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The Essential Guide to Installing Windows Me

Save time and aggrivation, and install Windows Me on your PC the right way.
Post-Installation Tweaks (cont.)

Clean Installation Post-Tweaks
If you clean installed on a machine that had an earlier Windows operating, you have an additional place (often an extremely useful one) to check for device drivers. Specify the location of the driver in the Update Device Driver wizard, browse to your Win95 or Win98 folder, and select the INF folder (or type it in the location field).

The INF folder is hidden by default in Windows, so make it visible by opening My Computer, selecting Folder Options from either the View or Tools menu (the location differs in Windows versions), and finding the item that lets you view hidden files and folders. You should be able to see the INF folder after you've made this change, but if not, type the path into the location field. If the hardware device worked with your earlier Windows version, the associated INF file should let it function properly under WinMe.

Another source for driver files is the Web, of course. If your Internet setup is working (the Internet Connection Wizard is a snap on WinMe), go to the vendor sites to download the most recent files. Vendors have begun to post WinMe specific drivers, or at least a note letting you know that the Win95 or Win98 driver will work with WinMe. If there's a new driver for your nonfunctioning device, download it and use it to get the device working.


A nonfunctioning video card can often be brought back to life with the Display Properties panel.

(click image for expanded view)
A nonfunctioning video card can often be brought back to life with the Display Properties panel.
If you have a nonfunctioning video card, the best way to make it function is through Display Properties. Call up this dialog either from Control Panel, or by right-clicking the desktop and choosing Properties. Click the Settings tab, the Advanced button, then the Change button. This takes you to the Update Device Driver wizard once again. If your specific monitor is unrecognized, click the Monitor tab and then the Change button once again.

Finally, explore the desktop to see what's new and call up the various properties dialogs (Task Bar and Start Menu, Folder Options, etc.) to see the new features available. Launch the Add/Remove Programs applet from Control Panel and click the Windows Setup tab to explore other new features and to install additional WinMe items.

Uninstalling Windows Millennium
As long as you instructed the Setup program to save the information needed for uninstalling WinMe, you can revert back to your previous Windows version (or your blank computer). This could happen if WinMe seems to be doing completely unpredictable things, or if you discover that your expensive printer, your slightly long-in-the-tooth digital camera, or some of your favorite applications and games just won't work under WinMe. Or, just because you want to see what happens.

Uninstalling Windows Me, if you've saved your setup information during installation, can be done with the click of a button.

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Uninstalling Windows Me, if you've saved your setup information during installation, can be done with the click of a button.
To uninstall, close all your programs and launch Add/Remove Programs from Control Panel. Under the Install/Uninstall tab, scroll down to find the Uninstall Windows Millennium item. Click that item, then the Add/Remove button. WinMe explains what you're about to do and gives you some important warnings about situations under which you should not or cannot perform the uninstallation. If you're sure, go ahead. Twenty minutes later (give or take five minutes), you'll be rebooting into a WinMe-free system.

You can also uninstall from a DOS prompt (command prompt), which is especially useful if you simply can't get WinMe running. Put the WinMe startup disk (the one you created during Setup) into your floppy drive and restart the computer. When the boot menu appears, select any of the choices (you won't need the CD-ROM). When the A:> prompt appears, type c:\windows\command\uninstal.exe to launch the uninstallation program. Note that your Windows directory's name might differ from this example.

See Microsoft's Knowledge Base article Q272159, "How to Uninstall Windows Millennium," for additional uninstall information, including situations under which Uninstall won't function.

Running Old Windows and New Windows On the Same System
What? You mean I can run my good old Win98 and my spanking new WinMe? Well, yes, but it takes some doing, and is definitely not recommended if you don't understand how to work directly with your hard drive -- partitioning and even moving the IDE cables around. If those concepts (understandably) scare you, stay away from this section.

However, if you do know something about these issues -- for example, if you've ever used a partitioning program and/or you've ever installed a brand new hard drive in your system, you may want to know the two methods that will keep multiple operating systems alive on a single computer.

First, note that you can't dual-boot two Win9x versions without special tinkering. Microsoft lets you dual-boot a Win9x version and an WinNT or Win2000 system, but that's a completely different thing. Installing a Win9x version places files in the root directory of the C: drive, and if you install another Win9x version (such as WinMe), you replace these files. WinMe's uninstallation option saves these older files to a new folder and restores them to the C: drive's root partition if you uninstall Millennium. But only one set of these system files can exist in C:'s root partition at any one time.


The best way to run old and new Windows editions side by side is to put them on separate partitions.

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The best way to run old and new Windows editions side by side is to put them on separate partitions.
What you have to do, then, is fool your system into thinking you have more than one root partition. Here are the two methods.

The first method is to get a hard drive partitioning package with a boot-manager utility. Partition Magic is one such package, as are Partition Commander and BootIt. What you'll need to do is to create a new partition on your hard drive (it might involve resizing existing partitions), and working with the package's documentation to determine how to install two Win9x operating systems on a single drive. Typically, this means instructing the boot-manager software to let you choose the OS you would like to load from a menu that appears before booting any OS at all. It then sets the corresponding root partition for that OS as the active partition and hides the current active partition from the system. In this way, it can launch either version of Windows.

The second method is to install each Windows version on a separate hard drive (not just a separate partition) and configure the BIOS settings to boot from the hard drive that contains the version you want to use. Let's say you have Win98SE on your primary hard drive, and you want to have WinMe available as well. The first step is to install a second hard drive and establish this drive as the primary hard drive. Doing this requires that you disconnect the existing primary drive (for the time being) and set the jumpers on the second hard drive to be the "master" drive on the primary IDE cable, thereby making it the first drive the BIOS will see. If you try to boot from it, you won't be able to, because it doesn't contain an OS. You clean install WinMe onto this drive using the boot floppy included in the WinMe box, have it partition and configure this new drive, and install itself to this drive.

When the installation is finished, arrange the cables and the jumpers on the two hard drives so that one is the master drive on the primary IDE cable, and the second is either the slave drive on that cable or the master on the secondary cable. When you start your computer, enter the BIOS by pressing the key combination necessary to get into your system setup area. Often you simply press the Delete key, but different BIOSes have different hot keys. Typically, the key combination is displayed on the computer's startup screen.

In the BIOS area you should be able to find a way to change the order in which the system checks the hard drives. Set it to check your original drive to boot the older Windows, and to your new hard drive to boot WinMe. You no longer have to change the cabling, but you can simply flip back and forth whenever you wish, by entering the BIOS area when you boot the machine. For more information on running multiple operating systems, see The Essential Guide to Dual-Booting Windows