Microsoft will start with newsgroups which have virtually no traffic anymore. Notices will be put out regularly and directions will be given to the relevant Microsoft forum. For those who do not like the forum interface, Microsoft have been working on the NNTP Bridge which presents an NNTP interface to the user via Windows Live Mail and other newsreaders.
The NNTP Bridge is still a work in progress, but it works reasonably well in Windows Live Mail, and can be downloaded from this link.
I am using both the forum interface and the NNTP Bridge with a preference for the latter.
In some ways, I will be sorry to see them go. For anybody wanting to help others online, they were the easiest, quickest way to put out answers to questions. All Windows computers in latter years had a newsreader in the form of Outlook Express, Windows Mail and Windows Live Mail, and if a person wanted something else, there were other third party readers. It was all so easy..
Unfortunately, some of the MS newsgroups were plagued with those who only seeked to disturb and disrupt. Notable groups were XP General, IE7, Access and Vista General. The only newsgroups which were worse were prefixed ‘ALT.OS’
The trolls would have one believe that the ‘General’ in the name gave them the right to more or less post anything as long as it was posted using the operating system in the name of the group. Linux users (allegedly), not the professional type but those who just wanted to stick a knife in the side of Microsoft, used it to promote misinformation about Windows and, curiously, Linux too. I say ‘curiously’ but the truth is that these users knew less than nothing about Linux for the most part.
There is no doubt in my mind that the above was a contributing factor to the above, but Microsoft also wanted to bring all online support under their wing and present a unified face across public, MSDN and TechNet help groups.
It is the end of an era of which I was a part. Time to move on or move out. See you in the forums..