Windows Me's better, more comprehensive integrated help system includes numerous step-by-step troubleshooters for diagnosing tough problems. The OS backs those up with some handy automatic recovery tools to get your computer up and running when you're stuck. Microsoft has also added a digital audio and video player, a basic video editor, more home networking features, the latest version (5.5) of Internet Explorer, and more.
The downside? Microsoft stripped out many underlying 16-bit DOS features that were an integral part of Windows 9x. Starting from a DOS prompt now requires a boot disk. And older 16-bit ISA cards that rely on DOS drivers (older modems and sound cards, for example) may not work with Windows Me. The same goes for some older applications. Unfortunately, as of press time, Microsoft hadn't compiled a comprehensive list of the hardware and software that won't work with Me. You have to check vendor Web sites for compatibility information. During installation, however, Windows Me will check for incompatible software and ask you to uninstall it before proceeding. The install program will not catch every application, however. And if your hardware isn't compatible, Windows Me won't find or install it. As a result, you must plan carefully.