Microsoft Scales Back Tech Support for Windows 7, 8

John Lister's picture

Microsoft staff will no longer answer questions about Windows 7 and 8.1 in support forums. It's also keeping quiet about several other hardware and software products.

The products concerned are already mostly into Microsoft's "extended support", rather than "mainstream support" periods. That means Microsoft is no longer adding new features to the software, handling warranty claims, or offering free support through online tools or phone lines. Instead, it merely issues patches for security problems and bugs.

While Microsoft no longer offered direct help services for the software, staff were answering technical questions in Microsoft Community, the company's official support forums. That has now stopped for several products. (Source:

Internet Explorer 10 Among Affected Programs

Staff for the Microsoft Community has stopped providing support for Windows 7, 8.1 and 8.1RT. Also included is Microsoft Security Essentials, Internet Explorer 10, and Office 2010 & 2013. Several devices are also affected by the changes, including the Surface Pro, Surface Pro 2, Surface RT and Surface 2 laptops, the Microsoft Band fitness tracker and the Zune music player.

In most cases the forums themselves will remain open, and Microsoft says users are "welcome and encouraged" to ask other users for help and to give advice. However, the forums for the Band and Zune will be locked and put into read-only mode. The changes will take effect at some point in July, 2018, so you'll need to get any questions in quickly. (Source:

Questions No Longer Tracked

As well as no longer answering questions, Microsoft will drop the system by which it kept track of questions, monitored replies, and locked threads and marked the question as "answered" when the user had received a satisfactory reply. That could mean Microsoft has less insight into what does and doesn't work well in its software, including things that users commonly misunderstand.

Response to the move has been mixed. Some users have argued that the products and services are too recent for Microsoft to stop offering help, even if they are in the 'extended support' period. However, some critics say it will make little difference as Microsoft's responses were often 'off the shelf' and didn't take much notice of what the user had already tried to fix the problem.

What's Your Opinion?

Is Microsoft right to stop answering these questions? Have you ever used the Microsoft Community to ask for help? If so, did either Microsoft or other users help solve your problem?

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Dennis Faas's picture

Rarely have I ever found a solution to a problem while reading a post in the official Microsoft Support Forums. The way their forums are set up, you have to dig through pages and pages of information (most of it being useless) until you -might- stumble across a solution - and that is only apparent if you have a deep understanding of what is going on. Also, most replies are canned responses like "run sfc /scannow" and such.

I have always found places like ( to be much more helpful in finding a solution because users can vote on the most appropriate response, which floats to the top of the thread so it can be easily found. Also helpful is because the author (Brink) posts the full answer right from the get-go without having to weed through replies.

Even more helpful is the remote desktop support service offered here at Infopackets, where I can connect with you 1-on-1 to fix the problem. No researching required, and the problem gets fixed right away! If it's a really tricky or interesting problem I'll post an article about it and provide the solution.