Installing and Configuring LISTSERV Lite 14.5

on Windows 2000/2003/XP


22 Feb 2006


For changes to LISTSERV from version 14.4 to 14.5, please view the LISTSERV 14.5 release notes at .


Throughout the manual, when the word "LISTSERV" is used without qualification, we mean "LISTSERV Lite".


1. Target audience: LISTSERV Lite users only

            1.1. Support for LISTSERV Lite

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

3. Technical requirements for running under Microsoft Windows

3.1. Hardware requirements

3.2. Software requirements

3.3. Networking requirements

3.4. Windows NT 4.0 no longer supported

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

            8.1. Windows XP SP2 firewall considerations

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


1. Target audience: LISTSERV Lite users only


This installation guide is for LISTSERV Lite (either the paid edition or the Free Edition) running under Windows NT/2000/XP.  LISTSERV Classic users should see the installation guide written specifically for LISTSERV Classic.


This installation guide makes the following assumptions:


1.   You have a Windows 2000/2003/XP operating system 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 2000/2003/XP (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 2000/2003/XP (assuming of course that you have purchased support for our product) but is unable to assist you in setting up your operating system, the Internet Information Service (or any other web server software available for the Windows 2000/2003/XP operating systems), or any aspect of your operating system that is not directly related to LISTSERV's operation.  If you are not familiar with Windows 2000/2003/XP, please be aware that L-Soft cannot help you with either their installation or subsequent troubleshooting.


1.1. Support for LISTSERV Lite


To keep costs to a minimum, we have adopted the following "light weight" maintenance and support structure for LISTSERV Lite:


·         Fixes will be made available from time to time on our FTP server, and can be downloaded at no charge.

·         Technical assistance will be provided through a special mailing list, LISTSERV-LITE@PEACH.EASE.LSOFT.COM. LISTSERV Lite administrators will be invited to subscribe to the list and share problems and solutions. L-Soft support staff will monitor the list and answer the tougher questions as time permits.

·         L-Soft will accept bug reports from LISTSERV Lite customers – even those using the Free Edition. However, L-Soft may not be able to provide individual answers. Furthermore, L-Soft does not guarantee that all problems will be solved, or that they will be solved in any particular time frame.

·         The L-Soft support helpdesk will not accept calls from LISTSERV Lite customers. All support inquiries must be directed to the LISTSERV-LITE list, which is monitored by the support staff. Sometimes it may take a while for the support staff to answer these questions, because requests from LISTSERV Classic customers, who pay a yearly support fee, have a higher priority.

·         New versions, when released, will be available as an optional one-time charge. Technical assistance for older versions will continue to be available for a reasonable period of time on the LISTSERV-LITE mailing list. Fixes will only be provided for current versions.


This approach strikes a balance between making sure that customers are not left out in the cold when a serious problem occurs, and keeping support costs to a reasonable level.


Starting with LISTSERV 14.4, it is possible to purchase maintenance (including full support) for LISTSERV Lite.  Please contact your sales representative for details and pricing.


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 2000/2003/XP--hardware, software, and networking.  Please read each section carefully.


3.1. Hardware requirements


1.   CPU Architecture. LISTSERV will currently run under Windows 2000/2003/XP on Intel architectures, and will run under Windows 2000/2003/XP on 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 2000/2003/XP LISTSERV machine start out with a minimum of 256M, 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 512MB.

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.  (The boot partition can be larger if desired -- particularly as very large disks are much more economical than in the past -- but we would still recommend that it be configured RAID 0+1).

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:


·         Windows 2000.  We have no specific service pack recommendation at this time; many sites are running with SP2 and reporting no problems.

·         Windows XP Professional.  Service Pack 2 is supported.

·         Windows 2003 Server.


      LISTSERV is no longer supported under Windows NT 3.5x or Windows NT 4.0.


2.   Either Internet Information Service (IIS) or some other WWW server (ie, 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 service -- or configure it to listen on a non-standard TCP port -- as otherwise it will conflict with LISTSERV.  Note, however, that there is a documented and supported solution for using the IIS SMTP service for LISTSERV's outbound mail (see below).


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 must be installed.  Third-party SMTP MTAs (Mail Transfer Agents) are supported for inbound LISTSERV mail if they can be configured to redirect LISTSERV's mail to SMTPL running on a non-standard port (for instance, 40025).  An examples of a 3rd party MTA that can be used for this purpose is MailEnable Standard Edition.


      A white paper describing how to configure MailEnable Standard Edition for use with LISTSERV and the SMTPL.EXE "listener" service is being written and will be released soon.  Please check the L-Soft White Papers page for updates.


4.   OUTBOUND MAIL:  The SMTPL.EXE "listener" service cannot be used for outbound mail.  If you are not using L-Soft's LSMTP mailer, you will need to have access to an SMTP MTA 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.  If running on an external machine, that 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).


      If you need a "turnkey" single-machine solution for LISTSERV, a white paper describing how to use L-Soft's SMTPL.EXE "listener" for inbound mail and the Microsoft IIS SMTP service for outbound delivery can be found here:  Using the Microsoft IIS SMTP Service for LISTSERV Deliveries


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, for example, 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, for example, 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.


      Microsoft's WINS and MAPI protocols are not supported or used by LISTSERV.


      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.


3.4. Windows NT 4.0 no longer supported


Starting with LISTSERV 14.3, L-Soft unfortunately no longer supported Windows NT 4.0 as an application platform.  Sites currently running earlier versions of LISTSERV under NT 4.0 (Intel) can upgrade to Windows 2000 or Windows 2003 without needing a new LAK.  Sites running LISTSERV under the Alpha-AXP version of Windows NT 4.0 should contact their sales representative for information on migrating away from Windows NT 4.0 (Alpha-AXP).


4. Where to get the files


L-Soft provides its software via FTP download only. The installation kits for LISTSERV Lite for Windows are found at


These kits are complete implementations of LISTSERV Lite Free Edition for Windows 2000/2003/XP.  If you have already purchased a paid copy of LISTSERV Lite 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-LITE.EXE and INSTALNT-LITE.RTF (which you are reading).  LISTSERV-LITE.EXE is a self-extracting setup kit that includes all of the files you will need for the installation.  Simply run LISTSERV-LITE.EXE from a DOS prompt to start the installation and follow the script.


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 found 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. (14.5)"



Only the part between "L-Soft list server at" and "(14.5)" 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 "Start LISTSERV interactively" 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 "Start the LISTSERV SMTP Listener interactively" 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

7 May 2002 16:43:22 LISTSERV(R) for Windows version 1.8e starting...

7 May 2002 16:43:22  Copyright L-Soft international 1986-2002

7 May 2002 16:43:22 SIGNUP data is being re-hashed...

7 May 2002 16:43:22 SIGNUP files are being compressed...

7 May 2002 16:43:22 -> No entry removed.

7 May 2002 16:43:22 Host name changed - network tables must be rebuilt.

7 May 2002 16:43:22 The peers tables are being rebuilt...

7 May 2002 16:43:22 File PEERS.NAMESUM has been rebuilt.

7 May 2002 16:43:22 Nearest backbone host is LISTSERV@SWGATE.LSOFT.COM

7 May 2002 16:43:22 License merged successfully:


>          UNITS=10

>          EXP=NEVER

>          REL=1.8e

>          OPT=NONE

>          SCOPE=MAXSUB(500),PERLIST


>          CKS=1-12E6BB82-8206F5C9

7 May 2002 16:43:22 SIGNUP data is being re-hashed...

7 May 2002 16:43:22 SIGNUP files are being compressed...

7 May 2002 16:43:22 -> No entry removed.


***************************** License information *****************************


*                                                                             *

* This is the FREE EDITION of  LISTSERV(R) Lite, a product licensed by L-Soft *

* international,  Inc.  This   free  edition  may  not  be   sold  under  any *

* circumstances.  If you  paid  for this  product,  write to  SALES@LSOFT.COM *

* immediately and indicate the name of the company which sold it to you.      *

*                                                                             *

* LICENSE: Subject  to the  restrictions set  forth below,  you may  use this *

* software as you  see fit, 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. 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.                   *

*                                                                             *

* FREE EDITION BANNERS: The software uses textual "banners" and graphical art *

* to advertise itself as a free edition which is not for resale or commercial *

* use. You  may not  alter or  suppress these banners  or the  graphical art, *

* including, but  not limited to,  the "Powered  by LISTSERV -  Free Edition" *

* logo and its hyperlink to the L-Soft web page with the full license terms.  *

*                                                                             *





* 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,  subscribe   to   the  LISTSERV-LITE   mailing  list   at *

* PEACH.EASE.LSOFT.COM.                                                       *

*                                                                             *


7 May 2002 16:43:22 Initialization complete.

7 May 2002 16:43:22 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

17 May 2002 13:58:23 LISTSERV SMTP listener, version 1.0f

17 May 2002 13:58:23 Copyright L-Soft international, 1994-2001

17 May 2002 13:58:23 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/XP 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.


8.1. Windows XP SP2 firewall considerations


It is recommended that sites running Windows XP with Service Pack 2 applied should open the firewall to the LISTSERV program.  This is the preferred method as it makes it easy to change various TCP/IP-related aspects of LISTSERV's operation (eg, outbound mail port, TCPGUI port) without having to change the firewall.


For the SMTPL.EXE "listener" or the LSMTP mailer, it is recommended to open the firewall on port 25 from all IP addresses.  Alternately, simply open the firewall to the appropriate program.  The only advantage to explicitly opening port 25 as opposed to opening the firewall to SMTPL.EXE or LSMTP is that you can easily switch from SMTPL to LSMTP or vice versa without having to worry about changing the firewall settings.  Port 25 is also a "well-known" port so inbound mail is in almost every case going to come to port 25, regardless of which program is listening on that port for LISTSERV's mail.


9. Installing the License Activation Key (LAK)


If you are installing the Free Edition, the LAK will be installed for you automatically and you do not need to do anything further in this section.  If you have purchased a commercial license for LISTSERV Lite, the procedure to install it 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. For LISTSERV for Windows NT/2000 this would be MAIN\LICENSE.MERGE relative to your LISTSERV root directory (eg C:\LISTSERV\MAIN\LICENSE.MERGE).


4. Start LISTSERV (or 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.


Note carefully the following:


·         The LICENSE.MERGE file must imperatively be a flat ASCII file (Unicode is not supported).


·         If you create the LICENSE.MERGE file with NOTEPAD, please note that by default the NOTEPAD application under Windows NT 4.0 and later will save your file with a .txt extension (e.g., if you type license.merge in the "Save as" dialog box, NOTEPAD will actually save license.merge.txt). If this happens you must rename the file to license.merge or LISTSERV will not see it on startup.  You can avoid this problem by enclosing the name of the file in double quotes, i.e., when you are prompted for the filename in the "Save as" dialog box, enter "license.merge"  (you must use the double quote marks!) and press the OK/Save button.  Your file will be saved  as license.merge and not as  license.merge.txt .


Since the LISTSERV-LITE mailing list is a user-supported support forum, your LAK information should never be sent there.  If you have trouble with the installation of your LAK, the LISTSERV support staff will be happy to assist you at SUPPORT@LSOFT.COM .  All other support inquiries should go to the LISTSERV-LITE mailing list.


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 ( Please be sure to consult the chapter in that manual that discusses keywords and other settings that are disabled or work differently under LISTSERV Lite than they do under LISTSERV Classic. 


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:


·         WWW_ARCHIVE_CGI is the relative URL that leads to the CGI script you have just installed. Typically this will be something like '/cgi-bin/wa.exe' or '/scripts/wa.exe'. This is a URL, not an OS path name.


·         WWW_ARCHIVE_DIR is the full (NT) path name to the directory you created in step 3, e.g., C:\INETPUB\WWWROOT\ARCHIVES .


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.


Please note that archive search functions are not available under LISTSERV Lite.  If you are familiar with the LISTSERV Classic version of the web archive interface, please be aware that under LISTSERV Lite the link for searching the archives will not appear when you view archive pages.


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).


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, you must be listed in the POSTMASTER= site configuration variable under the address you will be using to create the lists.  In other words, only users who are listed as POSTMASTERs for the 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.


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:\LISTS\PUBLIC,Monthly,Public


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.


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 file to the LISTSERV address.


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=XYZ.COM, the LISTSERV address would be LISTSERV@XYZ.COM.


This mail must be sent as Internet mail from a username defined as a "postmaster" in the LISTSERV configuration. For instance, from a VMS™ system, you would save your list file (say, in a file called 'newlist.create'), and then do:


 $ mail

 MAIL> send newlist.create

 To: in%""





 Or, from a unix® system:


 $ mail < newlist.create


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.


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.


------------------------------- Cut here ------------------------------



* Title of sample LISTSERV list


* Review= Public          Subscription= Open               Send= Public

* Notify= Yes             Reply-to= List,Respect           Validate= No

* Notebook= Yes,C:\LISTS\PUBLIC,Monthly,Public


* Owner= someone@somewhere.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').


14. Upgrading your LISTSERV installation


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



IMPORTANT: LISTSERV 14.5 requires a version 14.5 LAK!


You must obtain and install a LISTSERV version 14.5 product LAK prior to upgrading your server, or LISTSERV will not start after the upgrade.


More information



1.         If you are upgrading from one full version of LISTSERV to another (for instance, from 14.4 to 14.5), 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.


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.


IMPORTANT: Install your LISTSERV 14.5 product LAK before upgrading!A valid product LAK (License Activation Key) with "REL=14.5" must be installed before upgrading, or LISTSERV will not start after the upgrade.


If you have not received a LISTSERV 14.5 product LAK, please contact your sales representative or SALES@LSOFT.COM before upgrading!


To find out if you can upgrade to LISTSERV 14.5 with your current license key, please issue a SHOW LICENSE command to LISTSERV and examine the response. It will be similar to this:


License type:      Graduated

Expiration date:   None - perpetual license

Maintenance until: No maintenance information

Capacity:          10 points (6 in use)

Product options:   LITE

Scope:             MAXSUB(500),PERLIST

Version:           14.5

Serial number:     XYZ-1;728996

Build date:        15 Feb 2006


Your license key will be valid for the 14.5 upgrade if your current LAK is for version 14.5 or higher.


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 LISTSERV Lite 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 Windows 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 Windows 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 is available online at the URL .


As noted above in section 1.1, LISTSERV Lite (both the Free Edition and paid copies, unless maintenance has been purchased) are supported exclusively via a peer-support mailing list: 




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:



for LISTSERV maintainers and interested list owners




for LISTSERV list owners




for LSMTP users




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


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


SUBSCRIBE listname Your Name



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.

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L-SOFT is a trademark of L-Soft international.


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