Windows ME

personal computer operating system by Microsoft

Windows ME is the Millennium Edition of the Microsoft Windows operating system. Windows ME is based on Windows 98. Windows Me was based on MS-DOS (as were Windows 98 and Windows 95), and is meant for people using computers in their homes. Windows 2000 and Windows ME are similar in looks, but Windows ME has features that families find useful, while Windows 2000 was meant for businesses, although many home users also used Windows 2000 especially after Windows ME got bad reviews.

Windows ME
A version of the Windows 9x operating system
Windows Logo (1992-2001).svg
Source modelClosed source
Released to
June 19, 2000; 21 years ago (2000-06-19)
September 14, 2000; 21 years ago (2000-09-14)[1]
Latest release4.90.3000 / September 14, 2000; 21 years ago (2000-09-14)[2]
Kernel typeMonolithic kernel
LicenseCommercial software
Preceded byWindows 98 (1998)
Succeeded byWindows XP (2000)[3]
Support status
Mainstream support ended on December 31, 2003
Extended support ended on July 11, 2006[4]

It was released in the year 2000, and thus was called Windows Millennium Edition. It was the last Windows to be based on MS-DOS. Unlike Windows 2000, Windows ME generally got negative reviews due to bugs and incompatible hardware. Support and updates for Windows ME (and Windows 98) ended in 2006, whereas Windows 2000 was supported until 2010.


Windows Me initially received generally positive reviews, with reviewers citing the operating system's integrity protection (branded as "PC Health") and the new System Restore feature as steps forward for home users.[5][6] However, users' real-world experience did not bear this out, with industry publications receiving myriad reports of issues with the "PC Health" systems, PCs refusing to shut down cleanly, and general stability problems.[7][8]

As time went on, the reception became more negative, to the point where it was heavily panned by users, mainly due to stability issues. Retrospectively, Windows Me is viewed as the worst operating system Microsoft has ever produced, being unfavorably compared to its immediate predecessor and successor.[9] Due to its many bugs and glitches, Windows Me is considered one of the worst operating systems of all time and the biggest failure in Microsoft Windows. A PC World article dubbed Windows Me the "Mistake Edition" and placed it 4th in their "Worst Tech Products of All Time" feature in 2006. The article states: "Shortly after Me appeared in late 2000, users reported problems installing it, getting it to run, getting it to work with other hardware or software, and getting it to stop running." Consequently, most home users remained with Windows 98, while some moved to Windows 2000 despite the latter being enterprise-orientated.[10]

System Restore suffered from a bug in the date-stamping functionality that could cause System Restore to date-stamp snapshots that were taken after September 8, 2001, incorrectly. This could prevent System Restore from locating these snapshots and cause the system restore process to fail. Microsoft released an update to fix this problem.[11]

Byron Hinson and Julien Jay, writing for ActiveWin, took an appreciative look on the operating system. On the removal of real mode DOS, they had noted "The removal of DOS has clearly made a difference in Windows Me in terms of stability (far less Blue screen of death are seen now) and booting speed has greatly increased."[12] In a recommendation of the operating system upgrade for users of Windows 95 and 98, they had stated "If Windows Me isn't a revolutionary OS it's clear that Microsoft has focused its efforts to make it more user-friendly, stable and packed full of multimedia options. The result is great and the enhancements added are really worth the wait."[13] The new features that Windows Me introduced were also praised and have since remained part of subsequent Windows generations.[14]

Along with Windows 2000 from the NT family, Windows Me was the last version of Windows that lacked product activation.[15][16]


  1. "Microsoft Announces Immediate Availability Of Windows Millennium Edition (Windows Me)". News Center. Microsoft. September 14, 2000.
  2. "Windows Me: Microsoft Releases New Operating System Built From the Ground Up for Home PC Users". News Center. Microsoft.
  3. Pastore, Michael (2003). A+ Certification Study Guide (5 ed.). McGraw-Hill. p. 315. ISBN 978-0-07-222766-6.
  4. "Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition". Microsoft Support Lifecycle. Microsoft. Retrieved 2016-05-24.
  5. "Windows Millennium Edition: All About Me | PCWorld". PCWorld. 24 July 2000. Archived from the original on 16 February 2021. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  6. Thurrott, Paul (15 September 2000). "Windows Millennium Edition (Windows Me) Review". IT Pro. Archived from the original on June 13, 2018. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  7. Johnston, Stuart (16 March 2000). "Bugs and Fixes: Windows Me: Problems for You? | PCWorld". PCWorld. IDG. Archived from the original on 16 February 2021. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  8. Collins, Barry. "20 Years Ago Microsoft Released The Worst Windows Ever: Windows Me". Forbes. Archived from the original on March 29, 2021. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  9. Gralla, Preston (18 September 2020). "The worst version of Windows ever released". Computerworld. Archived from the original on January 17, 2021. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  10. Tynan, Dan (26 May 2006). "The 25 Worst Tech Products of All Time". PCWorld. IDG. Archived from the original on March 29, 2018. Retrieved 17 February 2021.
  11. "Checkpoints that you create after 8 September 2001 do not restore your computer". Microsoft Support. Microsoft. 2007-10-26. Archived from the original on 2013-02-27. Retrieved 2019-04-05.
  12. Hinson, Byron; Jay, Julien. "Windows Millennium Edition – Review: Goodbye Dos?". ActiveWin. Active Network, Inc. Archived from the original on November 29, 2014. Retrieved 2019-04-05.
  13. Hinson, Byron; Jay, Julien. "Windows Millennium Edition – Review: Conclusion". ActiveWin. Active Network, Inc. Archived from the original on November 29, 2014. Retrieved 2019-04-05.
  14. Thurrott, Paul (2017-02-16). "Throwback Thursday: Windows Millennium Edition". Archived from the original on September 3, 2019. Retrieved 2019-10-01.
  15. "What is Windows ME? - Definition from Techopedia". Archived from the original on July 4, 2019. Retrieved July 4, 2019.
  16. Paul Thurrott (April 9, 2001). "A Closer Look at Windows XP Product Activation". ITProToday. Archived from the original on October 8, 2019. Retrieved October 8, 2019.
Preceded by
Windows 2000
Windows Versions
Succeeded by
Windows XP