|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 NT 5.0. 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 criticized for being unstable and the fact that Windows 2000, released earlier that year, was considered superior. One of the many factors causing instability was the 9x kernel, and the way it works: 16-bit and 32-bit apps run all in the same memory layer, so if one 16-bit process crashes, the others crash too. Therefore, it is one of the least popular Windows releases, resulting in nicknames such as "Mistake Edition".
Another factor towards its reputation is the lack of accessibility to real mode DOS, which many users at the time heavily relied on to run certain programs. While DOS-based programs can still run in a DOS prompt, programs are prevented from exiting to DOS mode while within Windows. 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
AUTOEXEC.BAT will restore functionality to boot into DOS mode through the startup menu.
Despite its poor reception, some have positive outlooks on Windows Me saying its faster, and a substantial improvement over Windows 98 in some areas.