Ten Ways to Make Windows Me Run Better

Ranging from the simple to the extreme, here's what you can do to unleash Win Me's hidden power.
10. The Ultimate Solution
As we said earlier, Windows Me is, at its heart, a modified version of Win98SE, and many of the steps above involve stripping away or reducing the impact of WinMe's bells and whistles to make it operate more like an unmodified copy of Win98SE. In that vein, if, after all the above, you're still not happy with the performance of WinMe, there is one final, extreme step you can take:

Delete WinMe, and install a normal copy of Win98SE. That's what I just did with the brand-new Me-equipped 1.2GHz system described at the start of this article. I tried all the steps above, and while they did help, the system still did not feel (or benchmark) as fast as I thought it should.

So, I pulled a switcheroo: I installed my older machine's copy of Win98SE on the 1.2GHz box and then (to be legal -- one copy of the OS per machine) put the copy of WinMe on the older PC. I re-ran the benchmarks I'd done earlier and found that merely changing OSes let the new PC run around 5 percent to 10 percent faster than it did under WinMe in several important areas (video, for example) -- and subjectively, it felt faster than that. In fact, and in the aggregate, the speed increases finally made it feel as if I'd gotten my money's worth from my new hardware.

I then ran tests on the older system -- the one that had been running Win98SE but now was running WinMe. It showed roughly the same variance and was measurably faster under Win98SE in many important areas.

I have to conclude that WinMe is a usable but unspectacular OS. I can see its appeal for novices and others who aren't particularly sensitive to performance and don't want to be "bothered" with system maintenance.

But for those who want the most from their hardware and who find sluggishness to be the real bother when using a PC, I think WinMe is a poor choice.

If you're stuck with WinMe, steps one through nine, above, may help you unlock its Win98-like characteristics. But if you have a choice, I suggest you either avoid WinMe altogether -- or revert to Win98SE. If you're like me, you'll be glad you did.