For many users the Microsoft Answers forums are a valuable tool for troubleshooting issues and finding fixes. They also serve as a fantastic knowledgebase for beginners and experts alike. Microsoft has announced that it is cleaning up the forums, with threads for older Windows versions shutting down.
Think of this as a spring clean for Microsoft Answers. The company says it is stopping forum support for Windows 7, Windows 8.1, Windows 8.1 RT, and some others. This is an interesting decision as many of the platforms now not supported on Answers are still supported by Microsoft in terms of patches.
Either way, Microsoft says the following forums will no longer be supported:
- Windows 7, 8.1, 8.1 RT
- Microsoft Security Essentials
- Internet Explorer 10
- Office 2010, 2013
- Surface Pro, Surface Pro 2, Surface RT, Surface 2
- Microsoft Band – this topic will be locked. Users are invited to participate in Microsoft Band 2 topic.
- Mobile devices forum – Microsoft support will continue in “Other Windows mobile devices” topic
- Zune – this topic will be locked, but will remain available for browsing
As mentioned, some of these platforms are still supported or widely used in the market. This smacks of Microsoft telling users they have newer versions (like Windows 10 over Windows 7) and it’s time to upgrade.
Business as Usual
However, there is something good about this… it doesn’t matter. Yes, Microsoft Answers is a place where the company provides solutions to widespread problems and answers user quibbles. Still, there is no doubt that the most valuable resource on the forums are users themselves.
Often it is the community that provides an answer to a problem, a workaround to a bug, or helps a newbie find their feet. Microsoft’s input could be valuable, but the community’s input that is invaluable.
With that in mind, there’s nothing stopping the community from still creating threads on Windows 7 (for example). In turn, there’s nothing stopping anyone from responding to those threads and still developing the community.
The difference is, Microsoft will not be around with any official input.