Though the arrival of Windows Millennium Edition ("Windows Me") isn't yet generating the excitement levels witnessed during the launch of Windows 2000, suffice to say that this consumer-grade product will quickly, if temporarily, surpass sales of Windows 2000 when its released this September. With machine bundlings virtually guaranteeing sales in excess of 100 million copies within it first year, Windows Me will be a runaway success in the burgeoning market for consumer PCs.

So if you're among that crowd, and you probably are, you may be wondering what it is that you're going to get when Microsoft finally ships Windows Me. Wonder no more: Here's the first look at the contents of the final Windows Me CD-ROM.

The CD I received in late June 2000 was an evaluation unit designed for press review, so it doesn't use the "end-to-end" hologram that the final retail CD will (this is very similar to the CDs that technical beta testers received). Other than that, however, it's identical to the retail version of Windows Me. Note that this CD, unlike its Windows NT/2000 counterpart, is not bootable.



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The Windows Me CD-ROM includes the following directories and files in its root:

  • \add-ons - Contains add-ons for Windows Me, such as introductory documentation, Internet Printing Protocol support, Microsoft Backup, and the Terminal Services client.
  • \autorun - Contains the files needed to autorun the Windows Me CD-ROM.
  • \cdsample - Contains an interactive sampler of Microsoft products.
  • \drivers - Contains drivers for specific DVD players, ISDN devices, modems, Netgear networking products, and flash storage devices.
  • \tools - Contains a few older MS-DOS tools and a number of Microsoft Product Support Services (PSS) tools, such as DOS and Windows-based bug reporting tools.
  • \win9x - Contains the Windows Me installation file set.
  • autorun.inf - Causes SETUP.EXE to be run automatically when the Windows Me CD-ROM is inserted in a drive.
  • readme.txt - A short text file containing pointers to other helpful text files on the CD-ROM.
  • setup.exe - Graphical front-end for the Windows Me installation (\win9x\setup.exe). This version of Setup can only be run from Windows.
  • setuptip.txt - Late-breaking information that supplements the Windows Me documentation.

Now let's take a look at the individual directories:

\add-ons

  • \Document - Contains introductory documentation for Windows Me, including a Read Me file, a Quick Start guide, and a hard drive block text file that explains a common problem that prevents Windows Me Setup from finishing.
  • \IPP - Contains the Internet Printing Protocol (IPP) client, which will allow Windows Me systems to connect to IPP printers in a Windows 2000 network.
  • \MSBackup - Contains the Microsoft Backup program, which is otherwise unaccessible from within Windows Me (that is, Microsoft doesn't allow you to install this program from Add/Remove Programs for some reason).
  • \Tsclient - Contains Windows Me-compatible clients for Citrix and Microsoft Terminal Services environments.

\autorun

  • autorun.exe and win9xcd.ico - Files needed for autorun.

\cdsample

  • sampler.exe - This file will install or execute the CD sampler. There are a number of other support files and folders as well.

\drivers

  • \dvd - Contains a driver for the Cinemaster 1.2 hardware-based DVD decoder.
  • \isdn - Contains a driver for the Eicon Diva ISDN device.
  • \Modem - Contains MWAVE modem drivers for IBM ThinkPad 600, 600E, 770X and 770Z.
  • \net - Contains a driver for the Netgear FA310TX network interface card (NIC).
  • \Storage - Contains a driver for TrueFFS-9x, a new version of M-Systems' TrueFFS Flash File System for Intel, AMD, Fujitsu, M-Systems and compatible Linear Flash Cards.

\tools

  • \oldmsdos - Contains older MS-DOS-based tools, such as MS-DOS Help (help.com), Microsoft Diagnostics (msd.exe), and QBasic.
  • \pssutils - Contains a number of Microsoft Product Support Services (PSS) tools. These include:
    • \mediatst - Three media files for testing audio playback.
    • acpihct.exe - The ACPI Hardware Compatibility Test (HCT), requires an ACPI compatible machine.
    • cdinfo.exe - For retrieving information about the CD drives attached to the machine.
    • DOSREP.EXE - The MS-DOS Reporting Tool, for creating and submitting bug reports to Microsoft Technical Support. The generated report includes information about your system settings and files from your computer.
    • ipac_off.inf, ipac_on.inf - Disable and enable TCP/IP auto-configuration.
    • irdasir.reg - A registry file that enables external infrared device installation.
    • nnt.inf - Removes the NAMENUMERICALTAIL value from the registry, which controls how short file names are generated.
    • pssutil.txt - A Read Me for several of the tools in this folder.
    • ptxt_on.inf, ptxt_off.inf -- Determines whether plain text or encrypted passwords are sent to servers on the local network. By default, passwords are encrypted, but Samba servers require plain-text passwords.
    • readme.txt - The Read Me file for acpihct.exe.
    • remfdma.inf, addfdma.inf - Disable or enable FDMA on PCI-ISA bridge devices.
    • winrep.exe - The Windows Report Tool, for creating and submitting bug reports to Microsoft Technical Support. The generated report includes information about your system settings and files from your computer.
    • wmremove.inf - Fixes problems with certain classesof Winmodems when upgrading to Windows Me.

\win9x

  • \ols - Installation files for America Online (AOL 5.0) and AT&T Internet services.
  • cleanhd.txt - A text file explaining how to install Windows Me on a blank hard drive.
  • intl.txt - Read Me file for Pan-European regional settings.
  • oemsetup.exe - A Setup program for PC makers that uses a floppy-based configuration file to perform an unattended setup of Windows Me. Not for end-users.
  • setup.exe - The Windows Me Setup program, which can be run from Windows 9x or MS-DOS.
  • setup.txt - A text file describing general setup issues, MS-DOS installation, clean boot, and other Setup related issues.
  • winme.wmv - The Windows Media movie file that is played when Windows Me is first set up.
  • A selection of DOS utility files such as deltemp.com, extract.exe, format.com, scandisk.exe, and more.
  • A selection of cabinet (*.cab) files that contain the Windows Me installation set, including base2.cab, catalog.cab, driver5.cab, and more.
Compared to the Windows 98 and Windows 98 SE CD-ROMs, the Windows Me CD seems curiously lacking in a number of areas. Microsoft won't be releasing a Windows Me-specific Resource Kit, for example, so there are no RK files on the CD-ROM. And like Windows 98 SE, Windows Me doesn't include a copy of the very useful TweakUI program, which has indeed been updated for Windows Me. Hopefully Microsoft will release a copy of this tool to its Web site soon.