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December 5, 2020

Interesting New Way to Access MS KB Articles


In checking over the Windows IT Pro Blog this morning, I noticed an interesting post from Chris Morrisey at Microsoft. Entitled What’s next for Windows release notes, it provides some great guidance on how to find Knowledge Base (KB) articles. As the lead-in graphic for this story shows, KB articles are invariably associated with Windows Update items of all kinds, and appear as part of Update History information.

new KB URL structure

As the caption from the MS blog post reads this info (and graphic annotation) lays out the “new support article URL structure” for KB items.
[Click item for full-sized view.]

Understanding KB IDs and the New KB URL Structure

Generally, Knowledge Base articles use a name of the form KB<nnnnnnn>, where KB stands for Knowledge Base, and <nnnnnnn> is a 7-digit number that identifies some specific item in the knowledge base itself. In describing how KB URLs work, Morrisey refers to a “KB ID.” It took me a while to figure out that this refers only to the numeric portion of the more typical complete name for some item. Thus for example for KB item KB4578968 (the first such item that appears in this story’s lead-in graphic) the ID Is simply 4578968. Once I understood that, I was able to use Morrisey’s formula to construct a URL to access the KB item online, just as I was supposed to be able to do. Here’s how it works:

+1: For item KB4578968, the ID is simply 4578968
+2: Append this number to the new base URL for all KB items
— namely: https://support.microsoft.com/help
+3: This produces the URL https://support.microsoft.com/help/4578968/.
Try it: it works!

And indeed, this new technique works with any and all KB item IDs. Generally when I search on the string “KB” I will see the KB article among the top search results. But this is a promised method to go straight to that specific item and it works quite well. I plan to add it to my bag of MS Search tricks. Perhaps you might consider doing likewise yourself. Good stuff!

Author: Ed Tittel

Ed Tittel is a 30-plus-year computer industry veteran. He’s a Princeton and multiple University of Texas graduate who’s worked in IT since 1981 when he started his first programming job. Over the past three decades he’s also worked as a manager, technical evangelist, consultant, trainer, and an expert witness. See his professional bio for all the details.

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