multiple tasks at the same time through your connection (be it modem, ISDN, LAN, or WAN), such as reading mail and downloading a file at the same time, from different places. The Winsock driver (a DLL in the case of MS-Windows) provides the standardized interface for various "client" programs to run on your computer. A "client" program is the program which performs the type of task you want performed (like FTP, Telnet, IRC, News, Mail, Finger, Archie, WWW, Gopher, MUDs, etc). Winsock allows a variety of programs to operate on your machine without need for them to directly understand your hardware configuration (that is part of the job of the Winsock driver itself). In theory, you can get a number of client programs, and a Winsock driver for modem, use the client software, and later switch to an Ethernet or ISDN network connection (with another Winsock driver), and still be able to use all the software you already have.
Netcom provides its own Winsock driver with NetCruiser. There are some known problems with this driver (to be detailed here soon), but on the whole, it does allow you to use other client software with NetCruiser versions 1.6 and later -- something that was not possible before. Even though there are some problems with Netcom's Winsock implementation, the ability to use other client programs allows you to get around many of the limitations (and problems) in the NetCruiser software.

Where can I learn more about Winsock?

the usenet newsgroup alt.winsock is a good starting point. There are many discussions going on there about Winsock applications, compatibility, availability, and features. It would be a good starting place to hang out to read messages that might answer your questions without the need to ask. Netcom does not have a netcom.netcruiser.winsock group yet, much to the dismay of users.

What do I have to do to get NetCruiser to support Winsock?

First, You must be running NetCruiser 1.6 (or later, the current ver is v2.0). Under the settings menu, when NO client (like mail, WWW, news, etc) windows are open in NC (all you see is the "netcom globe" picture), a startup options option will be there, choose it. The option also appears in the menu BEFORE YOU DIAL. Enable "Load Winsock on Startup" in the dialog.

There is a Winsock help page. Where is it?

There are several. Try this one, and checking the links in the next section:

Winsock Configuration page aka. "PC's Help Page".

Winsock client apps, where do I find them?

There are so many (and of varying quality, and development states). Here are a few links I've found to include lists:

The Consummate Winsock Apps list. Recently, this site was taken offline due apparently to threats of legal action against Forrest Stroud (the person who maintains it), I'd venture to guess this was perhaps because the page included graphic icons representing some of the apps. In any event, the page is back up, but at a new site (the old site is probably permanently out of commission). Alternatley, there is a graphic-rich link (read: slow download for some - you might want to disable graphics). The Consummate page lists just about all the Winsock stuff I list here (well, probably ALL of the software, with real links to where to find it), along with pricing, links, current version, size, and a rating system. Very Extensive. However, there are no NetCruiser notes for the Winsock apps there.

During its absence, the following alternative was suggested (this is not a REPLACEMENT, nor is it a mirror of the Consummate page): Winsock Index.

There exist several other pages of Winsock programs: has a comprehensive listing of Winsock based shareware and Freeware programs. Archie, FTP, Gopher, Mail, News, WWW browsers etc etc sorted by category with file information and commentary. Over 200 URL retrieval links!

For more lists, you can also check out:

The Winsock Client Listing
Winsock Client Reviews
Winsock Archives, FAQs and Related URLs
Other Winsock Homepages

I recently came across the California State University/San Marcos Windows Shareware Archive affectionatley referred to as Windows World. There are a fair number of shareware and freeware programs catalogued here with descriptions for most, covering a wide variety of applications. The given link will take you to the index page for the archive, which offers subsequent links to the various program groupings, including Winsock and Internet as well as Windows 95. Mucho cool.

Also check out the CICA MS-Windows archives. Here are links to the Walnut Creek CD-ROM Mirror site (this is FTP, not a web page): 16 bit Windows (Win3.x) and 32 bit Windows (NT/Win95).

Other windows software

List of available WWW Browsers at CERN.

You can also read a complete listing of Telnet clients with reviews of the features each one has.

Various files (including Eudora) can be found at

Here's a link to a finger .plan utility to obtain the dynamic IP address assigned each time we go on the net.

Question: What are DCC and CTCP?

DCC is direct machine-machine FTP-like capability thru IRC. I have no description of CTCP yet.
DCC and Talk:
>Try powwow from Allows for file transfer and talk
>while you cruise the net. runs in a window.  Both users need to be
>running powwow.

Question: What is a MUD?

Someone posted a very detailed description, which I've obtained permission to quote, and I'll simply link to from here. The document also has links to a number of muds as well. In short though, a MUD is a Multi-User Dungeon. It is basically a large environment in which you can roam, and actually bump into other HUMAN-CONTROLLED characters (and some that are controlled by computer as well).

A Sampling of Winsock app links (ordered basically alphabetically):

The mere presence of a program here DOES NOT mean that PSE has tested, or for that matter even seen the utility in operation. Nor is it intended to imply that the utility is even compatible with NetCruiser (although I've noted some programs which are known to have troubles). This is merely a list, and brief descriptions of what I believe those programs are for. If you know of others, have URLs, current version information, or other corrections or additions to this list, please EMail me at with a subject of "WINSOCK.HTML update". After I check the reference, I'll update it here for others to see. Configuration pointers are also welcome, but PLEASE DON'T REQUEST config information. What I've got will be listed here.
Currently, this is basically a compiled list of program names, I'm still working on descriptions, versions, compatibility, and links. Many of the notes are strictly my own assumptions about the programs, but since this is an online document in development, you all get to see it develop. This (clearly) isn't well organized right now, but will probably at some point be ordered by client type (MAIL/NEWS/WWW/IRC/Other), and due to its enormity, will be broken out to separate sub-pages. Suggestions are welcome. So is assistance.

Microsoft Windows 95
I'm listing this stuff here at the top, since it is such a hot topic as of late:
Widgets for Microsoft Exchange. Stuff to allow you to make Exchange work differently.
Various 95 links
Windows 95 Event Page (by QUE). Some useful stuff to be found here.
Working With Win95: Microsoft Exchange

Automated Internet v1.6. Reportedly allows you to log in and perform functions unattended.
Finger/echo/ping daemon.
NetManage Chameleon
They offer a suite of various clients, each as a separate program (whereas NetCruiser is one big program with the clients integrated into it). I have NetManage, and while there are a few problems, it is a whole new plateau above NetCruiser. It includes a Winsock, can handle multiple accounts, and offers OFFLINE message editing. They have two levels of software, one includes such things as a WEB SERVER and FTP SERVER, etc (plus clients), and the other is just the client applications -- everything NetCruiser offers, EXCEPT IRC (go get mIRC for that), plus ping, whois, ARCHIE (a VERY COOL implementation I might add), and a name resolver (ping and name resolver are generally "techie" tools, but even beginning users can find that they are useful, and easy to use). The lower end package (minus SERVERS), is about US$80.
Besides the link to the NetManage homepage given above, you can link to a page that allows you to download an evaluation version of their browser: WebSurfer Evalutaion. It is worth checking out. I checked, and NetManage sez the browser is FREE.
Also worth noting is that their Winsock supports CSLIP, SLIP, and PPP protocols, works with TIA and other similar programs (of interest to SHELL users -- this means nothing for NetCruiser users), and not only supports modem, but also direct connections, and _ISDN_.
Their GOPHER function saves gopher hierarchy data, and is advertised to work offline (it allows you to locate documents from previous outings). I've not used it in this manner, but this definatley sounds like a neat way to do things.

Technical tips: to go online simply by running their custom config app, set the commandline for the app (usually called Properties in most desktop shells) to include "-c Netcom_PPP" or whatever you've named the connection type to (I have Netcom_PPP, Netcom_CSLIP, etc -- note that the commandline doesn't support a SPACE in the name, so use an underbar when naming).
Also, if you have timeout problems, edit WIN.INI to include the following:

Which will increase the timeouts for various functions. I've not needed to do this myself, but the tip is there anyway, just in case you're not as fortunate as I.
Some sort of TALK client, I think.
DEC Pathworks (TCP/IP)
Probably a WINSOCK.DLL and/or a suite of client apps.
I believe this is for transferring files person-to-person via contact through IRC. mIRC supports this.
A MAIL client. I use it. Supports offline reply and a bevvy of other features. The Lite (freebie) version only uses about 750K of disk, though the Pro version uses considerably more (but you get more features too). Supports mailboxes, and has message filters for automatically sorting incoming EMail. Supports file attachments. Did I mention SPELL CHECKING? Lots of raves for this software. If you're serious about your EMail, this may well be the program.
The "Pro" commercial version (what I have) is available at major software retailers, and includes a Winsock stack if you need it (that is, if you don't want to run it on top of NetCruiser, and you don't want to go get other software like Trumpet, it'll work for you all by itself).
With the release of Eudora Pro 3.0, there is a "plugin" feature, which allows various programs to easily interface with your email. So, naturally, there is a PGP plugin:
Download version 0.20 from the Web:
     (for 16-bit version of Eudora 3.0 for Windows 3.1)
     (for 32-bit version of Eudora 3.0 for Windows NT/95)

Ken Simler maintains a page of Eudora Resources which is well worth a visit, both for people interested in checking out Eudora, and for those already using it.

This is a FREE Telnet application. Emulates vt100.
Forte Free Agent (FREE) and Agent (COMMERCIAL)
A MAIL/NEWS client.
Config tips:
Agent supports automatically downloading and decoding of multipart uuencoded articles (and the newest release promises to support MIME). You can select the first article of an "x/y" article series, and the program will find the rest. Choose FILE/launch_binary_attachments and the articles will be downloaded, decoded, and (in the case of viewers), displayed.

A third party has produced an applet called "Agent Sig Manager" which randomizes signatures. Someone tells me that this may be for the 32bit version of Agent only, but if you're a user, check it out to be sure.

This is supposed to be a WWW browser that doesn't require SLIP/PPP. For this reason, I think it might not be of much use to NetCruiser users (although it might work as a standalone HTML viewer, or perhaps the SLIP/PPP reference is more related to independant Winsock use).
You can check it out at: the Icomm page.
and IHHD
MUD (Multi-User Dungeon) clients.
A MAIL client.
A MAIL client.
An IRC client.
Internet Phone. A program that allows you to do a half-duplex (one person at a time - kind of like a cheap speakerphone) "phone" conversation through IRC servers, using your sound board and a microphone. Personal evaluation: Way too much hoopla, but could be useful to a select few -- don't toss your phone out anytime soon.
A MAIL client. Reportedly uses about 3MB disk. Yikes.
Spry Mosaic
An WWW client. Supports most/all URL types (NEWS/Gopher/WWW/FTP). Quite popular.
Config tip: Reportedly uses the same WWW bookmark format as NetCruiser (well, vis-versa).
IRC Client. Discussions on IRC: #mirc Also see the FAQ.
The latest version of mIRC can always be downloaded via FTP.
Q: I am currently using mIRC 3.2. I am having trouble with DCC. Whenever someone tries to send me a file, the transfer goes up to 512 bytes and freezes. It always stops at 512 bytes. Please help.
A: Under options in the DCC menu, make sure you have the FAST option checked off. You need this to successfully DCC files over Netcom.
Q: I have read somewhere about a "Nautilus" program that should allow users to use an Internet connection as a telephone (with proper hardware). Does anybody know where this program might be available and if it works with NC? The program should have been available since last week.
A: Nautilus scrambles _telephone_ calls between two people using their computers and a sound blaster compatible card (you still call the other person directly -- not using the internet, like IPhone). The program is available at:
Netscape (aka Netscape Navigator)
An WWW client. Or should that be THE WWW client. Supports most/all URL types (NEWS/Gopher/WWW/FTP). Even more popular than Mosaic. Includes speed enhancements. Works on and off line. MANY pages on the net are optimized for features available in Netscape's browser. If you haven't checked it out, you're doing yourself an injustice, and you're looking at the web in the equivalent to black and white.
Netscape's home page
A quick link to the Netscape Navigator FAQs.
Config tip: Q: Can anyone suggest a way to get my NC web bookmark list into Netscape without having to retype everything?
A (courtsey of David McDonald): In the Netscape page you will find a link to the program "" which is a utility to convert Mosaic bookmarks into Netscape booksmarks. Netcom uses the Mosaic format for its bookmarks - should work.
Other notes: NSMEDIT (NetScape Bookmark editor tool)
You can link to LampLight (the author of NSMEDIT) as well.
Netrek is an Internet game. You can jump to the Home Page for it to check it out.
Config tip: Reports have it that this program doesn't work with NetCruiser, although it may be due to the dynamic IP addressing...
News Xpress
A NEWS client.
Config tip: If you are using News Xpress leave Username and Password blank under Authorizations in Config/Settings.
Netscape Bookmark Editor.
a "dummy" WINSOCK.DLL that doesn't actually provide communications services (no actual network functionality), but allows some software that expects WINSOCK to be loaded in order to run, to work (say, for running a winsock-based WWW browser when not online).
No description available.
No description available.
PCN/PointCast Network [NEW]
This service is comprised of a free software program which can download customized news, sports, and weather information. The catch? They've got a (reasonably small) window that scrolls advertising content. Hey, it's free, and worth a good look. It isn't a collection agent for accessing usenet newsgroups on your ISP -- even if you don't have usenet news, this tool will collect up info. This makes it particularily handy for people who don't have the clari.* news heirarchy.
No description available.
PPP (Trumpet?)
No description available.
A MAIL client.
Config tips for Pegasus: Reports have it that Pegasus doesn't work AT ALL with NC v1.6, but it should work with NC v2.0. Last check, the files were and
A MAIL/NEWS client.
aka WinQVT/Net. No description available.
Description unavailable. New release apparently is now NetCruiser compatible. Audio quality is something along the lines of AM radio.
An 8-bit Telnet client.
No description available.
This is an FTP SERVER. That is, a program you run on your machine so people can connect to you and transfer files to you. Sounds neat in concept, but it isn't easy to apply to Dynamic IP accounts -- nobody can contact you without first knowing exactly where you are during the current connect. On the other hand, if you were to have an IRC discussion, or EMail while online with someone and gave them your current session IP address, then this could work...
This is a WWW SERVER. See the description for Serv-U above for information about the problems you'll have trying to use it...
No description available.
A TIA clone of sorts.
No description available.
No description available.
The Internet Adaptor. A program to allow you to run TCP/IP thru a shell account, by emulating CSLIP. Not really of use to NetCruiser users.
Mark Stout's TIA Setup FAQ
TIA Setup FAQ for Windows
Time Sync
A client to set your computer's clock from a NIST (National Institute of Science and Technology) time server and/or USNO (US Naval Observatory), something like the National Observatory Atomic Clock. It reportedly works well. You need to be using NetCruiser v2.0 (with Winsock loaded -- see elsewhere), or an external Winsock like Trumpet or Chameleon.
The author is Brad Greer.
Configuration tip: A worldwide list of Time Sync servers can be downloaded as CLOCK.TXT here.
Download TimeSync from CICA mirror.
Download TimeSync from Marcam

Question: does anyone know of an NTP (Network Time Protocol) server? I need one in order to run a program called (WinSNTP or TimeSync), which will connect to said server and correct your PC's time.
Answer: Here's some information gleaned from a recent thread on this topic:

Mr. Robert C. Mitchell provides the following server addresses:  *  *  *  *  *  *  * *
[editors note: I reformatted the list to include both IP and domain name, and added the additional sites (those marked with *). The original list provided one or the other (IP or domain) for some sites. Also, the whole subnet of 192.5.41 is a series of USNO sites - I verified the presence of almost 200 machines in the 256 machine subnet. A sampling of them indicated that likely few of them are running timeservers. I specifically tested a number of machines to either side of the IP addresses above (which is how I uncovered the additional sites). Tick and Tock are the two OFFICIAL USNO time servers. I was dissapointed that WASN'T an NTP (mickey as in Mickey Mouse watch)]

"You will also have to choose an offset time. The address that I have for this offset time is: [NTP offset times] However, I tried this morning [ed note: 13 NOV 1995] to sign on and get the offsets for the US and it came up as not an Internet host. So if you or any that reads your update does come up with a current address please let me know."

[editors note: Yup, he's right, the given server doesn't come up as being recognized. I conducted a search for the document and site (in case it was misspelled). Here's what I found:
USNO Network Time Services offers useful information on what it's all about, as well as giving links to some software to use.
CLOCK.TXT at louie
Some NTP paper
snavely WWW Time Server
eecis WWW Time Server
NTP: the Network Time Protocol
These should send anyone on a lengthly web wander]

"Here are the offsets for the US. I played around until I got the right ones:

 Eastern: 300
 Central: 360
 Mountain: 420
 Pacific: 480
I hope this is helpful."
[Editors note: The offsets represent the minutes time difference between your timezone and GMT. For example, PST = +8h, or 480 minutes.]

I got and checked out TimeSync after starting to compile this information for my FAQ here, and found that it is an insanely easy program to use: After configuring it for your timezone, and a NTP server (which it unfortunatley doesn't provide a list of, nor does it give you a simple directory of timezones -- the only two drawbacks). Aside from shared DLL stuff (for Visual Basic -- stuff which is likely on your disk anyway -- say, from NetCruiser if nothing else), the program is quite small -- only 30K. Click on it, and it connects to the configured NTP server, and changes your clock (all while maintaining itself as a small icon), and once that is done, it closes itself. Essentially, all you do is doubleclick it when you're online, or have whatever app suite you use automatically run it when you go online (if it is supported).

Mr. Hubert Littau provides the following critical bit of information:
"If you try Timesync, you will have a file in the Windows directory called timesync.ini. It needs to have a line as follows:

In my case, I use what I think is Norad's time server:
Works every "time"."

Mr. Littau graciously provided me with a complete copy of his timesync.ini file to share with others:
timezoneoffset=478   #Play around with this number to suit your timezone.
                     #It works with the server given here when accessed
                     #from a location in Pacific time, USA.
usedelay=0           #I don't know what this is for
usedaylight=1        #I suspect this acknowleges that your location uses
                     #daylight savings time at the standard intervals
                     #else usedaylight=0.
He further clarifies:
"I am not 100% sure that the IP address given is Norad as stated. I am sure, however that it is listed as "open access, no advance notice required."

Mr. Littau suggests that perhaps you use the given host to get started, then searching the web for other timeservers, lest this one become overloaded, which I agree is a good idea -- and which is part of the reason I collected up a larger sampling of NTP servers). As for the usedelay option, it is apparently intended for keeping your computer generally accurrate, but not exactly accurrate, for whatever reason...

No description available.
TSOCK / Trumpet Winsock
Trumpet Winsock v1.4. A WINSOCK.DLL -- not a Winsock client, but the interface software itself. I believe they also offer a suite of various clients.
No description available. Educated guess: Something like I-Phone, but implementing video in some way?
An ARCHIE (file-finder) client.
An IRC client.
NCSA Telnet client.
A TALK client. Reportedly doesn't work well with NetCruiser because of the need for an IP address, (NetCruiser users are not resolved through the DNS).
Winsock Toolbar. Launch various Winsock utilities from one place.
WinVN v0.99.3
NNTP (news) client.
Simple Network Time Protocol client. I'm led to believe that this is similar to TimeSync, detailed above.
WinPegasus v2.0

I think, but am not sure, that this is the same as the Pegasus mail client, just a different name convention.
Wolverine. Don't ask me what it is.
A ping client. Used to test connections between machines and verify that a machine is responding.
WS-IRC standard and video
An IRC client.
Win Spell
NOT a Winsock app, but worth noting here with the others. Apparently a program that can add spell checking to many different windows programs almost seamlessly.
WS-FTP 16 bit and 32 bit
An FTP client. Rumours exist that to use this with some other WS clients under NC, you need to load it as the FIRST WS client.
No description available.


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