Microsoft Corp. announced Thursday the release of its long-awaited Windows Millennium Edition (Windows Me), the latest update of its operating system aimed at home PC users.

It is immediately available in 14 languages, and will be available in another 14 languages within the next 90 days, Microsoft said in a statement. Retail versions are available for computers without a Windows operating system, as well as upgrade packages for users of Windows 95, 98 and 98 SE.

The company estimates retail prices will be US$209 for the full version, and $109 for the Windows 95 upgrade. A special price of $59.95 will be offered until Jan. 15 for users upgrading from versions of Windows 98.

New features of the operating system include System Restore, which will enable users to roll back their software configuration to a date or time when it was working properly, and an automatic updater which will upgrade the system with software from Microsoft without the user’s intervention. Windows Image Acquisition (WIA) will help users transfer images from WIA-compliant digital cameras. The system also ships with Windows Media Player 7 and Internet Explorer 5.5.

Microsoft, in Redmond, Wash., can be found at

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