Microsoft TechNet for the rest of us

Michael lasky By Michael Lasky

Microsoft’s TechNet site, dubbed “Resources for IT Professionals,” is a rich repository of high-level geek talk plus tips for enterprise-class IT personnel.

But don’t let that reputation put you off — TechNet is also a gold mine of excellent tips and tricks for individual Windows users as well.

TechNet exists as a place where corporate IT pros can find detailed information and training — a resource that will make it easier for them to adopt and deploy Microsoft products within their companies. But in his July 1 column, “The ultimate software deal has strings attached” (paid content), Woody Leonhard wrote that anyone — not just IT professionals — could sign up and pay for a TechNet subscription (site). Starting at around U.S. $200, the subscription included the right to download full versions of almost any Microsoft software.

Fortunately, if you want to mine the oceans of info available on the TechNet site, you don’t need a subscription! Mine is the operative word, however. Finding the information you’re looking for often means digging through what seems to be ever-cascading layers of links, sublinks, and sub-sub-sublinks.

Using Bing, Microsoft’s search engine, may get you to your destination, but more often it will lead to other parts of Microsoft’s vast corporate site — even when the search bar says, “Search TechNet with Bing.” With no easy road map to follow, gleaning gold from TechNet means following many links.

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All Windows Secrets articles posted on 2010-11-18:

Michael Lasky

About Michael Lasky

WS contributing editor Michael Lasky is a freelance writer based in Oakland, California, who has 20 years of computer-magazine experience, most recently as senior editor at PC World.