Using Microsoft Newsgroups

Read this section first!

One of the most useful tools available to anyone requiring assistance with a Microsoft product is the MS News groups.  Although they can be accessed through the Web-based MS Community pages by using your browser, I recommend that you use a proper news reader (NNTP) such as Outlook Express for viewing the groups.  On those later versions of Windows that do not have Outlook Express installed; you can use one of the free news readers available for download. Here are a couple of suggestions:

  • XNews

  • MesNews

  •  The directions to use NNTP are really quite simple (See additional info at bottom) but there are a couple of things you should know first.

    1. Before setting up the account, go to Tools>Message Rules>News>New and create a rule that says to only download messages from the last [X] days

      1.  In the top box, place a check in "Where the message was sent more than days ago"

      2.  In the center box, place checks in "Mark it as read" and "Delete it" and "Stop processing more Rules"

      3.  In the bottom box, click on the word "days" (in blue) and set it to a reasonable time frame. Hint: I keep mine at 15, but choose what is good for you.

    2. Recently I have had several people who thought that they still had to go back to the web interface to send a reply or to post a new message. Not so! The appropriate buttons are located on the Outlook Express toolbar. To make a reply you select the message that you wish to reply to and click "Reply Group". It can also be done by right-clicking the message.

    3. You can use View>Current View>Show replies to my messages to reduce the viewed list to only the threads that you have been involved in. Depending on what version of Outlook Express you are using and what updates you have done, you may be able to use Ctrl+H to do the same thing. Reversing the procedure will show all messages again.

    4. Click the "+" sign to expand the message threads.

    5. *Please* create a new thread for each question that you post and stay in that thread with subsequent questions on the same topic.. It makes it much easier for us to follow.  Do not start a new question by piggy backing onto someone else's thread.  Create a unique subject for your post instead.  By not following this step your question could easily get lost in what we think is a closed thread or more likely it will get attached to a thread that is older than our date rules allow so it will not be seen by the people who can most assist you.

    6. To simplify the procedure I have created a page of tables that have links to each of the MS Groups in each category.  All you have to do is locate the group that seems best suited to your problem and click on it.  For instance if your question is related to Windows XP then go to the table that lists the Windows groups and select the most appropriate group for XP.  Hint: In most cases you will want the general discussion group which in this case would be microsoft.public.windowsxp.general.  If a regular poster determines that your question is more appropriate in another group you will be re-directed (hopefully in a pleasant manner).  For instance if you ask a question about Outlook Express stationary in an Outlook Express group you will be directed to the stationary groups.

    7. **Do Not** use your real Email address when posting to any news group or forum.  To do so is to invite a mailbox full of spam and other unwanted items including but not limited to viruses.

      • Go to Tools>Accounts>News, select the news account, click "Properties" and change the Email address to a fake. If you get a message that say's your Email address does not appear to be valid, tell OE to use it anyway.  A good example would be just_me@no_thanks.none.  It is imperative that the part after the @ sign is not a valid domain name.

      • Read About E-mail Addresses and Privacy for more information from Microsoft regarding this topic

    8. To change to a different news group click on the "Newsgroups" button and pick another from the list.

    9. Print out these directions so you can read the steps as you go.

    When you have completed all of the above and you can read the newsgroup in Outlook Express, it is time to read the tips about creating a good post, available on this page;

    Last, but not least, are the all important "Rules of Conduct".

    This may all seem complicated at first glance but it is really quite simple and once you have the first group set up then you can just add groups anytime you want to.  You are now ready to take a look at the list of available news groups by using the tabs above. Just click on the category at the top (Windows, Outlook Express etc.) and that will take you to the proper table for that item.  Clicking on any of those groups will open them in Outlook Express.

      Also see:

Please note that I have ignored certain versions of Windows such as CE however there are also news groups available for those versions.

Windows 95
General Discussion Win 95 Setup
Printing, Fonts and Video Exchange and FAX
File and disk management MS DOS Apps
Networking Dialup Networking
Multi-media Shell UI
98 (includes SE)
General Discussion Win 98 Setup
Performance Power Management
Networking Dialup Networking
Modems Web TV
Applications Printing
ScanReg System File Checker
Multi-media Display Multi-monitor
Display General Disks General
FAT32 Shell
Millennium Edition
General Discussion Win ME Setup
New Users System Tools
Hardware Display
Printing Power Management
Networking Software
Multi-media Movie Maker
General Discussion Win 2000 Setup
Setup Deployment Setup Upgrade
Win 2000 Update Command Prompt Administration
Enable FAX
Multi-media Group Policy
Hardware Applications
File System Printing
Terminal Server Clients NetWare
Terminal Server Applications Active Directory
Registry Security
DNS Networking
RAS Routing Advanced Server
General Discussion Setup
Active Directory Clustering
Scripting Security
DNS Migration
Networking Documentation
General Discussion Basics
New Users Win XP Setup and Deployment
Customize Hardware
Help and Support Networking and Web
Configuration Management Messenger
Security Administration Printing and FAX
WMI Video
Work Remotely Photos
Performance and Maintenance Music
Movie Maker Games
General Discussion Setup and Installation
File Management Networking and Sharing
Administration, Accounts and Passwords Hardware Devices
Security Printing, FAX and Scanning
Mail Performance and Maintenance
Music / Pictures / Video Games
Outlook Express (Not MS Office Outlook)
All General Discussion  
OE6 General Discussion Stationary
OE5 General Discussion Stationary
Windows Networking