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Microsoft Public Newsgroups

Closure of Microsoft Public Newsgroups


The following message was posted in May 2010 by Microsoft® on FrontPage and Expression Web newsgroups running on the msnews.microsoft.com server. A similar message has been posted on all other newsgroups on that server. The messages have been propagated to all other servers that host the microsoft.public groups, but some may have been deleted as SPAM.

What is Happening?

This message is to inform you that Microsoft will soon begin discontinuing newsgroups and transitioning users to Microsoft forums.

Why?

As you may know, newsgroups have existed for many years now; however, the traffic in the Microsoft newsgroups has been steadily decreasing for the past several years while customers and participants are increasingly finding solutions in the forums on Microsoft properties and third party sites. This move will unify the customer experience, centralize content, make it easier for active contributors to retain their influence, mitigate redundancies and make the content easier to find by customers and search engines through improved indexing. Additionally, forums offer a better user and spam management platform that will improve customer satisfaction by encouraging a healthy discussion in a clean community space. To this end, Microsoft will begin to progressively shift available resources to the forums technology and discontinue support for newsgroups.

NNTP Bridge

[Edit: See notes below]

In addition to offering a compelling online browser experience, for those users who prefer to use an NNTP (newsgroup) reader to participate in the newsgroups community, we have developed a solution called the NNTP Bridge which allows a user to connect a variety of supported NNTP readers to the forums they would like to participate in and continue having the NTTP reader functionality. You can find instructions on how to download and set up the NNTP Bridge at Microsoft's Connect site

Which Newsgroups Are Affected by this Shutdown?

All public newsgroups will eventually be closed between June 1, 2010 and October 1, 2010. Microsoft will be closing newsgroups in a phased approach, starting with the least active newsgroups and moving eventually to more active ones throughout the course of the next six months.

When will this Happen?

Effective June 1, 2010 this newsgroup will be closed.

Where Should I go with the Closure of this Newsgroup?

Microsoft has a large selection of forums, many of which cover either the same or closely related technologies to the ones found in the newsgroups. The forums have seen amazing growth and are an excellent place to continue the discussion.

Each message then suggests a replacement forum, the suggested FrontPage and Expression Web forums are:

Newsgroup Recommended Forum
microsoft.public ->  
.frontpage.addins Answers - PhotoDraw, FrontPage and Works
.frontpage.client Answers - PhotoDraw, FrontPage and Works
.frontpage.extensions.unix Answers - PhotoDraw, FrontPage and Works
.frontpage.extensions.windowsnt Answers - PhotoDraw, FrontPage and Works
.frontpage.programming Microsoft suggests: Microsoft Office Customization and Programming
but Answers - PhotoDraw, FrontPage and Works is a better choice.
.expression.discussion Expression Studio Forums
.expression.webdesigner Expression Web and SuperPreview


The message continues:

Should you want to visit the other Microsoft Forums, please go to the Microsoft Communities forums page

Who Should I Contact with any Questions?

Send any questions about the process, recommended forums and timing to NNTP@microsoft.com


Community Bridge

An alternative to the Microsoft NNTP Bridge(s) is available from Codeplex. This program provides all the functionality of the combined Microsoft NNTP Bridges, with more features, fewer bugs, and faster operation.

To install and set up the Forums see the Community Bridge documentation


Microsoft NNTP Bridge

If you intend to use the Microsoft NNTP Bridge to access the forums, there is a complication not mentioned in the above quote:

There are two NNTP bridges - one for the Answers forum, one for the Expression forum (the latter also gives access to the MSDN and Technet forums). Both these bridges are configured to use the same IP address (127.0.0.1), but different ports. However, some newsreaders on some operating systems will not handle two different ports on the same server, so some fiddling needs to be done.

Options:

  1. (Default) Try using the same server address for both, and changing the Port no:
    • Server: 127.0.0.1 -- Port: 119 for Expression
    • Server: 127.0.0.1 -- Port: 120 for Answers
  2. Change the servers
    • Server: 127.0.0.1 -- port 119 for Expression
    • Server: localhost -- port 120 for Answers
  3. Use the Hosts file to "invent" new servers
    1. Open the hosts file in NotePad (run as Administrator in Vista and Windows 7)
    2. Add lines:
      127.0.0.1   answersforum.ms
      127.0.0.1   otherforums.ms

      and save
    3. Set up the newsreader for
      • Server: otherforums.ms -- port 119 for Expression
      • Server: answersforum.ms -- port 120 for Answers

Note that generic instructions for setting up newsreaders and the forums for the NNTP bridges are at Connect