Windows 2000 or ME was released earlier

Windows ME: Perhaps the worst Windows ever is 20

For a long time it was an unwritten rule to skip every second version of Windows. A scheme that, by and large, did not work badly. One of these "intermediate versions", which are not getting a particularly positive retrospective today, is the Windows Millennium Edition, or ME for short.

It appeared on September 14, 2000 as a kind of "Frankenstein" system. It combined numerous design elements from Windows 2000, which was aimed at the corporate sector, with the substructure of its direct predecessors, Windows 95 and 98. The result was largely a fiasco for Microsoft.


Because Windows ME was not originally on Microsoft's agenda, "Heise" sums up. The group actually wanted to put the DOS foundation used for the consumer editions of Windows aside and merge them with the "Business" line in Windows 2000 with the modern NT kernel.

But the work on this association suffered from multiple delays, so that Microsoft turned off some of the developers in March 1999 in order to implement a separate edition for private users in addition to Windows 2000. A month later it was announced as Windows ME.

One reason for this decision was that the system requirements that Windows 2000 was heading for were considered too high for the mass market. So it was decided to use the 9x base again.

Bad start, bad reputation

ME brought a number of new games and tools with it. DirectX has been updated to version 7 and Internet Explorer to 5.5. For the first time, the system supported opening ZIP files and other archives from the factory. The system required at least a 150 MHz Pentium processor, 32 megabytes of RAM and 320 MB on the hard drive. Microsoft wanted 205 euros for it, Windows 95 and 98 owners could upgrade at a discount.

In the first few days after the release, fewer than half as many copies were sold as Windows 98. Sales shouldn't really accelerate after that either, because reports of numerous errors and crash vulnerabilities quickly made the rounds. For many users, the dreaded "blue screen of death" was a regular companion in their everyday computer life with the Windows Millennium Edition.

end of an era

Microsoft also recognized that the new system did not look to a great future. Updates were delivered, but it never earned a reputation for being truly stable. In Redmond they decided to "end with horror" and finally checked off the 9x era.

Only a little over a year later, on October 25, 2001, the NT-based Windows XP, which had been freed from this legacy, finally came onto the market. Here, too, there were minor teething problems, but compared to its predecessors, the system could hardly be brought down. The system gained immense popularity, so that Microsoft did not finally cease support until 13 years later. (red, September 15, 2020)