Windows Me too

Windows Me promises to make getting online for fun and profit a lot easier. It's a big promise, and for the most part, the new Windows actually delivers on it. But you can have just as much fun and profit in your online dealings by going the Windows Me Too route.

The new, improved Internet Explorer

THE WINDOWS ME WAY: Install Windows Me, and the latest version of Internet Explorer will be yours.

THE WINDOWS ME TOO WAY: Download the latest version of Internet Explorer, and it's yours. Well, actually, if you read the small print of the End User Licensing Agreement, you'll see that your copy of IE is actually not yours under any circumstances. But you get the idea.

Chatting up a storm

THE WINDOWS ME WAY: Every time you launch Windows Me, you'll see Microsoft's very own chat client, MSN Messenger, sitting in your system tray. It provides its own buddy lists and pings your Hotmail box every so often, telling you when you have mail.

THE WINDOWS ME TOO WAY: MSN Messenger is part and parcel of the Internet Explorer 5.5 package. It also comes as a download that Windows 98 users can have at no extra expense - if they really want to. If you want to use instant messaging, go with a better chat client, AOL Instant Messenger. Your buddies are far more likely to be on AIM, anyway, because the program lets you hook up with both AIM users and AOL subscribers.

Online games

THE WINDOWS ME WAY: Windows Me provides online, multiplayer versions of backgammon, checkers, hearts, and Reversi in the Start menu's Games folder.

THE WINDOWS ME TOO WAY: You can get everything Windows Me offers, plus a bunch of other games (including cribbage and euchre), by signing up at Microsoft's MSN Zone.com (zone.msn.com). At the site you can visit free game rooms, download the program you want to play, and do battle online just like a Windows Me user.

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