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8/24/1999--Here's more on the Y2K thing. The first part of this conversation is in the second message way down below.--DC

I wrote the "techie" friend the following question: <<Hi, I hope you don't mind some more spam in your question is--having used a software program to take care of the hardware Y2K stuff, including the BIOS clock--does the above "fix" take care of all the clocks in Windows 95 and other software programs, e.g., I noticed that all my dates on AOL and on other applications have gone to yyyy after I made the change?>> The "techie" friend responded with his own answer and a copy of an article on the subject, which I will now copy in its entirety (with the additional comment that, being a Windows 95 user--which will be mentioned in this article--I have subsequently downloaded from the W95 Y2K repair patch [2.5mb] and installed it): <<The short answer to your question is "Yes". But know that your programs are displaying the date yyyy because the OS is telling them to because of the fix you sent to (mutual friend). This does not mean that they are Y2K compliant, merely that they can display the date in this format. The long answer to your question is in my favorite article on the subject: Windows NT* Technical Article 25 March 1999 The Y2K Problem

"The Y2K Problem," as I understand it, is the unanticipated malfunction of a computer due to a two-digit date in the year 2000 being misconstrued as the corresponding month and day in the year 1900. The problem can be divided into two categories: (1) the malfunction of your own computers and (2) the malfunction of others' computers on which you depend. The first priority should be to determine whether or not there really is a problem. For your own computers, this can be done by direct inspection: First, carefully backup all the data on a computer. Then, (a) Sometime outside normal production hours, change the computer's system date to 31 Dec 1999 at 11:55 PM. (b) Observe the computer as the date ticks over to 1 Jan 2000 and note whether it continues to function normally. (c) After the date ticks over to the year 2000, try shutting down the computer and see if it will boot. (d) One at a time, run each of your production applications as if you were doing the normal processing that is done on that computer and note whether the application functions normally or not. (e) For any application that fails, obtain a fix from the vendor of that application or find a replacement application that is Y2K-compliant. Then retest. (f) When you have finished testing, set the date and time back to the current date. These very simple steps will result in a computer that is extremely unlikely to suffer from "the Y2K problem." For computers on which you depend but which are out of your direct control, such as those of your banks, your suppliers, and so on, contact the company directly and request from them a certificate of Y2K compliance. An example of such a certificate can be found at the Executive Software web site <> . Such a certificate is the minimum assurance that your supplier will continue to provide needed goods and services after December 31st. For critical suppliers, of course, you should personally interview them on their state of preparedness and judge for yourself whether you should depend on that supplier, arrange a backup supplier, or switch suppliers altogether. As you can see, these measures are simple and not particularly time-consuming. So what's all the fuss about? Well, this is the point where I have to go beyond what I know to be true and into what I merely suspect to be true. I have never seen a computer problem attributable to a date beyond 1999, nor have I heard a rational explanation of any serious problem with any computer attributable to Y2K. There must be such problems in some computers somewhere, but I have seen no evidence of them. Just to put that point into perspective, I have a dozen computers in use in my home, hundreds in the Executive Software offices, and millions of customer computers in the care of our Tech Support. One friend said her laptop would not boot after setting the date to the year 2000. So she got a new laptop. End of scene. That's the only Y2K incident I have come across personally. Apple claims that all MacIntosh computers use a date system that will function correctly well into the next millennium. Microsoft states flatly that its Windows NT operating system will function correctly, as will its Windows 98 operating system, provided that the latest Windows 98 update is downloaded and installed. Even without the update, any Windows 98 problems are claimed to be remote and cosmetic. Most any Windows 95 or earlier system can be upgraded to Windows 98 for under $100. If your computer is a DOS or Windows 3.1 system and fails the Y2K test, you can replace it with a whole new Y2K compliant Windows 98 computer system for less than $1,000. And by acting now, you have plenty of time to save up the money to pay for it, even on a limited budget. Any bank and most any business engages in transactions that extend well into the future, such as a 30-year home mortgage or a credit card expiration date. These businesses have already encountered computer dates of 2000 or greater and are still around conducting their business affairs as usual. I believe it is extremely unlikely that these businesses will suddenly cease to function when the present-time date reaches 2000, after their having successfully dealt with future dates of 2000+ for so many years. I can't imagine a microwave oven or refrigerator or an automobile fuel-regulating computer caring what the date is. Nor the Hoover Dam's power generators, for that matter. Computers in such environments are called "embedded systems" and are extremely focused on a specific task, such as counting seconds, maintaining temperatures and monitoring pressures. In the year 2000, a VCR might display 00 on the date portion of its front-panel display, but most VCRs, by survey, blink "12:00" simply because their owners have never set the date and time in the first place. In the world of business, the Y2K problem has been well-publicized. Surely every CEO and Chairman of the Board of any medium or large business has considered the problem. A CEO spends his life anticipating future problems for his business and heading them off before they can cause trouble. And how secure is a CEO's job if the stockholders lose their dividends due to an unforeseen Y2K glitch? Surely such a CEO would be viewed as incompetent and shown the door. My point is that the technical problem, if it exists, would have to escape pretty severe scrutiny and correction efforts by people whose livelihoods depend upon successfully doing so. The bottom line is, from an analytical and technical point of view, the problem is minor to non-existent, having already been addressed and fixed in all but the most elusive cases or in the presence of incompetent management. Where an organization has a critical dependence upon a particular computerized activity that may be susceptible to the Y2K problem, it may make more sense to simply replace the computer lock-stock-and-barrel with a new one that is Y2K certified than to endlessly scrutinize and debug the old system. All that being said, I have to bring up the factor of hysteria. As you may know, some people are already emptying their bank accounts, stocking up on survival food and moving to the desert. It would not take very many people emptying their bank accounts to jeopardize the solvency of a bank. Even if a bank's computers function 100% perfectly on Y2K day, excessive withdrawals prompted by fear could bring about a banking crisis. The likelihood of this is offset by the fact that most people will simply do nothing, and by the fact that the fear-driven people are likely the smaller depositors, while the larger depositors will probably have cooler heads.

What We Can Do I met with the manager of my bank and suggested that he send a letter to all his customers telling them that the bank had done everything imaginable to ensure there would be no difficulties and that no matter what happened, the bank would guarantee the availability of its depositors' funds and the completion of its customers' transactions. He instantly agreed. Banks and governments need only instill confidence to head off the financial aspects of the crisis completely. But will they do so? Probably not. Not on their own, anyway. Perhaps if you contacted them directly and suggested it, they would do so, as my banker did. You can be sure that the media will leave no stone unturned when the time comes, looking for any hint of trouble, scaring people and sensationalizing even the smallest problems. This could result in panic and hysteria on the part of some people. If so, it will be up to you and me and other sensible folks to calm down these people and show them that the world is still there. We can start now simply by being knowledgeable, calm and confident on the subject of Y2K. It can have a bigger effect than you might think. Given that there will be some hysteria (there already is), this seems like a job for all of us who are knowledgeable in computers to get out there and handle. Calm things down a bit. Instill confidence. I also believe that we could have a considerable calming influence merely by encouraging others around us to look at the problem rather than listen to the alarmist rantings. Getting someone to set the date on their computer to 31 Dec 1999 and watch it tick over to 2000 can go a long way toward deflating the potential hysteria. Either there is a problem or there isn't, and they will see it right there before their eyes. Even if the computer fails, the person should see that it is now a known problem and they can do something to fix it before the end of the year. We can surely have an impact just by being there and communicating about this subject in a calm, confident manner: "Let's have a look and see whether there is a problem or not. Then we'll know what to do about it." What do you say? Let's put some order into our environment.

Craig Jensen CEO Executive Software* International, Inc.

If you do not wish to receive these articles, or you would like to be added to the list, please let us know by sending your request to TIPS@EXECUTIVE.COM <TIPS@EXECUTIVE.COM> . If you have any problems or questions regarding this article, please send them to me at <> . For reprint permission for any of these technical articles, please contact Jobee Knight, Director of Public Relations, at e-mail <> . If you have any comments, suggestions or successes from using Executive Software products, please send them to Quality Assurance at <> .

* 1999 Executive Software International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Diskeeper, Undelete and Executive Software are trademarks owned by Executive Software International, Inc. Microsoft, Windows NT and Backoffice are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.">> Best, Jed PS I hope some of this helpful, and, as before, if you have any comments, experiences, etc. on this subject, feel free to pass them along.

8/9/99--got this from an old friend Jed L. Thought I'd pass it and an answer along--DC:

Hi, This was forwarded to me and it also turned out to be the way described below when I checked out my control panel, the change is easy enough to do and you will see the results immediately on the dates of Email in your mailbox/filing cabinet. If this is an unnecessary change, please let me know. There is apparently a Windows error for change to the year two thousand....better check this out. I checked mine, and it was wrong. I took a look at mine and it was set to yy too. [Me too, and I changed it.--DC]

1) Double click on "My Computer". 2) Double click on "Control Panel". 3) Double click on "Regional Settings" icon. 4) Click on the "Date" tab at the top of the page. Where it says, "Short Date Sample", look and see if it shows a "two digit" year. Of course it does. That's the default setting for Windows 95, Windows 98 and NT. This date RIGHT HERE is the date that feeds application software and WILL NOT rollover in the year 2000. It will roll over to 00. 5) Click on the button across from "Short Date Style" and select the option that shows, mm/dd/yyyy. (Be sure your, selection has four Y's showing, not two). 6) Then click on "Apply" and then click on "OK" at the bottom.

Easy enough to fix. However, every single installation of Windows worldwide is defaulted to fail Y2K rollover. How many people know about it? How many people know to change that? What will be the effect? Who knows. But this is another example systematic nature of the problem.>>

David Cohen (one of my technical advisors and buddies) answers: This "fix" has been floating around for a few weeks in email and it is all well and good unto itself. Unfortunately it is lulling people into thinking that they have saved themselves. This is but one of several places that the PC stores the date. The problem is that most of the trouble (assuming there ever was a problem) has to do with the bios clock that this does not address at all. Again, I go with the suggestion that you turn your clock to Dec 31, 1999 11:55 PM and let it roll and see what happens. This will give you plenty of opportunity to remedy it before the rush.

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