Microsoft’s operating systems have followed a peculiar cycle since the 1990s.
That cycle goes from good to bad to good to bad to good to bad. Starting from Windows 98, Microsoft has continued this bizarre alternating cycle. While both Windows 95 and Windows 98 were pretty good, those were the last two consecutive Microsoft operating systems to get “good” reviews.
Today, we’re living in a period of Microsoft’s failure. Windows 8 has not been well-reviewed or well-liked by the vast majority of consumers – including core Microsoft fans.
Prior to Windows 8, we had Windows 7 (good), Windows Vista (bad), Windows XP (good), Windows ME (bad), and Windows 98 (good).
You probably already know about Windows 8’s failures. But have you considered why Windows ME was a failure? Way back in the year 2000, Microsoft was aiming for its third consecutive successful operating system in a row.
Instead of releasing an OS on par with Windows 95 and Windows 98, Microsoft released Windows ME, or Millennium Edition. It was that generation’s Windows Vista and Windows 8.
Why was Windows ME so bad? Here are 5 reasons why people really hated Windows ME:
5) It was half-baked and incomplete
Most Windows ME problems can be traced back to the idea that the OS was rushed out of the gate.
Windows ME was half-baked. Apparently, Microsoft was trying to rush out a new version of Windows but was not yet ready to release Windows 2000 – the OS that would become known as Windows XP.
As a result, Windows ME occupied a weird state between the old world of Windows 98 and the new world of Windows XP. The result was a mess.
The next four problems all, more or less, have something to do with Windows ME being half-baked.
4) Removal of DOS mode
For whatever reason, Windows ME removed DOS mode. DOS mode was a key feature of Windows 98, Windows 95, and previous versions of Windows. It let you control the back-end of your computer system and, in some cases, was required in order to install programs or run specific tasks. In any case, users had grown accustomed to DOS and weren’t ready to give it up.
In other words, DOS mode was to Windows ME what the Start button was to Windows 8.
3) 9x architecture
Windows ME was based on 9x architecture, which was the same architecture used on previous versions of Windows up to that point. That architecture wasn’t necessarily bad, but it carried significant security risks.
Specifically, 9x architecture was vulnerable to security flaws. Around the time Windows ME was released, people were starting to get high speed internet access in their homes (or, at the very least, dial-up).
The internet opened up a world of opportunities – and a world of vulnerabilities. 9x architecture wasn’t really prepared to provide the necessary security.
Compounding this problem even further was the fact that Microsoft had originally promised that Windows 98 would be the last entry in the 9x line of OSes.
2) No final build of Internet Explorer
Out of all the problems listed here, this one may have been the weirdest: Windows ME did not come with a final build of Internet Explorer. Today, that may not seem like a big deal – people can download Chrome or Firefox.
However, Internet Explorer and Windows were closely intertwined back in the day. Windows Explorer relied on Internet Explorer to successfully work. The Microsoft help system and other official features also depended on Explorer.
Since Windows ME lacked a final IE build, there were huge compatibility issues. Windows ME had Internet Explorer 5.5, but it was as half-baked as the rest of the operating system and, according to reviews, was “lackluster” and devoid of any new or useful features.
1) Completely instable and filled with bugs
I don’t know if there’s any OS in the world that crashed more than Windows ME. The crash-prone operating system had some serious flaws.
One of the funniest crashes with Windows ME was its ability to crash simply by moving the mouse. You would leave your computer on, come back after 10 minutes of inactivity, move the mouse, and then the entire OS would crash.
Every user has their own version of these crashes. Many crashes boiled down to the half-baked nature of the operating system. Some crashes were attributed to poor software optimization, creaky 9x system architecture, and security flaws.
Whatever the real problem was, Windows ME was a glitchy mess. It was a usable operating system, but it wasn’t an operating system that was enjoyable to use.
Fortunately, less than two years after Windows ME was released, Microsoft had released the masterpiece known as Windows XP and everyone forgot about Windows ME.