Microsoft sends along word about a transition from USENET newsgroups to web-based forums for community support.

On June 1, Microsoft will be progressively closing newsgroups and helping active newsgroups users migrate their discussions to the refreshed Microsoft forums that include Microsoft Answers, TechNet and MSDN. This decision was made in an effort to provide the best community and support resources and experience to our customers with social features and functionalities that address their feedback and needs. 

Newsgroups run on an outdated and discontinued platform that is no longer supported, making them vulnerable to spam and other usability issues. As a result of our continuous investment in community and the rise of social media, growth in our forums has been consistently increasing since their launch. Today, we see more than 15 million customer visits per month in Microsoft forums with an average growth of 12% month-over-month. Community participation in newsgroups has declined by 48% in the last fiscal year.

Moving to forums aligns the end user experience with current market trends, reduces the number of redundant support resources with centralized, searchable content, allows users to identify content contributors across forums, and makes contributions more broadly available and impactful. Forums are also moderated by Microsoft to ensure content is accurate and to encourage richer conversations. This will untimely offer a better customer experience and is in step with the broader industry trend toward support forums that fully leverage search and social media functionality.

In order to communicate this transition to all of our newsgroup members, we will begin a phased approach to this shutdown, focusing first on newsgroups with minimal traffic. Reminders that newsgroups are closing will be posted in each newsgroup well in advance of its closure with guidance for moving the conversation to a Microsoft forum and sharing links to forums covering similar discussions in newsgroups when possible.

We will continually update our newsgroups site with additional information about timing and guidance for customers throughout this transition.