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Metaphorical queues are already forming around the metaphorical block, not to buy petrol, but to lay hands on the latest (and last) revision of Windows 9X.

Windows ME is set to burst onto the world stage tomorrow, a snip at around £40 for the upgrade and £140 for the full version.

We've been running ME in various beta versions for months and the final gold code - the version that will be on sale from midnight tonight - is pretty good, as befits what is effectively Windows 98, Third Edition.

Apart from bug fixes, there are notable improvements over its predecessors, such as a reasonably good self-repair mechanism, the superior GUI from Windows 2000, the slinky (er - shouldn't that be "bug-riddled monster that takes up 36Mb of memory and still can't record MP3"? - ed.) Media Player 7 and substantially improved boot and shutdown times.

On the downside, MS-DOS is now so well hidden that it's a bit of an uphill task to create a boot diskette for tasks such as BIOS updating.

But overall, we reckon it's well worth forty quid of anyone's money.

Please form an orderly queue. No pushing. ®

Check out this selection of previous Reg stories on Win ME

Win ME - not bad at all
Win 2K and ME users up creek without a floppy
Windows ME gold code available for free
Windows ME goes gold - in shops September 14
Win ME on track for mid June completion
Windows ME hits Beta 3 - to demo this weekend
New Windows media player plays it all - except DVDs
MS pulls legacy hardware drivers from Win ME

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