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The Millennium Bug Y2k
An Article by Tahir Butt

The Millennium Bug (or Y2K issue) is a general description of the problem caused by software, hardware, and firmware not being able to deal correctly with the change from the year 1999 to 2000.
It is not confined to personal computers; it also affects central heating systems, cars with computerized engine management systems, home and business alarms, banking and transportation systems. In fact, the entire Y2K issue is beginning to resemble a matryoshka doll; more levels become apparent as each new level is revealed.
All software, either directly or indirectly, obtains its date from the hardware. If the hardware incorrectly reports the date, it is very difficult for the software to have the
correct date. If the hardware problem is not rectified then any process involving dates will be unreliable.
The Y2K problem does NOT start at midnight on 31 Dec 1999 as many people
might think. It starts much earlier. Your financial software will generally want to ‘rollover’ the financial year on or around July 1, 1999, and you will have to have all
the bug problems (if any) sorted out by then. In real terms, you will have to have all of your systems verified and the changes implemented, before even that date; it has been suggested that 31 Dec 1998 is the real deadline!

How does Y2K affect PC Computers?

The Y2K issue will be a problem for any computer operating system, application, or other electronic device that uses a two-digit field for the year, as in 08/22/98. That two-digit date field, a seemingly innocuous programmer's shortcut, is a time bomb, one that will definitely go off unless it is defused.
The WRONG way to defuse the Y2K time bomb would be to take the tack that Harry the "do-it-yourselfer" might take ... just crank the PC clock ahead to see what happens. Harry's "test" might not be able to be "untested", and some of his software licenses may become invalidated, or his system might lock up.

The Computer HARDWARE Y2k Problem

Hardware compliance issues, associated with desktop PCs, involve the Real Time Clock (RTC) chip in the PCs, most of which in use today are non-compliant. This problem is widely known as the Millennium Bug.

The Millennium Bug in PC computer hardware, is caused by an error of logic in the PC's Real Time Clock (RTC). This is a small chip inside your PC that ticks 18.3 times every second, and enables it to maintain the time and date. The chip takes its power from a battery when the PC is switched off, which enables it to keep the date and time even when your PC is not in use. The bug occurs when the RTC rolls over from 1999-2000; it may not roll over the century byte correctly, so 1999 becomes
1900 instead of 2000.

Click to download the utility

The Best Hardware Fix

The best FIX for this T2k problem, if your system has it, is to install a good Year 2000 TSR Program that will properly process the software requests for dates. The TSR should always run, should be small, and should use an imperceptable amount of computer resources.

Operating Systems and Application Software Y2K Problems

MS-DOS
The Y2K date problem is prevalent in DOS OS and in DOS applications and DOS based applications that must run in dedicated DOS sessions under Windows.

Windows 95/98/3.x
The Windows 95/98/3.x OSes are supposed to correct the year 2000 problem on systems that fail, but Windows is based on DOS, and DOS itself can have a problem. Therefore, the Y2K problem can exist in DOS based applications that must run in dedicated DOS sessions. There are also additional Y2K problems associated with Windows 3.x, Win 95, and Win 98 applications, involving
thousands of *.EXE, *.DLL, *.OVL, *.COM, *.LIB *.VBX files that are used by thousands of applications in your everyday computer work! This includes applications built from virtually all popular programming and database enviroments, including Visual C++, Paradox, Delphi, Visual Basic, MS-SQL, Oracle, Access, Fox Pro, dBase, Excel, PowerBuilder, Sybase.
Many downloaded programs, including Games, CAD, and Accounting, Communications, Internet, and virtually every type of program category might also be affected! You simply CANNOT rely on the fact that the software makers MIGHT FIX these thousands of programming errors, and, even if you could, it would be a MONUMENTAL TASK to download and install ALL of the fixes, or to EVEN KNOW WHAT needs to be fixed!

Windows NT
The Windows NT 4.0 OS is supposed to correct the year 2000 problem on systems that fail, but only within the NT operating system. If other operating systems are run on the same system (ie multiboot), the problem CAN STILL EXIST, and the Y2K problem can exist in virtually any application that runs on the NT OS, in the same way as it does with Windows 95/98/3.x applications.

The Best Software Fix

The best way to approach the SOFTWARE OS and Application Y2K problem, is to use a product that can SCAN and READ OBJECT CODE and can correct the problem Y2K date signatures "on the fly" as the date calls are made, much like an active Virus Scanner can recognize "virus signatures" and can correct them.
ContactPakistan at the moment is evaluating both freeware and commercial software that could help its visitors to checkout their computers. Please watch Computer Section main page!
For any question with regard to Y2K problem, you may drop me a line.