Windows Me, You Jane: How do you tame the new 800-pound gorilla from Microsoft?

InfoWorld |  Operating Systems

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MICROSOFT WILL RELEASE its Millennium Edition of Windows -- Windows Me -- on Sept. 14 with events in various cities. As you know, "Me" is an update to Windows 98 and will appear very familiar to users of Microsoft's Windows 9x family of operating systems.

Even though Windows Me isn't a radical break from the consumer products before it, there are enough new treats -- and quirks and surprises -- that I've used this occasion to publish my 10th book with IDG Books.

At 1,520 pages, Windows Me Secrets is the largest volume of undocumented features, bugs, work-arounds, and recommended shareware that I've ever written. And the printed book includes a CD-ROM with a fully searchable e-book that you can read from the CD or install to your hard drive. You can find the new book by searching for the title at www.amazon.com.

My co-author, Davis Straub, and I have packed into these pages everything we've ever learned about Windows 95 and Windows 98, plus all the new tricks we've found for Windows Me. Differences between Windows 95, 98, and Me are clearly described, so this one book now acts as a resource for any user of consumer versions of Windows. (Windows 2000 Secrets is for users of business versions of Windows.)

One thing I'll say about Me: It's big. With all of its options turned on during a clean install, I've seen figures as high as 590MB. A typical install is smaller, but this still includes many things you don't need.

I'd like to reveal some secrets that can help anyone who plans to install Windows Me when it becomes available at retail (or anyone who's already installed the final build of Windows Me sent to beta testers).

Windows Me's most intriguing new features, I find, are independent applications that Microsoft chose to bundle for free. Two of the more significant ones are Media Player and Movie Maker.

These applications compete with those of companies that provide multimedia players and video-editing software. Despite the fact that Microsoft has just lost a major antitrust trial for using Windows 98 to hurt competitors, bundling of applications continues with Windows Me.

To illustrate the confidence of Microsoft executives, they've made it impossible to install Windows Me without also installing Media Player and Movie Maker apps. They're stuck to Windows Me like glue.

Fortunately, I'm going to show you this week how to unglue 'em.

I'm pleased to announce the release of a new shareware product called 98Lite Me. This program creates items in Windows Me's Control Panel to uninstall Media Player, Movie Maker, and hundreds of megabytes of other programs.

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