If you are one of those who likes to be participating in various Online Microsoft Forums like MSDN, TechNet, Answers etc then here’s a nice way to interact with Microsoft Forums using NNTP readers connecting them via Microsoft Forums NNTP Bridge from your desktop. If you do not like to connect different Microsoft Forums using web interface then this is the best method where you will have access to hundreds of Microsoft Forums from your NNTP Newsreader. This is very convenient where you can read and write posts offline from your desktop.
This can be done by using Microsoft Forums NNTP Bridge Beta December release which is made available on Connect. Only registered Connect members can get it from here. From the link one can also find out more about the bridge.(Update: direct connect link: https://connect.microsoft.com/site/sitehome.aspx?SiteID=927 )
“The NNTP Bridge Beta is a small client application that exists alongside your newsreader that allows you read/write access to popular Microsoft forums such as the Answers, MSDN and TechNet forums. It’s designed to allow you to download current forum messages into the newsreader of your choice, respond in an offline scenario if you so choose, and upload responses.”
Now let us see how to use our NNTP reader to access Microsoft Forums-
To use the bridge, users need a current forums profile which the Users of Microsoft Forum will already have and ensure you have selected “Use NNTP Bridge” in the forums setting page. So just sign-in into any of the Microsoft Forums, click on My settings-
and check the “Use NNTP Bridge” in the settings page.
And then click on Submit to save the changes.
Now from the Connect link download the December bits of Microsoft Forums NNTP Bridge beta. Unzip and run setup.exe , Accept the license agreement and follow the instructions to complete the setup.
Now once its installed, you’ll find a shortcut under Microsoft Community Tools to run this application. Run it.
Click on Start to run the NNTP Bridge.
It will prompt you for Windows Live ID Credentials, sign-in with your LiveID with which you used to sign-in to the Microsoft Forums.
if you click on settings tab you can see them already filled up.
Now once you sign-in, the server is running
Minimize it .
Now we will configure our Newsreader. I am using Windows Live Mail for this -
Click on the Newsgroups to open it
Click on ‘Add newsgroup account’ to add a new group and follow the instructions -
Enter your name , click Next
When it asks for your NNTP server name give 127.0.0.1 and port as 119 if required, click Next
It will start the process of connecting to server
After some time , it will ask you to view the list of available newsgroups, click yes
It will start downloading all the lists available, this may take some time as it downloads more than 2000 list names of Microsoft Forums in all languages
So now you can see the complete list of Microsoft Forums available
From this you can subscribe to the Forums , you are interested in, from Answers, TechNet, MSDN ….by selecting and subscribing
Once done you can synchronize, read , post to the Forum .
That’s all, so whenever you want to access Microsoft Forums using Newsreader , start the NNTP Bridge first.
Some Q & A -
Q: Which NNTP clients does the Microsoft Forums NNTP Bridge Client Beta support?
A: Our priority and effort for support will be the following clients in Windows 7 OS:
Microsoft Outlook Express
Microsoft Windows Mail
Microsoft Windows Live Mail
Q: Which languages are supported in this release of the Microsoft Forums NNTP Bridge Client Beta?
A: The NNTP Bridge Beta supports posting in the same languages supported by the Microsoft forums: English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Russian, Czech, Japanese, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Korean, Portuguese-Brazilian.
Q: Which newsreaders have been specifically tested for use with the Microsoft Forums NNTP Bridge Client Beta?
A: The NNTP Bridge Beta has been designed to work with any newsreader. It’s been specifically tested for use with Outlook Express, Windows Mail, and Windows Live Mail.
Previous users of the bridge should ensure they have done the following when updating to the most current version.
· Uninstall previous beta installations
· After installing the most current update, re subscribe to all of the previously subscribed groups
This December NNTP Bridge Beta Update dramatically improved stability and robustness of the connection. As you know its still work in progress so there may be some issues about which you can provide feedback.
So you should also go through the User guide, FAQ and ReadMe at the Connect site for additional information.