I started out upgrading my (rather unstable) Win98FE install with a fresh install of WinME and even though I did have some issues with it, the issues were way fewer than with 98FE and to a large degree stemmed from my inexperience with using a PC and using Windows (it was my first PC, even though I had used other PCs with other OSes). It was when I started learning how to build PCs and since WinME was literally the only real option I had at the time (I didn't own any 98SE install media and I didn't want to use 98FE or 95 instead of ME) I just made the best of it.
It worked pretty much just fine with the (few) DOS games I played on these WinME rigs and I learned to tweak ME to run rather well.
I did hear about all the abd rep ME got, but I just explained that I never really experienced this. I also felt quite strongly that to many people who think WinME is just plain bad, most have no idea what they are talking about, they just lemming that ME is bad because 'everybody else' thinks that so that they can have a laugh together and bask in being stupid together.
I also disabled system restore and also pc health and did a number of other tweaks. I at some point developed a PC building routine and it seemed to really make using WinME rather painless (I wrote a guide years ago which kinda explains).
At some point I (finally!) managed to get an original 98SE install disk! I had to try it out! And I was disappointed...
The DOS thing really doesn't matter much if you play contemporary games which you would play on a PC that had WinME installed and usually the DOS games I did play just ran fine without having real DOS mode.
And the mass storage drivers out of the box made it really convenient to build new PCs as I didn't have to bother with installing as many drivers from a CDR or perhaps a floppy (I used 2.88MB floppy disks and drives for this, but it was still much more limited than just using USB ZIP 250MB) or by having to copy the files over from another disk mounted internally which was just a lot of extra hassle that I found easy to prevent by just sticking with WinME.
Why it got a bad rep? I think part because of crummy prebuilds, poor tweaking by end users, poor driver support (or poor use of existing drivers by users because of lack of proper knowledge we do have now) and hyped expectations. At the time I was not at all savvy and I had no idea what 2000 and ME even really were at the time. We had NT3.51, NT4, 2000, 98SE, 98FE, 95OSR whatever (and the list goes on for a bit) all in a span of like just 5 years or so.
People who these days still think WinME is just a steaming pile of crap are really ignorant or should just get their lemmingtrainmemeaddiction out of their systems and instead just get back to the real world.
And regardless of which OS anyone prefers, be happy we have so much choice nowadays (even though most (not all but most) people will probably skip NT4 and before and skip 95 these days).
I ended up using mostly WinME and WinXP on my retro rigs and both needed to be tweaked before they ran well.