Why Windows Me deserves more respect

Windows MeI have a confession to make, I used Windows Millennium Edition and I liked it. That doesn’t stop me making fun of it however.

At a time where there was still a separation between consumer and enterprise operating systems, Windows Me was at the top of its class.

What a lot of people forget or don’t even recognize to begin with is that Windows Me is actually a rather innovative and forward-looking operating system. Instead, almost everyone focuses on its reliability problems which can be largely attributed to the flaky and inherently unstable Win9x kernel.

With the help of Wikipedia, here’s a short list of the most notable features that were introduced or improved in Windows Me. See how many of these have provided some benefit to you in the past. For me, many of these are fundamental to my Windows experience.

  • Windows Movie Maker (new) – allows basic editing of home videos. (However to this date, still highly unstable.)
  • System Restore (new) -allows the restore of system files, drivers and the registry to a previous known state to recover from a system failure. Might not work all the time, but a huge leap from the format and install approach to troubleshooting.
  • System File Protection (improved) – monitors and restores undesired changes to important Windows system files. Might be a hassle for advanced users, but gives some protection over malicious damage of system files.
  • New TCP/IP Stack (improved) – adds ability to sense whether adapters are connected to a network, improved performance and reliability and home networking features.
  • Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) (new) – adds the ability for the computer to request ports autonomously to the router. (An inherent security problem, but simplifies home networking in many scenarios.)
  • Windows Image Acquisition (WIA) (new) – a standardized framework for imaging devices (cameras, webcams, scanners) to communicate with Windows. Before this, device vendors had to write a custom solution on their own leading to many compatibility problems.
  • Automatic Updates (new) – allows for download and installations of Windows Updates directly in Windows. Before, users had to manually check the website.
  • Inbuilt ZIP support (improved) – allows the creation and extraction of ZIP folders natively in Windows.
  • Image preview (new) – inbuilt picture viewer for many of the popular photo and image formats.
  • Bundled games (improved) – Pinball and Spider Solitaire. Nuff said.
  • USB Mass Storage generic driver (new) – the first consumer Windows OS to support any USB mass storage device without third-party drivers. Before, you had to install a custom driver from a floppy to use any USB drive.

Could you imagine the security problems if Windows XP didn’t ship with Automatic Updates? Or if WIA was never introduced – how difficult it was to install a scanner in Windows 98? What about having to download a third-party utility to view a JPG? Or not having to plug in a USB drive and just have it work.

In spite of this and more, people continue to draw comparisons between Windows Vista and Windows Me as if it were as hip as writing Microsoft with a dollar sign in the late 90s.

I don’t think this is fair at all. If anything, it means Vista has a bunch of new and improved features that we won’t realize the full potential of till a couple more Windows releases down the road. But that doesn’t mean it’s destined to a be a ‘failure’.

What’s more, Windows 98 Second Edition was released on May 5, 1999 and Windows XP on October 25, 2001. Between the two, Windows Me was released on September 14, 2000, giving it the shortest Windows lifespan of only 406 days. Taking into account consumer purchasing life-cycles and other factors, what’s left is only a couple of days of fame. Any product preceded and superseded that quickly would have suffered the same fate.

162 insightful thoughts

  1. Great post, Long! I completely agree with you here. There are some great features, which won’t really be highlighted until Vista is more mature, or maybe in a later Windows release. But yes, I completely agree with you. However, I personally have 0 problems with Vista :)

    1. When Windows ME was released to OEMs such as Tiny, it ran perfectly on these machines but on a generic PC of that era and a Retail Installation of Windows ME, for some reason, there seemed to be problems.

      It did however produce or bring in the System Restore option to Windows which has been a lifesaver in some cases.

  2. I agree … Windows Me suffered greatly, while it still was a great platform for innovation. Technology is evolutive, to move forward, you’re bound to hit a snag somewhere. And while Me was in certain areas a disaster, it was a leap forward in others. Great article.

    1. That’s the same issue with windows Vista; it gets a lotta flack, but windows 7 owes a lot to the windows vista concept. Windows 8 is getting a lot of fire, because it was not beta tested; when you rush things out, your going to encounter dire consequences!

  3. That’s like saying your ride is fly because it’s got smokin’ wheels and a badbass engine under the hood but trying to play down the smell of raw sewage from your backseat shitter.

    It’s not like we’d be without all those features if it weren’t for ME. You know they didn’t just whip together Windows XP in less than a year.

  4. @AW: You’re right in the sense that some good features does not make up for the fact of the reliability problems, but I think it is something positive to think about in relations to Windows ME.

    I disagree with you on the second point however. “What if” is always always an interesting proposition, “what if this didn’t happen”. But those path predictions never work out. The fact is that it did happen, and it has resulted in the featureset that’s in Windows XP and Vista, so I think it deserves some credit in that sense.

  5. I’ve always considered Windows ME to be a “transitional OS,” much like Windows Vista seems to be now. It’s not exactly revolutionary, but just enough “new” stuff to set the foundation for the more “groundbreaking” technological advancements that are yet to come.

  6. OMG I was just referencing Windows ME today! I’m with you Long, it was a fine OS that like Rodney Dangerfield got no respect.

    Never really understood why ME took such critical flak, other than the “transitional OS” argument– in that it was a bridge between the 9x (DOS-based) code base and the NT (32-bit) one.

  7. Hear! Hear! I had ME on a gateway computer I had bought. I had no problems with it (other than gateway hardware related) for years. I didn’t even realize people had problems with the OS until 2 years later. “Transitional OS” is a very apt term here, but I prefer “rebound OS”. Like the girl you hook up with between two long term relationships. You have a great time with her, she’s fun, but you just don’t have the chemistry to make things last.

  8. I’ve been trying to make this point to everyone around for so long….it wasn’t so bad but people love to hate MS..according to that policy…a past MS OS must be completely bashed and destroyed….at least I didn’t have any problems with Me except that some 9x using software and drivers didn’t work…but SFP should actually have stabilized it more (it did for me)….btw why have you linked some articles to Wikipedia and haven’t linked the rest? The much touted Movie Maker however was indeed, and still remains to this day, a joke…it can’t even join 2 WMV files for instance.

    The other day I was trying out old OSes in VMs just for nostalgia and I realized that since Me carried Windows 2000 shell features (search in Explorer instead of Find, Explorer toolbar buttons can be completely customized etc), if I HAD to use a 9x OS, I couldn’t go back to 9x. DOS removed was a problem back but now with VMs and DOSBox and bootable USB flash drives, it is no longer any issue.

    And btw, it’s Windows Me not ME. I know in several places, the documentation itself states “ME” but the product itself most of the times contains “Me”.

    There was only one problem..people didn’t want to use 9x again AFTER Windows 2000. People got what they wanted in XP.

    Then again, I feel one can’t compare Windows Me to Vista. Firstly, because Me fell short on new features and Vista contains SO MANY NEW FEATURES http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Features_new_to_Windows_Vista. And then because no other OS other than Vista has removed quite a long list of features, changed ones which existed for decades SO DRASTICALLY and no other OS has SO HIGH SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS. Maybe MS should have called it Windows 98 Third Edition or Windows 98 Millennium Edition.

    Whatever, but it most certainly didn’t deserve to be in lists such as these: http://www.google.com/search?q=Windows+Me+worst+software+product+ever&rls=com.microsoft:en-us:IE-SearchBox&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&sourceid=ie7&rlz=1I7GGIH who’re made by people who don’t even know how to code.

  9. I ran Windows ME for ages without problems and loved it. I never had any problems, I think some people just don’t treat their computers nicely.

    If memory serves, it was also the first OS that supported multiple monitors, something i’ve been using to full effect since that day.

  10. @anonymous: I only linked some of the features because they had quite extensive explanations of what the feature is and how it works. Others I left out because they are either very obvious or didn’t have any Windows ME history.

  11. These days Vista bashing is just THE thing for most bloggers to do and as blogs are having quite a huge effect on some traditional news sources the misinformation is being passed on.
    Sad really when any fool with a blog becomes a ‘Tech Expert’… (Not yourself obviously ;- ) )
    Also I know a good few people who are really looking forward to Windows 7 but won’t touch Vista for some reason.

  12. Wow, I am just floored that you would write about Windows Me in a positive light. I was one of the newly apparent users of Me that didnt have any problems with it. I think I got Me in 2000 and didn’t get XP until 02 or 03 probably 02.. Anyway, I particularly liked it over 98SE because of the very groundbreaking features that first arrived with it and did make what XP and Vista is today.

    And i have to agree with nutterguy as well. Hopefully the FAD of vista bashing will wear off soon. Because while I wasnt around for the Me betas I was around for the Longhorn betas from build 5112(beta 1) on. I had longhorn build 5270, running on a pre-1ghz computer with 368mb ram. While it was alittle slow it was usable and I never and still to this day haven’t had any problems with Vista.

  13. First off, every new Windows OS invokes the Five Stages of Windows Acceptance.
    http://yertblog.blogspot.com/2008/03/five-stages-of-windows-acceptance.html

    Second, Windows ME is so maligned, that the people who still support 9x support Windows 98SE, but use some of the code from ME, while not using the main kernal code. I don’t know the specifics, but you can apparently get a majority of the ME features without something from ME that is percieved as “buggy”. While I’m not sure, I do fiddle with artifacts (computers from pre-2001) a bit, and I tried it on an old Windows 98SE computer. The crazy fan hacks and such seem to work, making 9x live on for a bit longer (Flash 9 is supported, Opera supports it, and other misc software, even without tinkering, so you can browse in style, although there is no Silverlight love, not that I would expect it).
    The project to implant 98SE with ME is called… 98SE2ME. I suggest you check it out for humor/interest purposes.

    Third. Everything on that list is great. Except Windows Movie Maker. The only thing close in craptasticness is iMovie. Maybe because there is no timeline editor (last I checked, but I havenot tried the Vista version ><) but Windows Movie Maker has only seemed to put out the bad videos with text instead of a voice over, bad music, and still images on to YouTube. Even worse, I know people who do this and think that its cool. Argh…

  14. My family’s computer had Windows Me for a couple of years. It was great. Like Windows 98 but better.

    I understand that lots of people had problems, but personally I quite liked Windows Me.

  15. I used Windows Me as well. I never really figured out what all the hate was about; I never had any special problems with it.
    It’s kinda the same with Vista these days. All this rage against it in the media, and here I am, even running the x64 version (OHNOES!!!!) and I haven’t had a single problem with it. Not one.

  16. Ratfink, I am in the same boat as you. I always hear about these people who have Vista problems, but don’t actually know any :S It’s quite odd. I think these Vista problems are:
    A) People running it on outdated hardware (However they have failed to see that it is 4 years old.)
    B) Bloggers who don’t actually understand the OS, and just post about the experience of a friend of a friend
    C) Invented by Freetards or Appletards
    D) A myth.

    I’m inclined to believe it is D. It’s just one of those rampant internet crazes; like lolcats. :)

  17. hehe windows me, yes i remember that os, it was truely unstable :-)

    but all the bashing and now the vista bashing is just *yawn*. I have no problems at all with vista (cant remember any os that gave me so little problem) and the standby & resume mode is working like a dream. Off in just 2 seconds and back on again in the same time. this alone makes vista a winner to me :-)
    but im looking forward to the next windows. not because I would need it, nah, im just extremely curious. i wouldnt mind if MS release a complete new windows once a year :-)

  18. Windows Vista to XP is like Windows ME to 98se.
    Many people stick with XP because it’s familier even though technically inferior to Vista. Same reason many people stuck with 98se – driver support plus new, and I think back in the development phase all efforts were pointing towards XP anyway. The way I see the pattern is:

    Win98se to Me – Win98SE matured and larger installbase
    WinXP to Vista – WinXP matured and huge install base
    Win7 = a matured Windows Vista!

  19. Great post long.

    I used ME and never had any problems with it all the time I had it on my main system. The comparisons between ME and Vista are very apt – a lot of bashing when there is not necessarily a reason to do so.
    With the huge number of different systems out there (OEM, shop bought, DIY etc.) it is no surprise that some people may run in to issues with drivers etc. this, however, turns in to the play the blame game scenario and people say the OS is crap because it’s not behaving the same as their previous one.

  20. I too used Me for a while, from about when it first came out ’till around 2003. I had no problems with it.

    One thing that has been pointed out was that it a) rushed and b) quickly superseded. Windows 98 SE was released as what we might consider similar to XP SP2, and there was only 498 days between its release and that of Me.

    Hot on the heels of 98SE, Me was based on 9x code and just cobbled together a few ideas lying ’round R&D. It wasn’t, in the eyes of the public, substantially different. And while Vista’s had 418 days so far, it’s going to be a lot longer, and so people will come around.

    Me was simply then a stopgap between 98 and XP, which must have been far down the pipeline by then. It took the same position that Longhorn was supposed to in regards to XP and Blackcomb. Instead, XP was given 1924 days – long enough to become firmly entrenched.

    Hopefully Microsoft has learnt from this experience and will take its knowledge into development of Windows 7.

  21. Nice point of view! A Windows version is always as good for customers as its drivers. And with such a short time frame it was nearly impossible for the customers to reach the ‘Third Stage of Acceptance’ So thank god Windows 7 isn’t out now. ;)

  22. i agree with Long, glad to see someone who saw it wasnt a Mistake Edition lol.
    i was happyly using Windows Me for 3 years before i upgraded to XP,
    although it did have a few kinks that needed straightening out, i remember whenever you clicked My Computer the after you had booted up it would blue screen then go back to normal, and i even remember getting WGA to work on it somehow when they were testing it.
    it was somehow poorly managed with Microsoft i think, they could have made it better but chose not to tout it as much because they had XP coming out 406 days later lol.
    and peple take generic usb support for granted now, but Me having it at the time was a lifesaver,
    the only problem was system restore wasnt that good, somehow i deleted the scheuler entry that created system restore backups, and ther was no way to automate the backups it made,
    and compared to 2000, which was yes not aimed at a consumer, it seemed more friendlyer to use.
    haha movie maker on it was LETHAL, its a shame its not as good as iMovie on OS X

  23. Sorry guys, I am a huge Microsoft fanboy, but I have to say I had issues with memory in Windows Me. It reminded me of having to go back to MSDOS 6.0 and run HIMEM just to get things to work. It had serious architectural memory issues and that did it for me. I ran it for awhile, but I wasn’t happy about it.

    It did add some great stuff, but the OS was pretty horrible.

  24. LOL, your article is a joke man. Windows ME was the major flop in the long line of Windows Versions. People want a OS that really works, not one that after a few hours of working crashed. Since you are such a fan of ME and its features, and say it had great features for it’s time, and pointing that the only problem was it’s win9x kernel. So how do you explain that Win98 or even Win98 Second Edition, was a lot stable than Win ME , which in theory as you said used the same kernel?

    ME was a OS wrong builded (with new features not well tested mixed with the prevous 98 kernel), this was its major mistake. It could be a great OS. But it’s sability made it the worst ever OS.

    You clearly don’t know what you are talking about man. Surely you didn’t use ME as much times as i’ve and other people did, if you did use it as much times as i’ve did you wouldn’t write this article.

  25. Oh… yeah… A lot of new feats and ideas… And *NONE* of them worked. So yes, it is a revolutionary idea… for an alpha release. I’ve tried, installed it, deinstalled it, suffered it… And your article doesn’t stand any serious analisis. Your full article is a joke.

  26. it’s like a Me Users Anonymous meeting here:
    hi, my name is Cornelius and i used Windows Me.
    hi Cornelius!

    as for the Movie Maker hating, WMM is actually pretty decent for little things, but coupled with fledgling DVD Maker…. what we need is more themes for DVD Maker (ultimate extra, dammit!) and more fine-grained controls to really make it pop.

    @anonymous: if you need a simple way to join two WMV files:
    “copy /b clip1.wmv+clip2.wmv clip_complete.wmv”
    adjust names and number of clips to suit. also works with MPGs.

  27. ME was derided for poor stability compared to the OSes it was released to supercede. That’s how simple the “ME sucked” argument is, and it’s still valid from a usability standpoint.

  28. ikyouCrow , I know of that “simple way” but it depends on how the files are split and using which splitter. Joining SOME WMV files this way makes them lose their index.

  29. New innovations, yes.
    New products, yes.
    Tested thuroughly, nope.

    I was on the BETA test team for this product way back in 98/99. While it was nice to see the creativity that the MS programmers were putting into it, a lot of the feedback that was being presented to them from the Beta testers just wasn’t being actioned on. Somehow I am sensind deja-vu here because isn’t that what happened with Vista?

    I agree it was good, not great.

  30. I just don’t understand the ME bashing. I installed on my old Pentium 233 64 RAM and never formated and reinstaled it, from 1999 to 2002 I didnt faced any BSOD, the system was pretty stable and served really well as Internet station, Microsoft Encarta + World Atlas fully installed on HD and Office 2000.

    I think this is another “media conception” about Windows operating system the same that called XP bloated “oh get 128 RAM now for 2001″, the same is calling Vista bloated and yes – the same says every year the “Year of the Linux”.

    I agree Windows 9x was pretty unstable but this isn’t Microsoft exclusive fault, the flood of Taiwan bad hardware in 90s ruined the reputation of the system.

  31. @anonymous:
    i know about the index issue, but that usually happens (in my experience) when the WMV is actually a container for some AVI-style codec (ASF with wrong extension). you’d loose the index and not be able to skip/scrub the file.

    if you can stand waiting, just use WMM and export to the appropriate bitrate. plus there’s always WinAVI Converter! :D

  32. Cutter, having been on the Vista beta.. I can tell you that they acted on alot of feedback. They said this was the biggest and most active windows beta to date so far as participation in the beta.

  33. I’ve enjoyed reading these comment on Windows Me as I have always liked that version of Windows. Its still in use on my old machine, about 10 years old, which my daughter now has. Like Microsoft Works, or Works Suite, I’ve always found this software adequate for my office needs, and good value for money, so much so I don’t require the huge Office software package, although the version of Works I have has Word 2003.

    I progressed from Windows 3 to 3.1.1, straight to Windows 98, I missed 95 altogether. Me and now XP, don’t know if I will bother with Vista as rumours persist of the next version not being too far in the future.

  34. Windows Me was pretty unreliable, but Windows XP wasn’t much better. And Vista… don’t even get me started… Windows can do whatever it wants, because I use a Mac now.

  35. Any product preceded and superseded that quickly would have suffered the same fate.

    Has this something to do with Vista’s Service Pack?

  36. I had ME right after it came out. but whenever I went to install it it would crash, CONSTANTLY. I later tried to install it on another machine and it was flawless….I really think it was just very hardware picky.

  37. I never did have it, i went from 98se to XP but i agree a lot of applications that were in XP came from the introduction of ME!

    BTW: You should use Window Live Alerts for ur blog

  38. I have to agree! Windows Me had it’s flaws, sure – I can’t count the hours of my life gone forever by long boot-up times or the inordinately large number of times I’ve seen the Windows Me BSOD. Overall though, it was a good step forward in OS features. The underlying kernel was also the first phase in the migration towards integrating the NT and 9x architectures. IMHO, without it, XP wouldn’t have been near the success it is. I think the biggest complaint I have is that I love beta testing new software, but it’s difficult to justify using the public’s money to test your product. Granted, without it, I don’t believe they would have achieved what they did with XP but there’s no way of knowing.

    I will say, it’s great to see there are a few other individuals out there who will appreciate it for what it was without hating it purely for it’s ties to Microsoft.

    As far as Vista goes, it’s definitely a “Transition OS” but personally, I love it. Cullen D makes a few great points (A) & (B) that people are trying to run Vista on inferior hardware and without really taking the time to learn how to use the operation system and take advantage of some of the more progressive features of Vista. The same goes for Windows Server 2003 over Server 2000. You just have to learn how to use the OS… It takes effort most people don’t want to put into it!

  39. The problem with ME wasn’t it’s features, it was it’s stability. Or rather, it’s complete lack of stability.

  40. The amount of times ME or Me (or ‘piece of shit’ as I affectionately called it back then) crashed for me was unbearable. I think maybe some of you ME lovers were lucky with your setups or something because I was seeing BDODs at least 3 times a day.

    I remember being wowed by XP because of its new look – but mainly because it was so stable. It was like going from walking on thin, cracking ice to having a solid concrete base beneath you. Maybe ME was some cunning plan by MS to make XP look good?

  41. @Aaron — Haha, I will agree – there’s a distinct possibility knowing Microsoft to use WinMe to make XP look better… In some ways, it probably worked – the perception of XP as a whole, was that it was the savior OS from Redmond when compared to their previous consumer (to exclude your Win2K nazis) offerings.

  42. Its seems the majority of people who have posted here actually liked Windows Me.

    I’m yet another one. Can on a Dell we bought, and we only stopped using it a year or two ago (it was my folks computer).

    I’d much rather go back to Me than 98, although why I would go back to either, I dont know.

  43. comparing Vista to Me eh? It’s like comparing an ogre to prince charming. I see so many vista supporters & their “I know computers” attitude, n I can’t help laughing. Let’s consider Vista, what is it in Vista that makes so many believe it’s an “Advanced” OS? Lotsa features eh? Vista lovers, how many of you are really using the bitlocker drive encrptn? It’s a wonderful advancement, but USELESS for most of us. UAC protects your computer better eh? But things as simple as the yahoo messenger still have compatibility issues with Vista. (The vista version of the mentioned software won’t even allow you to use the voice features, you might argue that it’s only a preview release of the messenger, but it’s been more than a year vista’s been out there, Vista still has compatibility issues, or I’d say, My favorite applications still have compatibility issues with Vista). The search feature of vista “rocks” for many, but I’d rather wait for a while & let the OS look for the file when I need to find something, maybe i do 3 searches a day (at the most), i keep my files organized & i know where they are(that’s what everyone should do i guess). And if i’m not finding something, it’s better to wait for some time than to have the system searching and tagging the files i won’t ever be “searching” for, and slowing down NTFS file system performance further. & for the rich folks who get a new computer every 6 months, Vista might not be as much of a resource hog as it is for the others. Maybe you’ve got a new computer with 4 gigs of RAM & a quad core CPU, what’s the point devoting all your resources to the OS itself. I personally think most people don’t really have “windows” as the only thing on their computer, we use computers to run applications. Wouldn’t it be nice if the OS would require lesser resources? It’d make more resources available to your applications. Try installing Visual Studio on Vista,.. BANG, KNOWN COMPATIBILITY ISSUE. And of course-” This program has stopped working, windows is checking for a solution online”.. And Windows defender?.. Even stuff like spybot S&D are 200 times more efficient, I’ve experimented with known spyware. Me was the 4th MS OS i used (after DOS 6.22, Win 95, Win98SE), it had stability issues, but none as grave as Vista has now. Consider 98SE, that wasn’t a very secured OS as well, but then there wasn’t much of networking stuff you could do with it anyway. Win Me brought in new features, and these features were interestingly easy to use, designed to make life easier. As for example, you could just click on system restore, and didn’t really have to type in “C:\windows> RSTRUI / something” to get the same job done. Win Me was an advancement, Vista is an advancement too, but i’d not go for a set of so called “advanced” features at the cost of performance. Given a choice between Me n Vista, I’d rather go for Me, and install 3rd party apps to make it more secure. Of course i can’t make it as secure as NT, but it would perform better. I don’t deal with army secrets from my home PC, so when it comes to chose between security and performance, i’d go for performance. Till date, XP SP2 is the best MS OS i’ve used. OS X the best for MAC, and Mandrake Linux is good as well. Vista is right at the bottom. Win 98SE is better, mush better than Vista

  44. @Dave:
    Thanks, Dave! This lovefest with Me! and Vista was making me ill. Thanks for coming in with your exellent view and unrivalled opinion on the way of the world. How would we ever live without you to protect us from our own obviously flawed experinces?
    I do have to point out that I’m using Vista on a 1.8GHz PC with 1GB of RAM (Not Quad core with 4GB as you said) and not seeing much in the way of slow downs.
    You said you don’t search and you keep your stuff organized (while making fun of us unorganized cretins, no less) however, how do you handle your organization if you have three hundred text files of almost the same name? Certainly your super organization powers would protect you from such a situation. Yahoo mesenger (8.5, 9 beta and Vista) ran on my computer (until I uninstalled them, prefer pidgin) but then, unlike you I don’t generalize MY success to everyone else. As for windows defender, isn’t that a firewall?
    Anyway, keep up the good work protecting us from people who like their computers. I can imagine the distaste it leaves in your mouth whenever someone says, “I don’t have a problem with windows vista.”

    p.s. You do know none of this is amed at you personally, right?

  45. @Chustar
    Good to know that your computer’s performing well with the mentioned config., & I stated my views on the OS dear, I didn’t intend to “protect you” from something. Check the official yahoo web page, Vista version of yahoo messenger is yet to support voice, in case you got that working, you’ve got more skills than the original developers of the messenger dude, you deserve a gift from Yahoo, let em know how you got it working, maybe they’d implement ur idea n maybe i’d see “chustar” in the list of programers for yahoo. And seriously, our organization doesn’t keep 300 text files, we really don’t do that, we use a DATABASE for that.. And we’d QUERY the database for searches, trust me on this, it’s a better way.. Most organizations don’t save 300 text files to keep records & use OS integrated search tools to look for em. In case your organization does, i’d say installing database software is the top priority upgrade, they should have done that before implementing vista. Most organizations have been using databases for ages. Remember dBase 3+ for DOS? And for the windows defender, try http://www.microsoft.com/athome/security/spyware/software/support/howto/default.mspx , a standalone software firewall shouldn’t be scanning for spyware, and the official microsoft page (mentioned link) states that the first thing you do with Windows defender is run a spyware scan.. It doesn’t really bring distaste, it makes me laugh when people say they love vista for what it is today. Vista would improve with time in case microsoft is considering the fact that 80% of vista owners aren’t finding Vista like they expected it to be. Our organization (Dell US) had to begin re-shipping XP PCs and lappy’s, not because I wanted, but as a reaction to customer complaints. Of course we can’t stop shipping Vista PCs altogether, we’ve got business tie-ups with microsoft. And are you from Manchester dude? No personal offence, CHEERS

  46. @Dave:
    I don’t work for an organization. I’m not from Manchester. I’m a Nigerian student at San Jose. I’m assuming you’re from Manchester? That makes you a brit and as a brit, your argument is automatically invalidated! (Kidding!)
    I was using the whole 300 text files as an example but I do have 514 text files ranging in content from Explanation of Codecs, how to program in C and the ranking of the 10 best anti-virus apps (circa 2002)
    I don’t know how to use databases and the instant search has saved me in this. What makes you laugh when people say they like Vista? Are we not allowed to like stuff that confuses you? Some people actually enjoy eating at McDonalds and even though I find that to the one of the most disgusting things I’ve ever seen, I don’t hold my nose up around them.
    As for Yahoo Messenger, no I didn’t get the voice working. I thought that the Messenger for Vista is a preview version, and as such, it wouldn’t have many of the features in the recommended edition.

  47. Nigerian.. no wonder (kidding)..
    514 text files with SIMILAR NAMES, oh well, I’d consider that an unorganized way of keeping ur stuff, microsoft doesn’t use the FOLDER concept just to give you your “My documents”. And how about “google desktop”? That works just fine on XP, if you just can’t live without live searches, I’d say installing a free app is a better option than upgrading your hardware and spending $400 on an OS. & of course, I thought you were talkin about your organization, not ur home PC, hope you’re with me on this. Isn’t this funny that you’re commenting on my stuff without actually reading it? The first time i mentioned yahoo messenger, I mentioned something about the PREVIEW VERSION in brackets, guess you missed on that, maybe you were too eager to reply, not to read..
    Take care you. And enjoy your Vista. If ignorance is a bliss, it’s a folly to be wise eh? How about saving some money and sticking to XP & sending the savings back home to Nigeria? That’d certainly help a lot of people out there. No wonder you hate Mc.Donalds…

  48. I must agree with this post. I personally had much better performance and stability from Windows Me compared to Windows 98 or Windows 98SE. As a Microsoft Certified Trainer and A+ instructor a few years ago, it was really interesting to see that Windows Me wasn’t even really acknowledged in any training material – I assume because Windows 98SE was widely accepted as being a business class operating system (although it was not, but the only alternative was Windows NT Workstation 4.0, which had a few shortcomings of its own with no PNP, USB, FAT32, etc.) as well as home, and Windows Me was marketed strictly for home use. However, I did have much better luck out of Windows Me, and much fewer lockups and hangs, which plagued the 9x line of Windows. Nice to see someone post the truth instead of jumping on the bandwagon with everyone else and bashing it.

  49. Unfortunately, I’ve read every post here. I love it when Americans (or brits in this case) rush to attack me with the “send your money back to Nigeria”. Trust me, you’re not the first person to say it. Never mind the fact that there are homeless, unemployed and poverty sticken people all over the world, because I’m from Nigeria, I have to be the guy who is responsible for the disadvantages of Capitalism. I got Vista on the PC when I bought it (Point 1)
    I started that folder (called learning stuff) with just a few files and never accessed it, just saving into it more and more. When I realized it was too big, I couldn’t organize it anymore.(Point 2)
    You said and I quote “But things as simple as the yahoo messenger still have compatibility issues with Vista. (The vista version of the mentioned software won’t even allow you to use the voice features, you might argue that it’s only a preview release of the messenger, but it’s been more than a year vista’s been out there, Vista still has compatibility issues, or I’d say, My favorite applications still have compatibility issues with Vista)” I was replying to what you said about compatibility issues, not voice.(Point 3)
    Why did you have to call me ignorant for having a different opinion that you do? (Point 4)
    “No wonder you hate McDonalds…” That doesn’t make sense.

  50. Forward looking, except where it totally sucked from bitrot huh?
    Let’s see :

    1. Movie maker sucked as much then as now. Never seen anyone use it.
    2. System restore would also archive and restore viruses and make it impossible to remove them from the restore cache, assuing they would ALWAYS come back.
    3. See point 2. Thanks ME.
    4. Ya, loved it when the connected logic got wonky in my XP system and the network card twiddled on and off every 5 seconds. Without it, I might not have had to get a new computer.
    5. UPNP, or how to make a firewall meaningless. Nuff said.
    6. WIA -> Everyone just use USB filesystems instead – whoops! (and webcams still use VfW and DirectX)
    7. Automatic updates -> Nice, but can be a pain in the arse when your machine decides to upgrade without you.
    8. inbuild zip support? Hardly revolutionary. Should have been in Win95. This wasn’t forward looking, this was correctly a serious oversight in W95, so more like hindsight.
    9 Image preview… Anyone remember when Win95 had a great previewer that went missing in 98? Ya, me too. Of course in 95, there were fewer formats and 16 &256 color video cards, and 386 and 486 running windows, so ya know, jpeg wasn’t all that popular yet…
    10 Improved? Funny, they looked the same as the ones that came with win95 to me. Maybe I didn’t look hard enough, because I got bored of them in 1996. (along with everyone else)
    11. generic USB mass storage driver -> Again, more like fixing an oversight in win98, but USB was young. Hardly forward looking, more like riding a wave that was practically already past them. And since they had generic drivers for every other type of common hardware, once USB became standard, hardly a suprise they included it. And besides, I hardly minded installing drivers for hardware from the vendor – at least I knew where to get updates from.

    I don’t think you could make a case that ME was forward looking. It fixed a few oversights, added a ton of problems, a bit of bloatware no one ever used (I guess you gotta be a mac user to obsess about the ability to edit crappy home shot video) and made a system damn near impossible to maintain.

  51. so much for the added *new* features.
    are those stuff in the list really should be what a new OS comes with? They’re more like patches or updates.
    movie maker -> wooww new feature to an OS yea!
    SFC / AU / zip support -> all these are nice but not really what a new OS should give u right?
    there are lots of companies who make software for this sort of stuff. and at that time if anyone was using zip support they were not using their computers at all I could say. what a boring feature…
    yes i know it had to start somewhere but transition periods are always hard/boring and everyone want’s to forget them.

    so ME sucks. plain and simple. driver support my azz. plug a device to get a blue screen. everyone on MS admitted that me sucked. why r u guys trying to save it.
    and don’t tell me this article came up because ppl said vista is another me version. me does’t deserve more respect.
    and vista? ms already started on windows 7. does that give u a hint? too much BSware on vista?
    sp1 released today oh my. so what? i use xp. network might be little slower than that of vista’s but what else? where are my pro’s? eyecandy? turn it off! aero? what for? play video in the background? why? i don’t stare at my computer. i use it and do a lot of things. don’t need such an interface to eat ram and slow down the computer.

    do all these extra stuff really make up a new OS? they’re seperate software stuffed into vista.
    fix explorer.exe for file copy buffer etc problem. slow copy and advantage to xp? ermm. i hope not. etc. etc etc..BSware = vista

  52. Matt S.

    I too was on the Vista Beta, and I can tell you that some of the issues that I encountered were NOT put into the GA release of Vista – only some of them are in Vista SP1. The same holds true for Windows ME.

  53. You got to be kidding me.

    Windows Movie Maker: even you say it still doesn’t work right
    System Restore: If you don’t have this turned off you are just asking for trouble from viruses that hide in the system restore files
    System File Protection: Yeah no one has ever had a corrupt System32 file. SFP is a joke.
    New TCP/IP Stack: Ok this one you can have a point for.
    Universal Plug and Play (UPnP): One of the biggest security problems there is.
    Windows Image Acquisition (WIA): If MS would have let 3rd party vendors get a look at the code they wouldn’t be facing antitrust issues now and there would have been a fix a long time ago.
    Automatic Updates: Didn’t work great until XP SP2 and still doesn’t give a full range of third party updates.
    Inbuilt ZIP support: Horrible compression and only supports one format
    Image preview: You are happy to see fuzzy 5×5 pictures? This is a horrible solution.
    Bundled games: That are free on the internet and still no one plays
    USB Mass Storage generic driver: Point 2 and that’s all you get.

    And yes Vista is just like ME since both are worse then what came before them and will have short lives.

  54. Scootie, please get back to your mac, and stop trolling :)
    You show your ignorance by saying “Now one has ever had a corrupt System32 file” Well, first of all, System32 is a folder in which files live. Second of all, I have had corrupt files there about 6 times on XP, and could not count the number of times I have seen in Customer computers.

    UPnP Is not a security problem, it’s actaully quite usefull…
    Why should Microsoft have to open up it’s source code? And do you even know what the anti-trust suites are about? Not WIA….
    Automatic Updates — in case you didn’t read this part, let me re paste it for you because your Mac/ Freetard zealotry has some how caused some sort of mentle block: “What a lot of people forget or don’t even recognize to begin with is that Windows Me is actually a rather innovative and forward-looking operating system.”
    In case you need help disecting that statement, what Long is saying is that ME offered building blocks for Windows. It created the foundation, which later versions of Windows built on top of. As a side note, THAT IS WHAT THIS ENTIRE ARTICLE IS ABOUT.
    Inbuilt ZIP support: Erm, by horrible compression, did you mean excellent? Please tell me an OS that had better compression. BTW, they supported the format used by ~98% of people…
    Image Preview: Ummmm it’s not 5×5, and it is never fuzzy for me. I refer you to my previous dialog in which I discuss the whole building blocks concept…
    Bundled Games: Crappy free versions on the internet* and buddy, LOTS of people play these… I’ve seen the data on usage, and you’re just flat out wrong. What if someone is in a place without internet connectivity? These games can be quite fun…

    Vista will not have a short live, as it’s predecessor comes out in late 09… That is 2 1/2 years. Learn to count. And once again, I am forced to rehash the whole building blocks concept. Please look past Steve’s RDF, or if you’re a freetard, well I guess there is no hope.

  55. As a side note, I don’t know a single person, first hand, who has had a SINGLE Vista problem when used on good hardware. Not “Vista Capable” but good hardware. By that I mean:
    >=1GB RAM, >=1.8GHz Dual Core, >=DX9 GPU with a >=128MB dedicated RAM, system board form a half way decent company, (less than 2 years old, and keeps up on driver support.)

    So, all you out there who say “Oh I know someone who has Vista problems, there for, I’m taking their word for it and assuming it sucks.” Or if you do try it for yourself, you try it on crap hardware.

    Good job at understanding the ins and outs of this “technology” stuff, which from what I understand, has a tendency to change from time to time.

  56. Windows ME was a pile of cow dung. I had friends who returned back to Windows 98 because of how bad Windows ME was. Microsoft definitely let it go half baked, which is the reason people compare Windows Vista to that Windows ME!

  57. I don’t know about VIsta, because I won’t be using it for reasons not listed here. But ME was awful and users felt tricked by how Microsoft released shortly before XP, which was very good. My point is that the short life cycle was a criticism of Microsoft, and not simply bad luck for ME, as you frame it. The inherent features you list should have been saved for XP and ME should have never been released in the first place.

    Also, most of these great new features you mentioned weren’t so great back then. This was mostly because they were not stable or lacked features that eventually did make them nice. In some instances, such as with WIA, I found it more difficult then with Win98, although most of them would eventually become useful, after they had matured, following the release of XP. I have a good opinion of most of them today, but the only ones that I liked with ME were the built-in zip support and image preview, which were both pretty basic additions (and the kind that Microsoft should do more often.)

    I guess if you’re looking back in hindsight, you can argue that ME was “OK”, at best. But to argue that Vista and ME are good because they have future potential is ridiculous, imo, because I doubt that anyone purchased ME because it’s great new features would one day be useful in XP.

  58. ‘What’s more, Windows 98 Second Edition was released on May 5, 1999 and Windows XP on October 25, 2001. Between the two, Windows Me was released on September 14, 2000, giving it the shortest Windows lifespan of only 406 days.”

    I think Microsoft BOB might be in the running :-)

    “Windows 3.1x is a graphical user interface and a part of the Microsoft Windows software family. Several editions were released between 1992 and 1994, succeeding Windows 3.0. ”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_3.11

    “Microsoft Bob was a Microsoft software product, released in March 1995, which provided a new, nontechnical interface to desktop computing operations.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_bob

    “Windows 95 is a consumer-oriented graphical user interface-based operating system. It was released on August 24, 1995 by Microsoft”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_95

  59. actually the thing i hated most about ME was not reliability but the fact that interface wise it was a “fun-ified” version of 98, to the last detail of putting the squares in the 98 logo at angles (because according to studies things on angles are more fun), to even the name Me, put in script, to make it fun too. The design and marketing around Me were the height of bad taste in 90s corporate culture

  60. The fact is… People don’t like short span programs. That is why people hated ME. It feel as you just brought a new car, and the next day, a newer version come out.

    Although, I find it ironic that people consistence bashing Windows, while there are SO MANY other short life span program that come out every year with additional upgrade cost…etc. Not to mention, fatter too. One example I can think of is the Photoshop.

  61. The only reason why those features were in Windows ME was because they were backported from XP which was in development at the time. It was delayed several times meaning features created for it were able to be bolted onto Windows 98 and productized. This entire post is like saying Windows 3.11 was fantastic because the Win32′s were backported from Windows NT.

    I’m not sure if this is utter nonsense or comedy.

  62. Gus, Im not sure how many times it has to be said…. I mean, did you reven read the article?
    “What a lot of people forget or don’t even recognize to begin with is that Windows Me is actually a rather innovative and forward-looking operating system. Instead, almost everyone focuses on its reliability problems which can be largely attributed to the flaky and inherently unstable Win9x kernel.”
    rest my case

  63. It’s what lurks beneath Vista’s pretty face that I’m afraid of. Peter Gutmann’s analysis of Vista’s content protection nightmare is enough for me never to upgrade from XP to Vista.
    http://www.cs.auckland.ac.nz/~pgut001/pubs/vista_cost.html
    I will hang on to XP as long as I can and then move to a Mac with XP virtualized (as long as Apple doesn’t follow MS lead and attempt to cripple my (future) digital entertainment setup).

  64. windows is actually called an os, which should first of all be reliable platform for an applications, but not a collection of gadgets with crashing kernel and colorful interface under these. from this perespective (which is mine also) winME was nothing more but an error from MS

  65. I disagree with this OS being anything but a failure. When one unpacks a computer with a fresh install of an OS (ANY OS), and gets a BSOD within 10 minutes of power up; it’s pure garbage. Even Vista Betas didn’t do this. That other garbage that was “innovative”; no body uses.

    I replaced ME with Slackware and was much happier.

    this was a waste of web space and my time.

  66. are you kidding me? hold on a sec, let me respond one at a time:

    1. movie make – still too unstable to use you say… so how is that a good thing in windowsME? its junk software. give money bags credit for trying to look similar to the competition (i think it was a feature match to iLife on the mac) but the uselessness makes it a detriment: now i have more crap to remove before buying the 3rd party app that actually works.

    2. system restore: ok. ding – you got that one right. personally i hated it, but i was a repair tech back then, i had a set of scripts to install a fresh windows OS and pull drivers, reg settings, etc from the old one so programs didnt have to be reinstalled. without that (we called it the DoIT disk) i imagine system restore was a boon. i still prefer my method. nothing beats a clean install when it comes to windows.

    3. sys file protection: engineered form the ground up to protect the files, would have been great. strapped on after the fact? crap. failed, most of the time, to protect anything. when it did work, it was at the expense of how many wasted cpu cycles? again: credit for trying, but thats like balling up scrap paper, tossing it, and calling it a model airplane.

    4. new tcp/ip stack: no reason this wasnt added to win98 – didnt need a new OS for this. but hey, glad it was there. it also added more support for raw sockets if i recall. heres the only point i give full credit for.

    5. universal plug and play – ahh… yeah. we needed a new os for this? common! even today its hardly universal and Microsoft’s delayed implementation is half the reason it didnt get implemented by the whole world in the first place. this one is like bluetooth: great idea, works well if your OS supports it – microsoft delayed and finally implemented a broken version of it and now its basically kaput. bluetooth on windows is STILL a joke and cant match the usability of a sony ericsson phone from a decade ago.

    6. windows image acquisition – hrmm… ok maybe i’ll give this one full credit too. i dont think i ever even tried using a scanner on winME. i’ll say that you’re right, with win98 there were huge problems. last i saw, it still sucked in win2000. luckily i’ll never have to find out how it works in vista.

    7. automatica updates: this was not a winme feature. it was a windows update feature. win98 got this at the same time.

    8. built in zip support: not significant – good to have, but no more important than, say, built in pdf support. you can download acrobat reader cant you? windows users haven’t been complaining that “mac users dont have to download acrobat and i do, wah wah” have they? i dont think so. so who cares about this ‘feature’? download winzip, et al and get on with your life.

    9. imgae preview. i LOATHE this. i hate the fact that Windows Explorer is actually just Internet Explorer. i dont want my images rendering in my file browser. i hate that no matter how many times you turn it off, it thinks that since there’s pictures in there it should be turned back on. why, oh why did they get rid of Imaging (aka Kodak Imaging, aka KODAKIMG.EXE) negative points on this one.

    10. bundled games. moot. they’re crap games anyway. if you like ‘em, fine – but for me thats moot.

    11. bundled mass storage – hahahahahahaha. win982nd had this too. and it was INSANE that it wasn’t built in to the first win98. but, this was NOT new with winME. look at ANY USB STICK and it say “Win98 or better” because thats when microsoft got their heads out of the arses and started shipping with usb mass storage built in. after win98 2nd edition came out, usb mass storage was included in an OPTIONAL (read: manual download) update to win98 original.

    blah. i feel like the grinch right now – not for my actions, for my mood. blah. i hate windows.

  67. @Cullen
    your reply to scootie is, well, a roller coaster ride. perhaps you reacted too much to his/her personality and that made you miss what was meant in a few places. allow me to clarify, as i seem to understand what was meant.

    1. corrupt System32: he was being sarcastic. give him crap for saying ‘file’ instead of ‘folder of files’ if you want, or assume he’s talking about system32.dll for all i care. his claim was not “the problem doesnt exist” but rather “even with microsoft’s fix, the problem persists”. which you validated in your attempt to argue against him, “second of all, i have had corrupt files there about 6 times on XP”.

    2. UPnP is a security problem. and its quite useful. i’m not sure what scootties point was, perhaps that UPnP should NOT be implemented? i would disagree with him on that. but i also disagree that its anything to get all happy about. if you have to stretch that far to find a good thing about winME, you should give up.

    3. WIA and antitrust: scootties point here was, clearly to anyone not blindly passionate about microsoft, that if windows had been open in the first place WIA would not be necessary – 3rd party apps could have ties into existing system APIs for imaging. i disagree with scoottie here: openness may be good, but i dont think it would have fixed this problem. i believe i gave full credit for this feature.

    4. windows updates and “Mac/ Freetard zealotry has some how caused some sort of mentle block” : wow. someone’s gotten defensive. sure, i’ll toss a subtle jab here and there, but wow. anyways, i disagree with scoottie, and you. automatica updates are part of Windows Update – which is a service plugin available to win98, winME, win2k, winXP, vista…. let me be clear: windows ME didnt include this – it was a separate product available across the full windows os spectrum. credit: zero. fault: zero.

    5. ZIP. you’re both wrong here too. ZIP was first implemented in the form of PKZIP and PKUNZIP. PK stands for Pjil Katz and back in 1989 Phil essentially copied the algorithm from SEA software. that algorithm hasn’t changed much since then, barring support for encryption. ZIP may or may not have horrible compression ratios, but thats nothing to do with microsoft. built in support for their own crappy CAB compression format has existed for quite some time – microsft simply added the ZIP algorithm as well. the problem here is that its not extendable, and microsoft only added the one format. now, if they’d made an interface for application developers to add formats, similar to BeOS Translation Kits (hint: they have nothing to do with languages) and then added ZIP as an example – that’d be “creating a foundation which later versions of windows (could be) built on top of”. nope – they instead added one format and did nothing more. its not a significant improvement in the OS, foundation wise or otherwise. its the cheap, fast way to add a line to the change log.

    6. Image Preview: who cares. you’re right he’s wrong, still a crap feature that should be stripped form the code base as far as i’m concerned.

    7. the reason so many people play those bundled games is because they are there. thats the same reason IE won out over NETSCAPE – see the lawsuits you so brazenly referred to earlier. i dont fault microsoft with these, hell most disrtos of linux come with a bundle of absolute tripe as well. i just can’t believe anyone would actually CREDIT them for this. and the free games online are available for many platforms – so no one wins on that race either – its just a loosing argument for either side. want some fun, download Tux Racer, or Tux Cart. far more engaging, far more free, and you can keep playing even if you decide to buy your soul back from the devil (note the pun: macs are expensive)

    8. vista, short lived, who knows. as far as i’m concerned it hasn’t really taken its first full breath yet. if it waits much longer 2009 will be here. vista is far better than winME – can we agree on that?

    note on your drm comment: of course you haven’t seen it yet, but the underling reason for the code rewrites was to support content distribution rights, which means DRM. microsoft was in need of a code rewrite for a decade, and never bothered – only with digital distribution looming did this happen – and graywz has every reason to be scared.

    lastly, lets not forget the REAL reason winME sucked: drivers. winME had some serious identity issues when it came to drivers: the shop i worked at stopped selling winME boxes because they kept coming back – always it was a problem with the drivers. i remember an accounting firm started the process of suing us because winME kept BSOD’ing due to an incompatibility between driver models internally: the PCI 56k modem had to instantiate a virtual ISA device in order or bridge to the UARTS used for serial communication. depending on the mood winME was in, this either worked, failed, or bluescreened. once it bluescreened, all hell broke loose, and it would never boot again without help (regedit, delete HKEY_LOCALMACHINE/…/ENUM which conatins a mapping of devices and resources as configured via plug’n’play from previous hardware detection runs: commandline removal of the whole hive wasn’t necessary, but have you ever tried to manually find a single key and remove it from the command line?!?! so i just whacked the whole structure and let the hardware get detected again on the next boot)

    in short, winME deserves no respect.

  68. Great write up. I too liked Windows ME, never could, and still cant understand the complaints.
    It worked ok for me. No worse that Windows 98. It would crash daily, but so would the other ones.
    It definitely had some cool features. After I used ME, I switched to Linux. (Not because ME sucked, just because I was bored with computing, and I didn’t want to go to some iteration of Windows 2000)

    I don’t use Windows anymore, I’m solely a linux user, but I’ll always have a soft spot for ME, as it was the OS that came with the first computer I purchased Myself, for 1600.00

    I give ME some respect.
    Microsoft put faith in ME, almost saying that ’98 blows compared to it.
    …but then again, Microsoft says that every OS release.

  69. I’ve used every new Windows version that came out, some even before they were released, since Windows 3.1, and including NT. Now is the first time I have ever given up on a new OS and reverted to a former OS. I’ve moved from Vista back to XP Pro. I will admit that it is 100% performance related, and I’m using older hardware (2.13GHz Pentium M, 2GB RAM, 256MB Graphics).

    I liked Windows Me because it included so much hardware driver support. I had no compatibility issues and I built a lot of machines for people.

    Remember the days when you could optimize Windows so it would boot up and load Excel in 20 seconds?!!

  70. ME was less stable and far more buggy than Win98SE. For a 9.x line which didn’t have great stability to begin with, it was a step backwards.

    As for the “New Features” XP would have gotten those anyway because they were in Windows 2000.

    ME was attempt at a renewed revenue stream that failed. Much like Vista is.

  71. My sister had Windows ME on her first computer, and I being her sole source of tech support dreaded it because of the stability problems. After a reformat and reinstall using up to date drivers written just for Windows ME, the system worked just as well as the Windows 98 machine that I was running at the time. Sure the Windows 9X line wasn’t so stable but then the kernel of those operating systems was based on MS-DOS which goes back to 1981 and was designed to manage kilobytes of RAM. Vista is based on the NT kernel which itself is fifteen years old. To put out a new operating system that is actually better than what came before it’s time to start all over again with a brand new kernel written from the ground up.

  72. Given the time it takes MS to bring an operating system to market and the speed with which ME was abandoned suggests that there was something about ME that Microsoft wanted to put behind them.

  73. I’ll concede that Windows ME introduced several useful new features, but it was incredibly, amazingly crashy. Sure, Windows ME makes for a nice features list so many years later, but it was *never* an OS that you could actually use and count on day-to-day. Strangely, Windows 98 SE was actually pretty good, so I’m not sure exactly how things went so wrong with ME, but they definitely did.

  74. Cullen – I think the DRM lurking in Vista is real, even though it doesn’t currenly affect an ordinary user. According to what I’ve read MS’s Protected Video Path technology is already inbuilt and waiting to be activated via Windows Update. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticism_of_Windows_Vista
    There’s just nothing in Vista compelling enough for me to change from XP. OTOH there’s a lot in my XP setup compelling me to stick with it right now (it works, and works well).

  75. Windows Movie Maker is to this day a pile of flaky junk.
    System Restore is one of the first things I disable after installing Windows. Why not a proper imaging program instead of something so hit and miss and which slows the computer down and causes stability problems? Or at least something that won’t also restore a virus.
    The TCP/IP Stack was borrowed from Windows 2000, so no credit to ME for that one.
    Do people use UPnP?
    Automatic Updates? Want to have a buggy update installed automatically? How about WGA being installed without asking?
    What about the removal of Real Mode DOS?

    Defending an OS on the basis that it introduced new features (some of which eventually did end up becoming stable and useful in future versions of Windows) isn’t really an argument for defending the OS itself. Had ME never existed, they would have appeared in a SP for Win2000 or as new features in XP, so their inclusion in ME doesn’t make it an innovative OS, or stop it from being nothing more than a stop-gap release while Microsoft finished the OS which should have replaced 98.
    I’m not sure how you can excuse ME’s stability by blaming it’s 9x kernel, as while 98 itself wasn’t exactly stable it was better than ME. How can someone build an OS on an old kernel and have it later called innovative when it was less stable then the previous version, even if it did introduce a couple of new features in order to excuse it’s existence?

  76. “In spite of this and more, people continue to draw comparisons between Windows Vista and Windows Me as if it were as hip as writing Microsoft with a dollar sign in the late 90s.
    I don’t think this is fair at all. If anything, it means Vista has a bunch of new and improved features that we won’t realize the full potential of till a couple more Windows releases down the road. But that doesn’t mean it’s destined to a be a ‘failure’.”

    I don’t think they’re comparing Vista with ME in terms of improved features, but in terms of it’s usability. All the new features in the world aren’t much use if the new OS gets in the way of what you’re accustomed to being able to do with your computer.
    If you’re basing the success or failure of an OS mainly on the features it introduces, and then further excuse it by admitting many of those features won’t realise their full potential until Microsoft gets them right an OS or two later, you’re definitely not judging it’s success or failure in the same way the average PC user does… which is simply whether or not a new OS improves or decreases the quality of their computing.
    You’re not judging the OS on it’s own merits, but basing it on what might be. Could you call a particular model car a success even if nobody bought it because it was ugly and unreliable, or would you call it innovative and successful because the next model, which didn’t constantly break down, used an idea for adjusting the seats or included a different type of suspension which just happened to first be trialled in the old model? Only this time they’ve fixed the seat adjustment so it doesn’t slip all the time and re-tuned the suspension so that this model won’t be as likely to roll if you over- steer.

  77. A nephew of mine encountered ME on the first computer his parents owned. He swore at it, rather than by it, and they upgraded to 98SE.

    A techie friend of mine swore at ME because of the System Restore feature … delete a virus, and System Restore will resore it. I’ve found the same thing happening with the same feature in XP Home. And WoW, I am _impressed_.

    I’m glad I missed ME. Or rather, that ME missed me. Sometimes it sounds fatal, like the 1918 flu epidemic.

    Perhaps Vista is better compared with DOS 4.x? I missed that as well.

  78. I work for a large company that still remains (and has no plans to upgrade yet) on Win XP. However many of the systems engineers here (including me) use Vista at home. Like Vista, Win Me had many problems at it inception. The fact remains though that many of the problems are not actually problems. Remember the 086′s of the day. There was NO hardware. It all had to be bought new. The OS DOS was indeed robust (again, for its day) but was very limited in its ability. Same can be said with Apple (they just built their own hardware). Win Me was a great OS that got bad press because of the occassional blue-screen (OK, more than occassional). But it was a new product that did amazing things (compared to Win 98). I liked Me. I like Vista. I can honestly say that i learned more about computer systems during my blue-screen days than I have since. Of course it was a neccessity then, now its for my carreer.

  79. You’re all very lucky – I am in possession of a working time machine and have traveled forward to the year 2015 (when Windows 7 will finally be released). So without further ado, here’s a short list of the most notable features that are widely acknowledged by 2015 to have been introduced or improved in Windows Vista:

    - LM hashing was turned off by default.

    Seriously, that’s all.

  80. It’s obvious (after reading these arcticles) that ME was well liked inspite of all the idiots running around claiming it was a useless operating system. As a Service tech, I am amazed at the number of ME systems still running just fine. No you couldn’t count on an upgrade running well, just like 98 it would eventually self destruct if you were constantly installing and uninstalling games (registery grew large and unstable) and some memory leak problems that required a reboot to fix. But if you installed the system clean, installed office and a couple games you could count on it running for many years. All that in one year because Microsoft moved on to XP, it pretty good really. It was a far more intelligent OS than 98. I remember being amazed when I set up a network with a few shared printers and when I added more computers they automatically sensed the shared printers, installed the drivers from those computers with shared printers, and worked beautifully. I have had more problems with XP in that area (one day deciding that there aren’t any other computers on the network, next day everything is back). Anyway, I am still annoyed when so called experts tell people that ME was crap, they really just didn’t have the smarts to make it work I guess, but I always had good luck with it (all on a P2-400 and 128 meg ram). I have by the way not had any serious problems with Vista (other than bad drivers from hardware vendors who dragged their feet getting ready for Vista). Some people don’t like it asking for authorization for everything (just like a good firewall will do to XP by the way), but those same people bashed MS for a lack of security on XP (or they did until they joined the Bash Vista Club, then also joined the Adore XP club). Peple are such fickle whiners sometime, just figure out your problem and get on with it. Right now I am trying to get a Linux derivative based router/NAS to behave and fly right and can’t believe how crude, crotchety and unstable this device is, wish it had ME on it. I’m sure this will bring out the UX nerds screaming, but who cares!

  81. In reply to everyone.

    I liked ME very much and 98SE. All the extra features in ME seemed to be pretty darn useful too. Now I enjoyed it. but that’s only because of two things. I know how to do a clean install, and I had a computer that ME ran stable on. However, it didn’t run stable on a lot of other peoples hardware just like Vista is doing now. For some people it runs great, and for others it doesn’t. I don’t know why, but this is what I think.

    While ME is running stable it’s a pretty darn good 9x version of Windows. However, the reason ME sucked is because the home user could tear it into unstable much easier than 98SE. The two main culprits seemed to be System Restore and bad drivers.

    Now wouldn’t you know it. ME was the first version of 9x with System Restore. I’m not surprised that the first version didn’t work all that good. I’ve seen XP’s System Restore do this too, but some computers won’t boot up after a restore. It gets stuck somewhere along the way like at the progress bar. You have to reinstall it again. Which is why I don’t use System Restore. I just keep good backups. ME also had the nasty problem of saving viruses in the restore points that caused people to get reinfected by viruses they had already removed.

    Another problem is if I left System Restore on, after a couple months of heavy usage the file performance would all of a sudden stop performing. Folders with many files would take a good five seconds to load, and it would continue getting slower until a clean install was performed. Did ME do this for everyone? I don’t know, but as long as I turned System Restore off right after a clean install my file performance wouldn’t fall off. What caused it? Maybe some of you know, but I don’t.

    I’ve always thought System Restore is kind of a funny idea. If the computer isn’t working right, what makes you think it can restore itself right? Amazingly it does work though. However, I prefer just to keep my backups.

    ME ran stable on my machine which I actually purchased with 98 before SE was released. Then I upgraded to SE, then ME, then XP on the same machine. It was a pretty darn good machine. However, other people didn’t have the same experience. They had crash, BSOD, freezes and so on. Why? I don’t know, but I have a pretty good guess.

    BSODs are usually caused by drivers. When Windows 98 came out it had a new driver model. However, it still supported the old driver model. Some companies wrote new drivers, but I bet there were some hardware companies that decided, well since it supports the old driver model there isn’t any reason to write new drivers. Even if they did write new drivers, they were bound to be less stable than the tried and true real mode drivers for a couple years until they themselves became tried and true.

    Then ME was released. Guess what? No more real mode drivers. No autoexec.bat, config.sys (even though they weren’t totally disabled.) Now why would that cause crashes? Well that’s because some driver writers had probably already written new drivers for the Windows 98 driver model and had the resources to debug, update, and make stable.

    Others probably said, “Oh s***!!! We have to rewrite our drivers,” or simply hadn’t worked out the kinks in the new driver system yet. All of a sudden you’re running your system with buggy drivers written in haste. So, how well does ME run? Well it depends on the computer. Ooohhh.

    Another problem is ME simply has more code than 98. Which means more kernel bugs. So, it was just generally less stable. The more code you have, the more bugs you have.

    Now, why are so many people having problems with Vista? Well wouldn’t you know it, Vista’s kernel has 40 percent more code added. Which means it has 40 percent more bugs or more because it was also a different development process.

    Guess what? Vista is chock full of brand new features like Superfetch, ReadyBoost, Aero, Search Indexing. It again would not surprise me if the first implementations didn’t work all that well. See, the problem is people think new is better. With code new is a fad, but it is not better. With code old and stable is better. Why was XP such a good OS? Well it was built on top of the tried and true NT. Hmmmm.

    You know what else Vista has? A brand new driver model. Oooohhhh. Now it all makes sense.

  82. Also, don’t get confused about 98′s new driver model, and NT which totally removed DOS. ME had DOS, but it ran in a restricted mode. They were trying to simulate NT’s no DOS at all. Just in case some of you didn’t know.

  83. In ‘praise’ of ME, we seem to be forgetting what it doesn’t do. No restart/reboot to dos without a hack. (A strength of Win98 and similar was abillity to work from single boot floppy or quickly from cd to fix stuff, or to run older games). Way slower than 98SE on older machines. Supports sort of both old driver system used in 9x and NT style drivers but only sort of. Some USB drivers came out for every OS but ME (98SE, Win2000, etc). Bloatware in that you don’t get much that is actually useful for what you pay in extra size/complexitiy of os, 98 did have limited system restore, and the smaller the OS the easier it is to just back EVERY PART of OS up with is the safest sort of restore. (98 much easier to back it all up into a zip file and use pure dos to restore it if a problem)

  84. Wow, what a bunch of fanbois! I have had every version of windoze from 3.0 up to Vista 64 and some worked out well and others didn’t. ME was a didn’t. I never met a ME box that I liked. A friend had a crashed ME that should have been simple to repair, but the damned anti-piracy crap thwarted every attempt. 98SE did everything I needed at the time and I ran it on one notebook for about 4 years straight with no reinstalls. That one was connected to the internet 24/7 and frequently had uptimes of two months or more. I have always hated M$, but I dislike Macs more. I loved Amigas back in the day, if the Commodore execs hadn’t raped it and left it for dead there very well could have been a windoze killer in the past decade. Even though I have 3 XP boxes and 2 with Vista, my favorite workstation and daily driver is still my overclocked and water cooled KR7A-RAID XP 2100+ running a never reinstalled 7 year old win2k. My Vista 64 QX9650 780i SLI 2×8800 Ultras with 4 Raptors in RAID only gets booted when really I need serious horsepower. It also dual boots XP and Linux. I don’t like Vista. I don’t like XP. I hated ME. I hated 95. I tolerated 98SE and I manage to co-exist with 2k. I spend all day every day using 2k for terminal sessions into FreeBSD boxes for work. If I wasn’t able to get a 2560×1600 AGP card (GeForce 7900GS) for the 2k box so I could use my 30″ HP, I would have reluctantly retired it for a PCIe board. My old XP2100+ win2k box works well enough for SSH and Firefox, I can’t imagine how much longer it will be before I’m forced into something else on a daily basis. I really wish I had a QX9775 running AmigaDos 12.0 and Workbench 10.0.

    Anyway, IMO, ME was just incremental update to 98. It may have served its purpose for many, but I hated it :)

  85. I still use Windows Me on my office machine. I have a home/backup machine with XP. With the patches my edition/configuration of Me is stable. It has been running as loaded for nearly 3 years without a reload. It does what I want to do. Burn cds/dvds for backup, runs spreadsheets, prints reports, surfs the net. I listen to mp3s while I work. I do need a bigger hard drive and have been looking at them for old faithful. I bought a new machine with Vista and I suffered through for a week and spent the money (at that time there was no retro-upgrade available) and bought XP, like the XP on my laptop. Nothing worked on Vista. My programs didn’t work, my usb sound card didn’t work, my mp3 player didn’t work (software wouldn’t run). Everytime I did something it complained or just out and out stopped me. It wanted my money, complained all the time and didn’t do anything. I divorced it.

    best, Mrscottishman

  86. My machine with Me crashed continuously. Perhaps this was the HP hardware and not the Microsoft OS. Either way, after similar issues with XP and a Dell, I gave up on Windows and went back to Mac four years ago. Ironically enough, I now run XP (primarily for Sterling, a really good freeware Fractal-generating app, and for problem sites that don’t load right outside of IE and files that only play in Media Player), on my Intel iMac (using VMWare Fusion) and have had no problems at all with it!

  87. Sadly, Microsoft with a dollar sign people still think is hip. It’s very old, very tired and it does not make you edgy for writing it that way folks, seriously, stop.

  88. @Jim (5/Apr/2008)
    aw common, i wanna be edge, hip AND gently allude to micro$oft’$ wealth (ooo i got to use 2 that time).

    no, seriously, i agree – using $ instead of an ‘S’ is likely the lowest form of the horrendous script-kiddie form of typing: leet speak. seriously, i find it as annoying as my grandfather finds computers in general to be. maybe it’s a sign that i’m getting old.

    Jim? are you getting old too?

    it’s not that i’m so distant from the tech crowd: i’m a computer engineer. but… i’m a hardware guy. i think most people who have bothered to submit their bewildering retorts (some profound, some profoundly stupid) all seem to have the same basic idea in mind: MS-BASIC. hey, you could write software with it. that software could do what you needed it to do. that’s basically what microsoft is – a company that does what we need it to. they make software. it gets the job done. they make money, it gets the shareholder’s bills paid.

    in the end though, microsoft is a perfect corporate representation of that lazy smart kid in high school who could ace any exam s/he wanted to, but always got C’s anyway. why bother doing more than necessary? sure, now and then they have to demonstrate that they’ve learned a new trick – otherwise they don’t graduate to the next class. but in the long run, they are the slowest most faulty producer of software in the world. i know they hire smart people, and i feel very sorry for them: it must be AGONY to have the talent, the will to use it, and watch as the machine you are a part of simply fails to produce quality product.

    WindowsME is a perfect example of this. the engineering work (albeit software engineering, which just LOOKS a bit like engineering form the outside) that was torn out of the work-in-progress-to-be-win2k and duct-tapped onto win98 was good stuff. but, torn to shreds and reconstituted… code-reuse, overused.

    in the end, it’s your software that makes your computer run so poorly. install BeOS on an old pentium 3 and you’ll stumble away from your keyboard, simply amazed. install windows vista on a shiny new hot-as-the-sun quad-core…. lets just say that as a systems architect i’m having a hard time with how much microsoft wastes the cpu cycles i work so hard to provide.

    it’s simply amazing how many mistakes people will tolerate from their software, and how few from their hardware. intel’s infamous pentium glitch was a HUGE event. microsofts recursive patch process (wait for it…. you get it, right? tell me i’m wrong.) is not only accepted, it’s considered GOOD.

    but hey, waht alternatives are there? macosx? hah! it’s only less anoying because i’ve put up with it for less time. after a decade of this, i’ll think equally bad thoughts about mac and windows. linux? blah. i just have to hope Haiku is all that BeOS used to be. that was the only OS in a decade i’ve seen that was worth running – worth putting up with the glitches because it did its job well.

    end rant.

  89. What are you moaning about, windows Me was revolutionary. i still use it in virtual pc 2007 on an xp mce 2005 machine today. it runs all of my old apps. works with all of my hardware, and most importantly NEVER CRASHES!!! is this rubbish?

  90. You must have used different versions of Windows9x and WindowsMe than I did. 95, 98 and 98SE were all far more stable and usable than Me. Me couldn’t handle simple networking, it refused to accept or keep manual network settings when dealing with more than one connection and its automatic ones failed.

  91. I do not understand why everybody gets problems all the time, and give the operating system or computer the blame. I help many in reparing or getting their PC back to running. What I usally find out is that most of the problems where made by the user, because of doing things that he should not do, or not doing what he should. I started having computers fromthe dos 3. Afterwards I went to 3,11, Win 95, Win 98, Win 98 sec ed, Me, Xp and now XP2. At the moment I have 7 PC I use, besides that I have three I have kept as a memory, and they also work perfectly. My first laptop, Compaq Aero 25 still works without problems, the only problem is that the batery will not hold more than a minut and a half, so I use ac conection when I want to go back to good memories from old days,(I am soon 64 yrs. old) .Concerning the Me, I just shut down the restore option, and since then, no problems. What I use mostly today is XP sp2, and I have waited for the service pack of the Vista, to be sure that some strange things that I´ve seen happen on friends I´ve helped with Vista are corrected.
    I´ve always used McAfee virus programs since Nuts and Bolts, have defragmented at least once a week, not instaled all crap that has come out, just for fun, and have updated my programs, and hardware. So I can say that as comparing with the saying that most every crash is to blame to a driver, not the car itself, one can say that most of the problems with the OS´s is to blame on the user, not the OS.

  92. The author leaves out the M$ OS that I use and refuse to give up- Windows 2000 Pro. The ease of use of 98SE, with the stability of NT4, and without the cutesy BS and BLOAT of WinXP and the even more lardass Vista. There is very little that cannot be done with W2K. Who needs the neutered WinXP Home when building a mini-laptop? W2K Pro (and it is still easy to find the software online) will run on these limited-resource computers with HALF the footprint of WinXP.

  93. Overall I wasn’t impressed with ME when it came out. The OS was a dead end, and at the time it seemed like Microsoft took the Windows 98 kernel, slapped on some UI improvements that were in the works for Windows 2000, and sold it so they could say they put out a new OS. Some of those features were certainly improvements, but most in my opinion were overrated:

    * Windows Movie Maker (new) – Not part of the OS, just an application bundled with the OS. And not a great one at that.
    * System Restore (new) – Granted, System Restore was a good idea. Unfortunately, having it built into the OS means anything that can compromise the OS can compromise System Restore. Considering that the most likely reason for a home user to need System Restore is to recover from malware, that’s an issue. Already the nastier viruses nuke System Restore to prevent them from being easily removed. In the future it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see malware that writes itself into System Restore images. Overall it’s a good idea, but a bad execution.
    * System File Protection (improved) – This is a bandaid to the inherent weakness of all users having the ability to make administrative changes to the OS. I can’t complement Microsoft for their their creativity when they’re plugging a hole they made in the first place.
    * New TCP/IP Stack (improved) – Microsoft improved the IP stack, but you still had to reboot every time you so much as looked at the Network Properties screen funny. Inexcusable, in my opinion.
    * Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) (new) – As the Mr. Zheng concedes, UPNP has security issues. By including it in the OS and enabling it by default, Microsoft once again sacrificed security for usability. Fail.
    * Windows Image Acquisition (WIA) (new) – I’ll concede here, Windows Image Acquisition was an improvement to the UI. In reality UI != Operating System, but Microsoft has effectively snowed consumers on this one so it’s not worth fighting.
    * Automatic Updates (new) – This is another feature Microsoft implemented to put out a fire they started. Having said that, automatic updates have become the norm for operating systems, and Microsoft and Red Hat were two leaders in this area.
    * Inbuilt ZIP support (improved) – Definitely an improvement to the UI.
    * Image preview (new) – Also a UI improvement.
    * Bundled games (improved) – I can’t treat games as a serious feature on which to evaluate an operating system. That’s like saying Windows NT was awesome because Pinball rocked the house.
    * USB Mass Storage generic driver (new) – Also an improvement.

  94. My experience with WinME has been almost entirely positive…to the point that neither XP nor Vista hold any fascination nor charm for my imagination. All you have to do is do a simple search on an XP machine and notice it takes *forever*. That’s just one small example. I can only imagine how cumbersome all else is on Vista. For what I need a computer for, never needed another. Of course I burned all the updates and own a full install CD for WinME. Crazy you say? Like a fox.

  95. problem w/vista is that it doesn’t run well on a lot of the earlier hardware it was sold on. I don’t know much about it vista, since i don’t personally *use* it. i suspect the ~3gb ram limit will become the limitation for vista x32 users. winme was nicer than 98se, only if you turned off the 1/2azzed experimental MS stuff, and the stuff that conflicted with 3rd party hackjob ware (essentially all AV). since 98 never had some of the me features, it was prolly best to think of me as a pluspack. xp is better, but i’m not convinced win2k was so hot, since my one experience was apparent incompatibility with the 2000-era hardware (dell).

  96. Windows Me and Windows 2000 along with their common Office 2000 are last ever pieces of Microsoft software suitable for free and unrestricted use, because they are totally free from forcing upon end user any forms of his depending on external controls from Microsoft servers, such as Product Activation, Genuine Advantage, Digital Rights Management, Trustworthy Computing and so on, existing in newer software pieces from Microsoft.

    Last and final Microsoft additions needed for both proper driver and software functioning in these two last ever control-free pieces of Microsoft software are:

    http://download.microsoft.com/download/6/3/e/63e8f5ff-02d8-4baf-93b7-4d6f96b9610e/directx_9c_Dec04sdk_redist.exe

    http://download.microsoft.com/download/e/6/a/e6a04295-d2a8-40d0-a0c5-241bfecd095e/W2KSP4_EN.EXE

  97. When Microsoft launched XP Oct 2001 in my city, they gave a history of Windows up to XP. The presenters stated they purposely left out ME.

    @Cullen D: I’m sure he did. Perhaps his points are stated too complexly. You seem to have no concept of the OS v. application level. UPnP is “quite useful”?? I guess you leave your home doors unlocked also. Your moronic statements about the usefulness of bundled games show exactly the market MS is targeting. You clearly know nothing of security principles, history or understanding of modern computing. If we’re bringing up zealotry, then you’re a Scientologist. Go back to your minesweeper & Battlefield Earth.

    @Xepol: good to know someone here knows WTF is going on.

    @bitflung: +1 internets.

    @ EJSS: your comments suggest that I should be happy with any car, even if I’m restricted as to what passengers I can carry. The fact you still use Macfee states much more than you realize.

    @Gerry: if you only use MS-approved software & never add/remove programs (ie: games), the yeah, the OS is going to be stable. Here’s another insight: the registry still grow in XP also. If you’re having trouble w/ a router/NAS, may I suggest you re-learn the CLI? A service tech should have no trouble with such.

    There are many good comments here as *why* this “article” is a waste of bandwidth. ME is more like an ’98 service pack, but a step backwards. IMHO, this crap all started when we needed to load drivers for soundcards (5:1:5:220 anyone??!)

    ME deserves no respect.

  98. i need a reaction about windows me because i will do a report about it, is it true that windows me has a better features than windows 98…
    waiting for your reply soon

  99. I’ve been using Windows ME going on nine years! I bought 512M memory when I got it on a new computer. NO problems or blue screens for 5 years. Installed kodak camera software which wiped out the O/S, Three times! Have slightly more problems than I did before, but runs better and more stable than Vista.
    I have a palm I can’t install on Vista, and a cellphone I can’t connect to ME.
    I can download three separate files at the same time on ME, Vista crashes after each one and only one at a time.

  100. Windows ME is my all time favourite OS, but it took me a while to get to this point of view.

    Here is my story that may have happenned very well to lots of people and why they thought ME was crap :

    In 2001 I bought a shiny blue-metallic and ultra-slim “Targa” Laptop with a Celeron 900 MHZ and 64 MB Ram, 15 GB HD.It had a DVD, and was one of the first Laptops withput serial parallelports and no floppy drive. It was very USB-centric, so it had a external floppy drive.

    This machine was incredible expensive, although targa is really a “cheap” brand.I paid nearly 3500 Deutsche Mark for it ( around 1700,- Euro ). My first Laptop too. As a customer you expect to get the highest quality and the best modern OS on it available, isn’t it ? Mistaken by friend’s opinions I thought that Windows ME was jsut another name for Windows 2000 or a kind of NT-Home Edition.. tada..later I learned it was DOS and I was upset.

    Anyway:
    This thing came preinstalled with ME and had a recovery CDROM with the OS on it, but you could not do a custom setup, only wipe and make it factory-default ( like still today done by so many OEMs ).

    The disk was so to say useless, it’s BIOS-lock made it even worthless for other PCs.
    Windows ME was one of the first OS to have full ACPI support (98SE can have with /p j switch ) on compatible machines. But to have a working ACPI you need WDM drivers throughout the OS.

    That targa-Laptop didn’t. It had some buggy drivers that made sleep and resume a pain. Sound after waking up was stuttering and I had video-related glitches when the CPU throttling was on.So I quickly came to the thinking that ME’s ACPI support was broken.

    Microsft has released over time a lot of updated Acpi- system files to fix those issues ( issues that are all caused by BIOS and drivers and not by the OS ), Targa did never make them available or told me that there are even some available from MS.

    Again I blamed the OS alone for my crap Laptop from a dubios company that I had paid so much money.

    My external floppy was sometimes “missing” or ME’s device Manager told me the yellow exclamation mark and the System said that “Drive a is in MS-DOS comaptible mode”..

    Today I know that this is indeed a bug in the USB-subsystem but there is also a patch available. Nobody told me at that time, too..

    Then after some weeks using that machine, everywhere on the NEt people spoke of XP and how much better it will be. I ordered the Release Candiate (build 2505)from Microsoft for 25,- Deutsche Mark (12 Eur ) and when the CD came installed it. It ran on ultra low RAM ( 64 MB were even too few for ME ! ) but all my power and hardware issues were instantly cured.It was stable and reliable.

    SO: Me had a life on that machine of less than 6 Months. Afterwards everybody talked of XP and how you must upgrade your machines with RAM for it. I never touched ME again, only now that I sometimes use older hardware I love it.

    One note that everybody says ME is “beta” :

    It shipped with prerelease versions of Windows Media Player 7.0 and Internet Explorer 5.5.

    Explorer’s Active Desktop had issues with that IE and WMP used too much ressources..

    Only some weeks later the final versions of IE 5.5 and WMP7 were out and cured the pains.

    With IE 6Sp1 and WMP9 they are definately cured forever. So.

    Even ubuntu 8.0.4 shipped with a firefox 3beta .. You see : MS gets blamed for such doing.

    With enough Ram and fast CPU and ACPI-compatible BIOS ( same specs as for XP-compatible BIOS ) and WDM drivers you can get the most out of that OS and see why it failed back then :

    - Machines were not powerful enough ( ME is good at 128 MB Ram, with 256 and more its a wild beast )
    - ACPI was “new”, implementation from OEMs in their machines was buggy
    -OEMs and Vendors thought that Win98 drivers would work on ME, they later realized that ME NEEDS WDM drivers. Same problem as with Vista : when it came out, nobody had drivers..
    - Instead of giving full OS-CDs, most OEMs gave those dreadful Recovery-Disks, and that is a pain when you consider that a Win9x OS needs to be reinstalled sometimes. ( Windows 9x has even such a error-dialog that will tell you if eevrythings broken : “Reinstall Windows” )

    On modern machines most of the issuse back then are cured as if by magic.
    Why ? because OEMs learned a lot over the time.

    ME is not 98 third edition. OEMs learned it and customers needed to learn that too.
    Forget all your DOS-knowledge. ME is Windows-centric. A modern OS all around Multimedia. Introduced all the features you love in XP Home. Windows 98SE was business and home. ME is Home Alone.

    So in short. NOW I love it. Its a ideal OS for machines where XP will run slowly.

    I use it on a Fujitsu-Siemens PIII 866, 256 MB Ram every day and use the latest Opera for browsing, I have a new digital camera,external DVD burner, a HP all in one Printer/Scanner, Wireless LAN and a bluetooth headset attached to it and ME supports all that.

    Crashes occur extremely rare, and if they do its just a reboot of about 20 seconds time and I am back in.

    If you have trouble with ME :

    go over to http://WWW.MDGX.com outstanding (!) page and navigate to the WinME section.

    He has every single Microsoft Hotfix for ME available ( there are many ) to cure some of the pain if you happen to have one. make a syste,-restore point before ( don’t forget the hotfix for Systemrestores date/time bug ). Install only those that are especially for your specific problem and see if it is gone. If PC behaves unstable use System-Restore to go back.

    Also an early attempt has been made to put these fixes into a convenient ServicePack like the one for 98SE. Yo can find that too there. But it needs more teting on more machines. SPs can have side-effects, we all know.

    1. Not Windows ME – last one without activation, but Windows XP with its evil activation made me change to PC-BSD some years ago. I did not go back except Windows ME virtualized in VirtualBox under PC-BSD.

  101. Automatic updates suck… they have caused more problems then most ppl realize because microsoft likes to guinea pig test everything on its users.

  102. The problem with ME and Vista is the same: M$ expected you to shell out full price for a “transitional” OS, knowing full well there was another, better one on the way. It might have worked for ME, but by the time of VISTA, users were wise to M$.

  103. REAL DOS 8.00 capable of starting from HDD *without* any modifications to its files (io.sys, msdos.sys, command.com) is placed on Windows Me OEM
    CD inside X:\tools\nettools\fac\ltools.dta file, which is CAB file
    with changed extension, that can be extracted by any CAB extractor,
    including Windows extract.exe. X is CD drive letter. These three files are
    slightly different than other instances of themselves in Windows Me, but they
    works good as supplementary REAL DOS to Windows Me and they can boot to DOS from separate primary HDD partition. This REAL DOS works *as is* without any patches, etc…

  104. Well put, sir. As somebody who still uses Windows Me on a semi frequent basis (email, light web browsing) I am proud to say that I have had fewer problems in the 12 years I have been using Me than I have in the 4 years I have been using Vista. I have a laptop running XP and it does any heavy internet activities and a windows 7 machine I built from scratch as a media center PC. Get a reasonable system like mine (700 mhz Celeron with 256 mb ram) and whatever fixes microsoft has for it, and you have a decent computer for browsing the internet. I would recommend Opera 9.0 web browser as it seems to be the fastest I’ve found with Millenium.

  105. I gave the 2 year old Vista PC to my mother who hated her cheap dell from 2004. As I am apparently the only person in our family who knows about computers, I am forced to deal with Vista more often than I care to mention.

  106. Long, Windows Me might seem respect worthy to YOU, but to me it deserves zero respect in that not that it is buggy and unstable, but just plain boring to use by today’s standards. Heck, I could even say the same about Windows Vista, although I must say that if I was forced to choose between using either Windows Me or Windows Vista, I would definitely opt to use Windows Vista over Windows Me any day.

  107. You are totally right in this article! I had WinME to, and I never had an actual problem. I even deleted System 32! ( bad choice.) Although System Restore brought that back. (don’t know how without system32.) The thing people hated about WinME is the way it brought up error messages. I always played Big Game Hunter 4 (awesome game) and sometimes I took the game disk out. It BSOD on me. Except, I just had to press ESC and put the disk back in. WinME didn’t know how to put in a error message in a window. That was why people hated WinME. I know cause I had WinME 9 yrs. out of 13. It practically memorized me! Literally, I opened up Word 97, and it just automatically opened up the template I like and the font. I didn’t even tell it to! WinME rocked.

  108. I myself never had a problem with Win-Me, as long as it was installed CLEAN. My experience was that any system that was upgraded in place was nothing but problems from that point on because one was dragging all the problems from the previous system into the new one. However, a clean install onto a freshly formatted volume ran smooth as silk.

  109. Like many of you I never had a single problem with Windows Me on my brand new 1900usd Compaq. In fact the computer died before the OS otherwise I’d likely still use it as a back up. These days I’m a diehard Linux/BSD user with an XP box for a backup or for those occasional programs or sites that demand it. Thru the years I’ve used every OS from the Commodore64 with that smokin’ 300bps modem for Compuserve to the oddity otherwise known as Windows 8. Truthfully, the one that gave me the nightmares was Vista on a Avertech laptop. The processor and fan labored so hard there was no sense playing music you couldn’t hear it even maxed out on ram. A distant second would have to be the original 98 because of dependability issues

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