Introduction to Windows Me Including Its New Features [MiniTool Wiki]

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Introduction to Windows Me

Windows Me, which can also be called Windows Millennium Edition, is a graphical operating system developed by Microsoft as part of its Windows 9x operating system family. It is the successor of Windows 98 Second Edition (SE).

Tip: If you want to know other Windows operating systems’ information, then you can go to the MiniTool website.

Windows Me was the last operating system released in the Windows 9x series, specifically for home PC users, including Internet Explorer 5.5, Windows Media Player 7 and the new Windows Movie Maker software, which provided basic video editing and was designed to make Easy to use for home users.

Windows Me

Windows Me was a continuation of the Windows 9x model. Although access to real-mode MS-DOS is restricted in order to reduce the system startup time, it is still based on DOS like its predecessors.

Windows Me was severely criticized by many users and critics, mainly because of speed and stability issues, as well as hardware compatibility issues and the removal of real-mode DOS support.

Windows Me is considered to be one of the worst operating systems ever. Therefore, most home users still use Windows 98, while some people migrate to Windows 2000, even though the latter is geared toward businesses.

History of Windows Me

  • In May 1999, Microsoft released Windows 98 Second Edition and then announced a new version of Windows 9x, which was later code-named Millennium.
  • On September 24, 1999, Microsoft announced the release of Windows Millennium Beta 1.
  • On November 24, 1999, Windows Millennium Beta 2 was released, and added some new features, such as System File Protection and Game Options Control Panel.
  • On April 11, 2000, Beta 3 was released. This version marked the first appearance of the startup and shutdown sounds of its final version (derived from Windows 2000), because the previous Beta versions adopted Windows 98’s startup and shutdown sounds.
  • Windows Me was released for production on June 19, 2000, and went on the market on September 14, 2000.
  • In October 2001, Windows XP was released to the public and became the successor to Windows Me. While it was based on the more stable Windows NT kernel, it promoted most of its features and introduced more visual themes. Support for Windows Me ended on July 11, 2006.

New and Updated Features in Windows Me

User Interface

Windows Me had shell enhancements inherited from Windows 2000. The notification area in Windows Me and later versions supported 16-bit high-color icons. The Multimedia control panel was also updated from Windows 98 SE. The taskbar and start menu options allowed to disable the drag and drop feature, and may prevent moving or resizing the taskbar, which is easier for new users.

Hardware Support Improvements

  1. Faster boot times.
  2. USB Human Interface Devices Class.
  3. Windows Image Acquisition.
  4. Improved power management and suspend/resume operations.
  5. USB and Firewall support improvements.
  6. The waveOut, DirectSound and DirectShow APIs support non-PCM formats, such as WMA on AC-3 or S/PDIF.

Digital Media

  1. Windows Movie Maker
  2. Windows Media Player 7
  3. Windows DVD Player
  4. Image Preview
  5. Games

Networking Technologies

  1. Net Crawler.
  2. New TCP/IP Stack.
  3. The Home Network Wizard is designed to help users set up computers running Windows Me for use on small home networks.
  4. The Dial-up Networking component was updated in Windows Me and provided some enhancements while maintaining the features required by the previous version of the operating system.
  5. The Network Driver Interface Specification (NDIS) version 5.0 of Windows Me has been enhanced to provide programming interface parity with NDIS version 5.0 in Windows 2000.
  6. Universal Plug and Play.

System Utilities

  1. System Restore.
  2. System File Protection.
  3. System Configuration Utility.
  4. System Monitor has been updated with a Dial-Up Adapter section.
  5. Before the Windows Shell is loaded, if it is closed improperly, SCANDISK will run from within Windows.
  6. Automatic Updates.
  7. Compressed Folders.
  8. A new "Help and Support" program has also been added to replace the HTML Help-based documentation in Windows 2000 and Windows 98.
  9. Windows Me also included Internet Explorer 5.5, which supported the new “Print Preview” feature.

Accessibility Features

  1. On-Screen Keyboard.
  2. The Mouse Control Panel contains the IntelliPoint features, namely ClickLock, which hides the pointer while typing and displaying it by pressing Ctrl.
  3. The cursor (system caret) can be set to a wider width.
  4. Added support for Active Accessibility in utilities.

Deleted Features in Windows Me

Real Mode DOS

Windows Me limited support for real mode MS-DOS. In the default configuration, the system would neither boot into the MS-DOS command prompt nor exit from Windows to DOS. Real mode drivers (such as ANSI.SYS cannot be loaded) and older applications that require real mode cannot run.

Other Components

Windows Me was completely geared towards home users, so some enterprise-oriented features had been removed. Some features of previous versions of Microsoft were not available, or Microsoft did not officially support these features on Windows Me, including Automated Installation, Active Directory client services, System Policy Editor, Personal Web Server and ASP. These features were supported on its predecessors, Windows 98 and Windows 95.

Other features that were deleted or never updated cannot be used with Windows Me, including Microsoft Fax, QuickView, DriveSpace, and GUI FAT32 conversion tools.

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