WinME sanity and praise

Pros, cons, hints and tips

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[We ran a story discussing the pros and cons of upgrading to Windows ME, and also gave an account of some of the bugs that have been encountered so far. You lot had a few suggestions and questions.]

Windows bugs ME - should you upgrade to MS' latest?


"As most of you know who have installed Windows Me and are running it successfully, there is an animated presentation when Windows Me boots up for the first time. If you're lucky and Windows Me installed your sound drivers, you'll be able to hear it, but there's absolutely no way to cancel out of this screen. So you're stuck with it for about thirty seconds!"

There IS a way to stop this... When the animation stars press "Ctrl+alt+del" and choose to end the task responsible...keeps me sane! :-)


I read the article and was left a little puzzled. I am a computer tinker (my hobby -not my job), I reclaim computer junk, rebuild it into a working device, then give it away like Santa. Currently, I use Win98SE and was thinking of upgrading to WinME but do not want to lose the functionality of format.com and fdisk.exe. Without those little applications, I'd be screwed when attempting to get old hard drives lean and clean; not to mention clean OS installs on my main machine. Also, I heard it mentioned that there are difficulties when updating the BIOS in DOS-mode. Your article made no mention of these issues, or are they no longer issues?

I tried to write to Microsoft three times to address these concerns, but only got the same generic response each time. "We at Microsoft thank you for your concern and will review your comments...blah, blah, blah...". What I wanted was an answer, by someone who has attempted these things under WinME, and tell me if there is a simple work-around that doesn't involve strange hardware configurations or multiple OS partitions.

Can you learned folks answer my questions and end my ignorant misery?

Ultimately, I'd like to move to Win2K/Whistler, but my wife would kill me if her ancient, crappy little programs won't work & I'm still not comfortable with the driver support. In the end, I do not want to shell-out over $150 for WinME if it cannot suite my needs but I would like to jump of the band wagon if possible.

Nick Bhagroo,


You said: "Internet Explorer is obviously bundled into Windows Me, but it comes in a new flavour, version 5.5. To tell you the truth, it went from Vanilla to French Vanilla, because the only thing added was Print Preview, which could have easily been added into IE 5.01, or even 5.02. "

Your article on Win ME incorporating IE5.5 instead of 5.0 slightly missed the point - 5.5 has a shit-load of (actually pretty groovy) internal improvements in it's DHTML support - you probably won't see these used on websites for a while for obvious reasons of installed userbase,etc, but honestly - there's some good (albeit bloated, natch) stuff in there.

The main reason M$ are (and have for a while) been so keen on incorporating IE into Windows is not specifically (or perhaps, solely) to screw Netscape, it's because they want everyone to move over to writing their Windows apps (specifically the user interface stuff) in DHTML rather than in C++ or VB. This is actually a Really Good Thing; as a seasoned C++ programmer I'm now writing my first project using IE5.5 DHTML instead and it's *so* much quicker and easier that I'm becoming something of a serious convert to the whole idea.

M$ are of course also keen on blurring the line between your local machine and the Internet, and the incremental additions to IE are all clearly going in this direction. You might also be surprised at quite how many Windows apps nowadays quietly use an embedded HTML browser window for doing cool and easily updatable user interface stuff. Honestly, it rocks.

I have a nagging suspicion that M$ are actually steering things in quite a good direction..

Anyway, nuff sucking up to Bill G; just thought I'd throw in my 2 cents..


Hi, saw your Register Special Feature about Windows ME. Just wanted to let you know that over here at

Shell Extension City

, we've got a couple of fixes that go a long way to bringing Win Me up to speed, and address one of the problems you mention, i.e., no DOS access. Here're our blurbs:

REAL MODE DOS FOR WIN ME..........Did you ever wonder why Windows ME, which is based on the Windows 9x kernel, can't access Real DOS-Mode? Did you think that Windows ME architecture doesn't allow it? Well, it seems that Microsoft simply decided to hide this option in Windows ME, for some unknown reason...This patch will modify "IO.SYS", "COMMAND.COM" and "REGENV32.EXE" in order to unhide the Real DOS-Mode on Windows ME systems, resulting in a similar boot process to the one available in Windows 9x. This will allow, for example, to reach DOS directly by pressing "Shift-F8" at boot-up, to use "CONFIG.SYS" and "AUTOEXEC.BAT" before Windows loads, and to set up a startup menu. This patch was tested only with the final release of Win ME (build 4.90.3000). It might be compatible with other (future or previous) builds as well.

WIN ME BOOT DISK MAKER.......... Windows ME Boot Disk Maker is a program to make a disk boot in Windows ME. In Windows ME you can not make a boot disk with out this software because Microsoft removed this option from Windows Me
Hope this'll be useful to you. Meanwhile, my regards to Mike McGee.


Robert Helmer
Shell Extension City

I've been running windows ME for a couple of months now and have just purchased Norton's System works 2001 which seems to run flawlessly on both WinME and Win2K for general purpose applications.

The problem I do run into, however was with Microsoft Personal Web Server. This program obviously tries to overwrite some of the core system files and when it cannot, instead of aborting the installation, it creates some rather nasty registry errors. Even upon running the direct file version of install (which overwrites and removes all instances of PWS if it is installed) I still had to resort to using the system restore feature of WinME. Norton utilities cleaned up a lot of the registry that was damaged, but I still cannot access the windows components in the Add/remove programs.

Let this be a warning to all who wish to save themselves the headache and hassle. WinMe is not the system for web serving (until an update is released, which microsoft has not published any plans for)

Brian Hillier

Boost IT visibility and business value

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