Windows Me after a month – was it worth it?

For Luis, the candy's gone stale...

Second looks It's around a month since Windows Me was released, and since my first look at the issues around getting it installed and running smoothly. A lot of people have contacted me with feedback, and I've also been able to talk to Microsoft about bugs, niggles and problems with third party software. Some of these have been fixed officially, some 'unofficially,' and the reasons why others haven't been fixed, and won't be, have at least been clarified.

My own experiences

When I first installed Windows Me I put it on a brand-new hard drive. For some reason, after 45 minutes of installation it decided to add two other partitions. That actually might have been a human error (yeah... my error), or something that Windows Me did during the installation process. So, I had to go into the DOS-less Windows Me and do the usual, and finally got a good installation of Windows Me.

Windows Me recognized all my devices except one, and decided to install another driver for it. I have a rather old ATI video card, and Windows Me decided to install a driver for a Creative video card. I guess it was the closest driver to the ATI video card that I have. It's working properly, I just don't have those extra ATI tabs in the Display Properties screen, I never really used them, so I left it as is. Since then, I've installed a network card for DSL, which was recognized just fine.

As most of you probably know, several Windows 95/98 applications won't work in Windows Me. I tried - actually forced - Norton SystemWorks 2000 to install, but it didn't work. When trying to install two or three other applications, I received a message that said that they probably wouldn't work properly in Windows Me. I said OK, and bypassed the message, and installed them just fine - so far haven't seen any incompatibilities.

But having used the software for a few weeks, I see a noticeable speed decrease from Windows 98, and from Windows 2000. I've always liked the more "modern" UI from Windows 2000, so I liked that about Windows Me. I also find myself not using the new features that were added on, which leads me to conclude that for me, Windows Me wasn't such a great upgrade. I'm not big on gaming so I might switch over to Windows 2000 pretty soon, or go back to Windows 98 SE.

Zapping the Animaniac Presentation

A lot of the feedback I received dealt with the animation presentation that you see when Windows Me first boots up. Microsoft confirms that an Alt-F4 will stop the video play, which plays only one time.

Why put it in? Well, as Microsoft has said over and over again, Windows Me is the first operating system designed specifically with the home user in mind. So Microsoft wanted to highlight some of the 'exciting and real-world examples' of how home users can take advantage of the OS.

Some of you may find this presentation rather boring if you know what an operating system is and does. But to those "newbies" who are first confronting the Windows operating system, it could be the entrance to a horrib... err, new world.

Verdict

Microsoft wants to stress that Windows Millennium Edition is only for the home user. If you're not a regular home user, and you're not a "newbie" then stick to Windows 98. If you absolutely have to have Windows Me, then I suggest a clean install. Be sure to have all your drivers next to you just in case, also, be sure to have a backup of any important information. Or you can go ahead and buy an OEM system that's pre-installed with Windows Me. I installed it to check it out, but I'm about to go back to Windows 98, or even Windows 2000 for my production machine.

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