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Frequently Asked Questions about mIRC

This is FAQ version 93
Latest FAQ Update: February 8th 2020

This FAQ attempts to answer the most frequently asked questions about mIRC. This FAQ will only answer simple questions on IRC itself since lots of info is already available on that. (Eventually read the IRC Intro included in mIRC). Not all functions and features of mIRC are explained in the FAQ; it merely serves as a good starting point. With the FAQ I hope to help you to get all possible basic problems solved, and to give you lots of good ideas about mIRC's scripting capabilities. I'm not the author of mIRC but I've spent quite some time beta testing it. I love mIRC for its small size, speed and useful tools... in particular, the popup menus and the scripting section are really great!

This FAQ as well as mIRC is still a work in progress! Most subjects in this file were prompted by questions in the Usenet newsgroups alt.irc.mirc and alt.irc.questions. Recently some mIRC dedicated Discussion Forums have been added to the mIRC website who offer more support and contribute to the FAQ in a great way! Please continue to post your questions there (and answers as well), as those places are my learning place as well. ;-) This FAQ might not be totally complete yet, but to the best of my abilities I try to be correct. Do not hesitate to provide additional information or corrections for the FAQ.

The first part (Sections 1 - 6) of this file is the actual FAQ. The last part (Sections 7 + 8) consists of a tutorial or reference manual for mIRC's "programming" features. If you want to learn the 'what and how' of creating Aliases, Popups and Remote Commands and Events in mIRC, check out the last part of this file. I can highly recommend these sections to you all!

Thanks to all the people who voluntarily contributed to this FAQ. In particular Mookies, Bryan and Li0nheart for making additional parts and html-ing. Shorty, Keyman and Qasimtoep, thanks for fixing a lot of spelling and grammar bugs! Thanks to Junyor for his contributions from the alt.irc.mirc FAQ.

If you have any comments about this FAQ you are welcome to contact us.

If you have further questions about mIRC, please visit the IRC channel #mIRC on EFnet, IRCnet, Undernet or Dalnet. BUT, if you ask a question that is really well handled by this or other FAQ's, then please accept that you be pointed back to this or other help files.

The latest info on mIRC will always be found on the mIRC website.

Copyrights - You are allowed to provide and distribute the mIRC FAQ -as is- by or on any medium as long as you make it available for free. You are not allowed to change anything in the file or charge any amount of money for your services. If you want to copy only certain parts for whatever use, make sure to mention my name and the FAQ as the source of information with every single quote whenever you publish it. Copyright © Tjerk Vonck 1995-2021. All Rights Reserved.


Table of Contents


1 What is mIRC?

mIRC is an IRC client. For those of you new to the Internet, IRC stands for Internet Relay Chat. The IRC network is a virtual meeting place where people from all over the world can meet and talk (well, type). On IRC you meet others on "channels" (rooms, virtual places, usually with a certain topic of conversation) to talk in groups, or privately. There is no restriction to the number of people that can participate in a given discussion, or the number of channels that can be formed on IRC. As a user you run a "client" program like mIRC which connects to a "server" in an IRC network. All servers are interconnected and pass messages from user to user over the IRC network. One server can be connected to several other servers and up to hundreds of clients. If you need more information on IRC go to mIRC's www Homepages where a lot of additional information is given.

mIRC attempts to provide a user-friendly interface for use with the IRC network. It has a lot of features such as:

  • UTF-8 support with font linking.
  • A powerful dynamic /help command.
  • Netscape, Mosaic and MS Internet Explorer support .... surf the www waves !!
  • An 'off you go' Toolbar.... and even Tooltips !
  • A very handy Switchbar.
  • A user programmable menu bar.
  • A simple and smart CTCP commands and Events handler.
  • Support for wav and midi sound files.
  • Colored text to ease reading.
  • Simple, fully configurable aliases.
  • Configurable popup menus.
  • Full DCC Send/Get/Chat support including passive DCC.
  • Full configurable fonts and colors and support of bold, underline and reverse text.
  • Built in Ident and Finger server.
  • A simple but powerful and safe built-in File server.
  • Programmable Function keys.

The various parts of the program have been designed with the aim of simplifying and speeding up your IRC sessions. mIRC is made to be very configurable... there are a lot of simple switches you can use to personalize mIRC to your needs. And unlike a lot of other IRC programs mIRC still gets more and more mature every new version. You can define your own commands and implement your personal reactions to commands others give to your client. All this does not make mIRC a bot program, and it doesn't even support IRCii scripting and possibly a large number of other things... But it has much of the same functionality, thanks to the Remote Commands and Events and various other features... and what do you need a war script for, anyway? I think mIRC will help you to focus on the main point; IRC is for Chatting ....

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2 Latest News on mIRC

For the latest news on version releases and other updates, see the latest news page.

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3 What do I need to run mIRC? Where do I get it? How to register?

Requirements - Besides running MS-Windows you need to have an Internet account and a properly installed Winsock. If you can use FTP, Email, News or other Internet programs from within Windows already, you can safely assume you have both. If you do not have your Internet access properly configured on your PC you should deal with that first.

Distribution - mIRC is spread over the world by advanced distribution schemes of primary and mirror FTP sites, which makes it available from hundreds of places all over the world. The most up-to-date list of places where you can get mIRC is the download page on the mIRC Homepages... You could also join the IRC channel #mIRC to get the latest version or to ask all remaining questions... (But: be very sure this FAQ doesn't answer your question)

Registration - mIRC is a shareware program. This system of distributing programs, as shareware, shows the true spirit of the Internet. You can download mIRC for free and give it a try. If during or after the evaluation period you decide to continue to use mIRC, you're asked to pay a small registration fee. This will allow us to go on developing and supporting mIRC.

The mIRC help file and the registration page give you all information needed to register mIRC.

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4 Short Introduction to IRC.

(Read more in the IRC Intro file included in mIRC (!) and available on the mIRC www pages)

What is IRC - IRC stands for "Internet Relay Chat". It was originally written by Jarkko Oikarinen in 1988. Since starting in Finland, it has been used in over 60 countries around the world. IRC is a multi-user chat system, where people meet on "channels" to talk in groups, or privately. There is no restriction to the number of people that can participate in a given discussion, or the number of channels that can be formed on IRC. All servers are interconnected and pass messages from user to user over the IRC network. One server can be connected to several other servers and up to hundreds of clients. Several larger and smaller IRC networks exist.

On IRC several people can join the same channel and see each other. Depending on its topic and time of the day a channel can be VERY crowded. Channels can also be quite chaotic, or calm. Channels can be open to everyone but also closed and private and only open to friends. On the large IRC networks (EFnet) as many as 20000 channels can exist, on smaller networks there will be fewer channels. Channels on IRC are dynamic in the sense that anyone can create a new channel, and a channel disappears when the last person on it leaves.

Language - The most widely understood and spoken language on IRC is English. However, as IRC is used in many different countries, English is by no means the only language. If you want to speak some language other than English, (for example with your friends), go to a separate channel and set the topic to indicate that. Similarly, you should check the topic when you join a channel to see if there are any restrictions about language. On a non-restricted channel, please speak a language everybody can understand. If you want to do otherwise, change channels and set the topic accordingly.

Greeting - It is not necessary to greet everybody on a channel personally. Usually one "Hello!" or equivalent is enough. Also, don't expect anybody to greet you back. On a channel with 20 people that would mean one screenful of hellos. It makes sense not to greet everyone, in order not to be rude to the rest of the channel. If you must say hello to somebody you know, do it with a private message. The same applies to good-byes. Also note that using your client's facilities to automatically say hello or good-bye to people is extremely poor etiquette. Nobody wants to receive autogreets. They are not only obviously automatic, but while you may think you are being polite, you are actually conveying yourself as insincere. If some body wants to be autogreeted when they join a channel, they will autogreet themselves.

Behaviour - Remember, people on IRC form their opinions about you only by your actions, writings and comments, so think before you type. If you use offensive words, you'll be frowned upon. Do not "dump" (send large amounts of unwanted information) to a channel or user. This is likely to get you kicked off the channel or killed from IRC. Dumping causes network "burps", causing connections to go down because servers cannot handle the large amount of traffic. Other prohibited actions include:
* Harassing another user. Harassment is defined as behavior towards another user with the purpose of annoying them.
* Annoying a channel with constant beeping. (Therefore most clients cannot beep at all)
* Any behavior reducing the functionality of IRC as a CHAT medium.

How to join IRC - The first time you run mIRC you have to fill in some information about yourself (your real name, email address, nickname, IP address and Local Host name) under File/Setup/IRC_Servers and Local_Info, as well as the IRC server with which you want to connect. It's usually best to connect to a geographically close server. When you're new to IRC just pick a server from the prefab list. On IRC you are known to others by a nickname. You are free to choose any nickname you like, up to 9 characters long. Do not use spaces and avoid unusual ASCII characters in your nickname. It is possible you find people that use the same nickname and you may be asked to switch nicknames to avoid confusion.

Getting started - To join conversations, send private messages, and to handle and control mIRC you need to learn some simple commands. All commands start with a forward slash, the "/". Anything that does not begin with "/" is assumed to be a message to someone and will be sent to your current channel, or to the person you are chatting with in a private chat (see below). A list with the most used commands on IRC is given in the mIRC help file.

Finding your way on IRC - To join a channel, type /join #channelname. Try "/join #irchelp" or "/join #mirc" to give it a try... That's it! Once you get to the channel, you will see people talking. It will probably look like this:

{John} Hello Pat, are you new to IRC too ?
{Jake} I dont agree there :-(
{East-r} Can sb give me that too ?? I couldnt find it before
* East-r smiles
{Pat} Nope, I just have a simple question... I think...

Note that you will often come in during the *middle* of a conversation. Unless you're familiar with the channel you may want to sit and watch it for a minute or two to see what the conversation is about. Often the channel name (for instance, #Twilight_Zone) has nothing to do with what conversation goes on on the channel (#Twilight_Zone does *not* have discussion about the TV show "Twilight Zone"). So if you join #baseball, don't be surprised if you hear about the SuperBowl picks or even the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame Museum! To start talking, just type! And when you're done saying what you have to say, just hit the [return] key. You can start with something simple like "hello!". You don't have to type <nickname> hello! because IRC will insert <nickname> before all of your channel messages. In the channel's title bar you will see the channel's name and perhaps its topic. If you choose to leave a channel, just type /part #channelname

In the channel window that opens once you join a channel you'll see an alphabetical list of people that are on the channel on the right side of the window. Some of them have a @ in front of their name to indicate they are the channel operators. A Channel Operator is someone who has control over a specific channel. A Channel Operator can also decide if control is shared or not. The first person to join the channel automatically receives Channel Operator status. Channel operators are the 'rulers' of a particular channel. This means they can kick you out of their channel for any reason. If you don't like this, you complain to them or start your own channel and become a channel operator there yourself.

Read the help - As soon as you joined your first channels and spent some time on IRC you will see there are a lot more commands and possibilities for you to discover on IRC. You might want to read the full version of this IRC Intro on the mIRC www pages. Almost all specific capabilities of mIRC are explained in the help file that came with the package. You just have to do the reading. :-)

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5 Some short Notes and Tips on mIRC.

1. Protect yourself from viral infections on IRC by never ever accepting files from strangers, and by never ever opening executables, scripts or other files that could contain macro's. And use a good virus scanner for every file people sent to you!

2. The Channels List dialog has improved a lot. Full Channel Name and Topic search is supported in an easily understood dialog and you can now make mIRC filter away all unwanted channels by simply setting search and suppress keys. Parents can easily filter away offensive channel list items and password protect their filtering!

3. The /uwho <nickname> command provides you with an improved interface with information on the person. You can store and fetch user info and addresses and view all kinds of ctcp information in it.

4. The help menu has been made dynamic to display all .hlp files in mIRC's directory, as well as any .txt files, for quick access. Also internal aliases are added that match the help filenames, so if you have the file "ircintro.hlp" in mIRC's directory you can type /ircintro <topic> ! (like /help <topic>) You can add whatever help files you like to mIRC's help menu! Besides the mIRC FAQ, the IRC Intro file is also available in windows help file format from the mIRC www pages.

5. You can protect yourself against people who are flooding you with the new automatic anti-flood system. Look under File/Options/Flood/. A server usually disconnects you for sending too much data to it in a certain period of time, *or* if you try to send it data when it hasn't finished processing your previous data. The new flood protect makes sure -others- cant make you to send too much data to the server. Usually a server has a buffer of about 512 bytes. mIRC therefore counts the number of bytes you've sent to a server and if this exceeds a certain number, mIRC waits for the server to be ready again, before it continues sending data. In the mean time it nicely buffers unsend lines. This should protect you properly from all sorts of ctcp floods and so on... You set the amount of bytes mIRC may safely send (for instance 450 bytes), the amount of lines it may buffer (like 20), the amount of lines it may store maximal per user (like 3) and how long the flooder should be ignored (like 15 secs) by the command /flood 450 20 3 15 This flood control method *only* works for messages being triggered by other users. So you can still flood *yourself* off the server. (like with the /list command)

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In the next part of the FAQ you will find the actual mIRC FAQ with features, tips and answers to questions about mIRC.