Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition

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Windows Millennium Edition
Lettering "Windows (R)", over the "W" small lettering "Microsoft (R)", to the right of it a handwritten "Me", in the left part of the picture stylized three-dimensional windows lying one above the other, the window in the foreground with a waving colorful Windows logo in it
Screenshot with opened start menu and "My Computer" window
developer Microsoft
License (s) Microsoft EULA ( Closed Source )
First publ. September 14, 2000
Current  version 4.90.3000 (September 14, 2000)
Kernel MS-DOS
↳ Windows kernel
ancestry Windows 1.0 - Windows 3.x
↳ Windows 9x
timeline Windows 1.0
Windows 2.x
Windows 3.0
Windows 3.1
Windows 95
Windows 98
Windows Me
Others Development discontinued
Support discontinued on July 11, 2006

Microsoft Windows Me is the last operating system from the Windows 9x line published by Microsoft , which is based on MS-DOS . The abbreviation Me stands for the official spelling Millennium Edition (in German millennium edition ).


Windows 98 was originally intended to be the last operating system in the Windows 9x line; a successor to Windows NT 5.0 , later Windows 2000 , was to merge the NT and 9x lines. However, the development of NT 5.0 was affected by massive delays, which made the release of the successor a long way off. In March 1999 Microsoft reorganized its corporate structure and split off a development team from the previous Windows team, which was busy with the development of Windows 2000, which should concentrate on Windows for home users. The public initially interpreted this as a plan to develop a version of Windows 2000 for home users, but on April 7, 1999, Microsoft announced completely surprisingly that it would now release a successor to Windows 98, which became known as the Millennium . There were several reasons for this sudden change. Windows 2000 system requirements were still considered too high for home users, and hardware and software support was not as good as Windows 9x. In addition, the developers believed that the target group of home users did not need any of the advanced features of Windows 2000, such as a directory service , which only bloated the operating system.

Shortly afterwards, the developers tried to collect ideas that could flow into the new product. This resulted in the first preliminary version of the operating system, which was presented on July 23, 1999. The goals that the development team set themselves were better multimedia support, deeper integration into the Internet and easier setup of home networks. The product should work without the user having to dig deeper into the operating system. To ensure this, the operating system should contain so-called activity centers . These should simplify functions that are used less frequently, such as editing images, through intuitive, HTML- based operation. Due to problems with the integration of these activity centers in the operating system, however, the concept had to be discarded; only Windows Help and System Restore are the last vestiges of the activity centers.

The first beta test of the operating system followed in September 1999 . However, Microsoft rejected detailed reports on the operating system on the grounds that this beta version did not yet represent the functional status of the final version. This only changed on November 24, 1999, when the second beta version of the operating system was released. The development stopped soon after, as the developers decided to TCP / IP - protocol stack porting of Windows 2000, which took time. Finally, on February 1, 2000, Microsoft announced the final name of the operating system, Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition . The close focus on home users earned the operating system criticism from numerous specialist journals during development. Originally, the operating system was not intended to be distributed to MSDN subscribers, which Microsoft changed after protests. The NetWare client would also become part of the operating system.

A third beta test followed on April 11, 2000. Problems with Windows Media Player and Internet Explorer caused delays in the development process, so that the development stage was not reached in May, as originally planned, but only on June 19, 2000. The operating system was released on September 14, 2000. Just like Windows 98 before, the operating system cost US $ 209 as a full version and US $ 109 as an upgrade version. There was a special offer for Windows 98 users so that they could purchase the upgrade version for $ 60.

Mainstream support for Windows Me ended on December 31, 2003. Originally, Extended Support was supposed to end a year later, but Microsoft extended support for Windows Me along with Windows 98 until June 30, 2006.


Microsoft initially claimed that Windows Me, like the Windows NT family of operating systems , was no longer DOS based. However, this quickly turned out to be incorrect, even though Microsoft removed many of the possibilities for entering MS-DOS mode from the operating system. The existing MS-DOS in Windows Me was modified with the aim of a shorter start-up time. The AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS files are ignored by the operating system and only definitions of environment variables are evaluated by transferring these settings to the Windows registry . The previously independent files HIMEM.SYS and SmartDrive have been integrated into the IO.SYS and compressed so that it can be loaded into the main memory more quickly. The Windows registry itself has also been optimized; CLASSES.DAT , which contains the content of the Hive , has been split off from the previous files SYSTEM.DAT and USER.DAT . This means that only the necessary parts of the registry are loaded during the startup process. HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT

Windows Me includes several new programming interfaces that are primarily aimed at the needs of home users. Windows Image Acquisition (WIA) is used for the automatic detection of scanners and digital cameras , for example to start the wizard for scanning an image. It is also possible to send images by e-mail directly from the scanner without having to save the image on the hard drive. With DirectPlay Voice, players can talk to each other directly using a microphone, provided the game has been programmed for this interface. Using Universal Plug and Play (UPnP), compatible devices can be configured from the operating system.


When the operating system is started for the first time, an assistant is loaded that guides the user through the first steps in setting up the operating system. The figure Merlin (can optionally be switched off), a wizard from Microsoft Agent , serves as a help function during this process. In addition to a tutorial on using the mouse, these are in particular the region settings and entering the license key . After that, the start-up process goes seamlessly into a welcome screen that introduces the new features of Windows Me.

The Windows Me user interface is largely the same as its Windows 2000 counterpart. Windows Me includes Internet Explorer 5.5 and Windows Media Player 7.0, which is very different from the previous version. Windows Movie Maker is a new feature , a simple video editing program that can be used to record and edit videos. For plus! The Compressed Folders function, which supports ZIP files even without third-party programs, was adopted for Windows 98 . In addition to the Plus! from the game Spider Solitaire and the game 3D Pinball: Space Cadet from Windows NT 4.0 , some simple online games have been added that can only be played on the Internet. A new assistant makes it easier to set up a home network. The help function has been completely revised in Windows Me, it now combines the help files of all Windows components and also allows support requests to be made via the Internet.

Similar to Windows 2000, Windows Me includes the System File Checker , which monitors important system files of the operating system and replaces them with backup copies if they are changed or deleted. The newly introduced system restoration backs up the most important files of the operating system at regular intervals when applications are installed or at the request of the user and allows restoration to an earlier state if necessary. It replaces the older Microsoft Backup program , which is still on the Windows Me CD is available. The operating system can be automatically kept up to date with the new Automatic Updates function .

System requirements

The minimum requirements for installing Windows Me are an Intel Pentium processor with 150  MHz , 32  MB RAM , 320 MB free hard disk space , a CD-ROM drive and a floppy disk drive , a VGA-compatible graphics card and a sound card with speakers . In addition to the full version, an upgrade version was also available, with which an existing Windows 95 or Windows 98 could be upgraded to Windows Me.


The response to Windows Me was initially mixed. It was criticized that numerous innovations of Windows Me, such as the new Internet Explorer, are also available for older operating systems, which means that there is less incentive to update the operating system. The fact that Windows Media Player and Movie Maker could not be uninstalled was also criticized, even though it was precisely at this time that Microsoft threatened legal consequences for exploiting its monopoly in the browser war .

Soon after the publication, however, the opinion tipped strongly into the negative, because numerous errors in the operating system gave Windows Me a bad reputation. On the day of publication, a security hole was discovered that could cause Windows Me to crash. Above all, instability and compatibility problems with applications and drivers caused displeasure among users. But new functions of Windows Me were also affected by the errors; System Restore, for example, stopped working after September 8, 2001 due to an error, so that newer restore points no longer worked.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b Windows Repair ME (2000). PC Welt, April 22, 2016
  2. a b c Microsoft Announces Immediate Availability Of Windows Millennium Edition (Windows Me). (No longer available online.) September 14, 2000, archived from the original on November 14, 2012 ; Retrieved January 24, 2013 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  3. Paul Thurrott: The Road to Gold: The development of Windows 2000 Reviewed. December 15, 1999, archived from the original on February 7, 2007 ; accessed on January 18, 2013 .
  4. ^ A b c d e Paul Thurrott: The Road to Gold: The development of Windows Me. July 5, 2000, archived from the original on February 7, 2007 ; accessed on January 18, 2013 .
  5. Paul Thurrott: Introducing Windows "Millennium". Archived from the original on December 31, 2006 ; accessed on January 19, 2013 (English).
  6. Paul Thurrott: Activity Centers Preview. May 4, 2000, archived from the original on December 5, 2006 ; accessed on January 19, 2013 (English).
  7. a b c d e Paul Thurrott: Windows Millennium Edition ("Windows Me") Reviewed. July 5, 2000, archived from the original on February 5, 2007 ; accessed on January 19, 2013 (English).
  8. Microsoft Support Lifecycle - Windows Millennium Edition. Retrieved January 24, 2013 .
  9. Microsoft extends support for Windows 98 / ME - Retrieved January 24, 2013 .
  10. a b Microsoft Knowledge Base - Removal of Real Mode Support from Windows Millennium Edition. Archived from the original on February 13, 2012 ; Retrieved January 20, 2013 .
  11. DOS for ME - PC world. Retrieved January 20, 2013 .
  12. ^ A b Improving "Cold Boot" Time for System Manufacturers. Archived from the original on February 4, 2008 ; Retrieved January 20, 2013 .
  13. Paul Thurrott: Preview: Windows Me "out-of-Box Experience" (OOBE). May 24, 2000, archived from the original on January 5, 2007 ; accessed on January 19, 2013 (English).
  14. Paul Thurrott: Windows "Millennium" Beta 2 Reviewed. Archived from the original on December 31, 2006 ; accessed on January 20, 2013 .
  15. a b Windows ME: All the details - PC world. Retrieved January 20, 2013 .
  16. Paul Thurrott: Windows Millennium Edition ( "Windows Me") beta 3 Reviewed. Archived from the original on January 26, 2007 ; accessed on January 19, 2013 (English).
  17. Microsoft Knowledge Base - Minimum Hardware Requirements for Installing Windows Millennium. Retrieved January 21, 2013 .
  18. Windows bugs ME - should you upgrade to MS 'latest? - The Register. October 14, 2000, accessed January 24, 2013 .
  19. First bug in Windows Me. September 14, 2000, accessed February 13, 2013 .
  20. ^ Stuart J. Johnston: Bugs and Fixes: Windows Me: Problems for You? - PCWorld. (No longer available online.) March 16, 2001, archived from the original on January 4, 2013 ; Retrieved January 24, 2013 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  21. Bug in the restore function of Windows Me - heise online. April 27, 2001, accessed January 24, 2013 .