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How to Use the Microsoft Product Support Newsgroups
Expectations of Service
Microsoft's Role: Microsoft does not offer formal support for the communities you'll find here. Instead, our role is to provide a platform for people who want to take advantage of the global community of Microsoft customers and product experts. Microsoft may monitor content to ensure the accuracy of the information you'll find, but any information provided by Microsoft staff is offered "AS IS" with no warranties, and no rights are conferred. You assume all risk for your use.
Microsoft MVPs: Microsoft MVPs (Most Valuable Professionals) are the most active experts in technical communities recognized by Microsoft for their past quality participation, demonstrated practical expertise and passion for technology. While Microsoft MVPs come from a wide range of backgrounds and professions, all share a willingness to give their time, expertise, and advice to enhance the technical skills of others. For more information on the MVP program and how you can become an MVP, see http://mvp.support.microsoft.com/.
Rules of Conduct
Appropriate Language: The purpose of our communities is to exchange technical information and expertise about Microsoft products. Please avoid personal attacks, slurs, and profanity in your interactions.
Relevance to Topics: Please make sure that your postings in newsgroups and chats are relevant to the subject at hand. It is normal for some topics to drift from the stated subject. However, to ensure maximum benefit for everyone, we encourage you to keep your postings as close to the subject as possible.
Advertising/Solicitation: These communities were created as a forum for providing peer-to-peer assistance related to using Microsoft products and services. We ask that you refrain from posting unsolicited advertisements that do not pertain directly to the intended use and purpose of the newsgroup or chat.
Confidentiality: Please keep in mind that our communities are public spaces, so don't post anything that you don't want the world to see. Credit card numbers, product keys, and other confidential information, including anything covered under a non-disclosure agreement (NDA), should not be posted to a newsgroup, chat, or other community.
Chat Code of Conduct
As part of Microsoft's commitment to make Microsoft community Chat a great place to meet and interact with others around the world, you agree to abide by our code of conduct. Your commitment to these guidelines in all of your Microsoft community chats ensures a positive experience for all participants.
Thanks for following this code of conduct and Microsoft Community Chats! We reserve the right to amend or change the code of conduct at any time and encourage you to periodically review these guidelines to ensure you are in compliance.
What is a newsgroup?
A newsgroup is a place online where people interact by posting and reading messages about topics that are of interest to them and the rest of a community. Posts remain on the Microsoft newsgroups for 90 days before they expire.What are the Microsoft newsgroups?
For a number of years, Microsoft has created the Microsoft.public newsgroup hierarchy and made it available to anyone on the Usenet. Thousands of Microsoft customers at all levels of expertise post in these groups today, creating the content, sharing information, and contributing ideas. A wide range of newsgroups is available, covering many Microsoft products, technologies, and topics.
Why use the Microsoft newsgroups?
Newsgroups are a valuable source of information. You can find out what your peers think, and get information from people who use the same products and technologies you use. Many people derive great satisfaction from helping others or sharing their points of view in the newsgroups.
How do I use the Microsoft newsgroups?
Microsoft provides an HTML interface to make using newsgroups as easy as clicking on a Web page. The left side of the page provides a list of newsgroups and topics. After you select a newsgroup, you can check out interesting posts, search the newsgroup to find specific topics, answer a question, or post your own questions to the group.
Although the Web page interface is the easiest to use, these same newsgroups are also available at the msnews.microsoft.com NNTP server. You must use a client (see below) such as Outlook Express to access the NNTP server directly in this manner.
What are Most Valuable Professionals?
MVPs are individuals recognized and awarded by Microsoft for sharing their advice and technical assistance to others in Microsoft peer-to-peer online areas. These individuals represent a wide variety of backgrounds and professions, but they share the basic characteristics of having very strong technical skills in one or more Microsoft products or technology areas and the willingness to share that knowledge with others. MVPs are awarded for their past contributions to one or more online communities. They are recognized by their peers and by Microsoft Support Engineers and Team Managers who look for consistent and accurate technical answers posted in response to customer questions and comments.
The enthusiasm of the MVPs combined with their positive contributions creates strong communities.
Client A tool used to read newsgroup posts. Outlook Express acts as a newsgroup client. HTML clients display newsgroup information on a Web page.
Cross-Post Sending a single post to more than one newsgroup at the same time.
Hierarchy A collection of newsgroups gathered together by broad topical or structural similarity, e.g. "microsoft.public" groups related to Microsoft, and "alt" groups, which are managed and distributed differently from other hierarchies.
INN "InterNetNews," the name of a specific Unix program that acts as a newsgroup server and speaks the NNTP protocol.
INS "Internet News Service," the name of the Microsoft newsgroup server, a standard part of Windows 2000.
News The generic name for the Usenet.
Newsgroup A particular group within the Usenet. In October 2000, there were more than 100,000 newsgroups. Each newsgroup is named according to a hierarchical convention. Categories such as "rec," "comp," or "misc" identify the general subject of the newsgroup. Additional terms are sometimes added, uniquely defining the newsgroup within a collection of others. Examples:comp.lang.perl.misc, rec.pets.cats, microsoft.public.access.
Newsgroup feed The NNTP connection that enables newsgroup servers from different Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to send posts to each other.
NNTP "Network News Transport Protocol, " the name of a protocol that controls the request and exchange of Usenet messages.
Post An individual Usenet message. Also, the act of sending an individual Usenet message to a server that will display it in the newsgroup.
Server A program that acts as a host for clients. Clients post and read from servers.
Spam Spam is an unsolicited e-mail message sent to many recipients at one time, or a news article posted simultaneously to many newsgroups. Spam is the electronic equivalent of junk mail. In most cases, the content of a spam message or article is not relevant to the topic of the newsgroup or the interests of the recipient; spam is an abuse of the Internet in order to distribute a message (usually commercial or religious) to a huge number of people at minimal cost.
Thread A collection of posts that reference each other. Threads are "trees"; they start with an initial post, then branch to all the posts that respond to it. Each response may be replied to as well. Threads may contain many branches and leaves, only a single branch, or none at all.
Usenet The collection of all posts publicly distributed through NNTP.
Microsoft makes using newsgroups as easy as clicking a Web page. Below you'll find information on how to access newsgroups using a Web-based newsreader.
Internet Explorer 4.0 and newer versions and Netscape 4.6 and newer versions allow you to display and join newsgroup discussions directly in your browser.
Included in this page are instructions for:
Finding Newsgroups in the ListClick any topic in the list on the left, and subtopics or newsgroups will appear under it. Every entry in the list with a plus sign (+) next to it is a topic heading, and can be expanded if you click it. Newsgroups will not have plus signs next to them. Click a newsgroup to display the list of messages for that newsgroup in the upper-right frame.
After a topic is expanded, the plus sign (+) changes to a minus sign (-). Click the minus sign to collapse the topic and hide all its subtopics and newsgroups from view.
Reading MessagesClick a newsgroup to display the list of messages for that newsgroup in the upper-right frame. The messages are ordered by date with the most recently posted messages at the top of the list. Click any message to display the content in the lower-right frame.
A plus sign (+) next to a message indicates that others have replied to it. To see the responses, click the plus sign. The responses will appear indented under the original message. Click the minus sign (-) next to a message to collapse the list of responses and hide them. A message with no plus sign or minus sign means that no one has responded to it. To expand the whole newsgroup and display all the responses in the list, click Expand all at the top of the newsgroup. Conversely, to collapse the list if the list is already expanded, click Collapse All at the top of the newsgroup.
To see other pages, click the arrows (>> or <<) at the top or bottom of the newsgroup. To see a specific page, specify the page number in the Page field and click Go.
If a message has a file attached to it, the name of the attachment appears next to Attachments at the top of the message. To open the attached file, click the file name.
The lower-right frame has the New Post,Post Reply, and Search buttons, and the Reply (E-mail), and Forward (E-mail) links. Click these to post messages, search for messages, or send e-mail to newsgroup members.
Searching for MessagesYou can search newsgroups for specific messages if you click Search in the lower-right frame. You can search for up to five criteria: newsgroup, message sender, subject, message body, and date.
When you click Search, a search window will appear for you to enter your search criteria. By default, the Look in field displays the current newsgroup. To broaden your search outside the current newsgroup, click the arrow to the right of the Look in field and select a broader topic category from the drop-down list. Then specify your other search criteria in the remaining four fields (any of them can be left blank except for date range), and then click Search.
Messages that match your criteria will appear in a form similar to that of the sorted newsgroup. Click a message in the list in the upper frame to view the content in the lower frame.
Posting a New MessageWhen you click New Post in the lower-right frame, a new message window will appear. Enter your name, your e-mail address, and the subject of your message in the fields at that top of the window. By default, the currently selected newsgroup appears in the Newsgroups field. You can also attach a file to your new message.
Type your message in the Message field, and then click Send to post your message to the newsgroup so that others can read it and respond to it. Your message will appear near the top of the newsgroup after it is processed.
Posting a Reply to a MessageSelect the message that you want to reply to in the upper-right frame. Click Post Reply in the lower-right frame and a new message window will appear. Enter your name and e-mail address in the fields at the top of this window. By default, the current newsgroup and the subject of the message that you are replying to are already filled in. You can also attach a file to your message.
By default, the content of the message you are replying to appears in the Message field under the "Original Message" line. Write your response above this text. After your finish typing your message, click Send to post your reply to the newsgroup so that others can read it and reply to it. Your message will appear indented under the message that you responded to. Click the plus sign (+) next to the original message that you responded to to see your response.
Responding to a Message Through E-mailSelect the message that you want to respond to in the upper-right frame. Click Reply (E-mail) in the lower-right frame and a new e-mail message window will appear. By default, the e-mail address of the person you are responding to is already filled in, as well as the subject.
By default, the content of the message you are replying to appears in the message area under the "Original Message" line. Write your response above this text. After your finish typing your message, send the e-mail. The newsgroup member will receive your response in e-mail, but no message will be posted to the newsgroup.
Forwarding a Message Through E-mailSelect the message that you want to forward to someone in the upper-right frame. Click Forward (E-mail) in the lower-right frame and a new e-mail message window will appear. On the To line, enter the e-mail address of the person you want to forward this e-mail to, and then send the e-mail. No message will be posted to the newsgroup.
Adding an Attachment to a MessageTo add an attachment, click Browse and then find your file in the folder directory that appears. To attach the file, either double-click the file name, or click the file name and then click Open. Only one file can be attached per message. Restrict the size of your attachment to 1 MB or less.