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Microsoft

Microsoft has consolidated support.office.com and support.microsoft.com into a unified support site to make it easier for you to find support and troubleshooting resources for Microsoft 365. As part of this effort, you will see a number of changes and improvements to Windows release notes, the Windows update history pages, and related informational articles. Behind the scenes, we'll also be making foundational changes—to formatting, the user interface, and the type of metadata available.

In addition to making it easier to locate relevant support articles when using a search engine, the consolidation of these two information experiences increases our ability to quickly publish new articles and keep existing articles up to date.

There is nothing you need to do to benefit from these changes. We will begin to roll them out in the coming weeks. For those interested in the fine details, here are some of the changes you can expect.

Authoritative URLs

As you can see from the preview screenshot below, the knowledge base (KB) ID will be prominently displayed in the new URL structure and on the page itself. This makes it easier to search for support articles by KB ID and to distinguish one article from another when page titles look similar.

New support article URL structureNew support article URL structure

Our current URL structure is: http://support.microsoft.com/[locale]/help/[kb-id]/[url-title]. To find an article by KB ID, you simply append the KB ID to the root URL, https://support.microsoft.com/help. At times, however, KB IDs are not listed in the article itself, and can only be found within the KB URL. The tie between the KB ID is not as strongly associated with the article by search engines and articles can be more difficult to find.

For greater consistency and to support improved search indexing, the URL structure moving forward will include both the GUID and the KB ID. Since many are familiar with appending the KB ID to the URL, we will continue to support this approach and use automatic redirects to ensure you land on the appropriate article.

Greater ability to share

You will continue to be able to share articles through email as you do today, but you will soon have the ability to share them on Facebook and LinkedIn using convenient share controls at the bottom of each page, as shown below:

Share controls for support articlesShare controls for support articles

What's not changing

While we are consolidating our content management system (CMS) and web endpoints, there is no change to our content delivery strategy. We will continue to release the following documentation:

  • All existing release notes, including:
    • Monthly security updates ("B" releases)
    • Non-security updates (Preview releases)
    • Out of band updates ("OOB" releases)
  • Existing support articles dating back to 2016, including informational and standalone articles, for supported operating systems.
  • New articles for supported operating systems and those supported by extended security updates (ESUs).
  • Content for existing channels, such as Windows Update, Microsoft Catalog, and Windows Server Update Services.

We will also continue to localize the latest cumulative update and rollup articles in the same languages—and support the best parts of the existing user experience, such as the ability to:

  • Quickly find related articles (or articles for other versions of Windows)
  • Leave feedback in the form of a comment on an individual article

Quickly find information for other versions of Windows with the Windows update history pagesQuickly find information for other versions of Windows with the Windows update history pages

Metadata changes

If you use tools to find our pages using metadata, the information below may help you with this transition.

Articles will no longer be served as JSON objects

Currently, support.microsoft.com serves articles in a JSON format and then renders them on the client. The new support.microsoft.com rendering service will not deliver articles in a JSON format. Instead, the articles will be rendered in HTML.

Metadata will no longer be available in the JSON format

Metadata related to the article will no longer be served as JSON. Instead, article metadata will be rendered in a block of meta tags similar to the following:

 

<meta name="description" content="Learn more about update KB4075200, including improvements and fixes, any known issues, and how to get the update." />

<meta name="ms.product" content="8540b382-5304-d506-ece2-a936dd11d66e" />

<meta name="search.description" content="Learn more about update KB4075200, including improvements and fixes, any known issues, and how to get the update." />

<meta name="search.products" content="8540b382-5304-d506-ece2-a936dd11d66e" />

<meta name="search.version" content="21" />

<meta name="search.mkt" content="en-US" />

<meta name="awa-asst" content="00bc2e53-72c8-071d-66ed-60bccbda4ae9" />

<meta name="awa-pageType" content="Article" />

<meta name="awa-env" content="Staging" />

<meta name="awa-market" content="en-US" />

<meta name="awa-contentlang" content="en" />

<meta name="awa-stv" content="1.0.0-1e0ba91f1f752fea4fe74d7b26b96c62fd989518" />

<meta name="awa-serverImpressionGuid" content="00-3759df2a751d8547bca6e1d70ae93e01-2f1491318f186642-00" />

A reduced set of metadata will be available in the page source

The previous service exposed the entire JSON object for each article. The new service will expose a limited set of metadata as <meta> tags.

Some metadata that was previously available in JSON will be available as rendered HTML. See the table below for a list of common metadata items and a description of how they will render on the new service.

Previous item

Description

Rendering from previous service

Rendering from the new service

KB numbers

Used as a unique KB ID for KB articles.

id in JSON object and viewable on page

Rendered in <title> and <h1> elements if the KB was included in the article title

Release date

Date of article publication

releaseDate in JSON object and viewable on page

Rendered as HTML content

Last updated

Date of the most recent change

publishedOn in JSON object and viewable on page

Rendered as lastPublishedDate meta tag

Applies to

List of applicable operating systems (OS).

supportAreaPaths and supportAreaPathNodes in JSON object and viewable on page as Applies To: string

Rendered as HTML content

Version

OS build information

releaseVersion in JSON object and viewable on page

Rendered as HTML content

Heading

Title of article; heading is used for the title that is rendered on the page. Title is used for the title bar in the browser. There are also title attributes for each section.

heading in JSON object and viewable on page as topic title

Rendered in HTML content in both <title> and <h1> elements

Locale

The language of the article.

locale in JSON object

Derived from URL. Not available in page content.

We believe that these changes will make it easier for you to search for, and find, the resources you need to support and get the most out of your Windows and Office experience.

15 Comments
Occasional Contributor

Thanks Chris! 

Occasional Visitor

This is going to be very helpful!

Super Contributor

One issue we had recently is one third-party security system was showing that we are missing Edge updates and in the monthly CU update page they provide a link to CSV with all the files. But there are no versions of the files, only sizes, dates, etc. Versions would be useful.

Occasional Contributor

@Chris Morrissey 

Will MSKB RSS feeds https://support.microsoft.com/kb/4089498/ continue to work? 

Thanks!

Regular Visitor

@Chris Morrissey 

Will there be a new url-structure for referencing articles with just the GUID as well?

 

Something like http://support.microsoft.com/[locale]/helpGUID/[GUID] 

Occasional Visitor

It's very helpful

Valued Contributor

It would have been nice if there was special engine integrate for Microsoft Bing , so when we type KB, it highlight article and we click and directly land to the article.

Occasional Visitor

thanks

Occasional Contributor

Thanks @Chris Morrissey 

Occasional Contributor

Hi @Chris Morrissey 

Regrading this statement

the knowledge base (KB) ID will be prominently displayed in the new URL structure and on the page itself.

 

I'm not seeing it consistently. E.g. https://support.microsoft.com/help/4509121 redirects to https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/web-search-in-windows-10-and-supported-regions-6c678e9c-... that has KB ID neither in the URL, nor on the page.

 

Can you please comment on that? 
And on my question re: RSS above as well.

Thanks!

Occasional Visitor

شكرا على الابداع

 

Occasional Visitor

Writers have traditionally written abbreviated dates according to their local custom, creating all-numeric equivalents to dates such as, '3 November 2020' (03/11/20) and 'November 3, 2020' (11/03/20). This can result in dates that are impossible to understand correctly without knowing the writer's origin and/or other contextual details, as dates such as "10/11/06" can be interpreted as "10 November 2006" in the DMY format, "October 11, 2006" in MDY, and "2010 November 6" in YMD.

The ISO 8601 format YYYY-MM-DD (2020-11-02) is intended to harmonize these formats and ensure accuracy in all situations. Many countries have adopted it as their sole official date format, though even in these areas writers may adopt abbreviated formats that are no longer recommended.

Will the whole of Microsoft begin to standardize dates in format YYYY-MM-DD throughout their divisions, soon?

Occasional Visitor

Does MS have a plan or intention to re-provide KB articles for out-of-support products in the form of an archive? It's not always a good idea to lift them into your internal archives, and you have a successful online archive for outdated MSDN and Technet contents. In the good old days of MSDN library downloads (pre-2008), we can still grab them from the VS help files, but it is no more.

Microsoft
Regular Visitor

Nos consume un poco mas de rendimiento del CPU pero vale la pena renovarse y aprovechar ésta nueva herramienta con los equipos a implementar en el futuro. Gracias por la noticia.