|Version of Microsoft Windows|
|OS family||Windows 9x|
Windows Millennium Edition, or Windows Me (codenamed Millennium), is an operating system developed by Microsoft, and was released in 2000 after Windows 98. It was based on the Windows 9x/DOS architecture and was often called the "home edition" of Windows 2000. It is the last version to use the Windows 9x kernel.
Development[edit | edit source]
Windows Me was an interim release, which sprang into being during the development of Windows 2000. It was created as a stopgap release, to keep consumers happy while a consumer NT release was finalized. It was developed by a small team and rushed to market, in order to coincide more or less with the release of Windows 2000. It was essentially designed to look and feel very similar to Windows 2000, while also using the old 9x kernel. The result was a buggy and unstable system, let down by the 9x kernel, which was increasingly showing its age.
Criticism[edit | edit source]
Windows Me was heavily criticized for its poor performance and stability, which led many people to use Windows 2000 or stay with earlier 9x releases instead. One of the many factors that caused the operating system to be negatively received was the rapidly aging Windows 9x kernel, and the way its memory management worked: both 16-bit and 32-bit apps ran on the same memory layer. If one 16-bit process crashed, then the rest of the processes within that layer would have also crashed. It is one of the least popular Windows releases produced by Microsoft, resulting in nicknames such as "Mistake Edition" being attributed to the operating system.
Another factor that contributes towards its negative reputation is the removal of MS-DOS mode, which many users at the time heavily relied on to run certain applications. While DOS-based programs can still run in a MS-DOS prompt, the ability to use MS-DOS in real mode without Windows running was removed. Microsoft did this mainly to minimize I/O conflicts and decrease boot times. In spite of this, there have been unofficial patches and workarounds to restore DOS mode in Windows Me. One method is to use the emergency boot disk provided with the operating system to boot directly to a DOS prompt. Additionally through unofficial patches, modifying/editing certain system files such as
AUTOEXEC.BAT will restore functionality to boot into DOS mode through the startup menu.
Despite its poor reception, some have had positive outlooks on Windows Me saying that it ran faster, and was a substantial improvement over Windows 98 in some aspects.