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How an infamous OS introduced data recovery to the masses

Sometimes considered to be the worst major operating system ever made, Windows ME was also an essential turning point in the history of office data recovery.

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How an infamous OS introduced data recovery to the masses

There are several aspects to data recovery, some of which are dependent on the platform and operating system a user was interacting with before the data loss occurred, and other parts that are platform-independent.

Whilst this is not always the case, the latter is increasingly important when it comes to the storage of data and files, which typically are kept on servers or the cloud, whilst the former will always be important for users to keep their systems working again.

This makes fixing problems with operating systems and restoring broken system files an incredibly important part of data recovery, but it is with some irony that the operating system that brought this to a mass user base is considered to be amongst the worst pieces of software ever made.

Diamond In The Rough

Whilst not every user may be familiar with the concept of data recovery and backups, most users are aware of System Restore, a tool that is designed to make it easier to get a computer that is not working properly to run again by recovering system files.

System Restore is a tool that periodically saves a backup of system files (known collectively as a restore point), that in the event of a system failure restores all of the settings and important files to a previous state that was known to work.

It is far from the best solution, and it is not a complete backup or data recovery solution, but it helped quite a few users avoid the stress of a full reinstallation and ensured users could get back to speed quicker than a reinstallation, particularly for busy IT departments.

This useful tool was tested almost immediately in the first version of Microsoft Windows it was installed in.

After the runaway success of Windows 98, Microsoft was keen to move away from the core kernel that had been used since Windows 95, based on a foundation that had been used since 1981.

The reason for this was security and reliability, issues that Windows 98 struggled with so openly that just months before its release there was a now-infamous trade show appearance where the Blue Screen of Death error message was displayed whilst then-CEO of Microsoft Bill Gates was presenting his new system.

The aim was to use the Microsoft NT system in their next OS for the home, at the time codenamed Neptune, which would bring it in line with Windows 2000 and its own prospective successor Odyssey.

Unfortunately, it became clear that this successor wouldn’t be ready until 2001 at the very earliest, so Windows 98 was hurriedly updated with some elements from the upcoming Windows 2000 to create Windows Millenium Edition.

Windows ME added a lot of the useful updates from Windows 98 by default, such as native support for ZIP files, as well as improved networking, USB support and System File Protection, which alongside System Restore aimed to fix the issue with damaged or missing system files.

The latter tools were part of a system known as PC Health, but the problem was that whilst System Restore was useful, Windows ME was infamously unstable and would fail to boot up properly, shut down properly or run with any degree of stability.

It lasted just a year before being replaced with Windows XP, to the point that people forget that one of the most important data recovery tools for home users did not originate with Wi

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