You can get free Windows support from Microsoft by subscribing to its product support newsgroups.

This article appears in the May 07 issue of PC Advisor, available now in all good newsagents.

I find these newsgroups a valuable resource when researching my answers for Helpline. You can access them using IE – just point your browser to here.

However, if you become a regular user it's more efficient to use Outlook Express, Mozilla Thunderbird or another newsgroup reader. Simply create a news account and set msnews.microsoft.com for the news server. For full instructions click here.

Microsoft has a huge number of product support newsgroups and many of them are extremely busy, so Windows and other popular products are covered by a number of groups. Be sure to pick the group that's most appropriate for your particular question if you want to get the most helpful answer.