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Windows ME

Installing Windows Me
Troubles with Window Me

My computer is not a national brand but home built by myself. It has never given me any problems. No disk drive has crashed. No memory failures. Nothing. Nada. Until . . . I installed Windows Me.

Before I start let me say I will not upgrade my computer because a company cannot make an operating system that is lean, mean, and works in the background making sure all my programs co-exists and I get all my work done with no system crashes.

We spend $1500 to $3000 every three to five years so that a $100 operating system will look like it is working as advertised. The math doesn't compute!

When Microsoft delivers a new version of it's consumer operating system it is not providing us with an improved OS but one that has added programs that will enable Microsoft to penetrate a given market such as with the new Media Player. I believe that the OS is just a marketing tool to enable Microsoft sell additional products.

Each new release of consumer version of Windows is fatter. This was not a problem until Windows Me which is fatter and slower and works reliably on only the newest and fastest systems.

Windows Me claims to be more user friendly. This attempt at friendliness is countered by a very sluggish OS. The most common image now is the hour-glass. The problem with Microsoft's attempt at helping the user is that you still need to know how to navigate the most common tools of the OS and these tools haven't changed since Windows 1.0. Sure File Manager is now Windows Explorer but you still need to know how to work with files and folders. You need to understand what the Start menu is and what is in the Start menu. Almost every new user, and some experienced ones, believe that what is in the Start menu is the program itself instead of the short-cut, or pointer, to programs. Some never get it. So all the hand-holding Microsoft tries to provide does nothing more than clog up the OS and slow everything down.

Microsoft has probably spent thousands of man-hours developing silly tools like the Media Player while the one fundamental problem of the consumer version of Windows has never been fixed. The problem is resource allocation and restoration. I have a Resource Meter going full time so that I can be aware of resources left to the OS. From Windows 95 through Windows 98SE there was continuous small improvements in resource allocation and restoration.

With Windows Me I couldn't make any observation of resources because the OS kept crashing. Also the OS was so slow that resource problems took a back seat to just getting my work done. I got the impression that Windows Me was trying to do to much in the background. Often the mouse pointer would freeze momentarily and it would also skip across the screen instead of moving smoothly.

Problems With Windows Me

Problem One: OS rarely shutdown properly. Therefore startup took several minutes while Scandisk was run. Read my article on installing Windows Me for details on this problem.

Problem Two: Power Management didn't work. Or it did and the shutdown problems were caused by another aspect of the OS. The hibernation option of Shutdown was not enabled with my computer. This meant the computer didn't have a BIOS that supported this option. This option of Shutdown is not discussed in the Quick Start Guide of Windows Me. I can find nothing about hibernation at the Microsoft site so I have no idea what is required by the BIOS in order to support hibernation. Considering the unreliability of the OS hibernation would not be a good idea anyway. I have never understood why the OS could not remember what applications you have running and start up those applications and files when you start up the OS the next session.

Problem Three: Why does it take almost a minute to start the Help program? When a user goes for help he/she wants it now not later. the Help system is so slow in Windows Me that it almost makes it useless. Who wants to wait forever to read a help file that tells you nothing. The help program may have changed but I doubt that any of the data is any more understandable than in previous versions of the consumer OS. The new Search (Find in Windows Me) is also very slow to start. Sometimes I felt I could open Windows Explorer and search for the file faster than it would take the Find window just to open. Microsoft changes the name from Search to Find. Shorter name with slower results.

Problem Four: Windows Me is so fat, up to 400MBs, that it only left me with 250MBs on my C: drive. My C: drive is 1.6GBs. One of my problems is that I have been doing upgrades since Windows 95. I have deleted the Windows directory but I have never cleaned out the C: completely and started from nothing. When I did this for my reload of Windows 98 I had used 500MBs installing Windows 98 and additional support files. Those extra files include many, many DLLs that Microsoft Office puts into the Windows/System folder. Because Windows 9x takes up so much space is the reason I moved the temporary directory and the SWAP file to a different partition. Is 1.6GBs enough space for an operating system? Hard to say.

Problem Five: I have run out of disk space on the C: drive and must remove something to keep going. See details.

The Story of Deleting Windows Me and Installing Windows 98

The process of going to the Control Panel > Add/Remove Programs and removing Windows Me failed. Considering all I did to drive C: I can't blame this on Microsoft. Stuff happens.

First I need to save some data. I copy the Windows\Application Data folder from the C: drive to another partition. Start Menu, Favorites folders are also in the Windows folder. Copy them to another partition.

Explanation Needed

If you are the only person using the computer and you use no username/password to log-on to the computer then you will only have an Windows\Application Data folder. If you are using a computer that has more than one user and they have to log-on with a username/password then you will also have a Windows\Profiles folder. Each user will have a subfolder of the Windows\Profiles folder.

Whenever you add a new user the Windows\Application Data folder is used as the source of the initial data for the new user. So whatever is in the Windows\Application Data is the starting point for all users if you select Create copies of the current items and their content.

You want to copy these folders to another partition.

If you have a Windows\Profiles folder then copy both the Windows\Application Data and the Windows\Profiles folders.

If you have a Windows\Favorites or Windows\Start Menu folders then copy them to another partition.

If you have an Internet access through an ISP then you need to copy all that information. Do it with a pencil and paper. You should always have this data on paper backup anyway.

I think that's everything.

Erase it all

After 3 years of adding and modifying the C: drive I decide to erase it all and start with a fresh C: drive. I format C:. Nothing left. Can't go back now.

Windows 98 not Windows Me

I wanted to install Windows Me on a blank C: drive. One problem. I had the upgrade version of Windows Me and Microsoft changed their policy on using an upgrade version. In the past you could use any full version of Windows (I'm not sure how far back they went but I used my Windows 3.1 floppies for my full install.) to verify you could use the upgrade version to do a full install. With Windows Me you can only go back to Windows 3.1 Workgroups. I don't qualify with plain old Windows 3.1. This means I will do the full install with Windows 98.

Windows 98 requires floppies 1,2,3, and 5 of the full version of Windows 3.1 in order to verify you qualify to use the upgrade version of Windows 98 to do a full install. With Windows 95 it was floppy 1 only.

Install of Windows 98 Is Complete . . . Almost

If you have multiple users then setup each user. Do this before you restore the data. Once each user is established you can copy the data and folders for those users back over to C:\Windows\Profiles. Everything can be copied over with no problems except for the Outlook Express folders. The data in the Outlook Express folders has to be imported from Outlook Express.

Setup a dial-up connection for your ISP.

Importing messages to Outlook Express

In Outlook Express under the File menu select Import>Messages. You may need to do this for Outlook Express 4 messages and then again for Outlook Express 5 messages. Browse to the Outlook Express folder that you saved prior to restoring Windows 98. Once Outlook Express finds the folders you can import them all or one at a time. The import will not overwrite existing messages.

I needed to do the import more than once to get all the messages imported. This may be because the first time I tried it I didn't check the proper boxes. Who knows with Microsoft. Just keep at it until you get all messages or at least the ones you want imported back into Outlook Express.

Back To Windows 98 And Getting Work Done

It's back to work. While I was using Windows Me (Or was Windows Me using me?) I spent to much of my time trying to get Windows Me to work smoothly. Now Windows 98 works the way an operating system should. In the background.

Will I Ever Use Windows Me?

Yes. But not until I get another disk drive that I can install Windows Me onto. It will also be a full install. By having a separate disk drive I can move between Windows 98 and Windows Me. note: I don't like using dual boot software. Disk drives are cheap enough that swapping drives is safer and easier for me.