Microsoft phasing out NNTP Newsgroups

Near to the final release of Windows 7 I started wondering, where are the Windows 7 NNTP newsgroups? During Windows Vista’s development, Microsoft Public Newsgroups for that version of Windows came online as early as February 2006. I asked around, if Microsoft was planning on setting up NG’s for Windows 7. A lot of the responses were, not sure. At the same time, I discovered the Microsoft Answers Forums around mid 2009 and started lurking. Then I started participating in the pre-release Getting Ready for Windows 7 Forum. I have been in there ever since.

Microsoft has a long history of establishing newsgroups that channel users and issues into the newsgroup (NNTP) space where information is shared and problems can be addressed by the community. Currently, Microsoft hosts more than 2000 public newsgroups that cover virtually all of our products, along with more than 2,200 private newsgroups that reach specific audiences including Certgen, SBSC, Partner Programs, MVPs and Direct Access, among others.

Meanwhile, customers are turning online more and more for information and help. Microsoft is revamping its communities to make it easy for customers to find help and information when they need it. Using forums as the online support strategy will reduce the number of redundant resources and centralize content, making community contributions more broadly available and impactful.

Beginning in June 2010, Microsoft will begin closing newsgroups and migrating users to Microsoft forums that include Microsoft Answers, TechNet and MSDN. This move will centralize content, make it easier for contributors to retain their influence, reduce redundancies and make content easier to find. Overall, forums offer a better spam management platform that will improve customer satisfaction by encouraging a healthy discussion space.

Learn more here

I love NNTP newsgroups, I have used them for many years, but they do have a lot of draw backs, such as content expiring after 90 day’s, difficult to navigate and search, repetition of content and lack of roaming capabilities. So, if you had your account setup on one computer for instance, and you have to use another computer somewhere else, you had to log into to the newsgroup client on that machine, reconfigure and re-download all your newsgroups of interest. Not to mention you have to use the catchup feature peruse posts and discussions you might have missed. I remember back in 2008, I was participating in the Windows Vista NG’s, but something bad happened, my laptop died in March. I was doing studies for an IT course and was on dorm away from home. I couldn’t get access to another laptop, so my only choice would be to use the computers in the lab. Unfortunately, because all the client machines were setup on a Domain, I was not gonna be able to use the built in mail client to setup, configure and use newsgroups. I probably could, if I had asked the Admin to set me up with that access, but it was not gonna happen. I could have used the web based ng’s, but they were not as smooth and convenient as the desktop client. That’s where Microsoft’s Answers Forum comes in and I am very glad its here.

Because Microsoft Newsgroups are heavily used by the wider public, it makes it even harder to navigate and participate. This is why Microsoft has decided to retire them starting in June. There is no loss, but a lot of gain, easier ways to participate, anytime (anywhere). Microsoft Answers Forums are more personalized and social too and you can get better insight into who is helping out in the forums and get the best answers quickly. Moderation is also a key aspect, I have seen my days of trolls and flame wares in NNTP ng’s. Another cool capability is that content lives forever online, and its so much easier to find accurate answers. You can immediately do a Bing or Google search or search from within Answers forums themselves and find questions already answered. There are a host of other reasons why Forums are better and you can learn more here

Here are a list of Windows 7 Forums:

Other Microsoft Answers forum:


Windows 7 Forums: Community based Support now Available!

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