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NJVC Custom Blu-ray Set of Harmy’s Despecialized Editions now available on Mega

solsticegreen said:

When I extract a .rar set to create an iso image, I am ending up with an iso archive file rather than just an extracted iso file. Once the iso archive file is created, I am unable to open it or extract any separate iso file from that new folder. I have had this issue with both SW and ESB movie only sets so far and have used WinRAR and 7zip both to try to extract with. 7zip just comes up with an error message saying cannot extract as archive. WinRAR allows me to look inside the iso archive and navigate but nothing else. There does not appear to be an actual iso inside the archive. Only the individual .m2ts movie segments. Has anyone else experienced this issue?

On a PC, the freeware program “ImgBurn” should recognise and deal with the ISO file correctly when burning to a Blu-ray disc. If you download this, just make sure you get the “no open-candy” version to avoid any unexpected extras being installed. (MajorGeeks has a safe version.)

Guide to Downloading Projects from Usenet

Vultural said:

You got a three hour time limit until it expires.
Beforehand expiration, you better hit PAUSE on NZBGet or you’ll receive fails.
These affect the “health” of the file. Once health falls below 90%, it’s all over, Barney.

I didn’t know NZBGet would do that after expiry of the 3-hour Free-Usenet account. Ideally, it should realise that the news server password is no longer valid and warn you, rather than assume the files are all broken. Or perhaps it’s an issue with Free-Usenet sending incorrect information. I’ll try to let the developer know about this issue.

Having had a look, there seems to be a workaround for now. If the health drops below the threshold needed for the Par2 recovery (usually around 90%), the file is automatically moved to “History” and the status changed to “Failure” as you have discovered. From here:

  • Renew your password in Free-Usenet for another 3 hours.
  • Enter the new password in NZBGet’s news server settings.
  • Click on “Save all changes” followed by “Reload NZBGet”.
  • Click on the “History” tab and find the failed download.
  • Click on “Failure” and select “Retry failed articles”.

JEDIT: I have added section 5 to my guide with the above details.

NJVC Custom Blu-ray Set of Harmy’s Despecialized Editions now available on Mega

I’ve just generated the MD5 and SHA-1 checksums on my copies, and the SHA-1s match yours exactly. Out of interest, where did you see me post the Star Wars SHA-1 before? I have no recollection of ever generating/posting that one until just now…

Star Wars Despecialized 2.7 BD50.iso

  • MD5 Checksum: FE7CDEF0D9028661CFE41F6529074762
  • SHA-1 Checksum: 217177D9982CD6B023F302C83F1DB4188AB1A3DB

The Empre Strikes Back Despecialized 2.0 BD50.iso

  • MD5 Checksum: 7F1B6B5A4FC3E49414DA6B7B83B3A39A
  • SHA-1 Checksum: E70EB6F0C4E805F3584CCDCA438A4DA4AF3E9C52

Return of the Jedi Despecialized BD50.iso

  • MD5 Checksum: 6E970F5C9A18D5B83F03710BCFC591AC
  • SHA-1 Checksum: F4275385EA7843C2289D439D7DD9BCDD96CA0F28

JEDIT: Thank you, ot2k, for confirming that my memory is clearly shot! 😉

Guide to Downloading Projects from Usenet

Vultural said:
I am a big user of Emule, which many also assume is dead.
Both Usenet and Emule are off radar, to me a very good thing.
Bluto, could you talk a little about “retention”?
I was a free user of Usenet back when Mysterbin was around, but retention limits finally pushed me towards Email and private tracker torrent groups.

The retention of Usenet news servers these days seems to be around 8 to 10 years. (For those who aren’t familiar with Usenet, “retention” in this context just refers to the length of time a collection of files is stored on the server before being deleted to make room for newer content.)

It may well be more than this; the better servers might look to see which older files are still be downloaded regularly and preserve these longer. Besides, after 10 years or so, many uploads will be obsolete having been replaced by newer and better versions.

4K restoration on Star Wars

So far, the screenshots posted look promising to me. I’m by no means a fan of the various incarnations of the SE, but to my eyes the new colour grading is a massive improvement on the 2011 Blurays.

Are there any comparisons online between 2011/2019 of the following?

  • ESB: Snow scenes on Hoth (curious to see how white/blue the snow is now).
  • ROTJ: Any of the shots which are out of focus on the 2011 bluray.
💡 <strong>Welcome to the</strong>; Introduce yourself in here + useful info within 💡

It seems you have obtained the MKV of Star Wars DEED v2.7, for which a list of the audio tracks can be found in HanDuet’s “The Ultimate Introductory Guide”. See the first post of this thread for a link to the guide:

Go to section 3, step 7, and follow the link to the supplemental guide. You’ll then find NFO files with audio track listings for all the recent DEED releases.


<strong>Despecialized Editions</strong> by Harmy : Index of 'How-To's &amp; Help' Threads | Index of 'General Despecialized Threads' | ‘Where are they? And how do I get them?’ mega-merge thread...

sumyungguy said:

I was able to find it on usenet but some of the rars are corrupt. Tried redownloading but same thing-
any work arounds for this?

SnooPac’s link to HanDuet’s post is now the easiest way to obtain the DEEDs starting from scratch. But I have sent you a PM in case you’d rather try to fix your corrupted downloads first. (To read your PMs, click the speech bubble by your avatar at the top right.)


Guide to Downloading Projects from Usenet

I believe it is possible (albeit unlikely in the particular example you mention) for there to be two different users with the same username appearing on Usenet search results, since they may have signed up to different news servers. Although you may be searching on a specific news server, the files it has might not necessarily have been uploaded there originally. Remember that news servers continuously share files with each other. However, where the email address is also shown and appears to be valid, I would imagine that this does identify the user precisely.

You are correct to say that the newsreader is verifying fidelity rather than authenticity. In other words, all you know is that your downloaded files are a perfect match for what is stored on the news server. When files are originally uploaded to a news server, they are not verified for authenticity; after all, most of them are probably breaking copyright. Therefore, unless you trust that uploads from a particular user are authentic, I would recommend verifying the overall checksum at your end as well. HanDuet’s Ultimate Introductory Guide is a useful source of checksums in the case of Harmy’s work.

Small details that took you <em><strong>FOREVER</strong></em> to notice in the <em>Star Wars</em> films

Yes - I happened to be watching that exact clip on YouTube recently, as I was trying to match various themes from the soundtrack CD to scenes in the film. One or two comments mentioned Fett turning his head just after Luke pulls out his gun, and I couldn’t believe I had never noticed that before.

The music playing during the procession (sounds a bit like a funeral dirge) is one of my favourite motifs in the whole trilogy. A slightly slower version of the theme recurs a few minutes later on the CD and was originally due to appear during the early stages of the Luke/Vader duel. I spent ages trying to find it in the film before reading online that this second rendition was pulled last minute, since the duel was more suspenseful with no music.


Guide to Downloading Projects from Usenet

+++++ Guide to Downloading Projects from Usenet +++++

IMPORTANT: You must have purchased the official Blu-ray or digital HD releases of the films in question before downloading HD preservations and fan edits. The projects discussed in these forums must never be bought or sold.


The Users’ Network, or Usenet for short, is a non-centralised computer network of news servers created in 1980 for discussing various topics in newsgroups. After a message is posted to a newsgroup on a news server, it is copied to all the other news servers hosting that particular newsgroup. It can then be viewed by anyone with an account on one of these news servers. While such discussions now usually take place on internet forums instead, newsgroups have been increasingly used for file-sharing due to dramatic increases in internet connection speed over the last 15 years. The same technology used for sharing messages in the original text-based newsgroups has been adapted for sharing much larger music, video and application files in binary newsgroups such as alt.binaries.starwars. Content is uploaded and downloaded using software called a newsreader.

Brief Overview to Downloading from Usenet

To download projects from Usenet, you will need two things:

  • an account with a news server;
  • a newsreader.

I recommend starting with Free-Usenet for the news server. No personal details are required other than a valid email address. It can be used completely free of charge for as long as you like and with no download limits, albeit at a low speed of 1 Mbps (~122 KB/s). A 10 GB file would take roughly one day to download; much higher speeds are available at a price. Alternatively, you can sign up for a free trial with one of the major Usenet providers. This will give you very fast downloads at no cost for a limited time (usually up to one week), although possibly with a data cap.

NZBGet is an excellent newsreader for Windows, MacOS, Linux and Android. It is a very small program to install (only 8 MB), has a user-friendly interface, takes up few system resources, and is freeware. Note that NZBGet is a download client only, and cannot be used to upload files to newsgroups.

Once these are set up, acquiring projects is a two-stage process.

  1. A Usenet search engine, also called an indexer, is used to track down the relevant project. It provides a small NZB file for you to download, containing links to all the project files on the news server. NZB files are named after Newzbin, the first Usenet indexer to develop and use this format. A good free indexer for Original Trilogy projects is NZBKing.
  2. The NZB file is loaded into the newsreader, at which point the main download from the news server begins. Once this is complete, the newsreader will automatically verify your downloaded files against those stored on the news server, attempt to repair them if necessary, and finally unpack any RAR files.

Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Registering with a news server.
  • Sign up for a free account with Free-Usenet.
  • Check your email for your password and log in to Free-Usenet.
  • Click on “Free account”.
  • Click on “I’m not a robot” and complete the CAPTCHA.
  • Click on “Generate free account”.
  • The server username and password listed here will be needed by your newsreader.
  • Every 3 hours, your free subscription will expire and must be renewed from this page.
  1. Configuring a newsreader.
  • Download and install the latest stable release of NZBGet.
  • Run NZBGet. The user interface should appear in your web browser.
  • Click on “Settings” in the top bar.
  • Click on “NEWS-SERVERS” in the left-hand panel.
  • Complete the following settings:
    Server1.Name:        A server name such as "Free-Usenet" (optional)
    Server1.Port:        443 (used for an SSL-encrypted connection)
    Server1.Username:    The username listed in your Free-Usenet account details
    Server1.Password:    The password listed in your Free-Usenet account details
    Server1.Encryption:  Yes (to use SSL encryption for more security)
    Server1.Connections: 1 (the free account won't accept more than 1)
  • Click on “Test Connection” near the bottom to check the settings are correct.
  • Click on “Save all changes” at the bottom left followed by “Reload NZBGet”.
  1. Searching for a project with a Usenet indexer.
  • Visit NZBKing.
  • Input some key words for the project in the search bar and press Return.
  • Optional: click on “NFO” (if present) beside a project to read some information about it.
  • Optional: click on “Details” to see the project files, the upload date and the exact file size.
  • Click on the “NZB” button by the relevant project to download the NZB file.
  1. Downloading a project.
  • Run NZBGet if it isn’t already open.
  • Click on “+Add”.
  • Drag and drop the NZB file onto the pop-up window, or click on “Select file” and navigate to it.
  • Click on “Submit”. The download should begin: check the speed by the aeroplane at the top left.
  • Every 3 hours, your Free-Usenet account will expire and should be renewed as follows:
    • Shortly before the 3 hours are up, click on the big green arrow to pause the download.
    • Wait for your Free-Usenet account to expire, and then renew it for another 3 hours.
    • Enter the new password in NZBGet’s news server settings.
    • Click on “Save all changes” followed by “Reload NZBGet”.
    • Click on the big orange arrow to resume the download.
  • When the download is finished, it may take a few minutes for the RAR files to be verified,
    repaired (if needed) and finally unpacked to this directory: C:\ProgramData\NZBGet\complete.
  1. Additional notes on Free-Usenet account expiry.
  • If you don’t pause the download before your Free-Usenet account expires, NZBGet will start to think that articles are missing on the server, rather than realise that the server password is no longer valid. Consequently, the health of the download will slowly reduce from 100%. You can nevertheless follow the procedure in step 4 to renew your account and resume the download, the only difference being that NZBGet will have to repair the “missing” articles at the very end by acquiring some Par2 files.
  • If the health ever drops below the critical value (usually 90%, assuming there are enough Par2 files to repair 10% of the download), NZBGet will mark the status as “Failure” and move the download to the “History” tab. At this point, follow these steps to recover the download:
    • Renew your Free-Usenet account for another 3 hours.
    • Enter the new password in NZBGet’s news server settings.
    • Click on “Save all changes” followed by “Reload NZBGet”.
    • Click on the “History” tab and find the failed download.
    • Click on “Failure” and select “Retry failed articles”.
    • You should now find that the health is back to 100%.

Appendix 1: Popular Star Wars Projects Available on Usenet

The file sizes and uploaders are included to help you identify legitimate uploads rather than poorer quality re-encodes. Note that the file sizes include the Par2 recovery files.

Project Name Format Size Uploader
Harmy’s Despecialized Editions of SW v2.7, ESB v2.0, ROTJ v2.5 MKV ~25 GB each Obi-Have Kenobi
Harmy’s Despecialized Editions of SW v2.7, ESB v2.0, ROTJ v2.5 AVCHD 8 GB each Mallwalker
Chewtobacca’s DVD versions of Harmy’s SW v2.7 and ROTJ v2.5 DVD5 4 GB each Mallwalker
Team Negative 1’s 4K77 1080p No DNR v1.4 (use Binsearch) MKV 43 GB SomethingSomeone
Team Negative 1’s 4K77 1080p DNR v1.0 MKV 48 GB Obi-Have Kenobi
Team Negative 1’s 4K83 1080p No DNR v1.0 MKV 48 GB Obi-Have Kenobi
Team Negative 1’s SW Silver Screen Edition v1.6 BD50 36 GB Yenc-PP-A&A
Team Negative 1’s ESB Renegade Grindhouse BD25 23 GB Mallwalker


  • Chewtobacca’s DVD5 version of ESB v2.0 does not appear to have been uploaded to Usenet. However, it can be obtained by following the instructions in section 3, step 7 of HanDuet’s The Ultimate Introductory Guide.

Appendix 2: Usenet vs Torrents & Cloud Storage

Usenet has a number of advantages over other popular methods of downloading files.

  • Usenet is more private and secure than file-sharing via torrents. When downloading from Usenet, you are connected only to the news server and not to other downloaders (known as “peers”) as you would be with a torrent. There is thus no automatic uploading of content to other peers while you are downloading from Usenet.

  • News servers on Usenet usually have a high retention: files are often available for 8 to 10 years after being uploaded. Torrents are only available while they are being seeded and can dry up within a few weeks. Download links on cloud storage platforms such as Mega can also expire without warning if the owner either deletes or stops sharing the files.

  • Downloading from Usenet via a paid account with a news server is very fast, while torrents can be slow depending on the number and speed of the available peers. (That said, downloading from Usenet with a completely free account is generally rather slow.)

  • Usenet features the powerful verification and recovery of damaged or missing files, handled automatically by the newsreader. While torrents allow automatic file verification via checksums, there is no facility to repair damaged files. Content obtained from the cloud cannot usually be checked for download errors.

Appendix 3: Useful Settings in NZBGet

Completed and ongoing downloads are stored in C:\ProgramData\NZBGet\complete and C:\ProgramData\NZBGet\intermediate respectively. You can change these directories with DestDir and InterDir in the PATHS settings.

By default, NZBGet deletes the downloaded RAR files once they have been successfully unpacked. It also downloads the bare minimum number of Par2 files needed for file verification and repair (if needed), deleting them afterwards along with any SFV checksum files present.

  • To keep the RAR files after unpacking, set UnpackCleanupDisk to No in the UNPACK settings.
  • To download all the Par2 files and also keep them afterwards (along with SFV checksum files), set ParCheck to Force in the CHECK AND REPAIR settings, and empty ExtCleanupDisk in the UNPACK settings.

Appendix 4: File Verification and Recovery with Usenet

The successful recovery of partially corrupted files is a huge advantage of Usenet. Large files and folders are archived and split into multi-part RAR files before being uploaded to binary newsgroups such as alt.binaries.starwars. Uploaders usually include some “parity archive (version 2) files”, or Par2 files for short, alongside the RAR files. These are designed to help newsreaders with file verification and recovery at the end of the download process.

The newsreader first downloads the RAR files in pieces called blocks, verifying checksums at each stage. Occasionally, some blocks will be missing or damaged on the news server. Provided there are at least as many blocks in the available Par2 files as there are missing/damaged blocks in the RAR files, the newsreader will be able to completely restore the latter by downloading the required number of Par2 files. Uploaders are encouraged to produce enough Par2 files to repair 10% of the project. Hence there is no reason to panic if a Usenet indexer lists a project as being slightly incomplete.

Here is an extremely simplified example to illustrate the basic idea behind Par2 recovery. Suppose the file you wish to download consists of the following four blocks of eight bits:

1 0 1 0 1 1 0 1
0 1 1 1 0 1 0 0
0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0
1 0 1 0 0 1 0 1

Here they are with the row and column totals included:

1 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 = 5
0 1 1 1 0 1 0 0 = 4
0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 = 2
1 0 1 0 0 1 0 1 = 4
= = = = = = = =
2 1 4 2 1 3 0 2

The row totals can be written in binary, acting as simple checksums for each block. The parities of the column totals are now shown, with 0 for “even” and 1 for “odd”. This block of parities forms a Par2 file which has been provided by the uploader.

Block             Checksum
1 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 = 101
0 1 1 1 0 1 0 0 = 100
0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 = 010
1 0 1 0 0 1 0 1 = 100
= = = = = = = =
0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 ← Par2

Imagine the second block in the file has been corrupted on the news server. It might be entirely missing, or perhaps slightly damaged with an erroneous third bit.

Missing 2nd block                       Damaged 2nd block (3rd bit)

Block             Checksum              Block             Checksum
1 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 = 101                   1 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 = 101
x x x x x x x x = xxx                   0 1(0)1 0 1 0 0 = 100
0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 = 010                   0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 = 010
1 0 1 0 0 1 0 1 = 100                   1 0 1 0 0 1 0 1 = 100
= = = = = = = =                         = = = = = = = =
0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 ← Par2                  0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 ← Par2

As the newsreader downloads the blocks and verifies the checksums, it becomes apparent that there is a problem with the second block: the data is either missing or inconsistent with the checksum. The Par2 file now comes to the rescue, allowing the newsreader to completely restore the corrupted block. The three good blocks are added to the Par2 block bit by bit, and the parities of the column totals reproduce the original second block.

1 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 ← good 1st block
0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 ← good 3rd block
1 0 1 0 0 1 0 1 ← good 4th block
0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 ← Par2 recovery block
= = = = = = = =
0 1 1 1 0 1 0 0 ← recovered 2nd block

Further information on the Par2 recovery process can be found here:

Bluto, Original Trilogy Forums
September 2019

Guide to Downloading Projects from Usenet

Over the last couple of years, it has become increasingly difficult to track down the Star Wars preservations and fan edits discussed in the Original Trilogy forums. Invites to MySpleen, a private torrent tracker, have been closed since September 2017; many links on Uloz, a file-sharing site, have long since expired. While some content can be found on public torrent trackers, it is often re-encoded and of poorer quality.

One solution to acquire many of these projects is via binary newsgroups on Usenet. However, the learning curve can be a little steep with plenty of jargon to wade through. I have written the following guide to help fellow members of the OT community get started with Usenet, and hope it is useful.

If you feel anything in the guide below is incorrect, misleading or poorly worded, please do send me a private message (click on my avatar) and I shall endeavour to improve it.

Note: while Harmy’s popular Despecialized Editions are available on Usenet, NJVC’s Blu-ray ISO versions of these projects are not. Details of how to obtain the latter can be obtained from Solkap’s thread in the Star Wars Preservation forum.


All the actors who played the Emperor???

Thank you, SilverWook - that sounds a very plausible explanation and I’ll take it!

Not being a Trekkie in the slightest, I have never heard of these Talosions. According to Wikipedia, the pilot episode wasn’t aired back in 1965 but much of the footage was used for a two-part story in 1967 including this alien race. It may well have been an influencing factor for the casting of Marjorie Eaton.


All the actors who played the Emperor???

Thanks for sharing that link. There’s some great information there, particularly concerning the true identity of the actress in question. As for why a woman was cast in the role, one of the posters in that forum conjectures:

“It is interesting that they chose a woman for the role originally. I guess they really wanted the Emperor to appear weak and vulnerable by using a slender old lady.”

Perhaps… But I’m not convinced. A slender, old man could have been cast if the only criterion was to make the emperor seem weak and vulnerable. I suspect there is another reason why they chose a woman, and am still curious about it after all this time.


All the actors who played the Emperor???

Just returning to the original topic a mere 14 years later!

I have often wondered why Irvin Kershner/George Lucas (or the casting team) cast a woman in the role of the emperor in 1980 for ESB. It’s hard to tell admittedly, due to the dim lighting, the flickering hologram and also the superimposed chimp eyes. But it still seems a strange decision. The character is clearly supposed to be male: he is referred to as the “emperor” rather than “empress”, and Clive Revill’s voice is unambiguously male. Why then cast an elderly woman instead of an elderly man?

If this has ever been discussed in an interview or documentary, I’d be grateful for the details just to satisfy my curiosity. I can’t find any discussion of it in this forum.


Anyone else think Empire Strikes Back's Special Edition is actually better than the Theatrical Cut?

I prefer the original 1980 ESB, although I agree that of the special editions, ESB was the least butchered. Taking the main changes I can recall in turn:

  1. Recompositing and patching up effects. A good change, this. The speeders don’t look pasted onto the background in some shots, making the effects more believable. Fixing some of the speeder cockpit issues and the Wampa arm were also arguably good changes. (Although I must confess I had never noticed either of these until they were pointed out to me afterwards.)

  2. Extra Hoth Wampa scenes. I’m on the fence here. I thought the shots themselves were very well done, despite taking away a little suspense. As for the Wampa not being quite the same as in the other shots, there was already a discrepancy in the fleeting appearances from 1980. Adywan wrote at length about these - and fixed them - when making ESB:Revisited.

  3. New emperor scene (from 2004). While there was a clear lack of continuity between the 1980 emperor and 1983 emperor in both look and voice, the new ESB SE dialogue is an absolute travesty. Overall, I prefer the 1980 version but would have been happy with something akin to ESB:Revisted for this scene. (When I was a kid, I just assumed there had been a change in emperor between the events of ESB and ROTJ and didn’t worry too much about it…)

  4. Boba Fett redub (from 2004). Aarrgghh. No one will ever replace Jason Wingreen for me; his voice was absolutely perfect for the role. 1980/97 all the way.

  5. Bespin. I liked the new fly-by footage in the SE (as I did with Mos Eisley in the Star Wars SE), but preferred the claustrophobic interior shots from 1980.

  6. Luke’s scream. Only used in the 1997 version, and a bizarre addition which was thankfully removed in all future versions. Without this, the 1997 SE would be about neck and neck with the 1980 version for me.

  7. Alert my star destroyer… As many have mentioned before, this new line - together with the new shuttle footage - wrecked the pacing towards the end of the film. The original “Bring my shuttle” was also delivered perfectly, conveying a real feeling of annoyance. Perhaps some of the new footage could have been inserted elsewhere to good effect? I did like seeing Vader’s shuttle with the Tie escorts.

  8. Audio. I don’t have a separate sound system, relying instead on my TV’s inbuilt stereo speakers, so I can’t comment whether or not the audio was generally better or worse in the SE. But two things did strike me as worse. The slight echo from 1980 in the conversation between Luke and Vader in the large chasm is gone, taking away some atmosphere from that iconic scene. And Chewie’s growl while strangling Lando now completely drowns out some of Leia’s dialogue.


Dealing with People Selling Fan Projects

Seconded. Torrenting doesn’t have much of a learning curve if you read about the basics first, and uTorrent is pretty good. I use version 2.2.1 (build 25302), which I believe is the last one released before version 3 when the software became bloatware. It’s really small and works well.

When browsing torrent search engines (such various incarnations of the infamous “bay”), I would advise running your web browser in a sandbox such as Sandboxie. This should make it virtually impossible for any malware to get onto your system.