Installing and Configuring LISTSERV Classic on Windows NT/2000

Nathan C. Brindle
Sr. Technical Support Engineer
L-Soft international, Inc.
Landover, MD, USA

Revised: 25 October 2000

Note: When referring to the Windows NT and Windows 2000 operating systems in this manual, we will use the following conventions:

"Windows NT" indicates that the information applies only to Windows NT 4.0. (Windows NT 3.x is no longer supported.)

"Windows 2000" indicates that the information applies only to Windows 2000.

"Windows NT/2000" indicates that the information applies to both platforms.

Table of Contents

1. Target audience: LISTSERV Classic users only
2. Statement of Year 2000 compliance for L-Soft's Products
3. Technical requirements for running under Windows NT/2000

3.1. Hardware requirements
3.2. Software requirements
3.3. Networking requirements
4. Where to get the files
5. Gathering information you will need
6. Starting the installation
6.1. Intel architectures
6.2. Alpha-AXP architectures
7. Basic configuration
7.1. NODE
7.6. MYORG (optional)
8. Starting and testing the server installation
9. Installing the License Activation Key (LAK)
10. Advanced configuration
11. Setting up LSMTP
12. Setting up the web interface
12.1. Setting up the interface via SITE.EXE
12.2. Setting up the interface manually
12.3. Setting system file permissions for WA.EXE under NTFS
13. Creating, administering, and deleting lists
13.1. Creating lists via e-mail
13.2. Creating lists via the web interface
13.3. Deleting lists
14. Upgrading your LISTSERV installation
15. Online Documentation and Peer Support Mailing Lists
16. Registering your LISTSERV Classic server

1. Target audience: LISTSERV Classic users only

This installation guide is for LISTSERV Classic running under Windows NT or Windows 2000 only. LISTSERV Lite users should see the installation guide written specifically for LISTSERV Lite.

This installation guide makes the following assumptions:

1. You have Windows NT/2000 installed and operating normally on a computer in your network that meets the various technical requirements listed later in this guide;

2. You have physical access to the machine in question and are logged in as Administrator, or at least as a member of the Administrators group with full control of the machine;

3. You can troubleshoot Windows NT/2000 problems (ie native OS problems, not problems related to LISTSERV) without assistance from this guide or from L-Soft.

Number three is particularly important. L-Soft will be happy to assist you with LISTSERV-related problems arising under Windows NT/2000 (assuming of course that you have purchased support for our product) but is unable to assist you in setting up Windows NT/2000, the Internet Information Service (or any other web server software available for Windows NT/2000), or any aspect of Windows NT/2000 that is not directly related to LISTSERV's operation. If you are not familiar with the Windows NT/2000 operating system please be aware that L-Soft cannot help you with either its installation or subsequent troubleshooting.

2. Statement of Year 2000 compliance for L-Soft's Products

Please see .

3. Technical requirements for running under Windows NT/2000

There are three classes of technical requirements for running LISTSERV under Windows NT and Windows 2000--hardware, software, and networking. Please read each section carefully.

3.1. Hardware requirements

1. CPU Architecture. LISTSERV will currently run under Windows NT/2000 on Intel or AXP architectures, to the extent that the operating system itself continues to be supported on AXP architectures.

2. Multiple Processors. While LISTSERV itself will not use multiple processors (LISTSERV is a single-threaded application), overall machine performance may be enhanced by use of multiple processors if other applications running simutaneously on the machine can take advantage of them.

3. Memory. L-Soft recommends that a Windows NT/2000 LISTSERV machine start out with a minimum of 128M, as this will minimize paging and can lead to a marked improvement in performance, particularly if the web archive/administration interface (see below) is implemented. In particular, LISTSERV servers running with the High Performance Option (HPO) require more memory than non-HPO servers and should therefore start out with at least 256MB.

4. Disk Space Needed. LISTSERV itself takes up very little space (perhaps 4MB total for all of its default system files). When planning a LISTSERV system you need to take into account how large your lists will be (100 bytes per subscriber entry in a given list) and how much space you will need for discussion list archives, which have the potential to grow quite large depending on your traffic and number of lists. For most small systems, a 4GB or larger drive is probably sufficient for some time. Larger systems will naturally require larger disks.

5. Disk Architecture. LISTSERV will run perfectly well for most sites on inexpensive EIDE disks of the modern sort (ATA-33 or ATA-66). If performance is an issue, it will be greatly enhanced by the use of fast SCSI disks in a RAID array with write-back caching and a write-back battery back-up. Write-through caching is not recommended. Usually it is best to divide a RAID array into at least two partitions: A boot partition of 3GB (effective 1.5GB) RAID 0+1, and a data partition making up the rest of the available disk space at RAID 5. If it is not feasible to divide the array in this manner, RAID 0+1 for the entire array is suggested.

6. Disk Format and Security. L-Soft strongly recommends that LISTSERV be installed on an NTFS-formatted partition. LISTSERV will run out of a FAT partition, but FAT does not provide the same level of security and performance available with NTFS.

General performance notes:

1. Please note carefully that L-Soft STRONGLY DISCOURAGES running LISTSERV out of a RAM disk in order to speed up I/O. This is not a supported configuration and if you have problems with it the support group's response will be to tell you to stop using the RAM disk.

2. Note that if system RAM is tight, either a fast disk or more RAM is a necessity if you are to minimize I/O time lost to paging. An otherwise fast system can become quite sluggish if it is required constantly to read and write to virtual memory. Adding more RAM is usually preferred as it is more efficient to access RAM than it is to access even a fast disk.

3.2. Software requirements

1. LISTSERV requires either:

LISTSERV is no longer supported under Windows NT 3.5x.

2. Either Internet Information Service (IIS) or some other WWW server (ie Netscape, Apache) should be installed on the machine if you intend to use the web archive and administration interface. It is not recommended (or supported) to attempt to install LISTSERV's web interface on a separate machine. If you install IIS on the LISTSERV machine you must disable or not install the IIS SMTP "smart host" as it will conflict with LISTSERV.

3. INBOUND MAIL: Either the SMTP "listener" service (SMTPL.EXE) provided in the LISTSERV installation kit must be installed (which requires an external host for the delivery of outbound mail), or L-Soft's LSMTP mailer (a complete turnkey SMTP solution for LISTSERV) must be installed. L-Soft does not support LISTSERV being installed under Windows NT/2000 with any other SMTP mailer solution. This means that you categorically cannot install LISTSERV on the same machine with Microsoft Exchange, the SMTP "smart host" that comes with IIS, Metainfo Sendmail for NT, or any other SMTP implementation. (While there is a solution for Software.Com's Post.Office product, the solution is not supported by L-Soft.)

4. OUTBOUND MAIL: If you are not using L-Soft's LSMTP mailer, you will need to have access to an external machine that can handle LISTSERV's outbound mail. This machine can be a unix machine running Sendmail, an Exchange server, or any fully-standards-compliant SMTP server running on any platform, as long as it can handle the amount of traffic you will generate with LISTSERV. The external machine must be configured to accept for delivery so-called "relay mail" from the machine running LISTSERV (it may of course otherwise be configured to reject "relay mail" coming from other hosts).

PLEASE NOTE CAREFULLY that if you need a turnkey solution on a single machine, you will have to purchase and install L-Soft's LSMTP mailer, which is the only SMTP mail product for Windows NT/2000 that can co-exist on the same Windows NT/2000 machine with LISTSERV.

3.3. Networking requirements

1. TCP/IP connectivity, preferably 24/7, with enough bandwidth to handle your workload. Please note carefully that LISTSERV is not designed to dial up and access POP mailboxes. The proper installation and operation of LISTSERV is contingent on direct connection to the Internet in order for it to receive and send SMTP mail. If you do not understand this L-Soft strongly recommends that you get expert technical advice before proceeding further, or consider using a hosting service instead of running LISTSERV yourself (for instance see for an overview of hosting services offered by L-Soft).

2. In conjunction with networking requirement #1, and as a fundamental requirement of the SMTP mail protocol, LISTSERV requires a static IP address which is mapped via a DNS A or MX record to a particular host name (typically LISTSERV.yourdomain, ie, LISTSERV.EXAMPLE.COM). If you are planning to use the web archive/administration interface with LISTSERV, an A record is required at minimum (web browsers cannot connect to hosts that have only an MX record). Please note carefully that L-Soft does not support LISTSERV servers running without DNS entries (ie we do not support servers configured with bracketed IP addresses instead of FQDNs [fully-qualified domain names, eg, LISTSERV.EXAMPLE.COM]).

The use of a CNAME is STRONGLY DISCOURAGED because typically such hostnames are rewritten ("canonicalized") when mail sent from them traverses the Internet.

Please note carefully that LISTSERV does not support or use either WINS or MAPI.

There are no guarantees that LISTSERV will work with a dynamically-assigned IP address (for instance, one obtained through DHCP), and a DNS entry is required if you expect people to be able to send mail to, and also--in many cases where the user's ISP does a reverse DNS lookup to validate that the mail is not spam--to receive mail from the server.

Again, if you do not understand any part of this requirement, L-Soft strongly recommends that you get expert technical advice before proceeding further.

3. If installing LISTSERV behind a firewall with the expectation that users from the outside world will be able to access it, it is imperative that you provide access to the following TCP ports on the LISTSERV machine: Port 25 (SMTP) and port 80 (webserver, if the web archive/administration feature is enabled). It may also be necessary to provide access to port 53 (nameserver) if LISTSERV is unable to resolve the name of its outgoing mail host.

If you are installing LSMTP along with LISTSERV, you will also need to ensure that port 110 (POP3) is open if you intend to use the POP server component of LSMTP. If your DNS is not inside the firewall, port 53 (nameserver) will also have to be opened so that LSMTP can access external DNS servers. (It should be noted here that LSMTP requires access to a DNS server or it will not start up.)

Installing LISTSERV behind a firewall is almost more of an art than a science (and every firewall seems to be different) but the bottom line is that the above ports must be open if you expect LISTSERV to work. It is not recommended to route incoming LISTSERV mail through another machine (ie the firewall) as this normally leads to complications.

4. Where to get the files

L-Soft provides its software via FTP download only. The installation/evaluation kits for Windows NT/2000 are found at (for Intel architectures) (for AXP architectures)

These kits are complete implementations of LISTSERV for Windows NT/2000, limited for evaluation purposes only by the License Activation Key (LAK) that is shipped with them. If you have already purchased LISTSERV you will have received a production LAK separately--we will describe the installation of that key later in this document.

5. Gathering information you will need

You will need to gather some information before you start.

1. What is the DNS hostname for the machine on which LISTSERV is going to be installed? This is something like LISTSERV.YOURDOMAIN.COM . It must be a fully-qualified domain name (FQDN) and it must map to an A or MX record as noted above in the networking requirements. While it is possible to use a bracketed IP (eg, []) for testing purposes, as noted above the use of bracketed IPs in production is not supported and not recommended.

2. What SMTP server do you intend to use for LISTSERV's outgoing mail? Like the hostname for the LISTSERV machine, this must be an FQDN hostname listed in DNS. If you will be installing LSMTP on the same machine as LISTSERV then the answer to this question is identical to the answer for #1. Otherwise this must be the name of an external machine, ie, one running sendmail or some other SMTP implementation that can accept LISTSERV's outgoing mail for delivery. (If you will be installing LSMTP you will probably still want to identify an external SMTP machine to use temporarily to test LISTSERV prior to installing LSMTP, which is the recommended procedure.)

3. What are the email addresses for the LISTSERV maintainers (the person or persons who are authorized to create lists and operate/maintain the server)?

4. What drive and directory are you going to install LISTSERV into? (The installation script defaults to C:\LISTSERV; if you have more space on another drive, eg, a RAID array or other large disk, you will probably want to install LISTSERV on that drive rather than on C:.)

5. What program group or folder do you want LISTSERV's icons to be placed in?

Once you know these things you can proceed with the installation.

6. Starting the installation

First, unzip the distribution kit into a temporary directory (eg, C:\TEMP or C:\SCRATCH). DO NOT unzip the kit into the directory that you have identified in point 4 of section 5, above! After unzipping the kit, CD into the temporary directory.

Next, make sure that you are logged in either as the Administrator user or as a member of the Administrators group. You cannot install LISTSERV unless you have administrative control of the computer.

6.1. Intel architectures

The Intel kit contains two files: LISTSERV.EXE and INSTALNT.RTF. LISTSERV.EXE is a self-extracting setup kit that includes all of the files you will need for the installation. Simply run LISTSERV.EXE from a DOS prompt to start the installation and follow the script. INSTALNT.RTF is this installation guide in Rich Text format.

6.2. Alpha-AXP architectures

The Alpha kit contains several files, which are all needed for the installation. After unzipping the kit, run SETUP.EXE from a DOS prompt to start the installation, and then follow the script.

7. Basic configuration

When you come to the end of the script, you will be asked whether or not you want to go ahead and configure the LISTSERV server. You can either configure the server now or configure it later, however you should note that until it is configured, you won't be able to use it.

Configuring the server is done via a GUI interface called SITE.EXE, which is located in the \LISTSERV\MAIN directory after installation. SITE.EXE modifies the file \LISTSERV\MAIN\SITE.CFG, which contains LISTSERV's configuration information. While SITE.CFG can be edited with a text editor if desired, the SITE.EXE GUI provides a simpler method (with syntax checking and online help) for this purpose.

When you first start SITE.EXE (either from the installation script or from the icon after finishing the installation), it will--assuming that you have not otherwise modified SITE.CFG--come up in a "Basic Configuration" mode. There are five basic settings that must be configured before LISTSERV can be run, and another basic setting that is optional.

7.1. NODE

The NODE setting is the fully-qualified domain name as registered in DNS for the machine LISTSERV is running on. As noted above, it is possible to insert a square-bracketed dotted-decimal IP address in this box for testing purposes, but L-Soft neither recommends nor supports this in production. This is the host name that LISTSERV will always identify itself with when it sends mail out (the information gathered in #1 of section 5, above).


MYDOMAIN does not refer to your corporate domain. MYDOMAIN is the space-separated list of all possible host names your machine might be known as. In many cases the value of MYDOMAIN is the same as NODE, but for instance some machines running LISTSERV also run the enterprise's World Wide Web server, and may thus be identified in DNS as something like "WWW.MYCOMPANY.COM". If you're running LSMTP you might also be using the POP3 feature in LSMTP to handle your corporate mail accounts, and might have a DNS record for "POP.MYCOMPANY.COM" pointing to the LISTSERV machine. And of course we'll assume that NODE has been set above to something like LISTSERV.MYCOMPANY.COM. Using this as an example you would set the MYDOMAIN setting to contain, in space-separated format, all of these names that mail might come in to LISTSERV under, with the NODE value coming first:


This way if someone accidentally writes to LISTSERV@POP.MYCOMPANY.COM, LISTSERV will recognize POP.MYCOMPANY.COM as equivalent to LISTSERV.MYCOMPANY.COM and will process the mail as if it had been addressed to LISTSERV@LISTSERV.MYCOMPANY.COM. Otherwise the mail will bounce as LISTSERV has no other way to know what other names the machine might be known by in DNS.


This setting refers to the name of the machine which will be handling LISTSERV's outgoing mail. It must be a fully-qualified domain name of a machine registered in DNS. For instance if your corporate mail gateway is MAIL.MYCOMPANY.COM, you could set SMTP_FORWARD to that value. This is the information gathered in #2 of section 5, above.

If you install LSMTP after you test LISTSERV, this value can be changed to the same value you coded for NODE. Since we recommend testing the success of your LISTSERV installation before installing LSMTP, you probably don't want to do that at this point.


This is a space-separated list of userid@host.domain type email addresses belonging to people who have authority to manage LISTSERV--specifically the people who are allowed to create lists, but also who have pretty much global authority on the server to look at lists, modify list headers, and so forth. There are some advanced options for this setting but for right now you will probably just want to insert your own email address so that you can test the server. This is the information gathered in #3 of section 5, above.

Please note carefully that the POSTMASTER should NEVER be LISTSERV@ anywhere or POSTMASTER@ anywhere. These userids are reserved and mean specific things to LISTSERV. If you need to use a generic name for a postmaster account, it is recommended that you use something like "listmaster" or "lstmaint" instead.


The password that will be used to create lists and perform certain management functions (such as administering LISTSERV's user password feature). Note that when using the web management features, you do not use the CREATEPW= value, but rather your own personal LISTSERV password, to validate your identity. See the main LISTSERV documentation for information on how to create a personal LISTSERV password.

7.6. MYORG (optional)

A string that identifies your organization in the From: line of administrative mail sent out by LISTSERV. This defaults to the NODE value you coded above, but you can change it to be more descriptive, eg, "University of XYZ" or "My Company, Inc." If you were to set it to "My Company, Inc.", the From: line of administrative mail would look like this:

From:         "L-Soft list server at My Company, Inc. (1.8d)"

Only the part between "L-Soft list server at" and "(1.8d)" may be modified by the MYORG setting. The rest of this string is hard-coded and cannot be changed.

8. Starting and testing the server installation

To start LISTSERV for debugging/testing purposes, you can simply double-click the "LISTSERV for Windows NT/2000 (interactive)" icon created by the installation script. This starts LISTSERV in a DOS box so that you can see what it is doing. Similarly, you should start the SMTPL.EXE "listener" service by double-clicking on the "LISTSERV SMTP Listener (interactive)" icon (unless LSMTP is already installed and running).

You can run only one copy of LISTSERV at any given time. That is, you cannot start LISTSERV interactively if it is already running as a service, or vice-versa, nor can you start LISTSERV in multiple CMD windows. The same applies to the SMTP listener.

Note that when LISTSERV is installed, it is registered in the Services Manager to start automatically as a system service at boot time. Thus if you have rebooted your machine after installing LISTSERV, it may already be running. If it is already running when you attempt to start it in a DOS box, you will get the following error:

C:\LISTSERV\MAIN>lsv start

>>> Unable to create SMTP synchronization events <<<

abnormal program termination

Similarly, if the SMTPL "listener" is already running as a service, you will get something like:

C:\LISTSERV\MAIN>smtpl start
>>> Error 5 creating synchronization event.
Statistics for this session:

 Physical memory: 96M (20M available)
 Paging file:     190M (97M free)
 Process memory:  16024k in use
 Connections:     0 (max 0, total 0 in this session)
 SMTPL uptime:    0 00:00:00 (75.2% CPU utilization)

If the services are running, simply stop them from the Control Panel/Services applet, or just issue the commands


in your DOS box before proceeding.

If there are no problems, LISTSERV will start up with the following messages:

C:\LISTSERV\MAIN>lsv start
30 Mar 2000 12:50:35 LISTSERV(R) for Windows NT version 1.8d starting...
30 Mar 2000 12:50:35  Copyright L-Soft international 1986-1999
30 Mar 2000 12:50:35 SIGNUP files are being compressed...
30 Mar 2000 12:50:35 -> No entry removed.
30 Mar 2000 12:50:35 The network tables are outdated and must be rebuilt.
* Network tables generation process started - be patient...
* Step 1 complete - DBINDEX file generated.
*                   198 NJE nodes, 64 dummy nodes, total 262.
* Step 2 complete - NODESUM3 file generated (7840 bytes).
*                   10 countries, 3 networks, 59 ':internet.' tags,
*                   73 hostnames, total 2411 bytes of Internet<->NJE data.
* Step 3 complete - LINKDEF2 file generated (236 links).
* Step 4 complete - no list/AFD/FUI entry updated for changed node names.
* Step 5 complete - SIGNUP files have been compressed, no entry removed.
30 Mar 2000 12:50:35 The peers tables are being rebuilt...
30 Mar 2000 12:50:36 ->>> No entry for LISTSERV.EXAMPLE.COM in PEERS NAMES.
30 Mar 2000 12:50:36 ->>> Dummy entry generated pending official registration:
30 Mar 2000 12:50:36 ->>> LISTSERV@LISTSERV.EXAMPLE.COM - Backbone=NO, License n
30 Mar 2000 12:50:36 -> There are 300 known servers.
30 Mar 2000 12:50:36 File PEERS.DBNAMES has been rebuilt.
30 Mar 2000 12:50:36 File PEERS.DBINDEX has been rebuilt.
30 Mar 2000 12:50:36 File PEERS.NAMESUM has been rebuilt.
30 Mar 2000 12:50:36 File PEERS.DISTSUM2 has been rebuilt.
* Peers tables rebuilt successfully.
30 Mar 2000 12:50:36 Nearest backbone host is LISTSERV@PLUM.EASE.LSOFT.COM
30 Mar 2000 12:50:36 Nearest NJE host is LISTSERV@CUNYVM
* Step 6 complete - link weights file successfully compiled.
* Network tables generation completed successfully.
30 Mar 2000 12:50:36 Nearest backbone host is LISTSERV@PLUM.EASE.LSOFT.COM
30 Mar 2000 12:50:36 Nearest NJE host is LISTSERV@CUNYVM
30 Mar 2000 12:50:36 License merged successfully:
>          UNITS=4
>          EXP=31-MAR-2000
>          REL=1.8d
>          OPT=EVAL
>          SERIAL=EVAL-NT
>          CKS=1-4013CB73-A9C0E67D
******************************* Evaluation copy *******************************
*                                                                             *
* This  software is  an evaluation  copy,  provided to  you at  no charge  to *
* demonstrate the capabilities  of our product(s). You are  granted a license *
* to use this  evaluation copy until 31  Mar 2000, at which  time the program *
* will automatically  exit with an  error message  every time you  attempt to *
* start it. The reason for this restriction is that we want to make sure that *
* you evaluate the  latest version of the software, and  not an obsolete copy *
* obtained from an outdated distribution.                                     *
*                                                                             *
* LICENSE: Subject  to the  restrictions set  forth below,  you may  use this *
* evaluation copy as you  see fit (and until 31 Mar 2000), as  long as you do *
* not derive a profit from such use.                                          *
*                                                                             *
* RIGHT TO COPY:  You may copy the  software as necessary to use  it, and for *
* backup purposes.  In addition, you  can copy and distribute  the evaluation *
* kit, IN ITS  ENTIRETY, provided that you  do not alter or modify  it in any *
* way, and that  you do not derive  a profit from such  copy or distribution. *
* Our copyright notice  must remain on the original copy  of the software and *
* be included on any copy you make.                                           *
*                                                                             *
* NO RIGHT TO MODIFY: You are not  allowed to modify the software in any way, *
* except for the  interfaces provided with source code, which  you may modify *
* and/or  recompile  for your  own  use.  Any  modified version  remains  our *
* property and subject to the present terms and conditions.                   *
*                                                                             *
* of  its employees,  officers  or  agents will  be  liable  for any  direct, *
* indirect or consequential  damages, even if L-Soft had been  advised of the *
* possibility of such damage.                                                 *
*                                                                             *
* FOR ASSISTANCE  CONTACT: SUPPORT@LSOFT.COM, or  call +1 (301)  731-0440 (or *
* 1-800-399-5449 from the US or Canada).                                      *
*                                                                             *
30 Mar 2000 12:50:36 Sent information mail to LSTMAINT@EXAMPLE.COM
30 Mar 2000 12:50:36 Initialization complete.
30 Mar 2000 12:50:36 You can enter commands via the keyboard at any time.

SMTPL isn't as verbose. It will start up with only a few messages:

C:\LISTSERV\MAIN>smtpl start
30 Mar 2000 12:52:02 LISTSERV SMTP listener, version 1.0d
30 Mar 2000 12:52:02 Copyright L-Soft international, 1994-99
30 Mar 2000 12:52:02 Initialization complete.

To test the server, send Internet mail to the LISTSERV address with some random command, such as HELP, to check that the SMTP listener and outgoing mail interface are working correctly. Please note that the "LISTSERV address" is the address formed by "LISTSERV@" + the value you defined in the site configuration file for NODE=. For instance, if you defined NODE=LISTSERV.XYZ.COM, the LISTSERV address would be LISTSERV@LISTSERV.XYZ.COM.

DO NOT attempt to create lists or use the WWW interface until the basic email functions (ie, sending commands to LISTSERV by email and getting a response) are tested and working correctly.

If you have any problem, contact SUPPORT@LSOFT.COM . Note that LISTSERV will not see any mail you send it via MAPI unless you have a MAPI/SMTP gateway for your LAN. LISTSERV does not include a MAPI gateway and thus does not support MAPI.

When running as services, LISTSERV and SMTPL both create log files in the \LISTSERV\LOG directory but, for performance reasons, the file buffers are not flushed with each and every write. If you attempt to TYPE the log file, it may appear to be empty. If you wait a few minutes, the buffers will be flushed and you will be able to examine the files. LISTSERV generates "crash reports" when it terminates abnormally, which are sent to the LISTSERV postmasters by default. These "crash reports" normally include a traceback of the error along with the last 100 LISTSERV log entries prior to the crash, and should be sent to L-Soft support for problem resolution.

In interactive mode, the log files are also created but the file buffers are flushed continuously. Flushing the logs continuously ensures that, in the event of a severe program failure, the logs will always contain information about the cause of the failure.

(Due to the fact that writing to command windows can significantly slow down an application, interactive mode should be used only when you are trying to troubleshoot a problem.)

Note that, while critical errors are reported to the Windows NT/2000 System Event Log and can be examined with Event Viewer (select the Application log), the Windows error codes are almost never useful for debugging problems with LISTSERV and the LISTSERV console log should be consulted in favor of the event log when a problem arises.

When running as services, both LISTSERV and SMTPL may be stopped from the Control Panel/Services applet, or by issuing the commands NET STOP LISTSERV and NET STOP LISTSERV-SMTP from a DOS prompt. Sites running LISTSERV on Intel architectures may also use the "Stop LISTSERV Service" and "Stop LISTSERV-SMTP Service" icons provided.

When running in interactive mode, to stop LISTSERV, simply type STOP. To stop SMTPL, wait until there is no more activity and type Ctrl-C.

LSMTP should be stopped from its own control panel, from the Control Panel/Services applet, or by issuing a NET STOP LSMTP command at the DOS prompt.

9. Installing the License Activation Key (LAK)

If you are just evaluating the software, the LAK will be installed for you automatically. Note however that evaluation LAKs expire at the end of each quarter: March 31, June 30, September 30, and December 31. If you have an older kit that you've had around for a while then you may want to either download a newer kit (recommended) or you can download a new evaluation LAK from .

The procedure to install a LISTSERV LAK (either a new evaluation LAK or a production LAK) is as follows:

1. Create a disk file with the license information supplied. If you received the license registration form electronically, simply delete the mail headers and other extraneous information (you do not need to remove the instructions found at the top of the LAK). If you received it via FAX or postal mail, you will have to retype the information. Please observe spacing carefully. To make the LAK easier to transcribe, we always insert multiple blanks where one is needed. Thus, unless you see a big white space on the FAX, you should not insert any blank. (Note that LAK information can also be entered via the SITE.EXE utility.)

2. Make a backup copy of the file you have just created.

3. Install a copy of the file under the name LICENSE.MERGE in the product's main directory. This would be MAIN\LICENSE.MERGE relative to your LISTSERV root directory (eg C:\LISTSERV\MAIN\LICENSE.MERGE) if you installed LISTSERV under C:\LISTSERV).

4. Start LISTSERV (or stop and restart it if it was already running). It will compile the new LAK, verify its integrity, and merge it into its license database. If no error was detected, it will then delete the LICENSE.MERGE file. This is why you must make a backup copy of the license file before activating it. The LAK will of course remain in the license database, but you may need the original in case of hardware failure.

5. Verify that LISTSERV is running with your new LAK by issuing the command SHOW LICENSE either by e-mail or at the LISTSERV command prompt (in interactive mode).

Note carefully the following:

10. Advanced configuration

There are a number of advanced configuration parameters that can be set to modify LISTSERV's behaviour and/or tune it for better performance. The most common parameters are documented in Appendix C of the Site Manager's Operations Manual for LISTSERV, found on L-Soft's World Wide Web site along with the rest of the LISTSERV documentation (

A tuning guide for high volume sites running with L-Soft's LSMTP product is available upon request; please contact L-Soft's support department at for a copy.

For information about LISTSERV's DBMS and mail-merge features, the Commands-Job Language Interpreter (CJLI), and other extensibility features, please see the Developer's Guide to LISTSERV, also found on L-Soft's web site at the address noted above.

11. Setting up LSMTP

(If you will not be using LSMTP then you can simply skip this section and proceed to section 12, below.)

Setting up a basic installation of LSMTP is very simple. Once you have downloaded a copy of LSMTP from the L-Soft FTP site and unzipped it into a scratch directory, first stop both LISTSERV and SMTPL, and then run LSMTP's SETUP.EXE. The LSMTP setup program will detect and disable SMTPL, which is required since LSMTP and SMTPL would otherwise compete for the SMTP port. With LSMTP installed on the machine, there is no need to run SMTPL at all, and SMTPL should definitely be disabled in the NT services database.

Some sites require more advanced LSMTP configuration, for which you are directed to the LSMTP online help (accessible from the WinLSCP GUI).

You can also reference the LSMTP FAQ found at

12. Setting up the web interface

(If you will not be using the web interface then you can simply skip this section and proceed to section 13, below.)

12.1. Setting up the interface via SITE.EXE

It is strongly recommended that you set up the basic web interface from the SITE.EXE configuration utility. This can be done at install time or it can be done after the basic LISTSERV installation is completed; the latter is recommended, as it is more important to ensure that the e-mail interface works before you start working with the web-based features. If you choose to set up the interface from SITE.EXE, simply click the "Web Archives" button from the Basic Configuration screen (the screen that pops up by default at install time) and follow the instructions. Note that if you do this at some point after installing LISTSERV, you will need to stop and restart LISTSERV after installing the web interface in order for LISTSERV to be made aware of the changes to its configuration.

After setting up the interface in SITE.EXE, proceed to 12.3, below.

12.2. Setting up the interface manually

If you choose to install the web interface manually, use the following instructions:

1. Copy the WA.EXE executable from LISTSERV's MAIN directory (typically C:\LISTSERV\MAIN) to the CGI script directory for your web server. You can call it something else, but a short name will help keep the HTML documents small!

2. Create a subdirectory (recommended name: "archives") under the top level (document root) of your web server to contain the various files LISTSERV will be creating. For instance, under IIS the usual top level directory is x:\inetpub\wwwroot (where "x:" is whatever drive you've installed IIS on). So for LISTSERV you would create the subdirectory x:\inetpub\wwwroot\archives for LISTSERV's web archive interface. You should not use the web server's root directory as LISTSERV will create quite a few files!

3. The interface will then access the files using the relative URL '/archives' .

4. Modify LISTSERV's configuration to add two variables, as follows:

5. For each list that you want accessible through the web interface, you must create a subdirectory in the directory you created in step 3, named like the list. For instance, if WWW_ARCHIVE_DIR is C:\INETPUB\WWWROOT\ARCHIVES and you create the directory 'C:\INETPUB\WWWROOT\ARCHIVES\XYZ-L', the list XYZ-L will be accessible through the interface.

Finally, stop and restart LISTSERV (or simply start it if it was not running). It should create two files accessible with the URL http://localhost/archives/index.html and http://localhost/archives/default.htm, and from there you should be able to access all the LISTSERV web functions.

12.3. Setting system file permissions for WA.EXE under NTFS

If your %SystemRoot%\system32 directory is on a FAT partition this step can be skipped, since FAT partitions are always world-read.

Whether you install the interface manually or from the SITE.EXE configuration GUI, if your %SystemRoot%\system32 directory (i.e., \WINNT\SYSTEM32) is on an NTFS partition, you must also ensure that the following files in the %SystemRoot%\system32 directory are granted world read (R/X) permissions:


If these permissions are not set, when accessing the WA.EXE CGI script from the web you will get an error similar to this:

Error during command authentication

Error - unable to initiate communication with LISTSERV (errno=10106, phase=SOCKET, target= The server is probably not started. Expires: Thu, 01 Dec 1994 00:00:00 GMT Cache-Control: no-cache, must-revalidate Pragma: no-cache Expires: Thu, 01 Dec 1994 00:00:00 GMT Cache-Control: no-cache, must-revalidate Pragma: no-cache

Note: When using IIS version 4.0, you may get an Error(5) from 'wa' when trying to do things like search, post to the list, or anything else that requires 'wa' to pipe a command to LISTSERV. We believe this to be due to a bug in IIS 4.0 (the problem does not appear in IIS 3.0 or earlier), specifically in the code that enables automatic password synchronization for the anonymous user stage. The only fix our support group are aware of is to open the Internet Service Manager, find the "wa.exe" executable in the tree, and then do the following:

1. Open the property sheet for "wa.exe" by double-clicking it

2. Click on the "File Security" tab

3. Under "Anonymous Access and Authentication Control", click on the "Edit..." button, which pulls up a dialog box entitled "Authentication Methods"

4. Click the "Edit..." button next to "Account used for Anonymous Access:" which brings up a dialog entitled "Anonymous User Account"

5. UNCHECK the box for "Enable Automatic Password Synchronization"

6. Click "OK"

At this point 'wa' should work. You might need to type the password for the IUSR_xxxx account but our experience was that you needed only to uncheck the box and click "OK".

Complete information on installing the Web Archive Interface (including how to publish the content of "Send= Private" and/or "Confidential= Yes" lists) is contained in chapter 5 of the Site Manager's Operations Manual.

13. Creating, administering, and deleting lists

This topic is discussed in detail in the Site Manager's Operations Manual for LISTSERV, available from L-Soft's World Wide Web site (see section 15, below).

DO NOT attempt to create lists until the basic email functions (ie, sending commands to LISTSERV by email and getting a response) are tested and working correctly.

There are two ways to create a list using LISTSERV. The classic method is to do so by e-mail, using the methods outlined below. The other method is to use the web-based administration interface to create lists from templates. If you have not installed the web interface then you must create lists via e-mail.

In order to create lists, the e-mail address you intend to create the lists from must be listed in the POSTMASTER= site configuration variable. In other words, only users whose e-mail addresses are listed in the POSTMASTER= variable in LISTSERV's SITE.CFG file for your server will be able to create lists. Note carefully that LISTSERV does not "fuzzy-match" addresses for this purpose--if you have "", this does NOT confer POSTMASTER authority on "" and so forth. Please also note carefully that LISTSERV's authentication and validation systems are not linked with OS-level privileges. Even a login as 'root' or 'administrator' does not confer any LISTSERV administrative privileges.

13.1. Creating lists via e-mail

In order to create a new list, you must:

1. Prepare a "list header", for instance using the sample provided below. You can also get the header of an existing (L-Soft) LISTSERV list and use it as a sample.

2. The first line of the list header MUST be as follows:


Replace "LISTNAME" with the name of your list, e.g.,


Then replace "CCCCCCCC" after "PW=" with the "CREATEPW" you chose when configuring LISTSERV. If your CREATEPW is FIATLUX, then your complete PUT line for a list called MYLIST-L would be as follows:


Note that one of the most common errors made by new LISTSERV users is to leave out the ".LIST" part of the PUT command. If you leave this part out, LISTSERV will bounce the header back to you with the comment that it does not have any file by the name "MYLIST-L PW=FIATLUX".

3. Following the PUT line, you insert as many "list header" lines as you need (see the sample). Each of these lines MUST begin with an asterisk in column 1, e.g.,

* Notebook= Yes,C:\LISTSERV\LISTS\MYLIST-L,Monthly,Public

Each "list header" line contains information needed by LISTSERV to operate your list. Most of this information is provided by you in the form of values for standard keywords. You can use the sample header provided below as an example; a complete list of keywords recognized by LISTSERV along with descriptions of their functions can be found in Appendix B of both the List Owner's Manual for LISTSERV and the Site Manager's Operations Manual for LISTSERV.

4. Mail the resulting list header to the LISTSERV address. Note carefully that if your mail software indents paragraphs by default, you must turn off paragraph indentation, or an attempt to store the list will be returned to you with a message that there did not appear to be any list header lines.

The "LISTSERV address" is the address formed by "LISTSERV@" + the value you defined in the site configuration file for NODE=. For instance, if you defined NODE=LISTSERV.XYZ.COM, the LISTSERV address would be LISTSERV@LISTSERV.XYZ.COM.

This mail must be sent as Internet mail from a username defined as a "postmaster" in the LISTSERV configuration. On a PC, you would use your POP client or other GUI-based mail program. Make sure to cut+paste the file via the Clipboard and not send it as an "attachment" or use drag and drop. "Attachment" mechanisms are often proprietary or PC-specific and cannot be guaranteed to work. Sending plain text from the Clipboard always works. Note carefully that the PUT command line must be the first line of the body of the message.

From a unix® system, you might save your list file (say, in a file called 'newlist.create'), and then do:

$ mail < newlist.create

Or you could simply cut and paste the text of the header into the body of a Pine message. Again, attachments can't be used for this purpose; you must use plain text in the body of the message.

If you have questions about list creation, keywords, list management and other high-level or system-independent LISTSERV topics, the best place to ask them is the LSTOWN-L list, an open forum of LISTSERV list owners.

Please note that, for security reasons, LISTSERV will not create notebook archive directories automatically. You must create the directory and set the protections before storing the list. LISTSERV will need read, write and delete access to the directory.

For assistance with problems specific to evaluation kits, join the LSTSRV-E list or contact Support@LSOFT.COM for a prompt reply. Please don't forget to tell us which hardware and software you are using--and please use a descriptive subject line!

------------------------------- Cut here ------------------------------
* Title of sample list
* Review= Owner
* Subscription= Open,Confirm
* Send= Private
* Notify= Yes
* Reply-to= List,Respect
* Validate= No
* Notebook= Yes,C:\LISTSERV\LISTS\SAMPLE,Monthly,Public
* Owner= someone@example.COM
------------------------------- Cut here ------------------------------

13.2. Creating lists via the web interface

The web interface for creating lists is actually fairly simple--it's a fill-out form that presents you with various options with inline explanations for those options. To reach the interface, you invoke the 'wa.exe' CGI script without any parameters, eg,

This presents you with the LISTSERV main page. From this page you can reach the "Server management interface" by clicking on the appropriate link. On the server administration main page thus reached, you simply click on the "Create a new mailing list" link to reach the form. The direct URL to the list creation form is


Note that all server management pages require a login from a POSTMASTER= address with the appropriate personal LISTSERV password associated with that address. (If you have set up a "cookie"-type login, then of course you will not be prompted for userid and password.) When using the web management features, including the "Create a new mailing list" page, you do not use the CREATEPW= value, but rather your own personal LISTSERV password, to validate your identity.

13.3. Deleting lists

For security reasons, there is no LISTSERV command to delete a list. To delete a list, simply move any archives or other related files that you wish to save to a safe place (delete them if you don't want to keep them) and then use the CMD prompt or File Manager to delete the list file itself.

List files are kept in the \LISTSERV\MAIN directory, and they have a file extension of .LIST (case-insensitive). Thus to delete a list called MYLIST-L, you would simply CD into \LISTSERV\MAIN and 'erase mylist-l.list' (or 'del mylist-l.list'). You should then stop and restart LISTSERV so that it can re-cache the list of active lists. Related files with the same filename but different extensions (ie MYLIST-L.*) can also be removed at this time to complete the list deletion.

14. Upgrading your LISTSERV installation

Upgrading LISTSERV is almost as simple as installing it. Simply follow these steps:

1. If you are upgrading from one full version of LISTSERV to another (for instance, from 1.8c to 1.8d), you should have received a new LAK from your sales representative. If you do not have a LAK for the version you are upgrading to, stop right here and contact your L-Soft sales representative. If you are not sure what version you are currently licensed for, send a "SHOW LICENSE" command to LISTSERV.

Note that if you are applying a "level-set" or patch release, you normally do not need a new LAK unless the level-set or patch release you are applying has a greater full version number than the one you are upgrading from. For instance, the version 1.8d 2000a and 2000b "level-set" releases can be installed over an existing 1.8d original release version without needing a new LAK, but if installed over any existing 1.8c version, a 1.8d LAK must be installed first.

2. If you have received a new LAK, install it onto your old installation, following the instructions that come with the LAK (or see section 9, above). Send LISTSERV a "SHOW LICENSE" command after restarting LISTSERV to ensure that the new LAK has been installed properly. Do not proceed further until this step has been correctly completed.

3. Back up the entire LISTSERV directory hierarchy (just in case).

4. Stop LISTSERV and SMTPL (note that if you are running LSMTP, you do not need to stop SMTPL as it should be disabled).

5. Get the current Windows NT evaluation kit from and install it over your existing installation, per the instructions in section 2 of this document. Your current configuration, lists, and other settings will be preserved. Note that evaluation kits are production code limited only by an evaluation LAK, which your production LAK will override.

6. If you are running LSMTP as your mailer, open the NT Control Panel/Services applet and ensure that the "LISTSERV SMTP Listener" service is disabled. This is very important! Note that the current version of the installation GUI will not register SMTPL.EXE as a service if an installation of LSMTP is detected in the NT registry, but it is still wise to check this.

7. If you have the web archive interface installed, either re-run the web archive configuration feature of SITE.EXE or manually copy WA.EXE from the \LISTSERV\MAIN directory to your cgi-bin or scripts directory to update it. The setup program will not do it for you automatically.

8. Restart LISTSERV and SMTPL (if not running LSMTP) and send a command to make sure the installation was successful.

15. Online Documentation and Peer Support Mailing Lists

All of L-Soft's documentation, including Frequently-Asked-Questions documents, is available online at the URL .

There are several peer support mailing lists available for LISTSERV users world-wide to communicate among themselves with regard to the software. L-Soft support engineers monitor these lists and contribute when necessary. These lists include:

LSTSRV-L for LISTSERV maintainers and interested list owners

LSTOWN-L for LISTSERV list owners

LSMTP-L for LSMTP users

LISTSERV-DEVELOPERS for third-party developers using features documented in the Developer's Guide to LISTSERV

LSOFT-DOC-UPDATES for LISTSERV documentation update announcements (announce-only)

To subscribe to any of these lists, send mail to LISTSERV@LISTSERV.NET with the following command in the body of the message (and substituting the name of the list for listname ):

SUBSCRIBE listname Your Name

16. Registering your LISTSERV Classic server

NOTE: This section does not apply to evaluation kits or to LISTSERV Lite or Shareware kits. Evaluation copies of LISTSERV should not be registered because they are (presumably) temporary servers running test lists, whose existence should not be broadcast. LISTSERV Lite and Shareware kits are automatically registered via a different process.

Once the server is ready for production use (that is, once you have purchased and installed a permanent License Activation Key, and once you have arranged for LISTSERV to be started automatically when the system boots), you should consider registering it with L-Soft. Registering the server is necessary to broadcast its existence to the other LISTSERV servers and to receive automatic, periodic updates of LISTSERV's networking tables. Once you have registered, your server will also be sent periodic updates about the public lists hosted by other LISTSERV sites, and, similarly, other LISTSERV sites will receive information about the public lists you are hosting. Registration also makes it possible to assign the most efficient DISTRIBUTE routing path for your server.

Please note the following requirements for registration:

L-Soft registers only sites that have unlimited (UNITS=0) licenses or sites licensed for DISTRIBUTE-only use, which are running version 1.8d or higher of LISTSERV Classic or LISTSERV Classic HPO. (Versions prior to 1.8d are not Y2K compliant and therefore sites seeking new LISTSERV registrations must be running the release version of 1.8d or later.)

In order to qualify for registration, a LISTSERV site must also:

L-Soft does not register sites running evaluation kits, LISTSERV Lite, or LISTSERV shareware. Requests to register such sites will be discarded.

L-Soft cannot register intranet sites since by definition such sites are not accessible via the Internet. Registration requires that your LISTSERV site be readily accessible via e-mail by outside users.

If your LISTSERV Classic site does not meet the above criteria, there are other options for keeping your LISTSERV networking tables current (which is the most important reason for registering the software). See for more information.

You may submit an online registration form at . If there are special considerations for your site that are not covered by the standard form, or if you are unable to access the web site, you can contact to obtain a registration form. When contacting the site registrar, please tell us what operating system LISTSERV is running under so that we can send you the proper form.

LISTSERV is a registered trademark licensed to L-Soft international, Inc.
LSMTP is a registered trademark of L-Soft international, Inc.
ListPlex is a registered service mark of L-Soft international, Inc.
EASE and CATALIST are service marks of L-Soft international, Inc.
L-SOFT is a trademark of L-Soft international.

Questions about our trademarks and service marks? See

All other trademarks, both marked and not marked, are the property of their respective owners.