Ask Slashdot: What Do You Remember About Windows ME?

"Windows Me was unstable, unloved and unusable," remembered Computerworld last year, on the 20th anniversary of its release, calling it "a stink bomb of an operating system." Windows Me was a ghastly, slapdash piece of work, incompatible with lots of hardware and software. It frequently failed during the installation process — which should have been the first sign for people that this was an operating system they shouldn't try.Often, when you tried to shut it down, it declined to do so, like a two-year-old throwing a temper tantrum over being forced to go to sleep. It was slow and insecure. Its web browser, Internet Explorer, frequently refused to load web pages. But they ultimately argue that it wasn't as bad as Windows Vista, which "simply refused to run, or ran so badly it was useless on countless PCs. Not just old PCs, but even newly bought PCs, right out of the box, with Vista installed." And they conclude that the worst Microsoft OS of all is still Windows 8. ("You want bad? You want stupid? You want an operating system that not only was roundly reviled by consumers and businesses alike, but also set Microsoft's business plans back years?") Slashdot reader alaskana98 even remembers Windows ME semi-fondly as "the last Microsoft OS to use the Windows 95 codebase." While rightly being panned as a buggy and crash-prone OS — indeed it was labelled as the worst version of Windows ever released by Computer World — it did introduce a number of features that continue on to this very day. Those features include: -A personalized start menu that would show your most recently accessed programs, today a common feature in the Windows landscape. -Software support for DVD playback. Previously one needed a dedicated card to playback DVDs. -Windows Movie Maker and Windows Media Player 7, allowing home users to create, edit and burn their own digital home movies. While seemingly pedestrian in today's times, these were groundbreaking features for home users in the year 2000. -The first iteration of System Restore — imagine a modern version of Windows not having the ability to conveniently restore to a working configuration — before Windows ME, this was simply not a possibility for the average home user unless you had a rigorous backup routine. -The removal of real-mode DOS. While very controversial at the time, this change arguably improved the speed and reliability of the boot process. Love it or hate it (well, lets face it, if you were a computer user at that point you probably hated it) — Windows ME did make several important contributions to the modern OS landscape that are often overlooked to this day. Do you have any stories from the heady days of late 2000 when Windows ME was first released? Slashdot reader Z00L00K remembers in a comment that "The removal of real-mode DOS is what REALLY made ME impossible to use for most of us at the time. It broke backwards compatibility so hard that the only way out was to use any of the earlier versions of Windows instead!" Is this re-awakening images of the year 2000 for anyone? Share your own memories and thoughts in the comments. What do you remember about Windows ME?

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