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Few driver problems for Windows Me, predict experts

Me upgrades shouldn’t repeat Windows 2000 headaches

Upgrading to a new operating system can be exciting up until you fire up a graphics-heavy game or send a file to your vintage-but-workhorse printer. That's when you realise you need a new driver.

But it's often the case with Windows updates that drivers don't yet exist when the upgrade launches or that new drivers don't work quite as smoothly as they should.

Microsoft Windows 2000, released in February, promised to be an operating system with better stability and security than prior Windows releases.

But missing drivers have left many Windows 2000 customers with software and hardware incompatibility problems.

According to Dan Kusnetsky, vice president of system software at IDC, "There are still issues with missing Windows 2000 drivers for older and obscure printers, drives, and scanners."

Fortunately, experts predict a less frustrating migration for Windows Millennium edition. Microsoft froze the Windows Me code in June, so vendors have had several months to update their drivers.

Kusnetsky doesn’t expect as many driver problems with Windows Millennium Edition as occurred with Windows 2000. Where you could run into compatibility problems is with older devices that use 16-bit drivers, Kusnetsky suggests.

"Windows Me is basically Windows 98 with the 16-bit subsystems partially removed," Kusnetsky says. "Devices with 32-bit Windows 95 or 98 drivers will probably work fine, but 16-bit drivers might be a problem."

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