Microsoft has quietly told customers that it will stop participating in the online support forums devoted to consumer questions about Windows 7 and a host of other products.

The announcement, which Microsoft posted over the weekend to several of the affected support forums, said the change would take place next month.

"Effective July 2018, the Microsoft Community forums listed below will shift support scope and Microsoft staff will no longer provide technical support there," the identical messages stated. "There will be no proactive reviews, monitoring, answering or answer marking of questions."

Along with Windows 7, the other products covered by the mandate include Windows 8.1 and Windows 8.1 RT, Office 2010 and Office 2013, the Security Essentials antivirus program and the early Surface and Surface Pro 2-in-1 devices.

In some of the messages, Microsoft asserted that the stoppage impacts "products that reached end of support," even though software such as Windows 7 and 8.1 have years left before they're officially retired.

The discussion forums, which are under umbrella site dubbed "Microsoft Community" located at the URL, primarily consist of peer-to-peer questions and questions. But Microsoft employees do post in the threads, providing clarifications, solutions to problems, and in some cases, mea culpas for screw-ups.

The Microsoft commentary, considered the "official" line from the company on the subject under discussion, is what will be dropped in July.

Other forms of support, including security updates, will continue until the Redmond, Wash. company's schedule - called the support lifecycle - says the affected products end their run. Support lifecycle dates for Microsoft products can be found by searching this database.