How to set up chat room capability on your windows pc using PIRCH software and IRC (Internet Relay Chat) technology

by Debbie Levitt

1. Download PIRCH. If you have Windows 95/98, download this. Save it to disk. Then extract and install it in the directory of your choice. Just remember where it is!!!

2. Once it's downloaded and installed, you'll want to run PIRCH. First thing we'll need to do is configure it. From the IRC menu in the top left, pull down "New IRC Server Connection." You'll get this:

Now, that's MY info, so don't fill yours in the same. Here's what to do.... Now let's save our profile. Click save profile. You should be in the pirch32 directory and you should see .ini files. Click once on Pirch32.ini causing that name to show up in the box where you'd type the name under which you want to save the profile. Click OK and say YES to the fact that you're overwriting the old one. OR you can do what I do, and make a .ini file for each network where you might go... so I saved mine here as austnet.ini.

You're done configuring, so click CONNECT and let's get on IRC!

3. First, let's make sure you're not in hot water over your nickname. If you logged onto an IRC server and saw a message from NickOP telling you this name is registered to someone else, then you must pick a new one immediately or NickOP might actually kick you off IRC (temporarily). Sometimes a nickname is registered, but you won't get that message. But you can be sure if you go to register a nickname that's already registered, you will find out!

IMPORTANT: every time we mention typing in commands (all commands begin with /), make sure you're typing this in the "buffer," which is marked in the following screen shot:

note the cursor (which would be blinking) in the bottom left - this section is the buffer, and this is where you click before you type. If the cursor is already blinking there, you do not need to click there first before typing. You can type commands from any window, but remember if you're NOT typing commands and you're part of a conversation, your words will show up in the channel where your cursor is blinking. So watch what room you're in!

4. Registering your nickname. To change your nickname from whatever it is right now to something else, type:
/nick NewName

Make sure you replace "NewName" with the name you want. Capital and lower case letters count as the same. That's all you have to do to change your nickname (though it doesn't change you in the configuration window - you still have to go back and do that). To do that, look again at the configuration panel picture from #2. You just go to the part that says LOGON NICK NAMES and change Nickname to the name you want, especially if it's registered as yours. Then you'll want to save the profile again and go on with IRC life.

Here's how to register your nickname so nobody else can use it:

5. Now that you have your identity, let's join a chat channel/room. To tell the difference between nicknames and rooms, all chat channels begin with #, such as The command to join rooms is:
/join #channelname, so you might type /join

That should propel you into the room... unless it's password protected! If that is the case, or you receive a message saying you need the "channel key," here's how to join (make sure you know the password!):/join #roomname password.

It's that easy! You can put one or more /join #roomname commands into the AUTOEXEC COMMANDS window. Just make sure every command is on a new line.

6. OK so you're in the room. You have a little place where you can type called the "buffer." Nobody sees what's in there until you hit enter. Then it goes to the whole room. You will see the conversation on one side and the list of nicknames of people in the room on the other side. People with "@" in front of their nicknames "have ops." That means they have power in this channel... power to kick people out, power to take and give such power, power to silence heretics. It can sometimes be necessary!

7. Let's set some more preferences for PIRCH. Pull down the OPTIONS menu and choose PREFERENCES. Click on the "GENERAL" tab, and you'll have:

Make sure yours looks like mine by checking and unchecking where appropriate. The important ones to know are the BEEPing ones. That means that if you have PIRCH in the background (like you're picking up email or looking at Netscape while PIRCH is open and running) and someone "says" something, you will hear your default BEEP letting you know you're missing conversation. I like this feature; it may drive you crazy.

Now click the LOGS tab within the PREFERENCES.

A LOG is a written record of the entire chat, and everything that went on in that window. Here you have choices about having PIRCH automatically keep logs of all the rooms you're in, or of messages you get, etc... I log all of my adventures in all channels but not private messages. Don't ask about DCC chats - that's another advanced thingy. I also choose for PIRCH to never reset the log. That means that each time I enter the same channel, it ADDS to the bottom of that log. So I have some logs that have grown to 2meg files over months. It's good to keep logs of chats - you never know when you'll want to refer to them! Although PIRCH uses the extension .log, they are really .txt files, so you can open them in NotePad or any word processor.

8. And now some lessons on special one-on-one interactions with other folks who are logged onto IRC when you are.
9. Did you know you can copy/paste text from any application and paste it into your channel for all to read? Well, you can. Just cut/copy as usual. Then make sure your cursor is blinking in the buffer of the window where you want that text to go, and paste by clicking CONTROL-V. See nothing? See something weird? Don't worry, it should all be there. Hit ENTER or RETURN to send it to the room and voila. If you wish to paste something to someone for a private message, that's best done in the query window. See #8 above, and then paste and hit enter/return.

You can also paste and type in URLs if you want people to check out a webpage or website. Make sure you type in the full web address including the http:// part. PIRCH will recognize it as a web address and hilight and underline it. You can then double-click on it to have that URL opened in your default browser.

9a. If you want to copy something you see in the chat window for use outside of PIRCH, you can. Just drag over it - whatever you highlight is AUTOMATICALLY copied to the clipboard; pasting into any application should dump it right in. You do not need to use "copy" or CONTROL-C, and you will probably find that as soon as you let go from the dragging that the highlighted area is no longer highlighted. Don't worry - the text has been copied.

10. Sometimes when you're in the middle of a chat, you may find that someone is lagging far behind... everyone has a 2 second ping except that one person with a 45 second ping. Maybe that someone is you! You (or the lagging soul) might want to try to change servers. If you're the lagger and you want to change servers, you will first disconnect from IRC but you don't have to quit PIRCH. Just find the "server window" (that's the tab with the name of the server you connected to, such as, and you'll notice one of the buttons says DISCONNECT. You can click that. Then, to the right of that, you'll see a server pull-down menu like you did when you configured PIRCH to begin with. Here you can type in another server that a friend might have suggested, such as Remember that changing the server from this window does NOT change the one you saved in your configuration profile. If you want to change the default server for good and save your profile that way, see #2.

11. Don't forget that you can change the fonts, resize windows, move windows, and totally personalize your screen and work area. Oh, almost forgot to mention how to leave a chat channel. Type:
/part #roomname or just click the X in the top right corner like any other Windows window.

For more advanced users:

1. Let's find out how to learn more about people on IRC!

This should well cover your early days on IRC. If you have questions, let me know!.

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