So I just figured out how to successfully install Windows ME on QEMU despite being seemingly impossible: I installed it as an upgrade from 98SE (may not be necessary), then booted up to safe mode (which told me that it was a drivers issue), removed vmcpd.vxd from HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\VMM32Files (rip floating point exceptions) and changed the file extension for drvwq117.vxd and drvwppqt.vxd (rip tape drive support). It Just Works™️

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The tape drivers are found at C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM\IOSUBSYS. Apparently you can restore vmcpd.vxd after install and the system will do just fine (not the tape drivers tho). And according to jeffpar.github.io/kbarchive/kb it may be possible to patch the vmcpd thingie without even manually editing the registry, just going to the device manager.

Tooted this so I can help others who are interested. I'll now return to my usual hiatus :blobcatsip:

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