I've been running Windows Millennium Edition for about 24 hours on my home machine now. I removed Windows 2000 to install it, and as soon as WindowsMe suffers some sort of corruption, I'll be going back to Win2K. There are things I like about WindowsMe, but probably not enough to make me use it rather than Windows 2000. The installation went smoothly, I fdisked my hard drive to blow away the NTFS partition, created a FAT32 partition, rebooted with the Windows 98 startup floppy I had lying around. I formatted the hard drive, then copied the .cab and setup files to the hard drive, so I never have to track down the CD when I need a device driver or Windows Component. The one strange thing I noted here, is that Windows 95 files are in a directory on the CD called "Win95". Windows 98 files are kept in "Win98". WindowsMe files are kept in a folder called "Win9x". I just found that rather strange. One thing that I found annoying is that if you're using a USB mouse, like my Intellimouse Explorer, you'll have to either dig up the USB -> PS/2 converter, or navigate Setup with the keyboard. I just used the keyboard, and the mouse worked fine once the OS was up and running.

I was rather annoyed that after setup finished, I still had to go download the device drivers for my video card. I have a Voodoo 3 3000 AGP card, it's been on the market for over a year and a half, you'd think that Microsoft could have included a driver for it on the CD. I hate browsing the web at 640x480 and 16 colors, but I got a beta driver downloaded from 3dfx and installed, no problems. I installed the software for my Handspring Visor, and it worked with no problems. Logitech says they'll have drivers for my QuickCam Pro soon, and they specifically warn against trying the 5.30 drivers currently available on their site. I'll probably try it anyhow. ";->" I hooked up my Video Blaster Webcam II, and that worked fine with the Windows 98 drivers from Creative Labs. My aging AWE64 sound card was detected and worked right away, as was my network card.

Microsoft's claim that boot times are greatly reduced is 100% true. My computer boots in about a fourth of the time that it normally does. The first time I rebooted after installing it, I was actually shocked at how quickly the login prompt came up. This is a major improvement, since most home users insist on turning their computers on and off between every use.

Another new feature that I appreciated was the automatic windows update process. This component will download the updates for Windows in the background, then alert you that they've been retrieved and ask you if you'd like to install them. This would be very handy, since everytime I go to my grandparents' I wind up waiting a few hours for the latest OS updates to trickle in over their 26,400 baud connection. This new method seems to download very slowly, as not to consume all of your bandwidth, and the behavior can be modified, if you don't want it to retrieve the updates for you.

I looked briefly at the Windows Movie Maker app. It seems much like iMovie that Apple bundles with their computers, suited for basic editing of home movies. Microsoft included about 7 new desktop backgrounds, in addition to the new ones included with Windows 2000. They're all very nice photos, I'm using the black and white photo from Yosemite right now. There are a few new games included as well, including Internet-enabled versions of several card games, but there's nothing really exciting there. Microsoft should at least bundle some of its older games, like Age of Empires or Microsoft Golf with the OS, you'd be surprised at the number of end-users who'd think that the OS was really great if it just came with a decent game, and those products are already in the bargain bins.

WindowsMe has some compelling new features for the home user, but I didn't find it to be quite as responsive as Windows 2000 was on the same computer. Windows 2000 just "felt" faster, and seemed to multi-task much better. If you're a power-user, go for Windows 2000, if you really only use one application at a time, WindowsMe is right for you. WindowsMe is what I'd give my mom to use, but Windows 2000 is what I'd use, if that makes the distinction any clearer. If you're competent enough to reformat your hard drive and do a clean install, use Windows 2000. If you're unsure of your ability to do that, upgrade to WindowsMe, but do it before January, when the current upgrade price of $49 will increase to $99!