Greenhill Grammar school, Oldham

 

Due to major changes in the site's operation in Dec 2017 the archives cn now only be accessed through the Bulletin Board.  Select 'Discussion' in the Main Menu to open the Board Index page, then 'MSN Board Archive' in the header area

 

 


Backround/Timeline of the

MSN Archive

 


 

 

 

The original Greenhill Site was hosted on Microsoft's MSN Groups starting in May 2001, and that is where many members of the current site met up again for the first time since their schooldays.

 

Whilst being free and easy to use, MSN Groups were actually very restrictive in terms of what, and how much, could be done.  For example, there were severe limits on:-

  • Number of web pages
  • Size of each page
  • Storage allocation
  • The HTML that could be used
  • The Message Boards - really only functioned properly with Internet Explorer (ActiveX)

 

Another big concern to the technically-inclined was always the backup system.  There wasn't one!


The content of the MSN site itself was easy enough to preserve, but the Message Boards were "something else".  They were very "Microsoft proprietary", very complicated, and there was no documentation or back-up facility.  The meaning of the technical term 'back-up' was not fully understood by many at the time and it was thought in some quarters that merely having a copy of each posting on a personal computer performed this function. This simplistic view however lacks the major function of a true back-up system - the ability to automatically re-constitute the original on the web.  This re-construction should at least be possible on the original site, but a true back-up should allow re-installation anywhere on the web.

 

Work on the current site here at greenhill-gs.org.uk started in 2007, mainly to try to overcome the perceived shortcomings of "websites" hosted on MSN.  The new site was kept aligned with the then already-existing Photo Site at greenhill-gs.co.uk, while MSN Groups continued to be used by the majority.

 

In October 2008, the catastrophe that had been feared came to pass - Microsoft announced that MSN Groups would close in February 2009.

 

The content of the MSN site itself was relatively easy to preserve, but the problem of the Message Boards and their 11,000+ posts remained - they were going to be lost.

 

Several members of this site, most notably Kevin, set about trying to salvage the situation, and the result is this archive.
The work was completed just prior to the MSN Groups closure, but not used because by then there had been an automatic migration of the MSN site to an organisation called Multiply.com - an "Official" Microsoft migration, in fact.

 

As if to illustrate our above fears about the difficulty of the back-up situation, that migration was patchy to say the least - web pages mixed with postings, loss of embedded images etc.
We were however persuaded that it was "good enough" as far as Message Boards were concerned, and that work would be done to tidy it up.

 

By 2013, no tidying had been done.
In December 2012 the multiply.com social networking service was withdrawn, and in May 2013 multiply.com ceased to exist altogether.
With it went the last vestiges of those MSN Message Boards.

 

Fortunately, and due to the foresight and hard work put in before MSN closed, we still had our 4½ year old MSN archive, and that at least, like the rest of the current site, can be and is properly backed-up.  That archive is what you see here today.

 

The whole experience has in fact been an object lesson in the wisdom of relying on your own skills and resources rather than on corporate hand outs