Windows Me

Aug 31, 2009

Windows MilleniumAs the heir of Windows 98, Windows Me was targeted as a "Home Edition", unlike "Windows 2000 Professional", which was intended for professional use and had been released seven months earlier. Windows Me included IE 5.5, Windows Media Player 7 and the new Windows Movie Maker software, which provided basic video editing. Windows Me was basically designed to be easy for home users and Microsoft had updated the GUI and the shell features and Windows Explorer with some of the first introduced in Windows 2000.

Windows Millennium was a continuation of the Windows 9x model, but providing restricted access to real mode MS-DOS in order to speed up system boot time. Boot time refers to the operation required to place a computer into its normal operating configuration after power is supplied to the hardware. Basically, how long it took to start up the PC.  This was one of the most advertised changes in Windows Me, because applications that needed real mode DOS to run, such as older disk utilities, did not run under Windows Me.
Windows Me was finished by NT-based Windows 2000. Both OS were succeeded by Windows XP with their features unified. NT-based Windows versions are a family of operating systems from Microsoft, originally designed to be a powerful high-level language-based, processor independent, multi processing, multiuser OS with features comparable to Unix. Essentially, it was intended to complement consumer versions of Windows that were based on MS-DOS.

Compared to other releases of Windows, Millennium had a short marketing life of just a year, being soon replaced by the NT-based Windows XP, which was launched on October the 25th, 2001. One of the problems with Windows Me was that the System Restore feature ended up sometimes restoring a virus which the user had previously deleted. This happened because the method of keeping track of changes was fairly simplistic, by disabling System Restore, the virus could be removed but the user would have lost all saved restore points.

Windows Me was widely criticized for its instability and unreliability, due to frequent freezes and system crashes. A PC World article declared Windows Me as the "Mistake Edition" and listed it as the fourth "Worst Tech product of All Times". The article stated that "Shortly after Me appeared in late 2000, users reported problems installing it, getting it to run, getting it to work with other hardware or software, and getting it to stop running."

Next articles in this series:

1. The beginnings
2. First steps in operating systems
3. Windows 1.0
4. Windows 2.0
5. Windows 3.0
6. Windows 95
7. Windows 98
8. Windows Me
9. Windows 2000
10. Windows XP
11. Windows Vista
12. Windows 7
13. Windows 8