Windows Millennium Edition

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What Does Windows Millennium Edition Mean?

Windows Millennium Edition (ME) was the last operating system (OS) from Microsoft that was based on the Windows 95 kernel. Designed for home users and backward compatible with Windows 98, the OS sported updated shell features along with an updated graphical user interface. Although it was a continuation of Windows 9x, the OS restricted real-mode MS-DOS access, which helped in reducing the system boot time. Windows ME’s mainstream support ended on December 31, 2003 and the extended support ended on July 11, 2006.

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Techopedia Explains Windows Millennium Edition

Windows ME brought many improvements to its predecessor and was notable for being the last edition of Windows that did not require any product activation. This version of Windows inherited certain shell enhancements from Windows 2000 such as the auto-complete feature in Windows Explorer, personalized menus and customizable toolbars. It had considerable improvements in pre- and post-logon boot time and cold boot time. The power management improved with the help of updated drivers. Windows ME also made improvements to system file protection and to the TCP/IP stack, and introduced new games. It also had an improved user interface with help and support pages that were easy for users to read and understand.

Windows ME also introduced the Windows Image Acquisition API, which helps applications communicate with image acquisition devices. It was the only operating system in the Windows 9x series to have generic drivers for Universal Serial Bus printers and storage devices. Windows ME introduced the System Restore functionality, which helps users return their systems to a prior configuration when encountering problems. It also introduced for the first time the Movie Maker application, as well as automatic updates. Another important feature was net crawler, which automatically searches and creates shortcuts in My Network places.

Windows ME restricted the real-mode DOS prompt, which was an important feature in earlier editions of Windows. Features such as Microsoft Fax, Quick View, etc., were also removed in this edition. Some enterprise-oriented features present in earlier editions of Windows went unsupported in ME such as Active Directory Client Services, System Policy Editor and Automated Installation. Some of the Windows Explorer commands also became obsolete in this edition.

Although Windows ME had several improvements, it was criticized for stability issues and other bugs.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.