Windows Me is for me


All new consumer PCs sold by manufacturers will have the new Microsoft operating system, Windows Millennium Edition. It is lauded as more stable, more user-friendly, with groovy video editing software, and it makes setting up a home network easy. It's also reputed to be a bit of a system hog, running slowly unless you have lots of memory and a fast processor.

Stability is the first thing you notice, or at least you do if you've been running a system as iffy as mine was. Windows Me is rock steady. I installed the OS, then opened up the box and added an internal modem, I then stuck in an SCSI Zip drive. Not a bother, Windows Me smiled and integrated everything smoothly.

Things have moved around in a nice way: Dialup Networking, and Printers, and the Taskbar and Start Menu hang sensibly off the Settings tag in Start, for example.

A couple of minor problems appeared at once: I'd set the region to Ireland, but the keyboard was still set to US; the Internet connection dialogue box insisted on showing two copies of the dialup number. Most of these things are easily solved, and the first Web logon brings you to the Windows Me help page, which is helpful and non-techie. The double dialup number, for instance, turns out to be a glitch, but despite it, you can dial in perfectly.

One of the most addictive features is the radio stations in Internet Explorer 5.5, although they're a weird selection - market sentiment is negative on Bloomberg's broadcasts in my household, and no Irish radio stations were listed - Ireland isn't even listed as a country.

WinMe didn't recognise my generic soundcard, and installing the drivers involved the usual references to "PCI Multimedia Audio Device". But the help files, when I got them working, were excellent.

All in all, Windows Me is a superb operating system, and one I'll definitely stay with. Its stability and sensible organisation are everything you could ever want.