[copperpress-advertserve-ad-reload zone="3"]
 November 5, 1999

Prepare your desktop computer for 2000

This article details the steps necessary to prepare your computer now while support phones are not overwhelmed with computer users who try to upgrade at the last minute.

The first item to check is your computer’s clock. NSTL, an independent computer-testing organization, provides a hardware-testing program that can be downloaded for free at its Web site at www.nstl.com. This program will tell you if your hardware is equipped to handle the progression to the Year 2000. If it is not, you have two options: either take this opportunity to upgrade your computer to a newer, Y2K-compliant model, or purchase a utility program such as Norton 2000, which will run in the background and “fool” your computer hardware into knowing the correct date.

Secondly, you will need to check your software. Make a list of all of your software. Note the product name, vendor name and version number. The version number can usually be found by starting your application, clicking on Help, and clicking on About.

Many vendors have a portion of their Web sites dedicated to Year 2000 and the compliance status of their products. See if your version is listed as compliant. If it is not listed, it is safe to assume that you need an upgrade. If your version is listed as compliant, make sure there are no “prerequisites” for compliance. Microsoft, for example, lists many products as compliant, but has prerequisites, such as a patch you will need to download from its Web site for compliance. Often there is no free patch to download, but just a list of compliant versions.

Check your local computer retailer for the latest version. See if an upgrade is available. The upgrade could save you as much as 50 percent on the cost of new software. Remember to check the compliance status of your operating system, your Web browser, and your backup software. If your business is a bit larger, you may need to check your network software as well as any software running on peripherals such as remote access servers. If you have custom software, contact your custom programmer to obtain a Y2K-compliant upgrade.

Once you have all of your hardware and software taken care of, check your operating system setup. Windows 95 for example, defaults to a “short date” format using a 2-digit year. The Year 2000 compliance of many software programs relies on the Windows 95 short date being set to a 4 digit year.

Next, check your spreadsheets and databases. Change any two-digit years used in calculations to four-digit years. This will ensure a smooth transition once the data starts to include the Year 2000.

Finally, here is a list of things NOT to do. Don’t wait until January 2000 to see what will happen. Plenty of people will take this approach. Enough procrastinators could ensure a short supply of software upgrades as well as customer support personnel to help you when your upgrade runs into problems of its own.

Don’t install any software utility that promises to “automatically fix the Year 2000 problem in the software applications you use every day.” Software programs are typically complex, and any changes are best left to the original vendor. Programs that promise to “fix everything” are bound to cause unpredictable results, void your software warranty, and make it virtually impossible for the software vendor’s support staff to help you with any future problems.

The Year 2000 problem is real. It is a sizeable inconvenience, but one that can be easily overcome with timely effort on your part. How big will the problem be? The answer depends upon the actions we take now in 1999 to eliminate the problem in our own homes and businesses. The key is timing. Start now, and you can enjoy the end of 1999, confident that you have done your part to ease into the new millennium.

Barry Frangipane, an independent computer consultant and a frequent speaker at computer user groups across the country since 1986, has been programming since 1977. He lives in Boulder and can be reached at (303) 448-9751 or bfrangipane@cwix.com.

This article details the steps necessary to prepare your computer now while support phones are not overwhelmed with computer users who try to upgrade at the last minute.

The first item to check is your computer’s clock. NSTL, an independent computer-testing organization, provides a hardware-testing program that can be downloaded for free at its Web site at www.nstl.com. This program will tell you if your hardware is equipped to handle the progression to the Year 2000. If it is not, you have two options: either take this opportunity to upgrade your computer to a newer, Y2K-compliant model, or purchase a utility…

[copperpress-advertserve-ad-reload zone="3"]

Related Content

[copperpress-advertserve-ad-interstitial zone="30"]