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Year 2000 Problems
Free Compliance Test Products

Although not strictly an OU software issue many of you will be concerned about the Year 2000 (Y2K) problem. There are many firms offering to sell you fixes for you PC and a much smaller number who will provide testing software in the hope you will buy their fixes if they are required. Secure Computing gave very favourable reports on one of these called Y200RTC in July 98 and again in January 99. I have used it to test several machines. It can be downloaded from http://www.precise.co.uk as zip file.

The instructions on the web site do not seem very explicit and I found you have to extract both the files into a common Folder (or the Desktop) and then run Y2000w.exe within Windows. It will reboot a couple of times and produce a report. Few machines will pass Y2K tests in every respect. Y2000RTC reports our two will be OK provided we reboot after the date change and only give problems then if illegal calls are made direct to the Real Time Clock (RTC) rather than via the BIOS - ie they will not give problems in practice with well behaved software.

An alternative TEST2000 is provided free from RightTime and was also tested by Secure Computing. I found the instructions and background information more useful but it has to be run as a DOS program so is less convenient. The way it works is different and it can even tell you how long it takes your BIOS to correct errors in the RTC! I have also used this to test several machines with the same basic results as Y2000RTC. If you suspect you have problems run both - I get the impression from Secure Computing that Y2000RTC may be able to fix more severe problems in software than TEST2000 (if you buy the fixes), or maybe I have been reading too much advertising.

If you end up having to use either of the fixes please feel free to send me feedback by Email at pcurtis@corinna1.freeserve.co.uk .

No program can test all your application software - the starting point is to go to the providers web sites for information and download any patches they have available.

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Copyright © Peter Curtis
Content revised: 12th April, 1999