Windows Millennium Edition,
or Windows ME
is a graphical operating system from Microsoft released to manufacturing on
June 19, 2000 and launched on September 14, 2000. It was the last operating
system released in the Windows 9x series.
Windows ME was the successor to Windows 98 and was targeted specifically at
home PC users. It included Internet Explorer 5.5, Windows Media Player 7, and
the new Windows Movie Maker software, which provided basic video editing
and was designed to be easy to use for home users. Microsoft also updated the
graphical user interface, shell features, and Windows Explorer in Windows ME
with some of those first introduced in Windows 2000, which had been released
as a business-oriented operating system seven months earlier. Windows ME
could be upgraded to Internet Explorer 6 SP1 (but not to SP2 (SV1) or Internet
Explorer 7), Outlook Express 6 SP1 and Windows Media Player 9 Series.
Microsoft .NET Framework up to and including version 2.0 is supported;
however, versions 2.0 SP1, 3.x, and greater are not. Office XP was the last
version of Microsoft Office to be compatible with Windows ME.
In 1998, Microsoft stated that there would be no version of Windows
9x after Windows 98. In May 1999, however, Microsoft released Windows
98 Second Edition, and then announced a new version ofWindows 9x
which was later revealed to be codenamed Millennium. In 2000, this was
released as Windows Millennium Edition (Windows ME).
At least three beta versions of Windows ME were available during its development phase. On
September 24, 1999, Microsoft announced that Windows Millennium Beta 1 was released.Windows
Millennium Beta 2 was released on November 24, 1999, and added a couple of new features such as
System File Protection and Game Options Control Panel. Several interim builds were released
between Beta 1 and 2, and added features such as automatic updates and personalized menus. Beta 3
was released on April 11, 2000, and this version marked the first appearance of its final version startup
and shutdown sounds (derived from Windows 2000), as the previous betas used Windows 98's
startup and shutdown sounds. The final version boot screen was first featured in Beta 3 build 2513.
The general availability date was December 31, 2000. Microsoft ended mainstream support for
Windows Millennium Edition on December 31, 2003. Extended support ended on July 11, 2006.
Windows 98 Extended support ended the same day. Windows ME also contained the Microsoft Java
Virtual Machine, which caused it and Windows 98 to be pulled from the Microsoft Developer
Network at the end of 2003. At launch time, Microsoft announced a time-limited promotion from
September 2000–January 2001 which entitled Windows 95 or Windows 98 users to upgrade to
Windows ME for $59.95 instead of the regular retail upgrade price of $109.
Shortly after Windows ME was released, Microsoft launched a campaign-initiative to promote
Windows ME in the U.S., which they dubbed the Meet Me Tour. A national partnered promotional
program featured Windows ME, OEMs and other partners in an interactive multimedia attraction in
25 cities across the U.S.
Hardware support improvements
Windows ME featured the shell enhancements inherited
from Windows 2000 such as
personalized menus, customizable Windows Explorer
toolbars, auto-complete in Windows Explorer address
bar and Run box, Windows 2000 advanced file type
association features, displaying comments in shortcuts as
tooltips, extensible columns in Details view
(IColumnProvider interface), icon overlays, integrated
search pane in Windows Explorer, sort by name function
for menus, Places bar in common dialogs
for Open and Save, cascading Start menu special folders,
some Plus! 95 and Plus! 98 themes, and updated
graphics. The notification area in Windows ME and later
supported 16-bit high color icons. The Multimedia
control panel was also updated from Windows
98. Taskbar and Start Menu options allowed disabling of
the drag and drop feature and could prevent moving or
resizing the taskbar.
Faster boot times: Windows ME features numerous improvements for
improving cold boot time, pre and post-logon boot times and time required for
resuming from hibernation
USB Human Interface Device Class: Generic support for 5-button mice is
also included as standard and installing IntelliPoint allows reassigning the
programmable buttons. Windows 98 lacked generic support.
Windows Image Acquisition: Windows ME introduced the Windows Image
Acquisition API for a standardized method of allowing Windows applications
to transparently and more easily communicate with image acquisition
devices, such as digital cameras and scanners. Improved power management
and suspend/resume operations: The OEM version of Windows ME
supports OS-controlled ACPI S4 sleep state (hibernation) and other power
management features without manufacturer-supplied drivers.
USB and FireWire support improvements: Windows ME is the only
operating system in the Windows 9x series that includes generic drivers
for USB mass storage devices and USB printers .Support for FireWire SBP-
2 scanners and storage devices is also improved.
The waveOut, DirectSound, and DirectShow APIs support non-PCM formats
such as AC-3 or WMA over S/PDIF.
Windows Movie Maker: This utility is based on DirectShow and Windows
Media technologies to provide Microsoft Windows computer systems with
basic video capture and edit capabilities.
Windows Media Player 7: The new version of the Windows multimedia
player software introduces jukebox functionality featuring the Media
Library, support for CD burning, an integrated media encoder, and the
ability to transfer music directly to portable devices.
Windows DVD Player: The software DVD player in Windows ME is a
redesigned version of the one featured in Windows 98 which, unlike its
predecessor, does not require a dedicated decoder card for DVD playback.
Instead, it supports software decoding through a third-party decoder.
Image Preview: In Windows ME, images can be viewed by using the Image
Preview utility. It allows users to rotate an image, print or zoom in/out an
image. Image Preview supports images with .BMP, .DIB, .EMF, .GIF, .JPEG,
.PNG, .TIF and .WMF file formats. The My Pictures folder also integrates
Games: Windows ME includes version 7.1 of the DirectX API which
introduced DirectPlay Voice, and also offers several new games: Internet
Backgammon, Internet Checkers, Internet Hearts, Internet Reverse,
Internet Spades. It also includes Spider Solitaire from Plus! 98
and Pinball from Plus! for Windows 95. The final version of DirectX
available for Windows ME is DirectX 9.0c, which was released on 7 April
Net Crawler: Windows ME introduced a net crawling feature
New TCP/IP Stack: Windows ME includes the Windows
2000 networking stack and architecture
The Home Networking Wizard is designed to help users to set
up a computer that is running Windows ME for use on a
small home network.
Dial-up Networking component was updated in Windows ME,
and provides several enhancements while maintaining the
desired features of prior releases of the operating system.
Network Driver Interface Specification (NDIS) NDIS version
5.0 for Windows ME was enhanced to provide programming
interface parity with NDIS version 5.0 in Windows 2000.
Universal Plug and Play: Windows ME introduced support for
Universal Plug and Play (UPnP).
System Restore: Windows ME introduced the "System Restore" logging and
reversion system, which was meant to simplify troubleshooting and solve
System File Protection: First introduced with Windows 2000 (as Windows
File Protection), and expanding on the capabilities introduced with System File
Checker in Windows 98, System File Protection aimed to protect system files
from modification and corruption silently and automatically.
System Configuration Utility allows users to manually extract and restore
individual system files from the Windows ME setup files.
System Monitor has been updated with a Dial-Up Adapter section.
SCANDISK runs from within Windows upon an improper shutdown before
the Windows Shell loads.
Automatic Updates: The Automatic Updates utility automatically downloads
and installs critical updates from the Windows Update Web site with little user
Compressed Folders: Windows ME includes support for ZIP files through a
shell extension known as Compressed Folders.
Windows ME was complemented by NT-based Windows 2000, which was aimed
at professional users. Both operating systems were succeeded by Windows
XP with their features unified. All Windows ME support, including security
updates and security related hotfixes, was terminated on July 11, 2006. Support
for Windows 98 and Windows 98 SE was also terminated on that date.
Microsoft ended support for these products because the company considers
them obsolete and running these products can expose users to security risks.
Many third-party applications written for earlier editions of Microsoft Windows,
especially older games, run under Windows ME but not under Windows 2000.
This fact has become less relevant with the sharp decline in popularity of
Windows ME after the release of Windows XP, which features a compatibility
mode which allows many of these older applications to run.
If an installation CD-ROM from the Windows 2000 family is inserted into the
drive of a computer running Windows ME, the user is prompted to upgrade to
Windows 2000 because Windows ME has an older version number than
Windows 2000. While this is not technically so (Windows ME was released
several months after Windows 2000), Windows ME is in fact derived from the
older, monolithic MS-DOS codebase (Windows 4.x) while Windows 2000 is
the first of the NT 5.0 family, making the latter an upgrade.
Windows 2000 cannot, however, be upgraded to Windows ME. If an
installation CD-ROM from Windows ME is inserted while running
Windows 2000, the user will receive an error message that Setup
cannot run from within Windows 2000. The user is prompted to shut
down Windows 2000, restart the computer using Windows 95 or 98, or
start MS-DOS and then run Setup from the MS-DOS command
Windows XP, which is NT-based, became the successor to Windows
ME. It also closed the gap between consumer Windows and Windows
NT. In addition, no service packs for Windows ME were released.
Along with Windows 2000 from the NT family, Windows ME was the
last version of Windows that lacked product activation.
Windows ME was the last Windows release to be based on the
Windows 9x (monolithic) kernel and MS-DOS.
Processor: Pentium 150 MHz
Hard drive space: 320 MB
RAM: 32 MB
Processor: Pentium II 300 MHz
Hard drive space: 2 GB
RAM: 64 MB
Physical RAM limit
Windows ME is not designed to handle more than 1 GB
of RAM. Any amount beyond this amount leads to