Microsoft has quietly told customers that it will stop participating in some online forums devoted to questions about Windows 7 and other products. The changes to these forums will take place in July 2018.
The forums listed below will no longer provide technical support. What this change means is that there will be no proactive review, monitoring, answering or answer marking of questions. These changes are being made because the products are reaching the end of life. Even though products like Windows 7 and 8.1 still have years left before they are officially retired.
Other products affected besides Windows 7 are Windows 8.1, Windows 8.1RT, Office 2010 and Office 2013, the Security Essentials antivirus and the early Surface and Surface Pro 2-in-1 devices.
Forums under the umbrella site “Microsoft Communities” located at answers.microsoft.com primarily consist of peer to peer questions and Microsoft questions in general. Microsoft employees have in the past posted to these threads, providing clarification, solutions to problems and in some cases fixes for peoples screw ups.
What will be dropped is the “official” line from the company in the subject line under discussion.
Other forms of support, including security updates, will continue to what the company scheduled end of the products support lifecycle ends. You can find the end of support lifecycle here: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/lifecycle/search.
The business side of support Technet oriented forums for businesses will be unchanged. The focus of answer.microsoft.com venue is for consumer not business. In an email from Susan Bradley “Business posters should still go over to the TechNet forums.” Bradley who is known for her patching processes: she wrote for years on the topic of Windows Secrets and moderates the PatchManagement.org mailing list where IT administrators discuss tradecraft.
The withdrawal of support forums took Bradley by surprise as the products like Windows 7 is supported until 2020 and as so what gives? Bradley says she can understand the decision, but as a person still using Windows 7 this decision does not reflect the reality of the use of the product. Others believe that these changes are being made to spur customers to adopt newer products like Windows 10, Office 365 and other newer software. Making the changes in this manner will come off as “less than subtle”. Some believe that this is Microsoft taking a firm stand in the fact that support will end for Windows 7 on Jan. 14, 2020 and they’re not playing chicken. There is speculation by some that Microsoft will not walk away from the TechNet forum because the business side is where the real customers are.
So if you encounter issues after Patch Tuesdays don’t expect quick responses.
Computer “A” Services is as always here to help if needed. We can be reached by calling 386-409-0320, stopping by the shop located on US1 two buildings (“Red Front Door”) north of the Dairy Queen.