Should you get WinME?

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  1. Is WinME a must have upgrade?
  2. Is WinME more stable?
  3. Is WinME better than Win2K (Windows 2000)?
  4. Is WinME hard to install?
  5. IS WinME harder to use than ...?
  6. Will I have to buy new software to use WinME?
  7. Is my 'puter able to run WinME?
  8. How much disk space will I need?
  9. How much memory does WinME need?
  10. Will really old software work on WinME?
  11. What is System File Protection?
  12. What is System Restore?
  13. What is Windows Media Player 7.0?
  14. What is Windows Movie maker?
Ah, the great question...should you upgrade to Microsoft's latest and greatest version of Win9x?

Before I give you my opinion on the subject you might want to take a look at Winmag's great article telling you what they think.

First, let me say that I like WinME (Windows Millennium Edition.)  It is as much of an upgrade (or as little) as Win98 was to Win95.  One of the best features is System File Protection.  I hope this will go a long way towards solving the whole DLL hell issue!

While some people are having problems with Internet Explorer 5.5 when installing it on an existing system, I've found it to be very stable and quick in WinME.

If you have Win95C or older, are getting ready to wipe and re-install, or just like to have the latest and greatest, then I think it's a safe bet to get WinME.

Here are some of the biggest changes/features in WinME:

  1. System File Protection

  2. System Restore

  3. Windows Media Player 7.0

  4. Windows Movie maker

Below is a short FAQ I've made up.  If you have any other questions feel free to contact me by using my helpme form.

Is WinME a must have upgrade?

The short answer is ...nope!  If you have a good, stable install Of Win98 or Win98SE then I'd wait if I were you.  When you decide (that's when, not if) to wipe and start over I'd plan on upgrading to WinME.

Is WinME more stable?

In my opinion, yes it is.  Plus with System File Protection, you have a better chance of it remaining stable for a longer period before it's time to wipe.

Is WinME better than Win2K (Windows 2000)?

That's like comparing apples to oranges!  Win2K is the natural upgrade path for Windows NT.  WinME is the natural upgrade path for Win9x.

As for which one you should go to... Win2K is more stable, has higher system requirements, has a higher learning curve, is not as good for gaming (yet), doesn't support as much hardware, and is much harder to configure than WinME.

So unless you have a strong reason to do so, I'd go with WinME (I plan to upgrade all the Windows 'puters in my house to WinME.)

Is WinME hard to install?

Nope.  Check out my Win98 install page and use method one.  NOTE: I recommend always doing a fresh install rather than installing over the top!  (More info to come later...)

IS WinME harder to use than ...?

Nope.  WinME looks just like Win98 or Win98SE.  As for Win95, there are small changes all over the place but no real learning curve.

Will I have to buy new software to use WinME?

For the most part the answer is no.  Some software my have to be replaced or upgraded like anti-virus software, and various utilities (Speed Disk, Norton Disk Doctor).  But normal games and other software should work fine.

Is my 'puter able to run WinME?

Well, while I don't know what hardware is in your 'puter, I've installed WinME on the laptop that this page was written on.  It's an old P150MMX with 80 megs of ram and a 1 meg Cirrus Logic video card.

In general, any newer 'puter (3yrs old or newer) should have no problems with WinME.  I recommend having at least a Pentium 150 with 64 megs of ram or better.  Once you get into the Pentium II range you should have no worries.

How much disk space will I need?

Plan on at least 500 megs of disk space.  If you install everything, plan on at least 800 megs.  If you install over the top you may need more.

How much memory does WinME need?

Microsoft sets the minimum memory requirement at 32 megs of ram, or 64 if you plan to use Media Player or Movie Maker.

That said, look at it this way, it comes down to ram VS speed.  The more ram you have the faster your 'puter will feel.  Personally, I'd set the comfortable minimum at 128 megs, and I feel that for gamers or power users 256 megs is more reasonable.

On this laptop that this page is written on, (80 megs of ram) I have the following APPs open and running..

As you can see by the following image,

Here is the current stats while writing this page.

I'm into the swap file to the tune of 7.3 megs.  While this is not a fire breathing monster, it is very usable this way.  The 'puter has been booted up for about 4hrs with no slow downs or problems.

Will really old software work on WinME?

That's a good question.  If a DOS program can run in a DOS window under Win9X then it *should* work under WinME.

So far, all the older software I use has installed and ran flawlessly under WinME

IN WinME can I "boot to DOS"?

Nope!  I think Microsoft made a major boo-boo here but there's no more "MS-DOS" mode.

But you can still use a boot disk!  (any boot disk, want to download one?) If you really want a WinME boot disk you'll have to do it the hard way... by creating a "startup disk" then deleting what you don't want, and adding what you do want, since they killed the /SYS switch in the FORMAT command.

What is System File Protection?

From the WinME help file:

System File Protection (SFP) is a feature implemented in Windows that ensures files critical to system operation are not replaced by older versions or versions not approved by Microsoft.

This means that even applications developed by Microsoft cannot replace "protected" files with older versions. It also means that a third-party product can replace system files, but only if the file is shipped with a catalog signed by Microsoft that references the newer file.

This information is also available in the Microsoft Knowledge Base. If you would like to view this information online, see Knowledge Base article number Q253571, " Description of System File Protector."

What is System Restore?

From The WinME tour:

Sometimes the unexpected happens. You install a product or program— perhaps from a CD or the Internet—and suddenly your once reliable computer starts acting up. Sometimes even when you uninstall the program, your problems continue.

Now you can return your computer to a state you specify, prior to when your problem started. Just use System Restore. You don't lose your work, such as e-mail messages or any changes you've made to existing documents. You just get your computer's great performance back, and you avoid the frustration of having to go through a lengthy computer support call.

For more information, type System Restore in the Search box in Help and Support.

What is Windows Media Player 7.0?

From Media Player help:

The Windows Media Player is a center for playing and organizing multimedia on your computer and on the Internet. Windows Media Player provides multimedia options for your operating system that were previously unavailable. It’s like having a radio, movie store, CD player, and information database all in one application. Use the player to listen to radio stations all over the world, play and copy your CDs, look for movies that are available on the Internet, and create customized lists of all media on your computer. Use the following links to get started.

NOTE:  This is available as a free download!

What is Windows Movie maker?

From the WinME tour:

You can use Microsoft Windows Movie Maker to capture audio and video material (such as home video from conventional or digital cameras), which you can edit and arrange to create movies. Your movies can provide news or entertainment, sell products, communicate business messages, or enable distance learning. You can even create a slideshow of individual frames or by importing pictures.

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Last Revised: 10/20/2000