Finding Exchange Documentation on Microsoft.com


There’s all kinds of documentation out there about Exchange but sometimes it’s difficult to find what you’re looking for. You know what you want, you even saw/had a hardcopy once so you know it exists. Finding it, however, is the whole needle/haystack thing.


 


I write documentation that gets sent to what we lovingly call the “black hole of Microsoft.com” and some days it feels like I spend as much time looking for our docs as I do writing them. Often I want to know what other people have said about a topic I’m working on or I need to find some Windows docs, or I’m just trying to get my test environment working and need to find a KB that addresses the problem I’m having.


 


So I have an inkling into the pain you feel when you’re trying to simply FIND information you need to get your job done. First, rest assured we are painfully aware of the problem and there are people chartered with figuring out how to fix the fundamental issues there.


 


In the mean time, here are some hints for finding Exchange docs.


 


First Google is your friend. Here are three hints about finding our docs using Google.


 


1. Install the Google toolbar.  I’m surprised at how many people take the time to type www.google.com 352 times a day. The Google toolbar takes up very little real estate, is always there, and blessedly keeps a history of your searches in a nice little drop down menu. http://toolbar.google.com/ Get it, use it, love it.


 


2. Use Google smartly. If you haven’t used the advanced search features on Google…For shame! It’s all pretty self explanatory. Here is the advanced search page: http://www.google.com/advanced_search


 


For example, when you want a KB article you pretty much only care about docs that live on support.microsoft.com. So on Google’s advanced search page, in the “Domain” field, enter support.microsoft.com. Try a search for Exchange Transaction Logs on support.microsoft.com.


 


3. When you use the advanced features notice the syntax Google uses so next time you can type your custom search directly into the Google toolbar and save yourself a click or two. In our example above I would have just typed the following in the Google toolbar:


 


exchange transaction logs site:support.microsoft.com


 


Now you don’t even have to waste the click to go to the advanced search page. Just type “thing I’m searching for” site:subdomain.domain.com (or whatever) directly in the Google toolbar. The subdomain(s) is/are optional.


 


Besides using Google, you might just want to see the docs that have come from the Exchange product group. So our library page is another good starting place for your general doc needs:


 


http://www.microsoft.com/exchange/library


 


This page is largely where we deliver Exchange 2003 documentation. You can find links to Exchange 2000 and 5.5 docs on this page as well. The library page is full of guides and papers with all kinds of information. And it’s growing. Be sure to check back from time to time to see what’s been recently updated or added.


 


Now if I was lame and forgot to tell you how to get to our library page you’d just type


 


exchange library site:microsoft.com


 


in your Google toolbar, right?   J


 


Hopefully these simple hints will help you find some of the information you need on Microsoft.com a little faster. Blogs, newsgroups, and sites like www.slipstick.com often will link out to our docs too.  There is probably more free documentation out there than you think. Sometimes when talking to you folks (our Exchange customers) we get requests for documentation on something we already documented. Sometimes months ago! That tells us that we need to help you find the docs that are already out there as well as write new content to address issues we haven’t covered yet. As I said at the beginning we are aware of this and have some people working on a fix.  For now, use Google, the library page, and the extended Exchange community.


 


Have your own tip for finding Exchange documentation? Let us know!


 


Tammy Treit


Comments (9)
  1. Marty Garins says:

    Tammy,
    Great tips for places to search.
    I personally don’t use the google toolbar or any other since pop up blocking is now a part of IE in the upcoming service pack. I instead use the SearchURL feature from the registry. This allows me to simply type g (or another that I defined) space and the google
    search terms and IE uses the configured URL to search. This allows me to also search from the address toolbar in the taskbar so no messy need to launch the browser first.

    Here is .reg file snippet.

    [HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftInternet ExplorerSearchUrlg]
    @="http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&ie=UTF-8&q=%s"

    You can also use the Tweak UI power toy to edit this area as well. I have several others defined as well.

  2. Tammy Treit says:

    That’s slick! Any idea how to make that work from a command prompt? :)

  3. Tammy Treit says:

    Hmm except it doesn’t support site search in the address bar of IE. As in:

    g Tammy Treit site:microsoft.com

    So looks like I need to keep the google toolbar for now (unless you have a work around) I use the site:microsoft.com etc all the time.

  4. Hi,

    I also use Google a lot.

    For users, who prefer MSN, they offer a toolbar as well (see link)

    Kind Regards

    Frank

  5. Corentin says:

    Google has a dedicated site for searching Microsoft-related information:

    http://www.google.com/microsoft.html

    Some web browsers can integrate that in their search bar :-)) (which is nice considering the Google bar is not supported on my favorite platform…).

    Corenin

  6. Marty Garins says:

    Tammy,
    You could set up another combination to do a site specific search

    [HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftInternet ExplorerSearchUrlgm]
    @="http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&ie=UTF-8&q=%s+site%%3Amicrosoft.com"

    Now to do a microsoft site specific search just type gm Tammy Treit

    Or you can add a new string value under your search node (g) and set the name to a character to Encode and the value set to the Encoded Hex value including the %

    Updated Registry Snippet
    [HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftInternet ExplorerSearchUrlg]
    @="http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&ie=UTF-8&q=%s"

    " "="+"
    "+"="%2B"
    "%"="%25"
    "&"="%26"
    "#"="%23"
    ":"="%3A"

    Tweak UI sets all of the above except for the colon which I added.

    Now g will work correctly with the site: specifier and if you set up the gm one you can save the extra site:microsoft.com typing as well.

    I don’t have any ideas on how to get it going from a command windows though. If you figure it out I would love to know.

    Marty

  7. tom says:

    Don’t tell me, let me guess…the “black hole of Microsoft.com” is a Sharepoint server farm. Am I right?

    But even further is the issue of so many Exchange error messages, that simply are not documented publically at all. Calling in to PSS, I often get referenced to things that are ‘internal only’ and are never exposed to the public. This furthers the perception that closed source is ‘evil’, and restriction of data is intended as a driver of revenue.

    Why not publish a public interface to the ‘black hole’, and let the market drive the innovation?

  8. Tammy Treit says:

    Marty: I will give that a shot, looks like it does what I want. If I get anywhere on doing it from a command prompt I’ll let you know. :)

    Tom: I’m not aware of witholding anything for the purpose of driving up revenue. There are plenty of things we haven’t documented yet but I can speak for my team and say it isn’t because we’re devious…just human. I keep trying to find more than 24 hours in a day but haven’t succeeded yet. :)

    There are some things you need to call PSS for. I believe these are generally things that either apply to very specific situations or otherwise need more specific guidance from PSS for whatever reasons.

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