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You can sign in to the Forums by clicking the Sign In link in the upper-right portion of the Forums page. You will need Microsoft Windows Live™ ID credentials (e-mail and password) to sign in. After signing in, you are returned to the page
where you clicked the Sign In link, if you already have a Forums Profile. This page will now show your Display Name.
After signing in, you are directed to a page where you must complete your Forums Profile if it has not been previously created. To create your Profile, provide the required information on this page. Note that your Display Name is mandatory, but all other
information is optional. After providing the information, click Save.
For more information about Forum Profiles, See User Profiles, Registration, and Login.
See How do I post a new message?
See How do I sign up for alerts?
Short answer: You cannot.
See My Settings Page
See How do I edit a post in a thread?
See How do I view the reply hierarchy in a thread?
See What is a Signature? How do I edit it?
You can read Forums without registering; however, to take advantage of the advanced features that Forums offer, such as posting questions and requesting notifications for replies, you need to register. It only takes a few seconds to register, and it is recommended
that you do so.
You can register for a Windows Live ID account by visiting the Profile Center. Click My Personal Information in the Profile Center section
to begin creating your profile. After creating the Windows Live ID account, you can sign in to the Forums by using this user name and password.
To participate in Forum discussions, you must create your Profile after signing in. Your Profile may include personal information that you want to share such as your Web address or Weblog address. We recommend that you should be careful about the information
you choose to share because it could potentially be harvested by spammers. To view your Profile, Sign in to Forums, and click My Profile located in the My Links at the top right of the page. To view the Profile of another user, click the user's
Display Name from wherever it is displayed and then click View Profile.
You can register for Forums by creating your Profile. To register, simply click Sign in on any Forums page. You can use Microsoft Windows Live™ ID credentials (e-mail and password) to sign in. If you sign in for the first time, you are directed
to a page where you must complete your Forums Profile.
Note: You are required to provide a Display Name at a minimum. All other information is optional.
Your Display Name is the name that you use when posting messages to a discussion group and indicates the author of a post. The Display Name that you type in your Profile information is the name that appears in the description of any new posts that you create.
You may use your real name as your Display Name, but note that the Display Name is visible to all users in the Forum. You can edit your Display Name by clicking My Profile in the My Links box on any page on Forums, modifying the Display Name,
and then clicking Save.
You might receive an error while setting your Display Name because of the following reasons:
A Signature is appended at the end of any posts you create in Forums. You can edit your Signature by clicking My Settings in theQuick Access drop-down menu on the left side of any page on Forums, modifying the Signature, and then clicking Save.
The Signature by default is in plain text format. To add customized signatures and links to your blogs, add the HTML code in your signature.
You might receive an error while setting your Signature because of the following reasons:
You can add an Avatar while creating your profile. Adding an Avatar to your profile is optional. An Avatar appears besides your Display Name in the interface.
You can change your Avatar by clicking My Profile on any page on Forums, modifying the Avatar, and then clicking Save.
You might receive an error while setting your Avatar because of the following reasons:
When signing in to Microsoft Forums, if you do not select Sign me in automatically, you will be automatically signed out after an administrator-defined length of inactivity. If you want to sign in automatically to the Forums, select the Sign
me in automatically check box.
Important Note: When you sign in to the Forums site, it is recommended that you retain the default LiveID setting of Save my e-mail address. Changing the setting to Save my e-mail address and password can
lead to problems in signing in to the Forums.
It is likely that you will receive unwanted messages (spam) in your e-mail account. To avoid Spam, try providing a different version of your e-mail address that others will understand but spam tools cannot automatically pick up. For example, if an actual
e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org, we would recommend modifying it to one of the following:
An alternate strategy is to use a secondary e-mail account, such as a Hotmail account, that is separate from your primary account for posting to discussion groups.
The browsers and operating systems that are supported by Forums are:
Others may work, but some features may not function as expected.
Recommended screen resolutions for viewing Forums are 1024x768 or 1280x1024. Higher and lower resolutions may work, but all features may not be fully functional.
Yes, scripting must be enabled on your browser while accessing Forums so that you can take advantage of all new features of Forums.
You can report bugs, suggestions, and other issues for Forums, by performing one of the following actions:
You can be notified of changes in the Forums by using two methods:
You can also be notified about new posts in the Forums by selecting If selected, all forums posts will default to enable Live Alerts check box.
Alerts are email notifications users can receive when someone contributes to a thread they are interested in tracking.
Note: To receive alerts, you need to opt in for the service. For more information, See How do I sign up for alerts?
You can manage settings of the alerts that you receive for a thread. On the My Alerts page, click the Configure Alerts. This takes you to the Forum Settings page enabling you to change your notification email address or
change your default setting for being alerted when posting.
If you are signed in to Forums, you can view a list of all threads that you are currently subscribed to. To do this, click My Alerts on any page on Forums. You are taken to a page that lists all threads that you are currently subscribed
to along with information on the type, subject that is linked to the thread, and the date and time when it was posted. If you are not subscribed to any threads, you See the "You have not subscribed to any threads." message.
In some instances, a System Administrator may decide to remove a Forum from public view. In such an event, the notification subscription for the Forum will be removed from your list.
The RSS icon is linked to the Rich Site Summary (RSS) feed for the Forum. RSS is used to allow other applications to subscribe to forums posts.
A Forum is a site on the Internet where people interact by posting and reading messages about topics that are of interest to them and the rest of community. Forums contain groupings of related topic threads. A Forum exists in the system with at least one
brand, category, and locale. For example, to post messages to the SQL forum, click the SQL Server category on the TechNet home page.
A thread is a grouping of related posts. The first post is the starting of the thread and replies to it are added to the thread.
The following table lists the Thread icons and their meanings.
Thread Has Code
Start New Thread
General Discussion Thread
You can locate your position in a Forum by viewing the Forums Eyebrow element, which is a hierarchical trail showing the exact path for a Forum or Thread. For example, if you search for a Forum or thread from the Home page, and navigate to a Forum or Thread
by clicking the search result, the Eyebrow shows the exact location of the Forum or Thread. You can navigate to a higher level by clicking a link in the Eyebrow.
You can navigate to another Forum by clicking a higher-level link in the Eyebrow, and then clicking the Forum name that you want to navigate to.
You can view all threads that you posted or started after signing in to Forums by clicking My Threads on any page on Forums.
You can locate Forums for a brand by typing one of the following URLs in the address bar of your browser:
You can get to Forum's Home page for a Locale by performing one of the following actions:
You can search for a user by clicking Browse Forums Users on the right side of any page on Forums. A list of some of the top answerers from all the MSDN/TechNet forums is displayed on the Browse Forums Users page.
Second, in any forum, on the right, on the upper right of the Recent Visitors list, click
Next two times. You'll See up to 10 of the top answerers for that specific forum. You can continue clicking
Next to See the top MVP answerers and top Microsoft answerers for that forum.
You can search for a user by clicking Browse Forums Users on the right side of any page on Forums. A list of users in that Forum is displayed on the Browse Forums Users page. Type the user name in the Search For
Users box, and then click the magnifying glass icon.
You can view threads for a particular user by clicking the user's display name and then the link to view the user's threads.
A user may be banned from Forums for using abusive language in posts, display names, using an abusive avatar, or spamming, among other undesirable activities. Each case is considered carefully and a user is generally banned only if there is no other recourse,
or the abusive action is repeated and blatant.
You cannot view a list of banned users. The users who are banned are not in the list that is displayed on clicking Browse Forums Users.
The Forums Home Page does not display any forums when scripting is turned off in the browser settings. To view the Forums, enable the scripting.
A Forum may not display any posts if there are no threads in the Forum or if a filter has been applied to screen out the threads or posts.
A Sticky Thread is a special post that is placed at the top of a thread list for a specified amount of time. A Forum Moderator can turn any thread into a Sticky Thread. Moderators might make some threads sticky for a specified amount of time to promote the
visibility of these threads, which ensures that they are displayed at the top of the thread list.
A Locked Thread is a special post that does not allow replies. Only a Moderator can lock posts.
After signing in, you can post a new message to a Forum by clicking "Ask a Question" at the top of the page. This will take you to a forum that lets you chose whether your submission is a Question or a General Discussion. After selecting the type of post
that you want to create, you can type the subject and body of the post. You can either input and format code to your message by using the rich text editor code snippet toolbar and dialogs or copy formatted text from Visual Studio and paste it into the rich
After creating the subject of your post, the page will search and display related messages that have already been posted. This may be useful if you have a common question or are about to post a topic that others have already posted.
Finally, you can submit the post by clicking the Submit button.
To reply to a post, click Reply displayed with the post. You can also quote an existing message as reply by clicking Quote next to the post that you want to quote as reply. If you do not See the Reply or Quote options
when viewing a post, you either do not have permissions to reply (you may need to sign in first) or the post does not allow replies.
You might have problems in posting a new message if active scripting is disabled in your browser. To resolve this issue, you can either enable active scripting or add the Forums site to the Trusted Sites list in Internet Explorer 6 or later and Allowed Sites
list in Firefox Mozilla.
To add Microsoft Forums as a trusted site, perform the following steps in Internet Explorer 6 or later:
To edit your post, click the Edit drop-down next to the post you want to edit, and then click Edit. The post opens in an editor where you can modify it. After modifying the post, type the reason for modification in the Edit
Reason box, and then click Submit.
To rate a post as helpful click the Vote as Helpful on any post. You can vote only once.
To delete your post, go to the thread's page and click the Delete located next in the tool strip beneath the post, click Delete, type the reason for deletion, and then click OK. To cancel the deletion, click Cancel.
Note that you will not be able to delete the post if the post has one or more replies. In such cases, submit a request for deleting the post to the moderator. You can delete any posted reply as long as it is not marked as an answer or proposed answer. To work
around this, you can unmark it as an answer first. However, the thread can only be deleted if there were no replies to it or the user is a moderator.
You will not be able to delete your post if:
To cancel submission of a thread that you have started, simply navigate away for the "Ask a Question" page by clicking the eyebrow. Or click you back button in the browser, returning you to the page from where you initiated the thread.
The System Administrator can specify a word filter for posts. The word filter has a set of words that must not be used by the community. When word filter is enabled on Forums, all characters of the banned words are replaced with asterisks (*).
To mark a post as answer, click Mark as Answer beneath the post. You can unmark a post as answer by clicking Unmark as the Answer.
When someone adds a post to a question you asked, you can rate this post as "the answer" to your question. By rating a post as "the answer", you acknowledge the contribution of the person who posted the answer, help others find the answer quickly, and steer
further discussions in the right direction.
To report abuse, click the Report as Abuse link, type a reason for the post to be abusive, and click OK. The post reported as abuse now shows up in the Reported Abuses list that can be viewed only by the
moderator. A moderator can review the posts that are reported as abusive and take actions on these posts.
If you have not Seen any action on your report, and suspect that the Forum is not being actively monitored, you can request action by clicking the Site Feedback link at the bottom of any Forums page.
Users who did not create a question thread can evaluate and propose any reply as a Proposed Answer by clicking Propose as Answer.
You can quote an already existing post in a reply while the post editor is open. by clicking the Quote icons next to the post that you want to quote. You can also quote multiple posts by using the same method.
You can also edit or truncate the quote after you have copied it into your post. You do not have to quote the entire post.
You can receive live alerts for thread activities like a thread being marked as proposed answer, a thread being moved, or a post in the thread being replied to by subscribing to alerts. To view steps on how you can subscribe to threads, See How can
I sign up for alerts?
Yes, you can include code in the reply to a post. To do this, click the Insert Code Block icon in the Rich Text Editor that appears on clicking Reply. Type the code in the Colorize Code dialog box, click
the code language in the drop-down and then click Insert.
Select the Show Line Numbers check box if you want to view the line numbers for the code. Click Preview to preview the code, and then click Insert. The formatting of the code will be retained in the reply
to the post.
In the forum view users have can select Preview Thread when their mouse is hovering over any thread row. This expands the thread allowing the user to browse the content without having to enter another page load. Threads can be collapsed
by clicking the close option in the bottom of the expanded thread. Previewed threads are recorded as being read.
Users can change their view from Flat to Threaded by visiting the My Settings page and changing their thread view to Threaded View. This preference will show threads in a hierarchy for both preview mode and thread view mode. Users can change
the mode back to Flat in the My Settings page.
Some users like a fresh view of the threads so they only See new content. There are two options for these users. First, when signed in and viewing the forum view, a user can select the Unread filter option. This filter will show only thread
that contain content the user has not yet viewed. Users can also apply the Mark All Read filter option. This filter marks all threads as read. From that point forward the Unread filter will only show unread threads since the
mark all read filter option was applied. This is particularly useful for migrated forums allowing a user to start off fresh from a given date.
Users See a My Links box in the right column when they are signed in. This box contains many useful user specific links. One of these, My Settings takes the user to a page listing their forum contributions and forum specific
settings. Users can change defaults for viewing threads as flat or threaded lists, choose to turn off automatic updates, change the default for signing up for alerts whenever they post, decide whether they want to See Answers at the top of all threads by default
or update their signature.
Users viewing a forum list of threads will See yellow highlighted items in the list. This indicates a new or changed thread is in the forum. Users will only See this behavior if they have not expanded any threads.
All forums have an Add to My Forums link next to the forum title. Users that select this option and the confirmation dialog now have the forum in their list of forums. Users can select My Forums in the My Links in
the right column of any forum page when they are signed in. This My Forums page can be bookmarked for convenience and has a link to My Threads, an aggregate forum view including all threads from all the My Forums.
The NNTP Bridge Client application allows a user to configure their NNTP Reader to read and post to the forums. Users can install the client bridge at the Online Forums Connection. To use the bridge
users must first select "Use NNTP Bridge" in the My Settings page. Note: at this time, there are no plans to localize the support documentation for the tool but the tool should work any locale forum. Users can visit the Online
Forums Connection for more information, bug status and to report issues or suggestions.
As an alternative, the Community Forums NNTP Bridge CodePlex project can also be used to access the MSDN Forums with an NNTP News Reader. Instructions to download (~ 1 MB), install and set it up are available at the
project's documentation page. Further information is available at these two other blog posts (post#1)(post#2).
Need an Answer number reflects the number of users who have clicked "I do too" on the question for also needing an answer. Users can filter and sort unanswered questions to See which ones are most urgent to answer.
While searching for a topic, it is not always easy to select a Forum that best covers your interests. If you are not sure about the Forum that you should choose, you can perform a search on some of the terms that you are using and See where similar threads
have been posted. To search for specific topics, type keyword(s) in the Search All Forums box and click Go.
The list of Forums is displayed on your Web browser. The list is grouped by product or technology. Clicking a Forum name will open the discussion space and display the conversation threads posted to the Forum.
You can search threads within a forum by entering the search criteria in the Search All Forums box on the Forums Home page.
To view specific threads instead of all threads in a discussion group or in your search results, you can use filters. On the My Thread page, in the Filter By section, click the criteria by which you want to filter a thread.
By using the new filters, you can view your thread list filtered by:
To view only answered questions in a forum, navigate to the User Threads page, in the Filter by section, click All Threads drop-down, and then click Answered.
To view all unanswered questions in a Forum, navigate to the User Threads page, in the Filter by section, click All Threads drop-down, and then click Unanswered.
You can search for posts in different languages by using the locale selector to browse to the locale of that language, and then searching for posts.
You can choose the language in which you want to view the Forums by using the locale selector located at the top-right of the page. If the Forum that you want to view does not exist for the language that you selected, you will return to the current language.
For example, you are viewing a Forum for SQL in En-us language. You switch to the Fr-fr language by using the locale selector. If the Forum does not exist in that language, you will return to the En-us language.
MSDN, TechNet and Expression forums have recently adopted a new recognition system. This replaces the old forums system in place for over six years and provides for a consistent and consolidated recognition system across MSDN, TechNet and Expression online
resources such as Blogs, Wiki and Galleries.
At a high level the system breaks down user participation around quantity and quality, where points reflect community contribution (quality) and achievements reflect raw effort and participation (quantity). A good overview of the new recognition system can
be found at the Profile and Recognition FAQ. Specifics around the forums portion can be reviewed below.
You get recognition points by contributing posts the community finds valuable. Points are not effort based but instead based on quality as perceived by the community.
Note: Specific point break downs will be published at a future date. Until then the team will be making slight adjustments to algorithms going forward and ensuring the points and achievements allocation is balanced across the other properties
and applications leveraging the new recognition system.
Users can gain achievements by participating at various levels in the system. Newer users will gain entry level bronze achievements. Continued participation will be rewarded by level based silver and gold achievements.
Note: More achievements will be added to help encourage users in areas that continue to benefit the community.
The new recognition system has a new points algorithm. Some user points will be lowered on the new system, others may See increases in their points totals. In the new system points are allocated for community contributions of value while achievements are
gained for various other activities. In the past five years, users have been accumulating points for a few key activities that, in the new system, do not gain points:
Understand the recognition can take up to 24 hours to record an activity and recalculate a user’s points and achievements. If you still feel there is a problem, click the "site feedback" at the bottom of this page. Please include as much information as you
can. Users can also post general questions about how forums works with the new recognition system to the Profile and Recognition Forum or the Forums
After signing in to forums, Forum Moderators can move a thread from that forum to another by clicking Move Thread above the thread. Clicking Move Thread takes the user to the Move Thread page where the moderator can select
the new category and forum location and then Submit. After clicking Submit the moderator is returned to the forum they started from.
Moderators are unable to move a thread when it is locked. When a thread is locked, Move Thread is disabled.
Moderators can edit a post in a thread by clicking the Edit button at the bottom of the post. The moderator can then edit the post and click Submit.
Moderators can delete a thread or post by going to the thread view page and clicking the Delete button. This then lets the moderator type the reason for deletion, and then click OK. The thread is no longer available to users.
To delete a post in a thread, click the Delete button beneath the post. Moderators can select the Deleted filter to review or undelete threads or posts.
Moderators cannot delete a thread or post from a Forum if the thread contains an answer. The options for deleting the thread are disabled after it is marked as an answer. Forum Moderators can still view the deleted threads and restore them.
Moderators cannot delete a thread or post from a Forum if the thread has been marked as an answer. The options for editing and deleting the thread are disabled after it is marked as an answer. Forum Moderators can still view the deleted threads and restore
Moderators can view deleted threads by clicking All Threads drop-down, and then clicking Deleted in the Forum view.
Moderators can restore a thread or message by clicking the Edit drop-down next to the post, and then clicking Undelete.
Moderators can post a new announcement by clicking Create at the top of the Forum. You can then create the post in the editor, and click Submit. The announcement appears at the top of the thread list and is visually different
from other posts. You can edit existing announcements by clicking Edit next to the announcement. To delete an announcement, click Delete next to the announcement.
To post a Sticky Thread, Moderators should post the new thread and then select Make Sticky in the thread view. A Sticky thread appears at the top of the list of threads and is visually different from others. At any point in time, moderators
can remove the sticky status of the threads restoring the thread's original position and date time in the Forum after the sticky time set by you ends.
To unlock a Locked thread, open the locked thread and select Unlock Thread.
You can create posts in moderator only forums only if you have the rights of a Forum moderator or Forum Owner by clicking Ask a Question in the top of the page.
You know that you have been added as an answerer, when you See options to mark any reply as an answer. As a moderator you will also have options to perform tasks such as making threads sticky, locking, moving, and deleting threads. Note that as a moderator,
you will not be able to split or merge threads and forums. When viewing the list of forums in a forum category, those which contain ("You are a moderator of this forum") below the title are forums you have moderator rights to.
Forums recently enabled the ability for MVP affiliated moderators to escalate threads that need Microsoft's immediate attention. This feature must be enabled by the forum owner using some internal tooling. By default this feature is NOT enabled so most
forums will not allow for escalations. For further questions about this feature MVP Moderators can contact their Forum Owners using existing communication channels.
An answerer is an individual who has a Profile on Forums and provides answers to question threads. The answerer can perform tasks like marking a reply to a question thread as an answer or unmarking a reply as a non-answer.
A Brand represents a site for displaying a specific set of forums, which cater to a specific type of audience, in a number of Locales. Examples of a Brand include MSDN, TechNet, and Microsoft.
A Category is used for grouping forums with a common theme e.g. all C# related forums. While most of the categories group forums based on product/technology, there may be categories to group forums for a specific country or some other type of topic. A forum
can be associated with one or more relevant categories.
The Community is you, other users, and the interactions among all users. Some of those interactions will happen through this online forum and other Microsoft Community properties. This allows you to get answers to your questions, share ideas, and learn more
about products and technologies that interest you.
For information on forums, See What is a Forum?
A Forum Owner is an individual who is provided ownership of the forum by System Administrator. Forum owners manage moderators or answerers and can perform tasks like adding and removing users from forum's moderator and answerer roles and assigning other
Forum Owners. There is at least one owner for each Forum.
A Forum Moderator is an individual selected by the System Administrator to ensure that the discussions on the Forum are of high quality. By default, a moderator can perform any number of tasks within a particular forum or set of forums. This includes approving
posts, moving posts, deleting posts, editing posts, or banning users. If you have a problem with a particular forum, the best place to start is with a moderator.
Locale is a combination of language and country/region. A locale can contain a mixture of generic forums and forums specific to that locale, and categories are generally associated per locale. Examples of Locales are en-us, fr-fr, de-de.
A post is an individual message in a discussion thread group.
Spam is considered junk mail posts that are sometimes posted to Forums (or replicated from posts created in Newsgroups). Also, "junk mail" or other unwanted, unsolicited messages that you may receive in your regular e-mail account if you use your actual,
unmodified e-mail address in a discussion group.
A System Administrator is an individual whose primary responsibility is to create forum sites and archive them. In addition to the tasks performed by all other roles, a System Administrator can also start, cancel, submit, edit, and delete new system-wide
announcements, create moderator-only forums, add users and assign roles to them, and ban users, assign profanity filters. This is the only role that can change the default brand or the name (URL) of a forum.
A Thread is at the fifth level in forums taxonomy. It is a collection of posts that reference each other. The posts in a thread are displayed in chronological order, with the original post at the top and each reply indented and beneath the post to which
it is replying. Each reply may be replied to as well. The different types of threads are identified by the icon next to the thread title in the thread summary.