Microsoft Vista Answers is a beta web service that copies the functionality of Yahoo Answers and makes it available to the Windows Vista user base. Narrowing down the niche does not necessarily have to be a bad thing but it could surely disappoint Windows users who do not run Windows Vista but another Microsoft product.
The web service basically works the same as Yahoo Answers or general support forums you find on the Web. Users can post questions about Windows Vista related problems on the website, and other users or Microsoft support staff will step in and help answering the user questions. Microsoft seems to have assigned support staff members to the website who have filled it prior to the public release with typical questions and answers. The decision has most likely been made to establish a high level of trust in the project and community. It is not self regulating like Yahoo Answers where only community members post and answer questions.
The web service makes use of a underlying forum system that divides the topics into categories like Security and Privacy, Wireless, Internet, and Networking or Gaming. The site features about 1000 threads currently with roughly 3000 posts. That's not much but it will surely increase in the coming weeks when the service gains popularity.
The Top Answerers and the Top Microsoft Answerers are displayed in a pane on the right side. The display changes depending on the forum level. Questions that are not related to Windows Vista will be locked by the support staff.
Windows Vista users will find some valuable answers to common problems at Microsoft Vista Answers. The low volume ensures that you can get answers from quite a few Microsoft support members as well as other users of the platform in short time.
Update: The forum has been renamed to Microsoft Community in wake of the upcoming Windows 8 launch. The core functionality has remained the same.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.