HP Pavilion 8720
Author: Blue Horizon
Since Windows ME (or as its really abbreviated as "Me") released just 20 years ago today, I thought I'd do a quick review of my childhood HP Pavilion that came pre-installed with it - which lasted for quite a while, being in use as late as 2007. This review is also not scripted like I usually do it apart from the screenshots, so I'm going all freestyle on this.
On the desktop, HP conveniently provides shortcuts to the programs pre-installed on this machine. I'll be showing off a handful of these.
First let's get the business oriented software out of the way. This comes loaded with Office 2000 and Quicken 2000 respectively.
This also comes with an HP branded version of MusicMatch Jukebox, which contains a good chunk of sample songs to listen too - some of which are full MP3s. I can tell WinAMP 5 took some design cues from this.
The 8720 also came with Adaptec's DirectCD for burning CDs.
Alongside that, you also get a variety of utilities to choose from for creating CDs.
This is the kind of software I can find myself using a lot. You can create custom jewel case and CD labels straight from a printer.
You can also tether Yahoo! to your Pavilion if you so wish back then.
A unique internet signup wizard is also present, using many of the webby elements you'd find in the OOBE provided with ME.
Since a DVD drive was also included, WinDVD 2000 went alongside it. I actually remember playing DVDs made around 2006 on this, they worked perfectly.
The HP Internet Center is their take on the internet toolbar trend that was popularized with IE4 and Windows 98.
Perhaps one of the most interesting pieces of software on here is a web page creation tool, with many templates to choose from!
Now here's the most ubiquitous thing that comes with HP Pavilions of this era: the HP Tour Guide (a.k.a. Victor). I can't begin to tell you how much time I spent with this, he was really my entire playground. He's one of the primary reasons I was fascinated with vintage computing at a young age.
Victor basically guides you through how to use the basic functions of the Windows desktop and topics about the Internet.
I never came across this before; but every now and then you get a full-screen reminder to register with Hewlett-Packard. How does that sound familiar, now?
Like most OEMs do, they preinstall a poorly chosen anti-virus program onto their systems. This is the only program I would uninstall right off the bat.
A multimedia keyboard was also included with the Pavilions of this era too. You can assign hotkeys of common online activities using this dialog. There's also an onscreen display customizer too, and the keyboard also had a volume knob on it!
That just about covers my childhood computer. Hope you had some pleasant (or at least decent) memories of one of your first computers. I shall now go back to focusing on beta builds. Happy 20th birthday, Windows Me!