back to article Microsoft pulls the plug on Windows 7, 8.1 support forums

Holdouts to Windows 7, 8.1, and 8.1 RT won't be able to ping Microsoft's own forums for tech support from the company anymore. The Redmond software behemoth announced on Friday that, come next month, its staff will no longer be combing the official forums for 13 outdated products to offer support advice and assistance. Users …

  1. pip25
    Meh

    Not sure how big of a loss this is

    It's been a while since I found a thread on these forums that contained meaningful information from a Microsoft employee regarding an issue I've been trying to solve... Actually, it's been such a long time, I don't even remember it happening. Ever.

    1. Phil Kingston Silver badge

      Re: Not sure how big of a loss this is

      As useful as Windows Network Diagnostics being the default button when you can't access a network location.

      1. Tikimon Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Not sure how big of a loss this is

        VirtualFanboi666 (Microsoft MVP):

        "This post is not relevant for this forum, which is only for network errors involving Token Ring on Windows 10 for Elbonian language packs, even though the same diagnosis and fixes apply to a common problem with all versions of Windows for all languages. Please repost your question in the appropriate forum, good luck finding the right one, and too bad about the time wasted. Since the 45 useful replies by users solving their own problems makes Microsoft look like the uncaring, clueless fu**s they are, this post has been locked and will no longer be updated."

        Thanks to crap like that from their anointed idiots, a knowledge forum without Microsoft's involvement would work BETTER. Good riddance!

        1. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: Not sure how big of a loss this is

          I've noticed this as well. I think it has recently taken the top spot for most annoying forum post over the people on stackoverflow who feel the need to put "This question has been asked before. Please look there [no link] and ask again if that doesn't answer your question" on all the posts just so the first three stackexchange links that come up for any search will have them.

      2. jelabarre59 Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: Not sure how big of a loss this is

        As useful as Windows Network Diagnostics being the default button when you can't access a network location.

        Even better is the "Update Troubleshooter" you run when MSWin can't install updates. It looks at your system and says "oh, you have available updates to install. Would you like to install them now?"

    2. no_handle_yet

      Re: Not sure how big of a loss this is

      Hi pip25, thank you today for your question

      If I see correctly you are saying it is long time since a thread here was found that had information regarding your issue.

      Please, don't worry. I am here to help.

      So I can give you the best help can you give me your exact version of windows. I also need you to make good all patches from the windows update and also to try clearing your cache from your browser.

      Have you rebooted your computer since the problem happened ?

      Please be assured that with the answer to your questions we can start to help.

      Regards

      no_handle_yet (Windows MVP)

      1. edmr

        Re: Not sure how big of a loss this is

        oh yeah typical windoze "MVP" (MVP my ass), its the same "MVP" from India that calls you to "fix" the virus issues that you have.

        1. AMBxx Silver badge

          Re: Not sure how big of a loss this is

          I had a recent problem with Azure rights affecting the ability to synchronise Windows settings between PCs. The support forum's suggestion to previous posters was to wipe and reinstall.

          Fortunately, someone else found the correct answer - just change the obscure setting in Azure.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not sure how big of a loss this is

        Does Microsoft pay by the number of replies, or the word count of each reply?

        Can any Indian who had worked for Microsoft tech support clarify this for us?

      3. Keith Langmead

        Re: Not sure how big of a loss this is

        @no_handle_yet (Windows MVP)

        Well played, very well played! :) I can only assume the one down vote is from someone who's never frequented the forums... or who requires official sarcasm tags on things.

        I can only assume this change will be a net benefit, the useless MSC staff will stop waffling on while providing no useful assistance, and leave it to those who know how to help to provide help.

      4. BillG Silver badge
        IT Angle

        Re: Not sure how big of a loss this is

        Hi pip25, thank you today for your question

        Nope, no_handle_yet, you don't fool me, you're not from MS. If you were, your post would be repeated, over and over again, after every single non-Microsoft post, over and over again.

        If I have answered your question correctly, please mark this reply as the Best Answer because I am an MS Help Professional and my ego is very fragile. Thank you.

    3. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Not sure how big of a loss this is

      You mean the average intern from Mumbai was of no help? Well, now I'm just afraid they'll move to the more lucrative support scam business...

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge

        Re: Not sure how big of a loss this is

        MS desktop OS forums are a waste of time. The accepted answer is always autoaccepted by the MVP and is of a variation of update, systemcheck, reboot, system restore.

        The server and server apps forums usually help more when real people poat their solutions to the same problem (no mvp to be seen of courseĺ.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not sure how big of a loss this is

      The only useful thing they could do is redirect people to stackoverflow/spiceworks home pages.

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Not sure how big of a loss this is

        >The only useful thing they could do is...

        Well to resolve a particularly nasty problem - a system wouldn't install the monthly Win7 security update, hadn't done this since Sep 2017, but had installed all other updates. I did get a pointer from a (non-MVP) contributor to use Tweaking.com Windows Repair, which did resolve the problem, without resorting to the MVP preferred solution: wipe and reinstall...

        So perhaps someone at MS has realised that its users/customers actually know more about their products than they do and hence it is a waste of company money paying employees to contribute to the forums...

    5. Mike Lewis

      Re: Not sure how big of a loss this is

      Someone on a Microsoft forum asked how to add Copy to Folder and Move to Folder to the context menu of File Explorer on Windows 10. The MVP advised them to reinstall Windows. I knew it was a registry edit in Windows 7 so I ran Windows 10 as a VM, made the changes, found that they worked and posted the results. The next thing I knew, I got a message from the MVP congratulating me on having solved my problem. WTF?

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not sure how big of a loss this is

      There's one imposition by Microsoft which has turned out to be a boon, though hardly in the way Microsoft thought it would be.

      When looking for a solution, you can now see straight away whether a web page is going to contain any useful information. If it's in the Segoe font, just close it down and move on to the next one.

    7. Grimsterise

      Re: Not sure how big of a loss this is

      I've always considered the reply from the microsoft agent as a sort of obligatory header under the initial question. You just move on down to the people who actually know something besides how to cut and paste unhelpful bollocks.

      1. xanda
        Trollface

        Re: Not sure how big of a loss this is

        ...just move on down to the people who actually know something besides how to cut and paste...

        MVP = Most Vapid Paster

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Clueless answers anyway

    I find these official forums to be largely useless anyway. Answers allegedly from MSFT staffers are usually one of the following:

    1. Answering a question you didn't ask, then closing the question marking it as answered.

    2. Telling you to run sfc /scannow

    You might sometimes get a non MSFT person supplying useful info, but you are better off looking somewhere like the Spiceworks forums.

    1. Waseem Alkurdi

      Re: Clueless answers anyway

      +1.

      They just have these forums for the purpose of having them, not for any real support (that comes for $$$).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Clueless answers anyway

      That's been my experience when trawling the official forum and seeing 'alleged MSFT staffers' answers

      Most will ask the poster for more information of 'have you tried this' when it's quite obvious they have already stated what they have checked/performed. SFC /scannow seems to be one of their preferred goto 'solutions' even when it's clear that the issue would not be fixed by it (or where the requestor has already stated they have run it to no avail.)

      The other option seems to be posting links to other articles on the MSFT site that are irrelevant or apply to a different situation.

      Being in a tech support role myself I have seen how bad the technical support has got at MS in recent years. We have a premier support agreement that my offshore compatriots avail themselves of a little too often (they used to have to come through us for raising a case so that we didn't have cases raised unnecessarily.) I've found that unless it's a simple issue (that should not have needed MS engagement anyway) you have to ask to escalate to a 2nd or 3rd level engineer or we are burning $$ on someone without the skill set to resolve the issue. More often than not they ask my offshore compatriots to run the same checks, diags, tools etc that they had already run.

    3. Garymrrsn

      Re: Clueless answers anyway

      I've seen the same phenomena on many "Official" forums. The correct term for it is doublespeak.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Clueless answers anyway

      "Run sfc /scannow"

      That's basically the "Have you tried turning it off and on again" on the Microsoft help forums.

      1. hoola

        Re: Clueless answers anyway

        So not very different from Premier Support then.

    5. Andy Livingstone

      sfc /scannow

      Do that and get "You must be an Administrator" straight back without even a hint on how to switch to that in DOS. Bless MS. Unthinking, unchanging, unwanted. Always the same quality of helpful support.

  3. Barry Rueger Silver badge

    I concur with those above!

    Since my wife bought a shiny Windows 10 laptop I've had the endless pleasure of trying to make stuff work. The official Windows forums are the absolute worst, and I too have never seen a jot of useful advice from official MS people.

    Have you tried turning it off, and on again?

    Like the good old days of being told to reinstall Windows at every turn.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Linux

      Re: I concur with those above!

      "Like the good old days of being told to reinstall Windows at every turn."

      well, if you're going to HAVE to re-install something...

      (see icon)

      1. tempemeaty
        Linux

        Re: I concur with those above!

        "well, if you're going to HAVE to re-install something..."

        +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 to ∞

    2. onefang Silver badge

      Re: I concur with those above!

      "Like the good old days of being told to reinstall Windows at every turn."

      I guess now the official answer is - "Install Windows 10, should fix all our, er I mean your problems."

    3. Carl D

      Re: I concur with those above!

      "Like the good old days of being told to reinstall Windows at every turn."

      Isn't that the standard advice for Windows 10 problems these days?

      1. Updraft102 Silver badge

        Re: I concur with those above!

        "Like the good old days of being told to reinstall Windows at every turn."

        Isn't that the standard advice for Windows 10 problems these days?

        It works every time!

        Er, wait, did it say "deinstall" or "reinstall"?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I concur with those above!

      Oh yeah, it was recommended (maybe still is) that you reinstall Windows every year (six months?) so that programs run fast and fluid.

      I knew it happened during the Windows 9X and Windows XP era. Or was it the FAT32 era? It's very confusing to me.

      1. tempemeaty

        Re: I concur with those above!

        "Oh yeah, it was recommended (maybe still is) that you reinstall Windows every year (six months?) so that programs run fast and fluid."

        Sad that a modern OS doesn't stay running well without having to do that, isn't it? (•́_•̀)

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Template for Microsoft Support.

    1 - Paraphrase question at length to make it seem you've been thorough.

    2 - Recommend a couple of inane pointless activities

    3 - Recommend a fix that demonstrates you did not in fact read the issue or understand it properly

    4 - Say it's a limitation, bug or feature (doesn't matter which you choose) and refer to UserVoice

    5 - Ignore all the "I also have this problem" votes that indicate the issue is real and not unique to one user.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Interesting...

    When I bought my Windows 7 professional version it was said to be supported until 2020. So.. that also didn't happen anymore I guess? :)

    1. DvorakUser

      Re: Interesting...

      Actually, the article even says that Windows 7 will be supported until 2020 (Windows 7 Extended Support), with Windows 8.1 receiving Extended Support until 2023. It's just that the forums won't be much help (but were they ever?)

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge

        Re: Interesting...

        dont worry. those forums wouldnt have fixed your issue anyway. Go to spiceworks forums and post ypur issues.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You would get better support on unofficial tech forums

    Than from those outsourced copy-and-paste monkeys on the official Microsoft help forums.

    Nothing of worth has been lost.

  7. Camilla Smythe Silver badge
    Happy

    Looks like Windows have adopted the Linux Model.

    Might as well move over to Linux.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Looks like Windows have adopted the Linux Model.

      >Might as well move over to Linux.

      Given the various announcements in recent years, it does look like that is exactly what MS are doing themselves....

      1. Usermane

        Re: Looks like Windows have adopted the Linux Model.

        Or the most probably is that they want to control Linux from inside "letting" to install Ubuntu in win10.

        Best is to have Linux in other partition and to use win for the strictly necessary things.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Looks like Windows have adopted the Linux Model.

          "Best is to have Linux in other partition and to use win for the strictly necessary things."

          I find that having two different Linux flavours on my laptop means that my other half's computer gets used for the kids homework, making mine more productive. :-)

  8. Jakester

    Might as well pull it for Win 10 as well.

    Most of the technical issues I have tried to find an answer to could not be found in the Microsoft forums. The Microsoft techs who respond mostly don't understand the question. If they do, one of the popular responses from them is "Why do you want to do that?". In the unlikely event a Microsoft tech does understand the question, the user can't get past step 2 or 3 of a 10 or 20 step process because the option listed is not in the program or operating system.

    1. handleoclast Silver badge

      Re: Might as well pull it for Win 10 as well.

      If they do, one of the popular responses from them is "Why do you want to do that?".

      To be fair to Microsoft support (very uncharacteristic of me) that can be a sensible question. Because it is often the case that when a customer asks "How do I do X?" and what they're asking seems bloody stupid it's because what they really mean is "How do I achieve result Y?" and being able to do X wouldn't achieve Y anyway. It's only when you know they're trying to achieve Y that you can say "Do Z, and forget all about X because it wouldn't do what you want even if it were possible in the first place."

      And now to drop the mantle of fairness. It's also often the case that's when it's Microsoft support asking "Why do you want to do that?" it's because they don't have a fucking clue about anything and they're stalling for time.

  9. Old one

    Oh where oh where

    I really miss Gary Kildall....

  10. Wolfclaw Silver badge

    When Microsoft provides support for a product, EOL dtaes mena nothing unless you want to pay !

  11. Hans 1 Silver badge
    Windows

    How about the OneDrive forums?

    OneDrive forums will be archived in July-August ...

    https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/onedrive/forum/odfeatures/changes-in-onedrive-forum-on-microsoft-community/5bdb57e1-e86c-440b-b766-23ecc2baa2d0

    Is this OneDrive, OneDrive Groups, OneDrive for Business or Sharepoint ? I dunno ...

  12. Mike_JC

    Microsoft's support for any version of Windows is rubbish anyway, they usually end up giving a totally irrelevant answer so no loss there.

  13. Avatar of They Silver badge
    FAIL

    HOLD THE PHONE

    MS employees attended MS forums to offer Help.

    SHUT UP!!!!

    Never happened.

  14. steviebuk Silver badge

    Surface Pro 2?!?

    What?!? But that's only 2 and a bit years old.

    The dicks.

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: Surface Pro 2?!?

      Not quite. The surface pro 2 was released on 22 October 2013, so it's a little under five years old. I'm not supporting their decision to drop support, because it'll still do computing, but it's a bit old hardware wise.

  15. This post has been deleted by its author

  16. Lost in Cyberspace

    Never has an answer anyway.

    We've always called it Microsoft Questions rather than Microsoft Answers.

    I just scroll to the final page, where the user says 'Don't worry guys... I sorted it myself. I put the DVD in and reloaded Windows'

    [Marked as Solved]

    You'll never find out the real reason something doesn't work, or a 'proper' way to fix it.

  17. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

    Paraphrasing

    I absolutely hate this modern phenomenon of paraphrasing questions. The worst call centres do it, either on a forum, or an email reply, or even on the phone. And the obsequious way they 'assure' you that they are there to help immediately turns me off and leads me to believe that they are not able to, not empowered to and most of all not willing to help in any way, shape or form.

    Rest assured that I am extremely glad to be of assistance to you today, and that it is my utmost job to ensure that your happiness is increased following this support interaction. I will ensure you that I will do the necessary and support you in your support needs. I understand that you are unable to get windows 10 to work properly after this hour's massive fucking update. My solution at the moment is that you should reinstall windows.

    1. Nematode

      Re: Paraphrasing

      "Rest assured that I am extremely glad to be of assistance to you today, and that it is my utmost job to ensure that your happiness is increased following this support interaction. I will ensure you that I will do the necessary and support you in your support needs. I understand that you are unable to get windows 10 to work properly after this hour's massive fucking update. My solution at the moment is that you should reinstall windows."

      Oh and, pretty please, PLEEEEZE give me 5 out of 5 performance stars on the survey we'll foist onto you in a minute

  18. Dave 15 Silver badge

    Last time

    Last time I tried to get support from MS and had jumped through all the stupid and protracted logging in crap I got bugger all useful anyway

    As long as they dont upgrade the old machines so they are as fucked up as the windows 10 I have I shall be quite happy.

    If they do they will all be reformatted and used for one of the linux distros... despite having to learn a pile of new stuff the windows 'experience' is now on a par with being tortured.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Probably less need for a window 7 forum. Unlike windows 10 it works.

  20. chivo243 Silver badge
    Windows

    disappointed

    In the big scheme of things, MS info for problem solving is lacking, which is an understatement. The past month, I've been going through an AD and Server OS refresh. Errors and issues at every turn. Do I find documentation relating to the OS I search for? No EFFIN way, shouldn't all reference to windows 2000 server and 2003 be replaced with documentation for current OS's?

  21. AndyRawlins

    Poor Zune

    I love my Zune

  22. Nematode

    It's one of the reasons I stick with M$ OSs (and W7 fo rthat matter) since there's always plenty of 3rd party help / programs and always someone who's been there before. Woody's site is a classic. So I doubt I shall ever change the habit pf a lifetime and start asking M$ for help. Since I'm also not buying a Surface. Nice product, but worse hassle than Apple to get fixed if it breaks

  23. NanoMeter

    Support forum for Space Invader?

    Where's the support forum for Space Invader? I have problems reaching level 4.

  24. Astara

    MS accounts being "temporarily turned off" if not Win10?

    I had an account (my own email), since 2002 that lately was only used for MS support. I didn't use it often, last was a few months ago. I logged in a few weeks ago and found the account had been suspended for either suspected hackin attempts, or spamming, or violations of the MS-terms-of-use. I was told to send myself a text message from their site to unlock it.

    Thing is, they blocked my text number as well. It won't even try to send the text message, but says this number is not allowed to receive text messages.

    They provide no other way for you to recover your account unless it was an MS-account on one of their mail servers.

    Most of the past few attempts at asking questions went unanswered or I was redirected to the tech forum. I remember my last message was about not being able to get the event-log server running due to an error: Error 4201: The instance name passed was not recognized as valid by a WMI data provider.

    I was given all sorts of steps including rebuilding the WMI store, and the event directories and performing an "in-place" upgrade/repair. Finally I was told to upgrade to Win10 where the problem was supposedly fixed. FWIW -- I wasn't the only one with this error -- others had reported it years back -- but MS either refused or was unable to fix it. If it was known to be fixed in win10, and hadn't been fixed in Win 7 for years, that seems more than a little suspicious -- perhaps I said as much in their forum and perhaps that had something to do with my suspension -- I dunno. I may never know, because none of the two support people I talked to so far, told me anything useful -- both told me the exact same info I got from MS-web pages about cause (lots of generic reasons), and recovery, send message to a text phone -- which I'd told both of them was blocked.

    Maybe MS is already using really dumb AI to answer support emails they don't want to really answer?

  25. Jude Bradley

    No loss indeed - a prime example of a 3year old thread from Windows 8 - fixed in Windows 10 - yes it took that long for them to even admit they had a problem - ahem issue.

    https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_8-hardware/joystick-is-disconnecting-in-windows-8-while-using/826f7b0b-e5e9-4349-ae81-c8ef118e7614

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