OS Collection – Part 2 – Windows Me

Here’s one I got the same day I wrote my Windows 3.1 article.

Windows Me

Released in 2000 right between Windows 98 SE (1999) and Windows XP (2001) it didn’t have too much going for it with such a reduced life compared to most Windows OSes, it had it’s fair share of controversy and is undisputed as the worst Microsoft OS to ever be released.

Most importantly though is that through all the flaming online and complaints from the tech community there appeared to be just as many people who could run it flawlessly as those who constantly had problems, this has mostly been assumed as driver and 3rd party issues caused by lazy hardware and software manufacturers and not enough time to get bugs ironed out, it appears that the best experiences with Windows Me occurred when it was preinstalled on a PC that was designed for Windows Me. I had such a PC and I can confirm that it ran perfect, I only ever had 2 problems with it, one was due to a hard drive corruption that was fixed with a quick scandisk and the other was my own fault.

The front cover
The front cover
The back cover
The back cover
The contents of the package
The contents of the package

Here it is, straight from eBay, I don’t believe it has all the original parts, but it’ll do.

Here is the Virtual Machine I will be using
Here is the Virtual Machine I will be using

Again, installing on VMWare was a good idea for this product, no DOS necessary for installation, so just a quick fdisk and format was needed on the 1GB  partition I created and I could get started.

Standard setup starter
Standard setup starter
Scandisk runs to make sure the hard drive is in proper working condition
Scandisk runs to make sure the hard drive is in proper working condition
Graphical setup runs once Scandisk is finished
Graphical setup runs once Scandisk is finished

This section is fairly quick to step through and when you don’t have any OS installed previously it is also way less problematic, onto the rest of the setup.

Setup just wanting to know that you're still there
Setup just wanting to know that you’re still there
It takes a while here, nothing's installed though
It takes a while here, nothing’s installed though
Customisation is as good as Windows 3.1 and has about the same stuff too
Customisation is as good as Windows 3.1 and has about the same stuff too
More customisation
More customisation
Still making sure you're still there
Still making sure you’re still there
This is where setup doesn't need you anymore, generally takes 15-20 minutes from here
This is where setup doesn’t need you anymore, generally takes 15-20 minutes from here
This part takes a while, standard Windows installation stuff though
This part takes a while, standard Windows installation stuff though

While this went mostly smoothly, I have always been puzzled by the Windows 98/Me setup routine when it checks things for up to a minute for sections that shouldn’t need checking such as checking for installed components.

Configuration
This section shows what most people see when they install Windows from scratch, this one was particularly scary though

Horrible Colours
Horrible Colours

Nice choice of drivers by VMWare, network works, but yes I believe that is 16 colours there, note this is the full image, now to install VMWare tools.

Much better
Much better
Version info
Version info
The must-have wallpaper, active desktop style
The must-have wallpaper, active desktop style

Now it’s time to update this OS that never had a service pack or any re-releases.

First though, some music
First though, some music
End of support
End of support
Note that this is not actually all of them
Note that this is not actually all of them

Now this went well, Windows media player 7 not only works perfectly for today’s music but it also outputs visualizations perfectly through VMWare. End of life is no surprise, people are freaking out about this with Windows XP and they seriously need to do their homework and/or get a life but that is another matter. As it states, 25 critical updates, 9 standard updates, these are only selected components and a set of them need to be installed on their own, once they are installed they then have their own set of critical updates which brings the total to some number I don’t know, but I can only assume I downloaded and installed atleast 45 updates before it was up-to-date. What I haven’t shown here was what happened after I installed most of the critical updates.

Disaster
Once I did my first reboot however, everything loaded as expected, however once I attempted to do something (anything) it wouldn’t happen, I could open the start menu, but do nothing inside it, I could open Task manager, but that was neither helpful or useful. IT appeared that explorer would lock up each time I attempted to do something and then take ages to time-out, once this happened it would restart, but still have the same problem. I traced it back by turning off everything I could in VMWare until turning off the network connection was able to stabilise it, once I did this I ran a few things like the network configuration wizard and turned off ICS for the second time, once I re-enabled network access it was fine and after installing all the updates everything was back to normal and working fine.

Conclusion
Though I experienced an error I have never experienced before which basically stopped the OS from working it is unknown whether Windows Me caused this error or VMWare, or the VMWare driver/tools, or even me did and on top of this it was hardly a showstopper BSOD-fest like most people (some who apparently never even used it) seems to think it is, good drivers + Windows Me appears to be a winner. I used it for over a year after Windows XP was released and then ran it as a server, yes as a server, for at least 2 more years without a major issue.

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TechGremlin

Owner and main content writer.

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