1998–2000: Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows Me—Windows evolves for work and play
Released on June 25, 1998, Windows 98 is the first version of Windows designed specifically for consumers. PCs are common at work and home, and Internet cafes where you can get online are popping up. Windows 98 is described as an operating system that “Works Better, Plays Better.”
With Windows 98, you can find information more easily on your PC as well as the Internet. Other improvements include the ability to open and close programs more quickly, and support for reading DVD discs and universal serial bus (USB) devices. Another first appearance is the Quick Launch bar, which lets you run programs without having to browse the Start menu or look for them on the desktop.
Geek trivia: Windows 98 is the last version based on MS‑DOS.
Designed for home computer use, Windows Me offers numerous music, video, and home networking enhancements and reliability improvements compared to previous versions.
First appearances: System Restore, a feature that can roll back your PC software configuration to a date or time before a problem occurred. Movie Maker provides users with the tools to digitally edit, save, and share home videos. And with Microsoft Windows Media Player 7 technologies, you can find, organize, and play digital media.
Geek trivia: Technically speaking, Windows Me was the last Microsoft operating system to be based on the Windows 95 code base. Microsoft announced that all future operating system products would be based on the Windows NT and Windows 2000 kernel.
Windows 2000 Professional
More than just the upgrade to Windows NT Workstation 4.0, Windows 2000 Professional is designed to replace Windows 95, Windows 98, and Windows NT Workstation 4.0 on all business desktops and laptops. Built on top of the proven Windows NT Workstation 4.0 code base, Windows 2000 adds major improvements in reliability, ease of use, Internet compatibility, and support for mobile computing.
Among other improvements, Windows 2000 Professional simplifies hardware installation by adding support for a wide variety of new Plug and Play hardware, including advanced networking and wireless products, USB devices, IEEE 1394 devices, and infrared devices.
Geek trivia: The nightly stress test performed on Windows 2000 during development is the equivalent of three months of run time on up to 1,500 computers.