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For some time, it’s been a joke that every other version of Windows is great. People liked Windows 98, hated ME, still love XP Why Windows XP Won't Be Going Away Anytime Soon Why Windows XP Won't Be Going Away Anytime Soon People cannot let go of Windows XP. In businesses and homes the world over, it will stick around. We spoke with three Windows XP users from different generations and backgrounds to find out why. Read More , abhorred Vista, clung to 7, ridiculed 8, and now for the most part enjoy Windows 10. This leads to many people staying on popular versions for as long as possible, while those who get stuck with an off version try to upgrade as soon as they can.

What we haven’t examined is why the “bad” versions of Windows were so hated. Let’s take a look at the three most hated Windows versions — Millennium Edition (ME), Vista, and 8 — and see what was so terrible about them.

Windows ME

This edition of Windows, often nicknamed the Mistake Edition, launched in late 2000 and was the last entry in the Windows 9x line.

ME’s Background

Windows 2000, launched earlier that year, was mainly intended for business use. Windows 98 was only a few years old, but XP was still in production and not ready for use. Microsoft wanted to launch a new consumer version of Windows to generate buzz; thus ME was born.

The short-term nature of Windows ME ended up hurting it badly. Because Microsoft rushed it to meet an arbitrary deadline, it ended up feeling incomplete and was an awkward bridge between the Windows 9x years Start Me Up - Windows 95 Turns 20 & Still Rocks Start Me Up - Windows 95 Turns 20 & Still Rocks 20 years ago the Rolling Stones cranked up "Start Me Up", and Windows 95 was born. We revisit history, discuss why Windows 95 was a big deal, and how it compares to Windows today. Read More and Windows XP.

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ME was only sold for about a year, and XP became a smash hit when it released a year later. While Windows XP still has a 10 percent market share fifteen years later, ME isn’t even on the map. This speaks to how poorly folks received it.

ME in Everyday Use

On the software side, ME was basically Windows 98 with a few new features slapped on. However, some of these features, like System Restore, suffered from bugs. ME also removed the DOS mode present in Windows 98 and earlier that let users install older software.

Instead of a new and exciting version of internet Explorer Why You Should Upgrade To Internet Explorer 11 Now Why You Should Upgrade To Internet Explorer 11 Now Restoring Internet Explorer to a browser that people actually wanted to use was always going to be a hard road, but it's just possible that with Internet Explorer 11 this stage has been reached. Read More (IE), ME treated its users to the in-between IE 5.5. In those days, this was much more important. Windows and IE were tightly integrated, as IE had a big hand in Windows Explorer and other features. Additionally, other browsers Which Browser Is Best? Edge vs. Chrome vs. Opera vs. Firefox Which Browser Is Best? Edge vs. Chrome vs. Opera vs. Firefox The browser you're using right now may not be the best one for you. The browser arena changes so frequently that your conclusions from comparisons made last year may be completely wrong this year. Read More weren’t as prevalent as they are today, so having a lousy IE version likely had a hand in ME’s issues.

Prevalent throughout the operating system were crashes, slowness, and strange performance issues. People’s mileage varied, but most users experienced bugs and other annoyances that made the OS hard to use. Many users reported that when returning to their machines after a few minutes, just moving the mouse caused ME to crash.

We can attribute most of these problems to the aging Windows 9x architecture coupled with a rushed product that simply wasn’t ready for release. Windows ME was quickly replaced with the superior XP, and people never looked back.

Windows Vista

Those who never used Windows ME think of Windows Vista, released in early 2007, as the worst Windows version ever.

While Vista was also hated, it doesn’t have the same story as ME. Vista was actually much different from XP, so it didn’t bring any baggage with it like ME did. Because Windows XP had so many security problems Windows XP Security Risks: They're Real And Heading Your Way In 2014 Windows XP Security Risks: They're Real And Heading Your Way In 2014 Given the extensive coverage, you could easily think Windows XP end of support was just a hype. Sadly not. Without security updates, the aging operating system becomes a Trojan horse in your home or business. Read More , Microsoft focused on making Vista a more secure OS. In practice, this led to some of its many annoyances.

Are You Sure You Want to Do That?

Perhaps the most infamous problem introduced with Vista was User Account Control (UAC). This came to be because of a major security issue with Windows XP. Most software in XP required an admin account to work properly Windows Administrator Account: Everything You Need to Know Windows Administrator Account: Everything You Need to Know Starting with Windows Vista, the built-in Windows Administrator account is disabled by default. You can enable it, but do so at your own risk! We show you how. Read More , so Standard user accounts could do next to nothing. Thus, people were using admin accounts all the time, which isn’t safe.

To keep programs from running with administrative privileges willy-nilly, UAC prompts the user to confirm that they want to run Stop Annoying UAC Prompts - How To Create A User Account Control Whitelist [Windows] Stop Annoying UAC Prompts - How To Create A User Account Control Whitelist [Windows] Ever since Vista, we Windows users have been pestered, bugged, annoyed, and tired of the User Account Control (UAC) prompt telling us a program is starting up that we intentionally launched. Sure, it has improved,... Read More a program that could make changes to their computer. It’s still present (and greatly toned down) in every version of Windows since Vista, but it was overwhelming in its initial state. It seemed that every time you clicked an icon, you had to confirm something.

Apple mocked this and other Vista problems in its famous ads An Apple (Ad) A Day: Top Ten Commercials You’re Likely To Remember An Apple (Ad) A Day: Top Ten Commercials You’re Likely To Remember Apple is a company that you either love or hate; there's very little middle ground. This is because you either buy into the company and its culture or reject it outright. Seeing as I don't... Read More , which certainly had a hand in the public view of Vista.

Compatibility and Hardware Problems

Vista also required much beefier hardware to run than XP. This makes sense, since it launched six years later and had more features. However, Microsoft ran into issue with PC manufacturers. Despite Vista running horribly 4 Tips to Speed Up Your Windows Vista PC 4 Tips to Speed Up Your Windows Vista PC Read More on low-end machines, it still placed “Compatible with Windows Vista” stickers on computers that barely met the minimum requirements. This led to people becoming frustrated with their new machine’s sluggish performance.

Finally, Vista came with lots of compatibility issues. To work on the security problems of XP, Microsoft changed the driver model to make the system much more stable. This greatly cut down on the number of blue screens Why Does Windows Crash? The Top 10 Reasons Why Does Windows Crash? The Top 10 Reasons Oh, great. Another blue screen, boot issue or frozen screen in Windows. Now you have to restart and lose most or all of the work you’d been trying to accomplish. It’s frustrating both because of... Read More , and Vista was able to recover from graphics driver crashes that would have taken down XP.

Since these changes were significant, they also resulted in a learning period for developers. Older drivers also didn’t work under the new model, so many people trying to use old software or devices found that they didn’t work or crashed.

It’s clear that many of the problems in Vista arose from necessary changes from XP. Vista became a testing ground for these changes. Just two years later in 2009, Microsoft released Windows 7. Windows 7 is what Vista should have been and fixed the majority of the problems it had.

Windows 8

Windows 8, which released in 2012, is still fresh in most people’s minds The Windows 8 Guide The Windows 8 Guide This Windows 8 guide outlines everything new about Windows 8, from the tablet-like start screen to the new "app" concept to the familiar desktop mode. Read More . Let’s review why 8 got so much hate.

For most people, the big problem with Windows 8 was that it changed so much for no reason. Windows 7 was only three years old, and people still loved it. After the rocky Vista, it was refreshing to have an OS that not only looked great, but was rock-solid and fast as well. Ignoring all this, Microsoft followed its vision for a multi-device OS and Windows 8 got rid of the Start Menu, a Windows staple since the 90s.

That was only the beginning of the issues, however. Windows 8 introduced the Windows Store, an attempt to have a central location for downloading Windows software. However, it quickly became filled with garbage Don't Be Fooled! 5 Tips To Avoid Fake Apps In The Windows Store Don't Be Fooled! 5 Tips To Avoid Fake Apps In The Windows Store The Windows Store has been spoiled by useless junkware and scams. Microsoft recently purged many fake apps, but the store still features questionable apps. We show you how not to get scammed. Read More , and most people knew where to download the best Windows software The Best Windows Software The Best Windows Software Windows is swimming in a sea of free applications. Which ones can you trust and which ones are the best? If you're unsure or need to solve a specific task, consult this list. Read More already. Windows 8 also included some Modern apps that confusingly duplicated normal software’s functionality Desktop vs. Windows Store Apps: Which Should You Download? Desktop vs. Windows Store Apps: Which Should You Download? On Windows 10 and 8.1, you can either download and install a Desktop applications from the web, or you can get an app from the Windows Store. We explore the differences between Desktop and Store... Read More .

Windows 8 suffered from a split personality. The traditional desktop, almost copied and pasted from Windows 7 minus the Start Menu, was still present. However, it was clear that Microsoft wanted you to get invested in the new Modern apps The Best Windows 10 Apps The Best Windows 10 Apps Windows 10 Store apps have come a long way. Meanwhile, you can choose from a considerable selection, free and paid. We have picked out the ones worth your while. Read More .

You Want Touch Screens, Right?

These Modern (or Metro) apps were aggravating. Apps on smartphones make sense because they’re more efficient than mobile websites. Websites are already built to cater to desktop and laptop browsers, so apps weren’t a fit.

Changing settings required finding whether your desired option was in the new Settings app or in the old Control Panel. Opening a picture on your desktop could send you into the Photos app, totally breaking your chain of thought.

Though nobody wanted it, Windows 8 also prioritized touch screens 5 Ways to Add Touch to a Windows 8 Computer 5 Ways to Add Touch to a Windows 8 Computer Windows 8's Start screen and "Modern" apps can feel awkward to use on a non-touch PC, but they really start to make sense when paired with a touch PC. If you're not ready to go... Read More over sensible user interface design. Features like the Charms bar activated by swiping the side of a touch screen Everything You Need To Know About Windows 8 Swipe Gestures On A Laptop Everything You Need To Know About Windows 8 Swipe Gestures On A Laptop With the introduction of Windows 8, a lot of brand-new touch-friendly features have been added to make the operating system enjoyable to use on touch-enabled devices. However, for typical laptops which only have touchpads for... Read More , but those without a touch screen had to use awkward mouse gestures. When the OS launched, people panicked because they couldn’t even figure out how to shut down the computer How To Shut Down Windows 8 How To Shut Down Windows 8 Windows 8 brings the biggest changes to the familiar Windows interface since Windows 95. The Shut Down option isn’t where you’d expect to find it – in fact, the entire classic Start menu and Start... Read More .

In the end, Windows 8 shows that mobile and desktop user needs are quite different Why A Windows 8 Tablet Cannot Completely Replace A PC Why A Windows 8 Tablet Cannot Completely Replace A PC A Windows 8 tablet can theoretically replace your beefy desktop computer, cut your electricity bill, and let you work from anywhere; except that it can't. Hear the pros and cons from someone who tried it. Read More . We can’t ever be sure how Microsoft thought that Windows 8 was a good idea. It did release Windows 8.1 to correct some of the issues with Windows 8, and while it’s nowhere near perfect Easily Fix These Common Windows 8.1 Frustrations Easily Fix These Common Windows 8.1 Frustrations Windows 8.1 can be frustrating, not just because of how different it is. We're talking about blurry text, laggy mouse pointers, touchpad issues, and SecureBoot problems -- typical Windows annoyances. Here's how to fix them. Read More , 8.1 is a more usable OS. Microsoft has already dropped support for Windows 8, so everyone should upgrade Why to Upgrade Windows at the End of Extended Support Why to Upgrade Windows at the End of Extended Support Eventually, support for every Windows version expires, leaving PCs full of holes, entry points for malware, and opportunities for hackers. Windows 8 recently reached end of support status - we show you why and how... Read More .

Which Versions of Windows Did You Hate?

Thankfully, we’re in a pretty good pocket of Windows versions now. Many people are still running smoothly on Windows 7, those who hated Windows 8 could upgrade to Windows 10 free Missed the Free Windows 10 Upgrade? Psst, Here's a Backdoor! Missed the Free Windows 10 Upgrade? Psst, Here's a Backdoor! The upgrade to Windows 10 remains free for users who depend on assistive technologies. However, Microsoft doesn't check whether you really do. We show you how you can use this backdoor to get Windows 10. Read More , and Windows 10 is pretty great 10 Compelling Reasons to Upgrade to Windows 10 10 Compelling Reasons to Upgrade to Windows 10 Windows 10 is coming on July 29. Is it worth upgrading for free? If you are looking forward to Cortana, state of the art gaming, or better support for hybrid devices - yes, definitely! And... Read More . Since Windows 10 is supposedly the last version of the OS, Microsoft might have finally broken the cycle of good/bad.

No version of Windows is perfect, of course, and there are things that annoy us about Windows 10 7 Things That Really Annoy Us About Windows 10 7 Things That Really Annoy Us About Windows 10 It's not a secret that Windows 10 isn't perfect. Cortana borders on being intrusive, mandatory updates can cause issues, and much appears half-baked. We present our top 7 of most glaring Windows 10 annoyances. Read More , too.

Which version of Windows was your least favorite? Tell us your worst Windows ME, Vista, or 8 stories below!

Image Credits: costix/Shutterstock

  1. Phil N
    December 4, 2016 at 7:01 pm

    Vista was really nice once you turned off UAC. ME was "meh". Consumer version of Win 2000. Win8 was pretty much the 2nd best version they've released. 10 being the best of course.

  2. x
    December 4, 2016 at 2:57 pm

    Pointless article...

  3. littlemuch
    December 4, 2016 at 8:05 am

    Windows Vista doesn't that much hate IMO. Just like the article states, it's released way ahead of its time, developers and manufacturers aren't ready yet for that kind of change for the better. It helped pave the way for Windows 7 though. Imagine if we all resist the changes brought by Vista, 7 wouldn't fare that much better.

    • Phil N
      December 4, 2016 at 7:02 pm

      Same goes for 8. 8's biggest problem was that it was designed for current hardware and people kept installing it on 5 year old computers.

      • Bruce Epper
        December 4, 2016 at 7:37 pm

        Nope. The biggest problem with 8 was the fact it was designed for touch devices and completely ignored the fact most people were not using Windows on touch-enabled devices. The overall usability factor was abhorrent.

  4. Donna
    December 3, 2016 at 9:16 pm

    I used Vista at work for a while and it was terrible. Slower than a wet week, it also threw a fit each time there were updates so I was always having to restore it to the previous version, which didn't always work. Ghastly!

    I'm pleasantly surprised windows 10 which thus far is proving mare stable than my beloved windows 7

  5. Sliddy
    December 3, 2016 at 7:51 pm

    Been running Vista since 2008. Never really saw what the issue was. Sure the questions were a little annoying but meh, there's worse things in life to get your panties in a wad about. Finally upgrading this year though.

    • Phil N
      December 4, 2016 at 7:03 pm

      I bought my laptop when Vista was out. It still runs Vista and it's great. Just had to turn off the UAC questions.

  6. LooneyTunes
    December 3, 2016 at 1:21 pm

    Not keen on apps at all on my desktop and laptop non-touch computers. They are just fussy programs when programs worked fine and faster loading.
    Vista was horrible while Windows 7 tops all.

    • Phil N
      December 4, 2016 at 7:05 pm

      I enjoy apps but if you don't like them you don't have to install them.

  7. Marty Monroe
    November 30, 2016 at 8:58 am

    "and XP became a smash hit when it released a year later"
    XP became a smash because ME was carp, but to be perfectly honest XP was pants until SP1. Many businesses stuck with 2000 until XP SP1 was available.

    "and now for the most part enjoy Windows 10."
    I wouldn't say that - most users have W10 forced upon them because XP and W7 are end of life. Users don't like the nonsense that constantly appears in W10 without us changing config. Did users really ask for Candy Crush, popup ads, Cortana, etc?

    • Phil N
      December 4, 2016 at 7:06 pm

      Nobody had 10 forced on them. Of course it's the best version released so you'd be crazy to not install it. Especially when it was free.

      • Tina Sieber
        December 5, 2016 at 2:11 pm

        "Nobody had 10 forced on them." That statement is debatable. Some people sued Microsoft for the misleading upgrade process, which had them wake up to Windows 10 one day, and they won.

    • Bruce Epper
      December 4, 2016 at 7:44 pm

      SP1 was still borking systems. Most businesses I worked with didn't make the move until SP1a.

      One of Microsoft's biggest mistakes with 10 is carrying over the idea of multiple locations for settings from 8. Either keep it all in the Control Panel or move it all into Settings. Skip the bipolar crap.

      • Tina Sieber
        December 5, 2016 at 2:08 pm

        They had to release something and they weren't done moving the Control Panel to Settings. Now they're taking their sweet time with it.

        With every new Insider Preview version, some more settings disappear from the Control Panel. Most recently, the Control Panel itself disappeared as an option from the Power User Menu.

  8. AdaptivePC
    November 30, 2016 at 3:06 am

    This just made me think about the hard drive thrashing issue in Vista the hard drive was always working hard on something for no apparent good reason.In addition I always had to turn off indexing and shadow copy to fix this major flaw.

  9. Ancient One
    November 29, 2016 at 9:05 pm

    Microsoft BOB.

    • Phil N
      December 4, 2016 at 7:07 pm

      Yes it was horrible, but it wasn't Windows.

  10. Doc
    November 29, 2016 at 8:31 pm

    [Windows] "ME also removed the DOS mode present in Windows 98 and earlier that let users install older software."
    Um, no, it only removed the ability to *boot* to DOS mode. Windows 9x's "command.com" windowed command line would let you easily install anything DOS could (famously, Duke Nukem 3D was one of the first games to boast installing and running from Windows *or* DOS), as well as the ability to install and run almost any DOS program or game.

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