CNET Forums FAQs

Welcome to the CNET forums! We are proud to present these forums for you to ask and answer questions and to voice your opinion on today's important high-tech issues. We have put together this list of frequently asked questions to help you use these forums to their fullest potential. Happy posting and enjoy!

Getting started in the CNET forums is as easy as 1, 2, 3!

First step: Log into the forums or register with CNET
You are welcome to browse the forums as a guest, however, in order to start a discussion or reply to a post, you must first be a CNET registered member. Membership is absolutely free and only requires a one-time registration in which we will need you to confirm your e-mail address. To register now, click on the "Join CNET" link at the top right hand of this page. For more details on registering click here.

If you are already a CNET member, log into CNET by simply click on the "Log in" link located on the top right hand corner of the forum page. Enter your registered e-mail address and password in the provided fields, and the click on the "Log in" button. Once you see the message display "Welcome, (your user name or handle)", you're ready to go!

Second step: Picking a forum associated with your topic
If you are asking for help for a specific problem, the first thing to do is start at the CNET forums directory page. On this page, chose a specific forum that best suits your question. For instance--if you have a question in regards to an issue with Windows 7, your best bet would be to post a question in the Windows 7 forum where members and moderators who are well-seasoned in that topic can offer their expertise and advice to you.

Third step: Search through current topics or submit your own question in the forum
Before posting your question in the forums, remember the saying, "Search is your best friend." Once you start to browse through the information here in the CNET forums--you may start to notice that many of the same questions are asked and answered time and time again. To prevent such duplications, our recommendation is to first give our forums search a shot, to see if you can find your answers through this method. In the top Navigation Bar - you will see a CNET search box. Just simply type in the term(s), and click the maginifying glass button and see if any of the search results returned anything that maybe helpful to your question at hand. To narrow down the search results to be more specific to your topic, on the left hand navigation, click on one of the specific forum to limit your search to that particular forum.

If you are unsuccessful at finding the topic of your liking using the forum search, no worries, it's time to submit a question of your own. Once you've entered the forum that best fits your question, simply click on the red "Create a new thread" button located above the list of discussion on the right. You should now be presented with a submission form in which you now can enter a subject line (one line summary of your question) and the body field (area used to describe details of your problems.) For speedier replies to your questions, please be sure to be detailed as possible--include all your system info, including operating system, model number, and any other specifics related to the problem. For more details on creating a new discussion click here.

Frequently asked questions:

  • How do I register for the forums?
  • How do I log into the forums?
  • How do I start a new discussion?
  • How do I reply to another member's message?
  • How does the Q&A post type work?
  • How do I return to the forum directory page?
  • Are there different ways I can view discussion threads?
  • How do I report an inappropriate or offensive message?
  • How do I add an emoticon to my message?
  • Can I delete or edit my discussion postings?
  • Can I use HTML codes in my discussion postings?
  • Can I stylize some of my text in my message?
  • What do all those different icons next to the subject lines represent?
  • What is the New! next to a post about?
  • What does the (NT) stand for next to some of the subject lines?
  • What is the icon next to a thread about?
  • What is the icon in each post about?
  • What are some of the icons next to some member's names all about?
  • How can I receive a notice that there is activity on a discussion?
  • Tracking what I have and haven't read in the forums
  • How do I get to know more about the members who have posted in the forums?
  • How can I edit/update my CNET profile page?
  • How can I contact a forum member directly without posting a message in the forums?


  • How do I register for the forums?

    Membership is free. You are welcome to browse the forums as a guest. To post a message or start a discussion of your own, you must complete a one-time registration. To register, simply click on the "Join CNET" link located on the top right hand corner of the forum page and fill out the necessary information required. For security purposes, we require e-mail confirmation of your registration. Please provide a valid e-mail address that you can check immediately. When you register, you must choose a unique username or "handle" and you must provide a unique and valid email address. Duplicate usernames and email addresses are not allowed, so if the name or address you enter is already in use, you will be prompted to choose another one. Once your e-mail address has been confirmed, you are ready to participate.

    Your registered e-mail address will never be visible to other forum members, though your e-mail address will be visible only to the forum administrators and moderators in case they need to contact you for any reason. Those who are in read-only mode will see a "Log in" link at the top right hand corner of any forum page, which will disappear once you have logged in.

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    How do I log into the forums?

    Each time you enter the forums, you are viewing messages in "read-only" mode (unless you have opted in for the system to "Remember Me" during your previous log in process. If you have "Remember Me" selected, the system will automatically recognize you when you return to CNET and you will not be required to log in.)

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    How do I start a new discussion?

    To create a new discussion in a forum, click on the "Create new discussion" button, which is located in the forum main thread listing page. You will then be presented with a window in which you can, select what type of post your discussion is about (click here to see all post types), add your subject line (what your question or comment is about), and a body field in which to type your comment or question into.

    When you are ready to submit your comment, scroll to the bottom of the form, and click on the "Preview" button. You will now be presented with your comment in the preview state. You can either chose to "Edit" or "Submit."

    If you are not satisfied with the way your comment appears, click on the "Edit" button, to correct anything you wish to change.

    At any point during the process of composing your comment, if you change your mind about posting a comment, click on the "Cancel" button, and your comment will not be posted. You will be taken back to where you had left off before initiating the post.

    If you are satisfied with the way your message appears, click on the "Submit" button. You will be presented with a confirmation message, indicating that your message has been submitted to the forum for public viewing. Below the confirmation message, you will be presented with three links :

    ·  "Click here to view your post" which will take you to the thread you've just contributed to;
    ·  "Track this discussion," which will allow you to opt in to receive e-mail updates whenever new comments are posted to this discussion;
    ·  "Bookmark your submission," which will let you to save your submission to your browser's bookmarks/favorites

    Please Note: In order to create a new discussion, you must enter a "Subject Title" and "Message Body". Without these two items the system will not let you continue with a post.

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    How do I reply to another member's message?

    Replying to another member's message is very similar to creating a new discussion, except that this time it is replying to another member's post.

    To reply to another member's message that you are currently reading, click on the "Reply" link, which is located directly below the message you are currently reading.

    Once you have clicked on the "Reply" link, you will be presented with a submission form directly below the post in which you would like to correspond to--in which you can add a subject title to correspond with your response and a body field in which to type your comment.

    When you are ready to submit your comment, scroll to the bottom of the "Message body" window, and click on the "Preview" button. You will now be presented with your comment in a preview state. You can either chose to "Edit" or "Submit".

    If you are not satisfied with the way your comment appears, click on the "Edit" button, to correct anything you wish to change.

    At any point during the process of replying to a member's message, if you change your mind about posting a comment, click on "Cancel," and your comment will not be posted. You will be taken back to where you left off before initiating the post.

    If you are satisfied with the way your message appears, click on the "Submit" button. You will be presented with a confirmation message, indicating that your message has been submitted to the forum for public viewing. Below the confirmation message, you will be presented with three links:

    ·  "Click here to view your post" which will take you to the reply message you've just posted
    ·  "Track this discussion," which will allow you to opt in to receive e-mail updates whenever new comments are posted to this discussion;
    ·  "Bookmark your submission," which will let you to save your submission to your browser's bookmarks/favorites

    Please Note: In order to post a reply message, you must enter a "Subject Title". Without a subject title the system will not let you continue with a post. If you choose not to fill in the "Message Body" the system will automatically add the text "NT" (which means "No Text") next to your subject title. "NT" will indicate to your readers that you only filled out the subject line with no text in the body following it.

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    How does the Q&A post type work?

    First a little background. The Q&A type thread is a new concept being introduced to our forums and may require a bit of time to get used to. There will be some significant differences between this type of discussion versus the traditional types of discussion. Please note that this format is for Q&A discussions only all other discussion types listed here will remain in the format most forum users are familiar with.

    In a Q&A thread, we have restricted the post layers to three levels deep only. Those layers being:

    -- First layer is for the question
    -- Second layer is for "Answers" or "clarification request" posts
    -- Third level is for replies to the Answers or Clarification requests

    This type of discussion thread is more restrictive than our other discussion thread types (all other discussion types allows discussions to run 14 layers level deep), but the whole idea of this methodology is to keep the Q&A experience as simple as possible to use and follow.

    Here is a detailed explanation of how the Question/Q&A post type works.

    When a person selects and submits a "Question" post type, the post itself will be designated by a question icon (). Here is a screenshot with just a question on its own

    Once a question type discussion has been created, members will be able to reply in two manners:

    Submit an answer to the question, which will be designated with an Answer icon. Or, ask for a clarification in the event that the question at hand needs more details in order for the participant to provide an answer (these will be represented with the text "Clarification request"). Anyone can reply to the clarification request posts and all clarification requests will remain directly below the first post/question.

    Click here for a screenshot with a question and a clarification request and no answers yet.

    Click here for a screenshot with a question and a couple of clarification request and answers, but the question has not yet been resolved.

    Once other members have submitted answers to the question, the author who created the question can chose one of the answers as the best answer to their question. Once the author has selected the "Best answer," the thread will be marked as "Resolved," and the icon will change from a question mark () to a question mark with a check mark (). The chosen answer will be also highlighted within the thread. In the question post, some text will appear noting that the author has chosen an answer resolution, along with a link to the chosen answer. Click here for a screenshot showing that the question has been resolved. That about sums it all up. Enjoy!

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    How do I return to the forum directory page?

    To return to the forum directory/home page, simply follow the breadcrumb navigation links which is located directly above the forum/thread title. The breadcrumb will look like this "Home > CNET Forums > Windows 7 > ... > ... ". The breadcrumb are there to let you know the current forum page you are on in relation to the forums hierarchy of pages. To go to the forum directory page, simply click on the "CNET Forums" link in the breadcrumb and that should take you to the directory page. If you ever get lost in the forums, you can always refer to the breadcrumb links to find your way around the forums.

    An additional way to return back to Forum directory page is to click the "CNET Forums" title link, which is located on the top left-hand navigation menu on every forum page.

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    Are there different ways I can view discussion threads?

    There are two ways in which you can view a discussion thread, Expanded view, in which all posts (the subject line and body) in the discussion thread are viewable. Or you can chose to view the discussion thread in Collapsed view, in which the posts in the discussion thread is collapsed, displaying only the subject line of the post.

    To toggle between the two views, simply click the "Expand" or "Collapse" view link directly below the first post in the discussion thread. By default the threads will be displayed in the expanded view. In the collapsed view, to expand each individual post, either click on the subject line of the post or click on the "+" icon to expand and "-" to collapse the post.

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    How do I report an inappropriate or offensive message?

    If you happen to come across a particular message in the forums that contains spam or other offensive content which violates our usage policy, we encourage you to notify our moderators by clicking the icon located directly below each individual message on the right hand side. Once clicked, you will be prompted with a submission form. Simply select which type of offensive that best describes the post and click the "Submit" button (there is no need to enter a comment). If you wish to make a comment about this message to the moderators, feel free to enter something into the comment field. Once reported, our moderators will be notified of the message and it will be reviewed. Reported messages will not automatically remove the message. Please Note: In order to report an offensive post, you must be registered and logged in as a CNET member.

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    How do I add an emoticon to my message?

    The following emoticons may be added to any part of your message. To have an emoticon appear in the body of your message, type the keystrokes directly into your message. The following table illustrates what keystrokes are required to produce a particular emoticon, and what it means.

    Meaning
    Keystroke
    Emoticon
    Happy:) or :-)
    Sad:( or :-(
    Grin:D
    Love:x
    Mischief;\
    CoolB-)
    Devil]:)
    Silly:p
    AngryX-(
    Laugh:^0
    Wink;) or ;-)
    Blush:8}
    Cry:_|
    Confused?:|
    Shocked:0
    Plain:|

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    Can I delete or edit my discussion posting?

    Unfortunately the answer is no, once the message is posted, it cannot be edited or deleted by the member. If you have a posting that you wish to have removed from the site all together, please use the icon link and give an explanation of why you would like your post removed. Note: When you are requesting a removal of your own post, please make sure that you are logged in to our site, so that we can confirm that you are in fact the author of the post. Removal request will not be considered if you are not logged in.

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    Can I use HTML codes in my discussion postings?

    In order to protect our members and the forums from malicious abuse, we do not permit the use of any HTML codes. All HMTL codes posted will be escaped. For simple text stylization we do offer some BBS styling of text.

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    Can I stylize some of my text in my message?

    Since we don't offer the ability for you to use HTML codes in our forums to stylize your text, you can utilize some basic BBS codes that will allow you to stylize your text in your message. Below is what is available for you to use:

    Styling
    Codes
    Will appear as
    Bold fonts[b]your text here[/b]your text here
    Italic fonts[i]your text here[/i]your text here
    Underline fonts[u]your text here[/u]your text here
    Hyperlinking text[url=http://www.help.com]your text here[/url]your text here

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    What do all those different icons next to the subject lines represent?

    When you are creating a new discussion thread, you will have the ability to specifically designate what type of post it is. Each post type will have a unique icon. This will show other members, at a glance, what type of discussion you are presenting and allow them to filter each forum by post type. Post types and their icons are as follows:

    Question or (Q&A) (which will trigger a Q&A type discussion, click here to read details on the Q&A post type works)

    Resolved question (when the author of a question has chosen a specific post that answered their question)

    Tip (not limited to this, but as an example--when you'd like to share advice or a how-to type post...)

    Idea (not limited to this, but as an example--when you'd like to share an idea for feedback...)

    Alert/warning (not limited to this, but as an example--when you'd like to share an announcement, warning, or alert with others...)

    Rant (not limited to this, but as an example--when you'd like to share something that you are unhappy about, a complaint, or bad news...)

    Praise (not limited to this, but as an example--when you'd like to share something that you are excited about, a positive experience, or good news... )

    General discussion (not limited to this, but as an example--when you'd like to carry on a conversation that doesn't fit into any of the post types available and do not want the discussion to be restricted to a Q&A type format.)

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    What's the New! message about?

    The New! text next to a posted message indicates a new message that has been submitted within the last 24 hours. The New! text is automated and will expire/disappear after a 24 hour period from the time the submission was made.

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    What does the (NT) stand for next to some of the subject lines?

    The text (NT) stands for "No Text". The (NT) next to some of the subject lines are indicators to let you know that those post have no content in the message body other than the subject line.

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    What is the icon next to a thread about?

    The icon next to a thread indicates that this discussion has been locked by our forum moderator or administrator and no further post or replies will be allowed.

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    What is the icon in each post about?

    The icon in each post is the permalink (or permanent link) for that specific post. If you ever want to refer someone to a specific post within a thread, simply click on the chain link icon and refer to that specific URL.

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    What are some of the icons next to some user's names all about?

    In the forums we have people from all walks of life participating. However, for the ease of recognizing some members as having an affiliation with a manufacturer, or as being a forum moderator or a CNET staff member, we have badged these particular members with special icons to indicate who they are. Please refer to the Forum icon legend at the bottom of forum pages for details.

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    How can I receive a notice that there is activity on a discussion?

    It is easy to be notified of activities on a particular discussion topic. Follow these steps to subscribe to a discussion topic:

    Navigate to a discussion topic you are interested in. When viewing the first post of the discussion, directly below the it, there is link that reads "Track this thread". Once you click on the link, the text will switch to "Tracked." Congratulations, you have now successfully subscribed to that particular discussion thread. Once you have successfully tracked a discussion, you will be notified periodically by e-mail whenever there are any updates to that discussion. If you are currently already subscribed to a discussion, a "Tracked" link will appear in place of the "Track this thread" link, indicating that you are already tracking that discussion already.

    Additionally you can track a discussion during the process of creating a new discussion thread or when replying to another member's post. To do this, during your submission process there will be a check box available to track that specific discussion and if it's checked, you will be notified by e-mail periodically whenever there is any update to that discussion.

    To unsubscribe from any of your tracked discussions or to view which discussion topics you are subscribed to, click on the My tracked discussions link on the left-hand column below the Forum Information heading. The "My tracked discussions" page contains a list of all the discussions to which you are subscribed to. To unsubscribe from a discussion check the box(es) next to the discussion thread(s) that you do not want to receive notifications for and click on the "Unsubscribe" button. Those tracked discussions should now be removed from your list.

    Please Note: This feature requires you to be registered with CNET and logged in.

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    Tracking what I have and haven't read in the forums

    Read tracking lets you know what discussions/posts you have read and not yet read. In order for the read tracking feature to work, you must be logged into the forums for it to take effect. Once you have logged in, at-a-glance, you will be able you differentiate which messages/discussions have been read and unread by you through the use of different icon indicators.

    Read tracking on the Forum Page (e.g. Windows XP forum): On the forum page you will be presented with 3 different icons (green ball, gray ball, or red ball), each located next to the discussion's subject line. Depending on the icon, it will indicate to you whether that particular discussion has been read or unread. The different icons are defined as follows:

        (green ball) Indicates that this entire discussion has never been read
        (gray ball) Indicates that this discussion has been read
        (red ball) Indicates that this discussion has been updated with new messages.

    Once you have opened a discussion marked with a green ball ( ), whether you have read through the discussion in its entirety or not, it will be marked with a gray ball ( ) indicating that you have read the discussion. Only in the discussion tree (explained below) will you be able to tell which messages you have read or not read. However, if someone posts a new message to that discussion, it will be marked with a red ball ( ) to indicate that a new message is present in that discussion since your last visit.

    Read tracking within a discussion thread: On the discussion thread page, you will be presented with 2 different icons (a green ball and a gray ball). These icons will be present next to the subject lines in the discussion tree to indicate whether that particular message has been read or unread. The different colors are defined as follows:

        (green ball) Indicates that this message has never been read
        (gray ball) Indicates that this message has been read

    Once you have clicked a message indicated with a green ball ( ) and proceed to navigate on to the another message, that previous message icon will turn gray ( )gray ball, indicating that it has been read.

    Additonal navigation through Unread messages: For ease of reading through unread messages within a discussion, we have added an additional navigation button, Next unread , which will allow you to navigate through only the messages that you haven't read. This feature will only be available if you are logged in.

    How do I get to know more about the members who have posted in the forums?

    In any given forum post, each member's username is hyperlinked to his CNET profile page. Simply click on a hyperlinked username to display what the member has opted in to reveal about himself.

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    How can I edit/update my CNET profile page?

    To edit or update your CNET profile you must first be logged into CNET. Once you have logged in, on any given CNET page, on the top right hand corner of the page click on the "My profile" link. Once you've click on the link, you will be presented with your own profile management page in which you can view items that you are currently tracking, your product lists that you have created, newsletter subscriptions, view all your contributions on CNET, and many other cool CNET features. To edit your profile page to tell other members a little bit about yourself, click on "Community profile" link. Look for the "Click here to edit your biographical information" link and update any of the profile fields provided. Once you have completed updating/editing your profile information, click on the "Update" button and all your information that you've update/entered will be saved. To view your updates, just refresh the browser page.

    Please Note: Please exercise your best judgment when revealing personal information about yourself when filling out your profile. You are responsible for the content provided on your profile page. All forum usage policies and CBS Interactive Terms of Use will be applied to your profile page.)

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    How can I contact a forum member directly without posting a message in the forums?

    At any time, you may contact a member of the forums directly via email. However you must be a registered member of the forums and logged in to do so.

    To send a message directly to a forum member, click on the member's hyperlinked username when viewing the member's post. Once you have clicked on the username you will be presented with the member's profile page. On this page you will find an "E-mail" link which will initiate a form for you to fill out. However, if the link is unavailable on their profile page, the member has opted not to receive any emails from other community members and you will not be able to contact them. Once you have fill out the form as desired, click on the Send E-mail button. You will be presented with a confirmation note to let you know that your email was sent. Note: Please be aware that your e-mail address that is registered with CNET will be revealed to the member you are contacting through this form. Please exercise judgment when revealing personal information about yourself when you send a message.

    Also note that all forum policies apply to e-mails sent to members. Offensive content, harassment, etc... WILL NOT be tolerated and users will be subject to termination of service if policies are disregarded. For further information please refer to our Forum usage policies and CBS Interactive Terms of Use.

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