What do we do about it?
It is important to take steps soon, if you are relying on an older PC. The good news is that there is lots of help available, when you are ready to begin. One option is to make use of a program sponsored by Industry Canada's Student Connection Program, called "Year 2000 First Step". It is a program designed to evaluate your computer equipment and make recommendations to make the equipment Y2K compliant.
It was originally designed in co-operation with the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce to assist small businesses and organizations, and provides a hands-on evaluation by a specially trained post-secondary student. The assessment costs $195.00 for an evaluation of 10 computers, and $15.00 for each additional computer. The assessment will provide a detailed report and suggested action plan for your organization. Visit their Website at www.scp-ebb.com for more information.
Another possibility is to purchase one of the new Y2K software programs that have become available recently. A good Y2K utility will scan your computer's hardware, software and data files, specifically checking (a) your computer's BIOS, which is the internal program that controls the computer's functions; (b) the computer's clock, which tracks the time and the date; and (c) the operating system. The utility will scan your applications, to determine that they will use the dates, math functions, etc., correctly in the year 2000. Once the utility determines that a function is not Y2K compliant, it will load a 'patch' which goes into effect when the computer boots up. This patch is a small program that corrects any daterelated problems. While there are a number of programs available, the latest issue of PC Computing (09/99) recommends several which have been proven to perfom well. They all cost under $100, but the Norton 2000, OnMark 2000 Assess 3.0 and Check2000 PC Deluxe programs received the highest ratings.
For more information before starting this project, there are numerous Y2K Websites. Some of the most helpful are:
There are also a number of sites with tests and downloads to check if your equipment is Y2K compliant, such as the following simple test which can check the BIOS in an older system to see if it will work on January 1, 2000. Turn on your computer and set the time and the date to 11:59:00pm on 12/ 31/99. Turn your system off and wait a few minutes. Next, turn the system on and enter the BIOS setup. Check that the date reported by the BIOS setup is 1/1/2000. Set the date and time to 2/28/2000 at 11:59:00pm. Turn the system off and wait a few minutes. Turn the system on and enter the BIOS setup. The date reported by the BIOS setup should be 2/29/2000. With luck, all is well, and you can reset the current date and time. If your computer doesn't make the changeover, it will be necessary to 'de-bug' it.
Note: do NOT try this test with a 286 or 386, as it it may toast your hard drive! It is already known that these machines are NOT Y2K compliant. Good luck!
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